Sunday, February 6, 2011


I've been trying to work with the paranormal romance genre for awhile. A personal project, if you will. I've chatted with a number of romance writers, some are even published and doing well in their sales. And I had never been so frustrated in my life.

Romance, even paranormal romance, is more formulated than other genres in some ways. Mainstream romance isn't as formulated, as in, must have a perfect happy ending. But a lot of sub-genres of romance do tend to be formulated. I knew that going into this and I was more than willing to learn.

There are rules, you see. Rules I never would have guessed, but I have learned. There are ways of organizing these rules and needed elements, in a very technical way.

I don't do technical. Ever.

I tried. I really did. But my frustration got to the point that I was inadvertently lashing out at others. With all these technical details, I honestly felt like a bad writer. I began questioning everything I've written and also myself. I was in a very bad place.

Then I woke up. Creative writing of any kind, is called a Craft for a very good reason. It doesn't matter if it's a formulated sub-genre, or free association horror story. With any genre, it's still a craft.

It's good to bear in mind the technical, to understand the rules that need to be followed, but only as an influence. Something to be kept in the back of my mind, while I write the story.

I'm sure you've heard authors say, in any genre, there isn't a secret. Just a lot of hard work. This stands true and always will until the end of time. The same goes for formulated romance sub-genres. It's still a craft.

There are many romance writers who argue endlessly, and insist the formula must be followed and that's the only way to start a story. I don't agree. If I spent all my time and energy following the rules in such a technical, almost obsessive way, I'd never finish a story. Ever.

I have no problems following rules, as long as they make sense. Grammar, spelling, that's all common sense stuff. But I was having the hardest time making sense of all these technical details I was bombarded with. It made me lose sight of the story, and then, I was hopelessly blocked. I gave up. I just couldn't do it anymore.

But not all is lost. Like I said, I woke up. I sat down, and started a rewrite... my way. Using my author's voice, my style. I did keep in mind certain mandatory elements, but only on a subconscious level. The rest I threw into the proverbial wastebasket.

Guess what? It works. Perfectly.

My conclusion is, with all those writers who are determined to start stories based on the technical, we'll just have to agree to disagree. It just doesn't work for me. *shrugs*

I'm creative. I'm an artist. I'm passionate. And the technical will never replace passion.


  1. can you write if there is no feeling or creativity in it!? That being said, you want moolah and you want to be published in a "genre" (ya as if that is a genre) that you're not used to that has way too many rules. If you can, try to separate some of yourself from the rules...that make make it easier? I hate to say sounds like creative need a new walker there missy!!! XOXOX

  2. I've always wanted to pursue paranormal romance. Who doesn't love Angel and Buffy? Yep, versatile personality, me. But I want to do it my way. Money would be nice, but it's not the main thing.

    Some of the writers I've met are so obsessed with following the "formula" they've forgotten about that passion, that drive, and their stories come across as incomplete. And they tried to get me to feel the same way, that doesn't work.

    I've simplified things a lot. I have the talent, it's just a matter of having faith in that. Forget about the formulas, reader's expectations. Just me and the characters. That's passion.

    And hard work always pays off ;)


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