I Don’t Believe In Love So I Wrote a Romance Novel

At the end of October, I had fully intended to use this year’s National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) to finish up and polish the sequel to last years “Camelot Project”, which had a brief life of it’s own on Blogger where I posted chapters. I have an outline for the second novlove-316640_1280elette, have started a few chapters, and kind of know where I want it to go. But then something inside me said, “No, write that romance novel.”
“What?” I laughed. “The one I’ve been joking about writing for years?”
Yup, it was that one. When I say “that one” I don’t mean that I’ve had one planned out for a while or any remote idea of a plot. Just that for years I’ve known that romance will probably sell faster than my fantasy epic and I’ve always had that as my backup. Now, some of you may have the same reaction my psychologist did the other day when he asked about my relationships and I said I’d never had one.
Silence. “Really?” Silence. “Ever?” Ahem. “How old are you?”
Total disbelief. Tells you something about the world we live in, huh?
So why should I write a romance novel. HOW? Fortunately, I have a great imagination. But I know, as some great “real life romantics” will say, that I could never imagine the feeling of being in love. Probably not. And neither can they, not the way they’re telling it. Love is a chemical reaction in the brain and is strengthened by sex. Love is not a heart thing. Not this, romantic, guy-girl thing people long for.
I don’t believe in love. Only because I haven’t seen it or experienced it. Yes, I kind of have a concept of it because I’m a Christian and there is that whole Jesus’s Love thing, but that’s another post for another time. I don’t really want to experience it either. I watched my three older brothers fall in love, date, and get married.
They were complete morons while in love. I have never hated them more than when they were dating. My best friend was impossible while dating.

I don’t want to be that moron. I’d rather be under control and plan my time around myself and work and school. I’m that selfish, some will say. Sure, sure. You want to know the real reason I don’t believe in love?

Because the world doesn’t. And the world has ruined it. There is no love, there is only sex and I believe them. And I don’t want sex. This novel was hard for me to write then because it was like fantasy. A fantasy the world doesn’t believe in. But then I read a passage in the wonderful book “On Writing Romance” by Leigh Michaels where she said that your romance novel will only work if it ends with once in a lifetime love. I laugh, out loud. Who believes in that? I guffawed.

But it got better. Dangerous Books for Women had a quote about how romance novels were about women who chose to love to a higher standard. That really stuck with me as I try to hold myself to the highest standard I can. How fascinating these romance novels were turning out!

I was encouraged to keep writing by telling myself that there may be some people out there who still believe in a committed love. In a “once in a lifetime love” and strong women who chose to love to a higher standard. Could there really be people out there who want that kind of love? But, oh yeah, romance books are unrealistic. My bad! Let’s move on then!

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Morals, Rejection, Projects–Oh my!

I am probably the ∞th person to use the phrase from the great film “The Wizard of Oz”. I took it, changed it up a bit and made it my own. Sort of. This is a really bad example of what writers do. Or what I’ve read writers do. I’m not really sure what “real writers” do any way. I know a few on Facebook who actually reply to me (and like my status on occasion!) so I suppose I could ask them.

But this post is already boring, right? You don’t want to read me jabbering away! I don’t either!

I think this must be an issue with some of my writing (other junior writers listen up!). I write a lot of my own thoughts in my writing. According to Donald Maas (who politely declined to be my agent) the best part of the fiction is you. You are the best thing you can put into your fiction. Now, this doesn’t mean making your character like pistachio pudding (YUM!) because you do. No, it means that your point of view is the most unique thing about you. A good writer makes that point of view accessible to a wider audience. Pretty cool power, hu? Imagine being such a good communicator that 50% of people who read you nod and say, “Ah, yeah, I get it.” Oh, to have such power! That power is your voice. Or your words. Whichever.

Sometimes finding your voice is hard though. I literally didn’t have mine figured out until last year. I just turned 25 and thank goodness I figured that out! I thought I knew it when I was 17. I was positive I knew my voice when I was 21. But it wasn’t until I moved to Ohio and was literally writing every day (no, literally) that I found my voice. I had to practice, use other people’s words, make them my own, and then realize I was ditching them because I liked my ideas better.

imagine how much better a writer I would be today if I had practiced every day from when I was 17? I feel like my stories (which get revisions unlike these blog posts) would be masterful. I’d be head maven of the order of the bards! Well, okay not really. I look at my rejections as a challenge now. No, I don’t have it all figured out and did cry a little when I got another one the other day. But you know what? It takes about 50+ rejections to make me stop writing and only one to get you in. That’s the reality I had to remember when sighing sadly at all those rejections. I can take a million of those. But one in (with an agent or publisher) and that is a far greater step forward than one rejection will ever be. But I think it’s my voice still.

A friend of mine read a short story that I was particularly proud of. He liked some of the characters, said the story was good, wanted more of the fantasy element I was creating, but said that my main character’s moral filter was bothersome, condescending, and mine. Yes, he said that every time my POVC made a judgment call, it was mine coming through. If this had been the first time it happened with a story, I may have let it go. But people have been saying I have bad writing because I have a POVC who wants to cut his ties from his druggy friend who treats him like dirt. Now, I cannot make excuses for failings in my writing, but this “goodness” in my POVC was his flaw too. He was almost sunk and sucked into a downward spiral that would ruin his life because he could not cut off this friend and live his own life. But he had to make the decision to be a badass, ditch the jerk, and start anew. To me, that was a nice moment and a good character development section. And yes. They were my morals (I’m not a fan of drugs since some friends of mine were hospitalized by a high driver who walked free) but this story was not about that. It was about my poor POVC growing a spine and leaving someone who was toxic and manipulative.

Aaaaaand, I have no time to write about projects. But that’s okay.

Junior writers, my fellows, don’t sacrifice yourself in your writing to please the masses. You will always, ALWAYS, piss someone off. “Utopia” by Thomas Moore pisses me off. But I love that book. It’s my favorite thing to get into a heated discussion over. Read things that piss you off. Read things that challenge you (in a good, healthy way). Read things that will make you stare off into the distance thinking about. Don’t read to be stroked and told what a good, smart person you are. You already know you’re awesome. Reading is for brave people who want to be challenge.