Monday, May 6, 2013

Love Makes You Do the Wacky

I'm currently on a How I Met Your Mother kick. I have Netflix and I made myself keep watching because I hated almost the first half of season one (it was so awkward it was almost unwatchable for me), but then it suddenly got interesting and funny.

One of my favorite things about the show is seeing Alyson Hannigan on there. It's a throwback to my teen years. Like a game of Six Degrees of... I have became nostalgic for Buffy again.

I have every season on DVD. I loved that show so much. It had all my favorite things: epic romance, fabulous fashion, quips, sarcasm and most importantly, death by crossbow.

Never underestimate the importance of death by crossbow.

Anyhow I dusted off the old  Buffy DVDs, picked a random episode and watched the season three episode, Lovers Walk. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed Spike before Marti Noxen ruined everything forever by neutering him and making him repulsive in every way.  Note to any and all romance writers, myself included; sometimes sexual tension is wonderful in it's own right and adds depth and fascination. But, just because it's there doesn't mean your characters should act on it or even would act on it.

Tread carefully because sexual tension doesn't equal happily ever after.

That's really the extent of what I have to say about writing. This whole post was really an excuse to post one of the many fantastic Spike-isms about love. This particular one was directed at Buffy and Angel as they went about trying to be friends after their long and painful relationship ended.
You're not friends. You'll never be friends. You'll be in love 'til it kills you both. You'll fight, and you'll shag, and you'll hate each other 'til it makes you quiver, but you'll never be friends. Love isn't brain, children, it's blood. Blood screaming inside you to work its will. I may be love's bitch, but at least I'm man enough to admit it. 

I love that.

What is your favorite Buffy Quote? Not a Whedonite? Then tell me any favorite quote about love.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

A quick question for my writerly friends...

What is your process for editing a very rough draft? I feel as though I'm editing in circles. I rewrote the opening chapters so I rewrote the next four chapters. In rewriting those I changed some things and then re-rewrote the opening chapters and then had to rewrite the next four... the snake eating it's own tail is still in my house.

What is your process for editing? In detail please, because I clearly need a system and I don't know how to do this. Previous to this book I've only written short stories so editing was a very different beast. I just rewrote everything over and over until I liked it. This requires being more systematic but I don't know how to begin.


IWSG: Genre Shame

Insecure Writers Support Group

There are many things I love about being a romance writer. I love watching a relationship unfold between the pages of my story. I love considering all the ways love can blossom in inhospitable surroundings.

But the thing I most hate about writing romance is having to tell people that I write romance. People will lean toward me, their eyes sparkling and ask, "So what do you write?" When I tell them my genre, their shoulders pull back, the eyes glaze over and their entire being radiates disappointment. They mutter a vague, "Cooooool" and change the subject.  They thought I meant that I was a "real" writer.

I'm going to digress for a moment (because I love a good digression). Have you ever watched the show, The Big Bang Theory? I love that show. The main male characters are three astrophysicists and one engineer named Howard. Howard takes a lot of guff for being the only one without a PhD. They scoff at the idea that his job has value because in the grand scheme of things, he is simply an "Oompa Loompa of science".  What's weird about this kind of snobbery is that the disdain is saved for the person who offers the most external value. It's a lot easier to see the value of an engineer because we see what they do, whereas with physicists (especially theoretical physicists) the work is only known and understood by a small and elite group of people.

You may be wondering where I am going with this. Well it's been my experience that the things that are the least accessible to the masses are often treated having the most value. Any weighty tome, any lofty philosophy. Any physicist with his head in a particle cloud generator.  And it's true that sometimes those things are incredibly valuable, but it always sucks to be the one near the bottom of the hierarchy.

For writers, being a literary novelist is gold standard. The denser and more complicated your tome, the less your average person wants to read it, the more certain circles of white tower academics will laud you for your genius. Then you get the worker bees, the folks who write Literary/Genre fiction and from there, more traditional genre fiction: Mystery, Sci-Fi, Fantasy. Now it's true that most genre writers take a load of crap for being too readable, too easily accessible and therefore not as cool as that lofty Literary writers. You would think that the other genre writers would band together and support each other but my experience, even the other genre writers treat romance novelists a bit like the scudge you'd find on the bottom of your shoe after walking across a filthy parking lot in the ghetto. Truly, we are the Howard Wolowitzs of the writing world.

Romance novels account for more than half of all the book sold in the world. How is it that my genre is the most read genre in the world and yet, I sometimes feel ashamed to tell people what genre I write? Well it's because I've been beaten up by everyone over it. I'm not exaggerating to say that people feel free to let loose with the most painfully insensitive words when they find out that I write love stories. Some of the comments/phrases I've received from my friends (most of them repeatedly);

"Your silly little love story"
"your cute little novel"
"Maybe when you are ready you'll write a real book"
"Have you ever thought about writing real books?"
"Do you think you should be spending your time working on something more serious?"
"Your goofy book"
"Oh so you write porn huh?"

 And these are from people that actually like me. Strangers are even nastier. I went to a writer's workshop and I asked a young, strange guy what he wrote and he gave me a detailed list of all the interesting genre combos he writes. He says he has never finished a story but he writes Norse/Sci-Fi and other cool things like that. He asked what I wrote and I hesitated because I already sensed this was gonna go badly for me. But I plowed ahead and said, "I write funny romance". He looked me dead in my eyes and said, "Aren't they all funny? I read one and I couldn't stop laughing because it was so stupid."

Right in my face. I hadn't left the room or turned invisible or anything like that.

I sat right there while he called my genre stupid and did nothing. What I should have said, was "Oh yeah butt-wad? Well your genre combinations are nonsensical! That zit on your nose is grossing me out. Also your hair is lank and greasy and I bet you jerk off to that really gross anime with tentacles and stuff."

Alas, I kept all that razor sharp wit to myself. But even though he is just some weird guy I'll never see again, his attitude really bothered me. I've found myself becoming shy about telling people my genre. Someone asked me recently what I write and I hesitated and considered just saying, "fiction" and save myself the embarrassment of their disinterest. I didn't. I couldn't.

It pisses me off that I even have to feel that way. I'm part of a huge collective of people from all walks of life, from all socioeconomic and educational backgrounds, who have the same driving desire; to tell the story of how a relationship came to be. How love happened. How can that not be deep and meaningful? Love is one of the most important aspects of our lives. Our relationships often shape the course of our lives and cause us the most pain and pleasure of anything you'll ever experience (outside of having kids I assume). What is more awesome than love?

So I guess this meandering post is meant to ask my fellow writers to consider that even if you don't understand the genre someone writes, respect the hard work they put into their craft, which is no less valuable than the work you put into your own.

So quit picking on the Howard Wolowitzs of the world. Don't forget that he became an astronaut. Also he ended up being the first guy in his group to get married and not just to a cute bimbo, but to an awesomely smart girl who makes a ton of money and has huge sweater yams and probably has a few romance novels on her shelf. 

Don't count us out.

Heehee, sweater yams.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A Post About Being Insecure About My Post About Insecurity

There is an Insecure Writers Support Group post coming. But I'm having some trouble editing it. I've written four different beginnings and they are all genius (IMHO) but I think the piece loses something if it's simply four beginnings and no middle or end. Kind of like the blog equivalent of the cancelled show Heroes. A million beginnings that start off so well and soon you just want to tear out your eyelashes and shout, "Could you resolve anything, just one.damn. thing?!" Then you cry a little, but you still watch it because you secretly love Sylar and you'll pretty much watch a show that is nothing but him eating potato chips and using psychic powers to kill other people. So there you are, in despair because you know it's not moving ahead one, single step and you'll have to listen to what feels like 30 minutes of Mohinder rambling on about the universe and mysteries that lay therein and the voice over feels a little bit racist even though you can't pinpoint exactly why...

Reading my post as it is would be exactly like that. So I need a little time. Check back with me later tonight.

Ironically this COULD be an Insecure Writers Support Group post about being insecure about my Insecure Writers Support Group post. Wow, that is so meta it becomes a snake devouring it's own tail. I kind of like it.

Anyhow, stay tuned.

Photo courtesy of fototastisch

Apropos of nothing, did you know that Zachary Quinto is dating Jonathan Groff? That is the most sexy and adorable pairing in the history of ever and I squee-ed a little a lot about it. In honor of Colorado lifting their ban on gay marriage and putting some of my dearest friends a little closer to having equal rights in their own state, tell me who is your favorite celebrity gay couple?