Yep, have sent a chapter and synopsis to the ed. No, not the NV entry as yet. This is my soldier story (though I’m thinking of losing the soldier part since it only adds to his character and doesn’t directly relate to the story). I feel paranoid and sick about it naturally. The previous two ideas haven’t gone down well so I have no idea whether this will fare any better. I have tried really hard to take what the ed’s been saying to me on board so whether I’ve managed it will be anyone’s guess.
You see, here are my problems:
1. I have been writing romances since I was 12. Now these were only for myself, not for publication. So I have had over 20 years of writing stories where I could do whatever the hell I wanted and that seemed to mostly be concerned with piling as much angst as I could into it. Hey, I didn’t have to please anyone but myself so why not? Flashforward 28 years and I’m still trying to stop myself from piling on the angst. Fear of failure? Sure. Why not add fear of being vulnerable too? Oh yes, and also fear of not being wanted, hating to be protected and stick an unplanned pregnancy in there too. Enough conflict for ya?
2. I HATE being hit over the head with the obvious as a reader. QED, as a writer I am not obvious enough. This combined with a fear of my characters being too self aware, means sometimes the conflict isn’t obvious in the first chapter. And neither is their motivation.
3. I came late to reading romance. I only started reading a lot of it 3 years ago. Up till then, the only romance I read was an M&B binge every 6 months or so. I’ve been trying to catch up on the genre but up until 3 years ago, I didn’t even know a romance had to have an HEA, let alone heroic, aspirational, sympathetic characters.
So these three little problems of mine have all conspired against me. Not only do I over complicate my conflicts so it’s not clear, I am also not obvious about them so readers (and editors!) don’t know what motivates them. Ergo this makes them unsympathetic because if you don’t know what motivates them, you can’t relate to them. Add to that a tendency to want to break the ‘romance’ mould with my characters because I want to do something different (and not knowing what’s ‘acceptable’ and what’s not), and you have a recipe for disaster. And rejection.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, it’s taking me a VERY long time to both be aware of these problems and to overcome them. My latest sub I have tried hard to stick to one conflict for both my characters, made sure it’s clear and have tried to follow it to its conclusion in the synop. I have also tried to make it more obvious in the first chapter. The thing I’m most worried about is my heroine. I’ve – again! – tried to make her different. I hope I haven’t overstepped the mark. She’s spiky and prickly, and kind of rude. There is a reason for this and I’d really like to think I got it across in that first chapter but…
Who knows? Only time will tell I guess. Anyway, it’s back to NTAI for me! Where’s everyone else at?