Monday, March 17, 2008

What I am Looking Forward To...

Spring, obviously. Not wrestling my son into a snow suit will actually improve my quality of living by about 3000%. I am looking forward to my first sunburn of the season - save your speeches Sinead. Since, I don't tan and only burn it is inevitable that I get one doozey a year and it's a weird genetic thing passed down from my mother that I actually like it. My brother is the same way but so much so that I've never ever seen him use sunblock. My brother actually turns purple. Sinead, I use sunblock. I swear.

I am looking forward to watermelon. I can't wait for it. Last summer I had that watermelon and feta salad that sounds like it should be the most disgusting thing ever but is so delicious I've been thinking about it all winter.

I am looking forward to my son wiping his own butt. And my dog - miraculously - learning to bag his own poop. Some days, I swear I just handle waste.

I'm looking forward to a day of reading the new JR Ward book. I'm planning a day off from my life that day - I'm going to Maureen's house and maybe getting that sunburn. Maybe all three of us will do that - Sinead can sit in the shade.

I am looking forward to the day when new writers stop coming up to me and telling me that they're writing a book targeted for category romance and then - within moments - unknowingly confess their scorn for the genre. "I mean you just have the hero act like a jerk and everyone will love him! " You throw in some sex scene and a secret baby and you're done!" "It's 60,000 words - how hard can it be?"

I used to be polite when writers would do this - or I'd try to give them advice and I think now I'm just going to say -- you will never EVER sell a book that you are writing from a place of scorn. There are a lot of strange conventions and hooks in this genre and I'm not saying you have to love them all - but I'm saying you have to love the ones you write in order to write them successfully.

A lot of us got into this game because we thought it would be easy - we learned the hard way that it wasn't. And as easy as I might have thought it was - I always always loved romance. I think a lot of new writers write to try and be better than the worst romance they've ever read and to be successful you've got to try and be better than the BEST romance you've ever read.

Tall order, but it keeps us honest.

Oh, and I'm looking forward to coming back in my second life as a professional beach volleyball player. That will be fun.

13 comments:

Heidi the Hick said...

Great post- but I'm appalled that new writers tell you they want to write your genre while they don't even like it???

When I came to your workshop last september, I had lots of reasons. One, I wanted to hear from a legit published author. I wanted to know more about the romance genre because I actually hadn't read a huge amount of it in years, but my stories always have a love story within. One more reason- I knew that if you want to learn how to plot a novel, read a romance!

Anybody who says it's easy has never tried to write one. Or they have and don't realize that their version is unreadable. That's my opinion.

Please keep telling writers that they will "never EVER sell a book that you are writing from a place of scorn."

And let me know how your plan to teach his dog to bag his own poop works out, okay?

Kimber Chin said...

Wow, that's a great sentence about writing from a place of scorn! That's one for my Book Of Molly-isms.

I think that's true of anything you're trying to sell whether it is a novel or insurance. You may not have to love the product (though that helps) but you do have to have respect for it.

Along the lines of your category stance, I'm going to stop being so defensive about being small press. I write niche. I doubt I'll ever write anything else.

So if I spend my life defending my decision, I won't get anything else done (no poop to pick up, thank goodness).

And that said, if I'm writing niche and I'll likely never make any money from it, I'm going to write what I darn well want to write.

Maureen McGowan said...

Wow, Molly. What a terrific post.

And I'm so glad I finally found a convention/hook/style within the romance genre that I love enough to write a "book of my heart" that might possibly intersect with what the market wants. **Maureen crosses her fingers, hard**

I particularly loved this part of your post, "I think a lot of new writers write to try and be better than the worst romance they've ever read and to be successful you've got to try and be better than the BEST romance you've ever read."

So, so, so smart.

(And I, too, would love to see Daisy bag her own poop, but I think you'll have better luck with your son. Some day.)

Sinead M said...

Loved the post, it's got me thinking of summer and long stroller rides and happy afternoons at the park.

I will definitely get a sitter for that 6th JR Ward. Can we add Sangria to the mix?

As for the place of scorn.. ha! loved that.. those people are dumb. Because it would suck to put all that work into a book you can't stand..

Molly O'Keefe said...

Heidi - you can bet as soon as I train my dog to bag his own poop I'm going on the talk show circuit. It will be a secret in high demand!!!

Kimber - I think it's funny people can love one aspect of romance - be it historicals or paranormals or Jenny Cruise or whatever and then they read a part of the genre they don't like and don't respect and think is terrible and they go "ah ha!" there's my in. And I think the more we try to defend our writing the more disservice we do to it -- trust me I spent so much time defending my choice to write for Harlequin. Let's let the writing do the talking -- and Sinead is right and succint - those people are dumb. It's just plain dumb to put all that work into something you don't even understand.

yes. Sangria. and chocolate. And cabana boys.

Maureen McGowan said...

When does this book come out? I'm going to have to get moving on Lover Unbound so I'll be ready. J.R. Ward and sangria sounds like a day made in heaven. :-)

Maureen McGowan said...

And I'll see what I can do about the cabana boys. Surely one can order them online?

M. said...

"...a lot of new writers write to try and be better than the worst romance they've ever read and to be successful you've got to try and be better than the BEST romance you've ever read..."

that is a brilliant encapsulation. can i quote you for my 'notable quote' blog section? please? if not - it's still a brilliant quote.

Christine d'Abo said...

I'm looking forward to the day when people will stop asking me when I'm going to write a real book and get published with a real publisher. This is coming from extended family.

I've stopped being nice about it.

Kimber Chin said...

Oh, man, Christine, that "real" book comment always makes me laugh.

I mean, how can you possibly keep a straight face?

What do they think we're writing? Imaginary books?

And I'm looking forward to the day I have a print book. I'll let them feel first hand how "real" the book is... when I throw it at their heads.

Brings new meaning to the phrase "Show, don't tell."

Molly O'Keefe said...

sure - feel free to qoute me all you like. Feel free to take Sinead's words and attribute them to me too, she probably said that brilliant thing first!

I do believe cabana boys are available on-line.

I've stopped being frustrated with people who say mildly insulting things when they don't read the genre -- everyone has thier preconceived notions and I find that being polite and generous usually makes them feel like an idiot.

IT's the stupid things coming from other WRITERS that's getting me in a huff. Writer who want to write ROMANCE! Nuts. Totally nuts-o.

Sinead M said...

It's wierd, because any writer who craps on category can't have written too much.
As someone who needs my external suspense plot, and tense, life threatening situations to move the plot, trying to write 300 pages with nothing but character and conflict makes me sweat just thinking about it.
Freakin' hard.
Those writers can't have even tried it..

Wylie Kinson said...

I could direct my comments to the pearls of wisdom or the cabana boys, but truthfully, I'm stuck on the watermelon and feta salad... Mmmmmmmm

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