Notes from February 20 Meeting

Love is in the Air (Imagine Barry White singing…)

Romance is an age-old genre. In fact, none of us would be here without some form of romance. Though I did have a fellow suggest to me once that lust might be enough…

Wikipedia has a lot of info about romance, suggesting that the first romance novels began in ancient Greece. And the stories have been coming ever since. But romance takes many forms. There are YA romances about crushes. Remember your crush in middle school? You might be “going steady” but you never talked to your crush and he never talked to you. You told your best friend what you wanted him to know, and she told his best friend. Then there was high school— And romance at a “mature” age takes on a whole different spin. You compare medication lists and Medicare plans, wondering if he has a nursing home policy.

Suspense, thriller, horror, mystery, sci-fi, fantasy, all of these genres can have an element of romance, even if it’s just a hint. Other times, the romance can be a sub-plot.

There are Amish romances, historical romances, sweet romances, erotic romances, hotter than erotic romances. Even other species romance: Lady and the Tramp anyone?

Some reference works suggest there are 7 types of romance subgenres:

  • Contemporary Romance.
  • Historical Romance.
  • Romantic Suspense.
  • Erotic Romance.
  • Religious/Spiritual Romance.
  • Paranormal, Sci-Fi, or Fantasy Romance.
  • Young Adult Romance.

Master Class suggests there are 6 subgenres: They rename the genres and leave out erotic romance. Harlequin also details the subgenres.

The Write Life posts a list of Don’ts for romance writing. All of them relate to not making the characters nuanced, flawed, vulnerable. Another don’t is Love at first sight. That only happens in Hallmark movies, and they spend an hour and 45 minutes fighting it.

Ingramspark provides a How to Write Love Scenes, emphasizing that, unless you are writing hardcore porn, it needs to be a LOVE scene, not just a sex scene. The reader should fall in love with the characters as they fall in love with each other. The reader should want to cheer when they work it out. And the love scenes, like every scene in your book, should move the story along. It needs to be essential to the story, not just a gratuitous scene.

Romance Writers of America, a group to promote the writing of romance, has lots of resources available.

But the thing to remember is that romance writing should also be GOOD writing. Make your characters nuanced, flawed, realistic. Give them backstory that comes out as needed. Go into deep POV. Make the plot realistic (even if it’s fantasy or sci-fi. Even Lady and the Tramp works on that level). Above all, create characters that you and your readers can care about, cheer for.

In my romantic suspense, More Than a Point of Honor, the heroine is attracted to the hero but has doubts fed by the antagonist. The hero is attracted to her, but fears she is in league with the antagonist. The hero’s goal/motivation/conflict is initially revenge, but as the attraction to the heroine grows, his GMC changes gradually, until revenge is replaced by the goal of protecting her at all costs.

In my police procedural in process, A Little Shame, hero Scott stumbles into a relationship, while confounded by a romance he witnesses between his mentor, who is Scott’s mother’s age, and a new flame. The romance is a subplot, but it does manage to complicate his getting to the bottom of the mystery.


From Kathy Pritchett

Jan 16 KWA Meeting – Media Kits

January 16, 2016 KWA Meeting at 1:30 pm in the Rockwell Library on Ninth Street.

Do you have a finished writing project that you are ready to promote? Are you getting ready for that stage of the writing process? Pulling together all of the many pieces and parts about that project can be complicated. But it can be even more stressful if you are suddenly asked for the details about the project and you aren’t ready to provide them.

Starla Criser will be presenting a program on Media Kits and Marketing Plans. She will provide handouts and samples. And then the membership will add their own experiences, advice, and questions.

August 2015 Meeting: Preparing Your Work for Publication

Our August 15th meeting will be a discussion on how to prepare your book for publication.

Sonny Collins, a KWA member-at-large and the unofficial historian, will be explaining how to set up your book for publication with Lulu Press and Amazon.  He might also touch on developing audio books as well.

Everyone is welcome to attend these meetings, whether or not you’ve scribbled for years or are thinking about finally sitting down to write that book you’ve always dreamed about.  Our members bring a wealth of experience, and we look forward to hearing from them at each and every meeting!

KWA holds monthly workshops the 3rd Saturday of every month from 1:30 – 4:00 at Rockwell Public Library, 5939 E. 9th Street, Wichita, KS.

We also hold “write-ins” every Monday evening at McAlister’s Deli, 330 N. Rock Road.  Come by and say hello!

Scene Conference 2012

Registration is open for our Scene Conference, March 16-17 at the Hyatt Regency Wichita!

We kick things off Friday night with a rollicking PITCHAPALOOZA event with The Book Doctors, Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry, and a panel of publishing experts including an agent and two publishers. You’ll have the chance to give a short pitch of your book and then get feedback on how you did! We’ll follow the event with a mixer, where you can mingle with other writers and our conference speakers.

On Saturday, you’ll have your choice of sessions in two tracks, on everything from landing an agent to e-publishing. We’ll have the complete schedule posted shortly. In the meantime, check out our full slate of speakers to get a glimpse at what’s in store.

Visit the main Scene page to register online or by mail. In order to register for the Pitchapalooza event at this time, you’ll need to print the registration form and mail your payment.

A limited number of guest rooms are available at the Hyatt for a discount. Please ask for the KWA Scene Conference room rate when making reservations.

We’ll be posting more details very soon! Hope to see you on the Scene.

A NaNoWriMo Success Story

Quite by accident, I had the radio on this morning when author Erin Morgenstern came on The Diane Rehm Show on NPR. Erin’s debut novel, The Night Circus, is a sensation that’s drawing comparisons to Harry Potter, but for adults. Here’s what they had to say about it on the radio show’s website:

It’s the story of a life-or-death competition between two young magicians late in the 19th century. The contest takes place at Le Cirque des Reves – The Circus of Dreams. There’s also a dreamlike aspect to how the book itself came about. Erin Morgenstern says she started with a circus and it turned into a story about choices and love, and finding the shades of grey between the black-and-white.

The Night CircusI was only half-listening to the radio from the other room until I heard Morgenstern — who speaks in a girlish, eager voice that fits her fantastical, quirky personality — say that her book owed its genesis to NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month.

Many KWA members have participated in this annual writing challenge, which lays down the gauntlet to write 50,000 words in 30 days. Morgenstern says she launched a NaNoWriMo project in 2005 that wasn’t going anywhere. She decided she needed to give her characters something to do, so she sent them to the circus. The rest is a publishing success story that inspired me. I’m even still listening to her interview as I write this post. (The fact that we share the same name, and that the host keeps saying it, is lulling me into a fantasy that I am the successful novelist getting national media exposure.)

I won’t recap the whole interview but you can go back and listen to it yourself. And I recommend all aspiring writers do so. She started just like you and me: with an idea, the discipline to write it down and keep at it, and no real publishing connections. She sent loads of queries to loads of agents, and actually had the good fortune to get a lot of requests for the full manuscript. And then, she got back a lot of rejections. But they came with feedback, and she took their advice about what didn’t work. She rewrote and rewrote until her novel landed in front an agent who also said it wasn’t ready–but he offered her a contract, and helped guide her the rest of the way. Now she’s in talks with Hollywood about bringing her book to the screen (which I have to admit I would love to happen to me).

Two lessons here: Persevere, no matter how many times you are rejected or ignored. Rewrite, no matter how perfect you think your story is. Let’s face it, if we want to get published, we have to submit a product that will sell. But in the case of books, our customers are readers, and so are we. And we want to read something good! So listen to your critics, take what you like, and leave the rest.

We’re about 5 weeks from NaNoWriMo 2011. Consider taking a crack at it. Maybe this is the year you unearth a circus of your own.