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Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Hooray! I've got my laptop back again! It's got nice new insides- a 500 gb hard drive with go-faster wheels!

Now don't go laughing at the pic I've posted. I did this cover design years ago, back when I was just beginning to figure out how to "paint" digitally. and I had only a vague idea of how to go about making a cover. In fact, I knew so little that I had to figure out how to actually paint the balloon and its gondola, over a photo I took of Warwick Castle in 2004. But I sort of thought it fit with what I'm gabbing about today.

Theresa was talking yesterday about taking a break. I sure know what she's talking about. I think I started taking my break around 2006, and I'm just now putting myself back together as a writer.

The truth is, I did a lot of writing during that time, but it was writing that didn't seem to be going anywhere. I set out to try all kinds of things and explore new avenues. And I really didn't care a lot whether I sold anything. I didn't do much submitting at all. But I'd never done any fiction except my beloved historicals, and that, only as Regency or Medieval. So where was I going to go? Contemporary just wouldn't work for me. But maybe paranormal, if it was historical. Could I do erotic? No, but I could try really hot romance. And how about short, maybe novella length?

I actually tried not writing. And I succeeded pretty well with that. For awhile. Funny how many other things a person can do to fill up time. But it's an addiction, and it just kept preying on me, so I kept coming back to it.

Exploring both very sensual and paranormal historicals has followed a very rough and twisting road. Writing short was a whole lot harder than I thought. I hadn't read a lot of paranormal romance, and had often not liked what I read- maybe I wasn't finding the right stuff. Every idea I turned into my agent, she didn't like. And I was seriously thnking I had completely lost my edge. Old age. Alzheimers. Out of touch. Over the hill...

I was really groping in a drk tunnel that seemed to have a thousand branches, at a time when I was trying to get around with the fading batteries in my Itty Bitty Book Light. My friends and CPs said they loved the stories, but to me, I had a bunch of fragment pieces that I just couldn't join together. I just couldn't find the emotional pull I'd always loved about writing romance.

I think traveling helped. Seeing places in the world I'd been afraid I'd never get to see was giving me new perspective. Florence and Pisa opened up ideas, and so did that tiny medieval mountain village, St. Paul de Vence. Last summer, Hawaii took on new meaning for me when I began writing places I already knew into a sea fantasy romance.

The new writer in me finally started emerging this last spring. I went back and looked at all the old stories that have lain in the dust, either unfinished or unsold, and decided I wasn't wrong about them after all. I started revising and finishing. And the more I work, the more I work.

What's really been surprising to me is the story that had seemed to be so many disconnected fragments. I had extremely strong feelings that those pieces (which had totally confused one of my CPs) really needed to be part of the whole, but I couldn't see how. Then the connecting tissue began to grow. And the big shock is, my gut instinct had been right all along. It's an extremely surprising story, yet it all fits.

My big discovery, though, is that I can't (can't speak for anyone else here) write romance if I can't be in love. In love with my hero, my heroine, my villain, in love with every character, and the place where they belong. If I can't do that, then the story has no vital organs. But once I find that love again, my story begins to live. Funny thing- it's true with my cover art, too. When I can fall in love with it, it comes alive. And so do I.

And so, here I am. It's fall. And I'm falling. Falling in love again.

What about you? Are there times when you can't fall in love with romance? Do you have to be "in love" with your story when you write it? Have you ever had to leave in order to find your way back?


At 12:37 PM, Blogger Terry McLaughlin said...

Delle, I understand exactly what you mean about having to be in love to write romance. Yes, I have to have some basic story structure (or just a premise) in place and a goal of sorts when I begin each scene, but if I'm not feeling the romance, I can't transfer that onto the page.

It all comes back to character, doesn't it? That's what we seemed to agree in yesterday's comments: character, character, character. Those vital organs, the things that make a story come alive.

At 1:01 PM, Blogger Mo H said...

I agree. There are a few things I've tried to write that I didn't love and the writing suffers. I've learned to put the story away if I'm not feeling it. If I'm not feeling it, how can the reader?

At 2:12 PM, Blogger Delle Jacobs said...

Interesting, though, that I did love my characters and the story, but at the time just couldn't feel the love and interest in romance. I didn't FEEL it, as Terry says. But when I went back, perhaps because something in me had changed, then I did feel it, and did think what I had written was right. There were definitely some things wrong. But the main problem, I think, was in me, more than in the stories.

Perhaps being so close to giving up, so discouraged in my ability to sell as well as to write, may have overwhelmed my ability to feel the story.

At 7:36 PM, Blogger Louisa Cornell said...

Writing was my first love. I started writing at the age of nine. Then when my musical talent showed up everyone and everything convinced me to put the writing aside and concentrate on the music. I have no complaints. I had a great career and got to travel the world. But it wasn't until I sort of fell apart after my dh died and put myself back together again that writing came back at me with a vengeance. I just started writing with the goal of becoming a published author a little over three years ago. It has been a great journey, thought not easy by any means, and I have made some great friends along the way. And I will say that my worst day writing is still better than my best day at the day job. Will the writing get to be a chore at some point? Maybe. But not today. And that makes it a good day!

And I have to agree that when you love your characters and their story and love the feeling you get when you tell the story, there is nothing like it on earth.

At 9:12 PM, Blogger Delle Jacobs said...

I did that too, Louisa. In fact I had intended to be a concert singer for a long time. But somewhere along the line a realized it was the music I wanted but not the career. I wrote for awhile in my late teens but didn't realize the husband I picked wasn't compatible with writing. Today's guys are much more open to such things, I think, and I didn't pick up the clues ahead of time. So music was always my refuge.

At 9:29 PM, Blogger Diane Gaston said...

Falling in love is a good analogy, Delle!
I don't have a problem falling in love with my characters, but like any relationship, it takes work to keep the love flowing!!

At 9:21 AM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

Great post, Delle. Yes, writing is an addiction. Well said! And I'm so glad you're falling in love again!


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