Friday, December 08, 2006

Celebrating Early

“There is no ideal Christmas; only the one Christmas you decide to make as a reflection of your values, desires, affections, traditions.”
~Bill McKibben

Well, hubby and I are off this weekend to an early Christmas getaway with my parents and sister/brother-in-law. We pick a B&B each year and do the holiday there a couple of weeks before the crush of the 24th and 25th. Then my parents trot off to Florida to do the snowbird thing for the next 5 months.

All I can say is…fireplace and whirlpool tub in the room we got this year. Yummy! And maybe when we return, I’ll be newly inspired to finesse that love scene I’ve been struggling to write this week (it shouldn’t be so difficult, should it?).

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Running Late

"Dancing is just a conversation between two people. Talk to me."
~from "Hope Floats"

Uh, oh...woke up late today, so no time for a regular blog this morning.

In the meantime, though, check out the Women-on-Writing ezine. Lots of helpful articles!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

First Impressions

"Truth is, I gave my heart away along time ago, my whole heart, and I never really got it back."
~from the movie, "Sweet Home Alabama"

Gosh, I like this movie a lot too. Who isn’t completely charmed by Reese Witherspoon, anyway? (Oh…maybe Ryan Philippe…but that’s his loss)

Found an interesting writing exercise as I was blog-hopping yesterday: Julie Cohen’s first-page challenge. Try it and see how well your opening paragraphs hold up…

It was a good kick in the butt for me to look back through some of my own. I despise writing opening scenes anyway, find them incredibly difficult but of course they’re OH SO IMPORTANT in hooking the reader (who just might be your *fingers-crossed* editor or agent someday).

Yeah, I know. First impressions are everything, so no matter how challenging, we writers have to figure out how to create good ones.

But I also realized from doing this exercise that it’s really hard to write an opening scene well unless you know how your story’s going to end: how the characters all change and what is essential to reveal at the start (and what is best kept hidden).

Try it!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

A Drop in the Bucket

"Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."
~from "Shaw Shank Redemption"

Fantastic movie, by the way. I watched it again a few months ago and was blown away by how much I speaks about the human condition and the power of belief.

Here’s something I noticed the other day, as I was skipping about the Internet: there are an awful lot of published romance writers out there. Really. If you Google “romance authors” you get umpteen sites and umpteen authors listed on those sites.

One time, at a conference, I listened to a speaker talk about how rare it was for aspiring writers to actually finish and submit a complete manuscript, so those of us who have should feel good about it. OK, maybe it’s somewhat uncommon. But rare? Not according to the stats out there.

I suppose it’s good that, right now, the market supports all those authors, but you gotta wonder: is there a point where it will become saturated? And do those of you who write (and if you're really lucky, publish) ever feel like a teeny tiny drop in the big ol' bucket of talent?

Monday, December 04, 2006

Writing the Awkward Stuff

“Ninety percent of true love is acute, ear-burning embarrassment.”
~ Terry Pratchett

My writing friend Marianne has her short story, "Now That We’ve Found You," up at the Wild Rose Press. Go check it out!

So…um…(clears throat here) yesterday I…(feels herself blushing) wrote the first sex scene for my hero and heroine in Paradise, USA.

Actually, it was the first sex scene I’ve ever written.

See, I usually focus more on the emotional relationships in my novels. I like the hesitance of first touches and the fire of first kisses. But when I submitted this novel, for the heck of it, I thought I’d conform to what people seem to like most about reading romance.

And that’s the sex, right? Well, and the falling-in-love part too, I suppose. But I know readers love the sex. Look how popular erotica is, right?

Anyway, this scene was a lot harder to write than I thought it would be. Part of me kept thinking, Oh God, my family and my friends are probably going to read this at some point and WHAT WILL THEY THINK OF ME???

Does anyone else ever worry about that?

I mean sure, I think the scene was needed, and after it’s been tweaked about a hundred times, it might actually come across as believable and crucial to advancing the plot. But in the meantime, I feel like I’m going to be hemming and hawing around the keyboard the next few days, trying to get the words right and trying to banish the inner editor who, strangely enough, sounds a lot like my mother and one of my aunts.

Hmm. Anyone else have difficulty - or advice - when it comes to writing explicit love scenes? And how explicit do you get, anyway?