Monday, November 2, 2009

Still Testing the Waters

Harlequin Presents were still my first love, but learning about erotic romance was more than fun. It was pleasure – in a special way. I discovered authors I'd never heard of, and I learned about romance writing in a new way.

I kept writing Harlequin style books, but at the same time I started working on an erotic romance novel. It took me time to complete novels, as my life had changed. Job changes had me putting my writing on hold, at one point for over a year. My father was having health problems, so I was helping my mom with him. And then I had to have surgery for a neck problem.

Once life calmed down, I submitted my first erotic romance. While it took a while, and it was ultimately rejected it was a personalize rejection. I'd also kept receiving other rejections.

I sat down one weekend with a writing friend of mine and said "what am I still doing wrong." She had me pull out every rejection letter I had and she began reading them. And pinpointed the issue – character motivation.

It's one of the most important items in a romance novel; the reader must understand why your character is doing something. While I could tell her the character's motivation, it wasn't coming across on the page.

I couldn’t thank my friend enough. I would have to figure this out. Instead of going back to just reading craft books, I picked up one or two books on character motivation, but I also read the books I enjoyed and started to analyze how the authors were getting character motivation across.

My writing was slow because I wanted to get this right. And while I still received rejections, they were getting more and more personal. I was also meeting with editors, so it helped me bypass the slush pile.

Continuing the journey next Monday


Isabel said...

You've had an amazing journey to get to where you are today and I'm so proud of you. :)

Motivation is a biggie. Whether it's movies or books, if I can't connect with a character it's usually because I can't understand "why" they do things.

Any books you'd recommend on character motivation?

Marie said...

Hi Isabel,

For character motivation, I use astrology books they help me dig into my characters reactions. A great book is Laurie Campbell Schnebly Ennegrams. Also by reading I learned how other authors put motivation into their books.

Thanks for stopping by.