Climbing the Next Step

I handed off my first manuscript to my first round of beta readers.  It was a leap of faith in myself, that I could someday tell a story well enough to publish it.  I’m not saying it was exactly like leaving the house without my infant for the first time, putting her care totally in hands other than mine, but it was.  I’m trying to not worry.  I worry.

I simply can’t afford an editor, and the time and money to find the right one (who will actually improve my work) aren’t resources I have at this point in my writing career.  So I educate myself as much as possible, learn the tools in the word program, and rely on a circle of close friends who also read/write.  They will guide me up the next step toward self-publishing.

Self-editing had become a round of avoiding the manuscript, not writing other projects because I was using my limited writing time to edit, and editing grammar in scenes I wasn’t sure should BE in the manuscript.  To re use the over used metaphor; I could see the forest, loved the trees, but suspected some of those trees need the axe.  I called in the beta-lumberjacks, because they’re ok.  Even if they wear suspenders and a bra.

I could see the non-vicious circle of self-editing becoming a comfortable home, and how so many writers live there.  Endlessly picking and adjusting, never showing their work to another person because “It’s not ready.”  I have new respect for the writers who have overcome that fear, and more empathy for those who haven’t (yet) taken that step.

To help distract myself from the counterproductive editing, I managed to pick up one of my other projects, and I’m trying to get it into the shape of a rough draft.  The feel of applying pen to paper, gliding across in loops and squiggles, is a productive effort and hugely creative.  Daily word count is so much more self-affirming. I remember this joy.

It’s crap.  But it’s glorious, visceral, and colorful crap.  Crap that can be useable, once refined.  This time, the estimated word count is manageable, something that could make the rounds for small publishers.  It’s also vampires.  Simultaneously popular AND overdone, but the story wants what it wants.  <shrug>  So, we make it fun, sexy vampire romance crap, rolling in modern cultural jokes and stereotypes, while picking apart the legends and applying science like a halogen lamp.

And my search history gets weirder…

 

A Writers Confession…

To date, 112,444 words.  I’m only about 2/3 through the rough manuscript.  Both concepts are equally disturbing.

Have I really typed that many words?  What do I do with this mountain?  How do I divide it?  I’m close to a chapter that could work for a cliffhanger, but I hate those.  Plus, that would leave the remainder short on word count for a novel.

But the real confession…

It’s a Romance.

That wasn’t the plan!  I read Sci-Fi and Fantasy.  I want to write Sci-Fi and Fantasy.  I gave up on romance in my teens (in the 80’s), because the characters were too stupid to deserve any happiness.  I won’t list the writers who did this to me, they have followers.

Because most of my manuscripts-in-progress have some element of Romance, I spent the last three years trying to play catch up.  There are many improvements to the genre, stronger characters, better plot lines, believable dialogue.  Personally, my discovery of Paranormal Romance, with the smaller Fantasy sub-genre, was the only way I was able to make sense of the things I was writing.

I keep telling myself that it’s a Sci-Fi with a romance sub-plot, but it’s not.  This story is ‘girl meets boy’.  It’s on a planet far from Earth, but in our Galaxy.  About three or four hundred years in the future.  I asked myself, “How difficult would it be to find a man acceptable for this particular woman?”  Turns out, pretty damn hard.

The problem?  It’s not a good romance by Romance standards.  The carnal relationship starts right away, not delayed for effect.  The male antagonist isn’t an Alpha-hole  who needs to be reformed.  The female protagonist isn’t in her twenty’s, naïve, and needs to be sexually educated.  It’s almost bizarre opposite land.  I will be pushing  Romance readers away in droves.

The squishy bits will turn off most traditional Sci-Fi readers, although that genre has made some changes, too.

Am I blurring genre lines or just writing something unmarketable?

On top of all that, apparently I’m writing ‘hard core erotica’, although getting a definitive definition for that is difficult.  I try for the ‘pan away to the fireplace’ trick, but it’s ridiculous, considering how much of the relationship changes in bed.  I can’t just say, “She is falling for the guy, and decides on hot sex and a relationship.”  I have to show that, right?Anyway, ‘Bad Sex Scene Award’, here I come.  Yay!

So, apparently, I’m writing an Epic length, ‘hard’ Erotic Sci-Fi Romance.  My potential readers are few.  I’m so screwed.

Next week, let’s explore the confusing world of erotica.  Look for my next blog; When is a Cock not a Rooster?  Warning, 18 and over!