Tag Archives: #RomanceChallenge

Celebrating failure

Don't get overwhelmed by the goals you set yourself....

Don’t get overwhelmed by the goals you set yourself….

My favourite Douglas Adams quote of all time refers to deadlines:

“I love deadlines, particularly the whooshing noise they make as they go by…”

For the #RomanceChallenge that I picked to kick off this year, I gave myself a tough deadline – I was going to write a 35,000 word novella between the end of January and Feb 14th (Since publishing a romance e-book on Valentine’s Day seemed like a good marketing move…)

I’d like to say my unexpected bout of Lassa Fever (or Bubonic Plague, Black Death or whatever…Clearly it wasn’t just FLU, that would be pathetic…) was the reason that the work is stalled at 10,000 words. Certainly it didn’t help to lose a fortnight, but since then, I’ve really had plenty of time to bang out the required wordage. I mean, I read Rachel Aaron’s excellent book on increasing your word count per day, and by that token I should be done and edited and published already.

I didn’t make enough progress to be done by the deadline, especially since there are many other domestic tasks to get done by the weekend, not least being Tiny Weasel’s birthday preparations. Now I have a choice. I can flip tables in frustration and announce that the project was a failure. Or, I can just keep plugging away, and put out the book when it’s ready.

Some years ago, I complained to Mrs Dim that I have a completion neurosis. I start many, many odd projects in the course of any given year, but most of them will languish half-complete for a long, long time. It’s not that they don’t get finished, it’s that they don’t get finished in order, or within the original timeframe.

My Mandalorian armour, made for Fan Expo 2012. Yet to appear at Fan Expo...

My Mandalorian armour, made for Fan Expo 2012. Yet to appear at Fan Expo…

As I’ve got older (not necessarily grown up, you understand) I have become more organised. I have seen the value in pursuing a task until it is complete. I have less guilt over leaving sillier projects to languish while I finish the worthwhile things.

So I’ll be annoyed with myself for not hitting the target I painted for myself, but I’ll be glad that Tiny Weasel doesn’t have to take a backseat to my writing progress. I’ll be glad the house gets hoovered and there’s food to eat, because there’s ALSO the odd e-book now and then, published when I’ve finished, and that’s fine.

As I sat down to compose this, WordPress told me Kristen Lamb had just written a blog post in a very similar vein (Though she doesn’t have Mandalorian armour. As far as I know…)

http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2014/02/12/setbacks-success-excuses-oh-my-the-truth-about-publishing-myths-about-muses/

The point is that your goals are things to aspire to, not things to bring you more misery. Strive to be better, to achieve more, and be content with what you do achieve.

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Free e-book!

TroubledSouls006

Yesterday I started writing “With this ring”, my new romance novella and the last e-book I’m intending to publish for a while. To celebrate, I’m giving away “Troubled Souls”, my collection of short fiction from the male perspective, for a week starting on the 3rd Feb (Monday!)

Find it at Amazon.com: http://amzn.to/17RZzOH
amazon.ca: http://amzn.to/11dk92A
and Amazon.co.uk: http://amzn.to/14bcozq

Still alive…..

I’ve seen a few headlines in the last couple of days about the potential return of the Black Death. If you’d asked me about that last week, I would’ve told you I was patient zero.

The terrible thing about sick leave is having all this time off work and being completely unable to enjoy it. I have several books remaining in my stack of romances that I thought I might read, and I also had some new Script Appraisals to work through. Unfortunately for me (and my customers) I wasn’t able to raise my head off the pillow for the whole of that first week. The doctor did examine me and confirm I’d had some kind of chest infection, but he was reluctant to administer antibiotics, instead giving me some nasal steroids. “A couple of weeks of that,” he said ” and you’ll be fifty percent better…” And have a terrifically muscular nose into the bargain….

So it’s only now, in my second week of leave, that I’m feeling up to sitting in front of the computer and catching up with my workload. Time’s ticking by, so I’m not going to go on with my reading. I’ve learned from the eight books that I’ve read that there is no magic formula. Romance novels are like any other novel, with the exception of the love story being central and irrevocable. The two romantic leads always end up together (something that doesn’t always happen in other novels).

Thanks to Mrs Dim sacrificing some of her time for work, I’ve been able to rest, and I may be able to start the actual writing this week. We have Tiniest Weasel’s birthday coming up, and there are preparations to be made for that, so I don’t have a lot of time, but I do have a story in mind.

I’ve also decided that, success or not, this will be my last e-book for a while. I think I’ve spent somewhere near two years publishing e-books, and while it’s been fun (and I won’t withdraw the books from sale) it’s proved that selling books is not my strongpoint. Writing the book is only the beginning – you need to package it well, and then you need to sell the book, and keep on selling it, over and over again. That’s not a process that happens by itself, even in this age of social media and mass-communication. The answer is not having a blog, or a certain number of Facebook friends, or reading a particular book. The marketing needs to be well thought out and continuous. Mine hasn’t been.

TLC have started the year with a video conference and agreed we have some ground to make up. Plans are being laid for two pantomimes and other projects have been raised as well. I’m sure there are some plays I can write if I try hard enough, too, and those already have an outlet in the form of Lazy Bee Scripts.

Almost time to try being a playwright again.

#RomanceChallenge : Update

This project has been a real surprise for me.

Last night I finished reading book seven of my random selection, and yet again it was different. Different situation, different storyline, different characters. There were, of course, a male and female lead character who felt a strong attraction and ended up together at the close of the book, but this is the ONLY common thread I’m finding in these stories.

The last week of reading has also seen the first book I had to abandon.

Romance (or at least, this subset of romance) has a reputation for overblown language and hokey situations, not to mention one dimensional characters. My interest in this challenge was partly sparked by comments that one of my plays contained dialogue that could have come “from a Harlequin Romance”. Reading these books, I see what the person meant, and I hold my hand up to it. Yes, in that play, that dialogue was over the top. It was flowery and unrealistic. I wish I could say that I intended it that way and there was a reason, but no… I was just caught up in the writing and let things slide.

Book number five was guilty of worse than just flowery writing. The initial introduction to the characters was terrible, the male lead unlikeable and the female lead ridiculous. The setting was supposed to be exotic, and I think this was probably the issue with the whole novel – the ones I had read previously were regular people, more or less. They were cowboys or soldiers or doctors or whatever, but they lived in towns, drove trucks and drank coffee. This book was set in the glittering jet set, where the rich and famous rubbed shoulders with old money families in fabulous surroundings. It all felt fake and unbelievable.

In the seven books I’ve read, this was the only one that had any resonance with the criticism normally aimed at Harlequin romances.

And how’s my story coming along? Well, I have a lead character name, but no further ideas. I’m thinking there should be an English angle, since our recent trip there reminded me of the beauty of the place and the fascination the people of North America seem to have with the UK. Any suggestions for the female lead name would be welcome, and if you want to challenge me with a suggested location or trade for either lead character, fire away. Feb 14th is looking pretty close already.