Romance Writer, Amateur Psychologist

Why psychology? Because I got feedback about my synopsis and, yes, there were problems. Guess where my problems were? Yup, the evil heroine strikes again! Hero had potential, heroine…childish and immature.

Groan! I’ll be honest here, I did wonder when I was writing this story, whether her conflict was right. Halfway through the book I was going um…not sure about this…but I persevered hoping it would fix itself. But it didn’t. So Jackie’s number one rule is going to be: Go with your gut! If it’s not working for you then it’s not working full stop!

Right, so where to from here? Well, I’m going to go with fixing this one because in spite of evidence to the contrary, I do feel like I’m getting there with fully backgrounding my characters. Kate, for a start, is much more fully realised than Cat is. And that’s mainly due to me thinking long and hard about Kate before I started writing. Plus, I like this story.

What I should be doing is taking advice from all you people who do character sketches before writing. Either that or I do what I usually do which is to write my way into my characters, finish the ms, and then write the synopsis. Impatience is my besetting sin and does not help in my writing!

The one thing that does console me is that the editor did tell me that writing romance with psychologically compelling, believable characters is very, very difficult. Hear that everyone? This is HARD stuff we’re doing. We have to have strong conflict but it has to be light and flirty. It has to extend to 50k but you can’t have any external conflict. It has to be sympathetic but not too specific. It has to have the fantasy factor. These are not easy things to accomplish. In fact, I was having a moan to a good friend of mine who is very, very literary and she said, ‘Actually, what you’re writing is very difficult isn’t it?’ And I thought, no kidding! Category romance is a tough beast.

Anyway, the other thing that keeps me going is this: the ed told me that my writing was all there and that once I got the characterisation right, I’ll be away.

So, you see, I simply have to keep going. ๐Ÿ™‚

23 thoughts on “Romance Writer, Amateur Psychologist”

  1. You’ve already received my commiserations via email – but the main thing is they STILL want you, they SEE HUGE potential and they’re prepared to help you get there!!

  2. Rach – yeah, gotta keep that in mind. Argh!

    Lacey – dunno about this heroine lark. She’s still being stubbornly opaque. Considering trading her in on an easier model.

  3. Just sent you a long winded email, but wanted to say – you rock. No – you do – really.

    You WILL get there. I know I’ve said this before, but think of what Dory says: just keep swimming .

  4. I agree with what Rachael said. You’re there, really, the stuff that’s harder to fix is there. Your voice and your writing quality is not as easy to fix as figuring out the method of creating characters that’s going to work best for you. There’s not really a right way to do it. There are lots of ways and you have to hit on the one that works best for you.

    I know you’ve got this!!

  5. Janette – I’m swimming, I’m swimming! ๐Ÿ™‚ Cheers, m’dear. I hope so.

    Maisey – cheers to you too lovey! Thanks. I feel like a very slow learner at the moment. But I think you’re right, once I get the method, I’ll be there.

  6. Yay – you have feedback! So now you can cease tormenting yourself with waiting and instead get back to the coalface. And you know what you need to do, so go for it!

  7. Jax. Squidgy hugs and yey on the attitude and ed encouragements. You will, you will, believe!
    And from someone who’s a very slow learner herself, it’s not the speed of the journey. It’s the view when you get there. I sense you will have stellar views (and reviews!) jx

  8. Oh, Jackie…(Hugs). But great news about the ed’s encouragement and positive feedback.

    ‘It has to extend to 50k but you can’t have any external conflict.’

    Do you mean that the *focus* can’t be on the external conflict rather than no external conflict at all?

  9. Definitely trust your gut and don’t ignore your niggles. I have every confidence that once you do that I’ll be joining you for virtual champagne ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Hey Jax, at least you can rest easy that you’ve had a response and really, your ed’s encouragement is amazing! Now you know what to fix, you can get on with fixing it. I know, easier said than done, but you’ve got an awesome ed behind you, so go get ’em! The very best of luck!


  11. Hey Jax, at least you can rest easy that you’ve had a response and really, your ed’s encouragement is amazing! Now you know what to fix, you can get on with fixing it. I know, easier said than done, but you’ve got an awesome ed behind you, so go get ’em! The very best of luck!


  12. Hi Jackie,

    I’m so sorry. Lots of cyber hugs to you. Anyone who thinks this is easy should have their head examined.
    Does the ed want to see the partial after the heroine is fixed?

    Wow, that sounds weird!
    Onwards and upwards, dearie!

  13. Wow what really positive feedback, they really want you Jackie! Keep working, you are almost there!!
    Huge encouragement from fellow kiwi xx

  14. Romy – yes, I do know what i need to do. And I can do it!

    Judy – what a lovely thing to say! Thank you. Hopefully when I get there I’ll find you enjoying the view too. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Angie- thanks for the hugs. No, not precisely no external conflict. You need the external to bring the two together. Just once they are together, it’s all internal. Which is why you need such strong conflict because that carries the story. This is for Modern/Modern Heat only I mean.

    Lorraine – the champange’s in the fridge. Been there for a while but that just means it’ll be extra cold when I finally get to open it. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Maya – yes the ed is very awesome. I can’t believe she’s been so patient with me. That in itself is something to celebrate.

    Suzanne – an incentive is definitely what it is. I am keeping going!

    Sally – I’ve got my Lindt 85% cocoa solids ready in the cupboard. Chocolate is all part of the plan. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Sri – lovely hugs, thank you! I’ve sent the ed a few ideas on how to make the characters stronger and have asked whether she wants to see an updated synopsis and partial. Don’t think the synopsis really did my heroine justice to be fair. Will let you know what she says.

  15. Hugs Jackie!
    Oh to be getting closer but having the damn thing seem further away. It’s all progress and they must see SO MUCH in you.
    Deep breaths and soldier on – cos if you could have quit you would have ages ago.
    You’ll make it!

  16. Hugs to you!
    Today will be rough but tomorrow I know youโ€™ll get on with what you do bestโ€“ write. You’re going forward and upward. No doubt about it. Because you see, talent always wins out. ๏Š

    Amen to your editor. I agree character driven stories are the most difficult to write. To complicate matters, the 50,000 word limit challenges real character development.
    My earlier heroines were stimuli-induced amoebas and as deep as a teaspoon of water plus TSTL.
    Years ago after sharing a movie with friends, we were talking about the comedian in the film in his first dramatic role. A friendโ€™s husband made an acute observation that to this day stuck with me. โ€˜It takes a very talented dramatic actor to perform comedyโ€™. Unlike drama comedic characters are rarely plumbed but cleverly conveyed in phraseology.
    Iโ€™m targeting Modern with its dramatic flare and the one conversation taught me to turn up the dialogue to enhance characterization. Freudian slips anyone. ๏Š

  17. Becca – you know that’s SO true. If I was going to quit, I would have done so after my full was rejected actually. But no, here I am still. For my sins. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Eve – love the hugs! ๐Ÿ™‚ Yep, your old heroines sound like mine. Hee hee. But yeah, like that observation – I’m a dialogue girl myself. Good luck with Modern!

  18. Just on the subject of dialogue, my old creative writing teacher always told me I used way too much. I didn’t listen. Come to find out, my ed thinks my dialogue is my strength. Not coincidentally, she said my characters were a strength too. I think it’s because, and I think it was Trish Morey who said this, “Nothing is more interesting than what comes directly out of your character’s mouths.”

  19. Literary fiction doesn’t have much in the way of dialogue prob, Maisey, so maybe that’s why your creative writing teacher told you you had too much. Three cheers for romance! Because I lovez my dialogue too and that’s what they like about me as well.

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