Romance FAQ, 2020 version

This was a post that I wrote last year, but it needs updating. Some links are no longer relevant, and some new links have been added. (My thanks to Amelia and Barbara for sending a link!)

 

How much can I make writing romance novels?*

Where can I go to learn more about writing romance?

Recommended books on the craft of writing

Podcasts about writing in general

YouTube videos about writing

*Because that’s invariably the first question I’m asked.

Check it out! The English Lieutenant’s Lady at the library

I love libraries. I have to confess, having one of my books in a library makes it feel like a real book in a way that having a book up on Amazon never does. So when I heard about the Multnomah County’s Library Writer’s Project, I was excited.

This program looks for independently published books written by authors in the Portland area, and since The English Lieutenant’s Lady is written about early Oregon history, it seemed like a good fit. The library agreed!

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Humor, Fear, & Creativity

Hans_Thoma_-_Kinderreigen_(1872)

Hans Toma, Kinderreigen

At my day job, I had to endure attend a week of project management training. The trainer asked for input from everyone for group rules for the session. One man in the back spoke up, “I think it’s important to make it a rule that there be no undue frivolity.”

No one objected–or even commented on this. But later I thought about his comment, and the more I thought the more I disliked it. First off, the adjective. It is a subjective term. My definition of “undue” might be vastly different from yours. As a result, people won’t say anything because they’re afraid of being judged.

In my experience, if someone in a meeting was being silly or making too many jokes, the project lead would laugh along with them, then rein the humor in with something like “That was funny, but let’s get back to the discussion.” Making it a rule at the start that there be no “undue” humor draws the line before anyone’s made a joke. It shuts down all humor as “undue” because different people have different definitions of excess.

I’m not advocating for every meeting to be a laugh fest, but I do feel it is important that people not feel constrained to be Serious At All Times. Not if you’re in a situation where you are called upon to employ lateral thinking. In a word, not if you’re in a situation where you have to be creative.

John Cleese gave a speech on being creative.  He said that creativity requires the ability to play. People have two modes: closed and open. You can’t be creative in the closed mode. You have to be open to the new ideas.

Cleese shared five conditions that help you get into the open mode:

  • Space: A place to get away from the world around you.
  • Time: The ability to be in that space for long enough to open up.
  • Time: Taking the time to ponder instead of accepting the first answer that comes to you.
  • Confidence: You need to be unafraid to make a mistake. “The essence of playfulness is the freedom to do anything.”
  • Humor: This gets us from the closed mode to the open mode quicker than anything else.

Don’t be afraid of being silly. Don’t be afraid to laugh. You were a child once. You can get that mindset back, so long as you’re not afraid to play.

Eat, Pray, Love… and Keep Going

Never give up, Never Surrender. –Galaxy Quest

I’m trying to untangle a particularly convoluted plot point. Each time I think I’ve got it straightened out, it curls up around another plot point and clings like a strip of Velcro meeting its favorite dust bunny.

This is depressing, so I thought I’d listen to something positive to re-motivate myself.  Elizabeth Gilbert (the author of Eat, Pray, Love) gave a TED talk on being successful, being a failure, and continuing to write regardless.

How do you deal with discouragement? I’m fond of the “give-in-and-eat-chocolate” approach, but it wouldn’t help me get this chapter thrashed out. Maybe I’ll try it afterward.

Any other suggestions?

Merry Christmas to all

Worship_of_the_shepherds_by_bronzino

Worship of the Shepherds, by Bronzio. Public Domain.

AND it came to pass, that in those days there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that the whole world should be enrolled. This enrolling was first made by Cyrinus, the governor of Syria. And all went to be enrolled, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem: because he was of the house and family of David, To be enrolled with Mary his espoused wife, who was with child. And it came to pass, that when they were there, her days were accomplished, that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him up in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds watching, and keeping the night watches over their flock. And behold an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the brightness of God shone round about them; and they feared with a great fear. And the angel said to them: Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, that shall be to all the people: For, this day, is born to you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David. And this shall be a sign unto you. You shall find the infant wrapped in swaddling clothes, and laid in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army, praising God, and saying:

Glory to God in the highest; and on earth peace to men of good will.

Luke 2:1-14