As you can tell by some of the book posts I’ve done, I have eclectic taste in books. Fantasy, romance, sci-fi, YA, Adult, contemporary, historical – you name it, I’ll read it. So when I started writing – oh so long ago – I tried writing what I was reading at the time. That meant as a pre-teen I tried to write the next Anne of Green Gables. In high school, it was romantic suspense. College was spent writing Regency romances. And adulthood meant Fantasy – both adult and YA. Now I have a two dozen story ideas in every genre you can think of!
This doesn’t really bode well for the genre specialization most publishers want from their authors. I thought my real love was YA fantasy, but a couple weeks ago I was going through my story idea file and I found several Regencies I’d written 2 or 3 years ago. I couldn’t help myself – I skimmed through both of them. And I was shocked to find they weren’t nearly as bad as I was expecting.
Don’t get me wrong, there are fundamental problems with plot and suspense, but being a pantster at the time, and having no real clue as to what I was doing (this was before I joined a critique site to get feedback on my writing) , I’d say they turned out much better than they could have. And actually, there were a few places in the dialogue that actually made me giggle a bit (in a good way).
Right now I’m working on a YA contemporary fantasy set in Japan. I’m about halfway through my first revision. I am seriously considering picking up one of these regencies to work on when I’ve sent the Japanese book out to my crit partners for review. It’s been years since I’ve tried to write a real romance, and I’m feeling pretty rusty, but I was astounded by the voice in these rough first drafts. I wrote them before I really knew what voice was. Perhaps that was the key, because the stories that came after all felt like they lacked voice, especially when I started worrying about making sure they had it.
I’m not sure if these regencies will ever be publish worthy, or anything other than an exercise to see if I can do it, but now that they’re back in my head, I find myself thinking of ways to make them better, of plot points and character arcs. I gave up writing romances because there seemed to be too many out there already, and I didn’t think I was good enough to compete with the likes of Julia Quinn or Lisa Kleypas, but I’ve recently started reading the next generation of Regencies – by Courtney Milan Proof by Seduction (Hqn), Sherry Thomas Not Quite a Husband, and others, and I see there’s still a market, still a desire for well written, character driven romances.
So I figure, why not give it a try? Everyone could use a little romance in their lives, right?