In my last post, I explained how I want to become more organized this year. And that it takes preparation. Now, I will discuss why I need structure so badly. Here are my #goals for 2019:
Work on a screenplay with my friend Dave Sakmyster (horror - my fave!)
Work on a screenplay with my friend Dave Sanchez (romantic comedies are his thing)
Have a perfect, toned body (okay, this is more of a "dream" than a goal. But gotta add it into my list)
Finish editing my latest YA book for publication
Write a series of romance novels... (cue sound of needle scratching against record) What?!? I know, I know. I don't write romance, but bear with me and I will explain.
What I discovered about writing
I had breakfast with my friend Kathy Shay a couple of weeks ago. In case you have never heard of her, she is a best-selling author of romance. (Find more about her and her work here: https://www.amazon.com/Kathryn-Shay/e/B000APY3GW ) We discussed how difficult it was for me to find an audience for my young adult books. It seems the only YA books flying off digital shelves right now are fantasy and sci-fi. Neither of which I write. Okay, let me be transparent here. I have six teen novels and two middle grade novels in different stages of completion. I have spent countless years working on these books...some which are finished but need revisions. If I had spent the time making actual money instead of writing, I'd be a millionaire right now. But I chose to write. Or maybe it chose me. Whatever. And now I have books that no one will want to read because they aren't fantasy or sci-fi. Capiche?
Anyhow, I dabbled in erotica, which I really suck at, excuse the pun. And although my YA has a smidgeon of romantic elements (a girl and a guy kiss, big deal), I really haven't written a romance. And certainly not anything for someone over the age of eighteen. (Except the erotica, which I have already explained was not my forte. Oh! And a couple how-to books and a short story anthology. Still, not romance.) So how does one turn around and write in a completely different genre than they have ever before written? How?
And did I want to? Because I love suspense. Creepiness. Eeriness. Mystery. Surprises. So what's a contemporary young adult author to do?
Humans are built for challenges. From the moment we're born we have to learn to deal with the intricacies of being alive, including learning to walk, talk, and figure out how to be happy despite all the crap we muddle through. So I purchased one of Kathy's books. I purchased a book on how to write romance. I am now a student of the craft. This is giving me a new avenue to explore. And know what? I'm excited about it. And if I realize I'm not able to write a story without an untimely teen death or horrible fatal accident to their parent, then I'll be comfortable knowing I tried, dammit. And if that happens, looks like I'm sitting down to one of my already-written YA novels and revamping it so it happens on Planet 80426.
Could I be my own obstacle?
So, to be honest, the reason why I'm not a huge romance genre fan is because I enjoy deeper levels in literature. Every novel I have written for teens is more than just a story. It's a psychology study. It's delving into what makes us human, what makes us tick. I write in the literary vein, and to write where the main plot is...well...falling in love...let's just say it's like a piano player picking up a guitar. The pianist may understand how music is made, but she hasn't yet learned the chords. So here is my Big Dilemma: Can I write a book that doesn't have layers?
I don't know if I can.
But I've been reading up on different types of Romance Novels, and I may see a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. And it's flashing the words "Women's Fiction." This, I can do. I have read a lot of literary fiction for women. And although it's not romance-driven so much as character-driven, I believe I can produce a hybrid that can span both romance readers and suspense readers alike. Others have done it...certainly I can.
Updates forthcoming. And if anyone has any advice for me...comment here or email me. I am always open to feedback.