Wednesday, December 16, 2009

By Request

As requested by Cathryn I've been thinking and thinking the last few days about why I'm finding category so much easier to write than single title.
First and foremost I think it has to do with the length. While I've been working on ST with word counts in the realm of 95,000 - 100,000 words, the categories I've written can only be almost half this length at 55,000 - 60,000 as per Silhouette Romantic Suspense guidelines. Therefore, with much less time to work with, you need to get the story set up, the characters to meet and rolling towards the climax in no time at all. In this way, I guess I felt I couldn't spend so much time setting things up, putting in back story, etc, etc. And by writing category, realizing this fact and changing my writing style accordingly, I think I've found the problem that's been holding me back in terms of my ST.
My CP and other writer friends who've read the first manuscript I wrote for SRS have said they can't believe the difference between my writing styles in the two and clearly my SRS manuscript is far better than anything else I've worked on so far.
The answer I came to is that instead of wasting words and the reader's attention trying to set things up in my ST, I need to just dive straight into the action and let it take its course, which is how I looked at my categories when I started them.
The other thing I think is helping me is the fact that in category style, I focused more on the relationship instead of the story revolving around it and maybe that is more where my strength lies. In my ST manuscripts, I was doing it the other way around, writing the story and having the relationship come second to that.
For now, I really am enjoying writing category way too much to do anything else and I'm hopeful with the great feedback I'm getting and the fact I got a top ten placing in the RWAus Hi5 competition, that Silhouette will take this and subsequent manuscripts.
I also looked up The Agent's website this morning and yes, I am still chasing The Agent, but she is starting to be caught up on by Mr Agent who I am almost equally determined to catch. Unfortunately Mr Agent doesn't represent category romance, while The Agent does.
I know its not necessary to have an agent to publish under the Harlequin Mills & Boon banner, but since at some later date I plan to foray back into ST romantic suspense and hopefully, futuristic/sci-fi romance, I want an agent from the word go who'll be with me all the way.
So those are a couple of my thoughts on the matter. I assume if you got someone to psycho-analyze me, they'd come up with entirely different reasons as to why I find category easier than ST at the moment, but we'll leave that for another day.

1 comment:

Cathryn Brunet said...

Thanks so much for posting that, Jess. I found it really interesting.

I think you're right about the length changing the way you write. I've had a similar experience writing novellas. You have less words to work with and so you have to make every one of them count, which means you write tighter and with a focus on what really matters.

Sometimes, with STs, you can drift away from the important stuff. And it causes problems. Like boring the pants off your reader!