It’s So Personal

I’ve been reading a lot of interesting bits recently, of course about writing. My Samhain editor, Angie, has an interesting post about rejection (from an editor’s POV, obviously). And on Romance Divas, there was a discussion thread about “how hot to write to get better sales.” Got me thinking. What am I doing wrong? Am I doing anything wrong?

I feel like a square peg right now, and romance publishing is all round holes. (Excuse the suggestive metaphor; it actually fits the topic.) I’ve chatted with writer friends before along these lines: “You could heat it up and send it to…”; “You could put in a menage, and then it might be right for…”

My most recent shopping expedition (and the stats on romance sales) pretty much verified what we all know: sex sells. But I also had one of those “aha” moments as I read a novella chock full of sex scenes. BORING. The story lacked heart. Big time. I didn’t care how “hot” these two were for each other. It was like watching Paris Hilton pose for a camera–stick a pin in it, and it would pop into thin air.

I’ve been lost lately. Directionless. And I think I’ve figured out what put me here. I’ve been caught up in the “I should write hot stuff to get an agent, get published…” whirlwind. It works for everyone else, why shouldn’t it work for me? Because it’s not me. I lost touch with myself. I stopped falling in love with my heroes, too concerned about making them have hot sex. And in one case, I even became a little embarrassed about a submission, because it was outside my comfort zone. Didn’t want my name on it.

Shame on me! I know better. Motto for today: To thine own self be true.


5 thoughts on “It’s So Personal

  1. Heather says:

    Good post, Ciar! It’s so easy to lose sight of who you are, and what kind of writer you are when the rules and trends are as everchanging as they are in the publishing industry. Here’s hoping you’ve regained your footing with your insight!

    I know you’re on the LAW loop, but did you see the post on Cynnara’s blog on this subject back in May? She pretty much agrees with you about not getting lost or caught up in writing hot just because it’s “in” right now. Here’s the link for you:

  2. Jeanne says:

    Hey, Ciar 🙂
    I totally agree with you. As you are writing romance, not stroke fiction, it HAS to be about the story. I think there’s a lot of craziness right now — erotic romance is the “new” thing — but once the novelty wears off, readers will realize that “sex, sex, sex!” gets pretty boring after a while. But good storytelling never goes out of style. 😉

  3. Charity says:

    It is very easy to jump on the bandwagon and forget who you are and what drives your characters. I have noticed a lot of authors I used to love have changed, conformed to an image and it makes me sad that I don’t see their voices anymore in what is supposed to be their story.

    It is a good thing to recognize the problem before becoming a cookie cutter.

  4. Toni Sue says:

    Can I get an AMEN! 🙂 LOL!! I had the same epiphany about two weeks ago. I can’t write for someone else, I can only write for ME. So, I may not be a NYT bestseller, I’m gonna be happy 🙂 Poor, but happy 😉

  5. Pam P. says:

    I’d say follow your own motto, Terry, I want a good story, not just a lot of hot sex. Of course, I don’t how you get around the current craze for sex as far as contracts. It’s a shame, I know a few authors encouraged to change their stories, and the best parts of them get cut out. I hope it ends soon and the focus gets back to great stories that get one’s interest, no matter.

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