Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Romance Magicians

Romance Magicians

I began writing my first manuscript almost five years ago. And, like so many new writers, didn't know a thing other than I had a story inside me that I had to tell. Formatting a manuscript? Uh, what's that? POV, HEA, TSTL and SDT were as much a mystery to me as why my dog has to circle three times before she lies down. I was clueless.

But then, once I finished that first manuscript and began submitting, yes, my eyes were opened -- wide. Sometimes they were filled with tears too - but that's all part of the learning process.

One thing I've learned above all others is how incredibly generous other romance authors are --published and non-published. Giving of their time, talent, experience, name it, they give it.

I've learned an incredible amount in the last five years, but still have so much to learn. It's nice to know that there are so many out there who are willing to help me on my journey.

I discovered years ago, even before I started to write, you can learn from anyone at any stage. I've learned from multi-published NYT bestselling authors and I've learned from authors who have been writing a few months.

No, there's no quick and easy path to publishing. If there were, what would be the fun and challenge in that? One of the best things about this business is the learning and growing and yes Carla, those amazing epiphanies.

The advice I've received along the way has kept me going, kept me motivated and kept me sane -- well, almost.

And the best advice I've received? Oh my, that's hard to say. But, if I had to choose one, it'd be a simple one. Unfortunately I can't give credit to one particular person, since I've heard this from so many. And that advice? Just write the damned book. Stop staring at a blank screen, worrying whether the story is right for today's market, what will my family and friends think, etc. Stop worrying, stop procrastinating and stop making excuses. Write the damned book!

What about you? What's the best advice you've received? What advice would you give others -- newbies and multipublished authors. What's the single number one truth that keeps you going, keeps those creative juices flowing, refusing to let you give up?

Come on, share! I could use some more advice!


Carla Swafford said...

I’ve learned that even if no one in the world wanted to buy any of my books, I would still write. And what keeps me going? Besides the stories screaming to be written…when I tell people that I’m a writer, they smile. Either they are thinking “that’s cool” or “be nice to the crazy lady and maybe she won’t attack.”

Advice for others? Along with what you said about keep writing, do not get all hung up on “the rules.” Most of it is bull. Every time I hear someone say, “Oh, that won’t sell” because it’s a so-called unpopular era, subject, location, etc., I think of Sherrilyn Kenyon and her book FANTASY LOVER. She had been told it would never sell. Boy, were “they” wrong. I wonder what printing it’s on now?

jennifer echols said...

Carla...Is Fantasy Lover the first one she sold after not selling anything for a few years? It's peering at me from my TBR shelf.

And Christy...what is TSTL? And is SDT like an STD? Learn something new every day...

Carla Swafford said...

Yep. FANTASY LOVER was the one. And the beginning of her Dark Hunter series. It doesn't have a DH in it, but starts the ball rolling.

TSTL - too stupid to live. But I don't know STD (except for Sexually Tranmitted Dieases. AND I KNOW that's not what she meant. What's SDT? I probably should know it.

jennifer echols said...

Well I should definitely know TSTL; feeling that way this afternoon. *snore*

Christy said...


First time I saw it, I thought it was a sexually transmitted disease too -- which is so not romantic. (o:

Oh, and the best piece of ambivalent advice I've ever received. You can break the rules -- just be aware that you're breaking the rules.

Deborah Matthews said...

Here's a few pieces of advice I've collected over the years. They all can be applied to writing even though Tiger was talking about golf. The BEST advice for any writer is perserverance. Even when doubts plague, never quit.

Opportunity dances with those who are already on the dance floor.

"The real secret of writers who actually make a living at their craft is that they don’t wait for inspiration to strike. If they did, they’d never get much written. Writing is hard work and it requires daily discipline as well as creativity." -- Jayne Ann Krentz

"You get out of it what you put into it." --Tiger Woods

To accomplish great things one must not only act, but dream. -- unknown

A turtle would never get anywhere if he didn't stick his neck out.

"If your ship doesn't come in, swim out to it!” -- Jonathan Winters

"I am just as terrified of my next book as I was of my first. It doesn't get any easier." -- John Steinbeck (from a letter written in 1961, seven years before his
death, and after he had won the Nobel Prize, in Steinbeck: A Life in Letters)

Karen Beeching said...

"Quit, if you can."

That's the best advice on writing I've ever heard, and I can't remember who said it. At my lowest of lows, I've never been able to reach the bottom I hit when I imagine quitting this dream.

jennifer echols said...

LOL! I've given a lot of people that advice, but not as succinctly.

Carla Swafford said...

It is an addiction. With all it's highs and lows.

Carla Swafford said...

With all ITS highs and lows. Geez, my internal editor always walks in late.