|"Don't make me drop my Kindle!"|
So it feels good to share a little about the world of writing with you all, finally.
I'm up to my ears in editing Shadow Warrior and working with my editor. And this books is a big first step for me. Why? It's because my story has some romantic elements in it. I won't lie. It's been a struggle, but then again, whenever you venture outside your comfort zone, it's always going to be a struggle.
I've never considered myself an overly romantic, sentimental person. Nor am I a cold fish.There are studies that show that men who read fiction tend to relate to other people better. And I do consider myself to have a pretty good emotional quotient for a dude.
But as I've been working on improving the romantic elements in my book, I have some interesting observations to share with you as I've been going through this process.
1) When I write romantic scenes, I laugh. Out loud. At myself. My brain goes from being an intelligent 41 year old to an awkward 14 year old . I feel like I don't know what I'm doing, but I give it my best. Afterwards, I look at what I've written, and I have to laugh at how absurd it is.
2) Thank God my editor is a woman. I need some female perspective (always have), and I'm thankful for my female editors and critique partners. Otherwise, my books would be filled with women who act like men.
3) Writing about a budding relationship between two young people takes me back to my own youth. I try my best to capture all that anxiety and fear, mixed with ecstasy and idealism. I also think about some of the big mistakes I made as a young adult. Ouch.
4) I actually enjoy exploring romance as a way to deepen characterization. It's a very profound way to make your characters become more real. Now, I'm not a romance writer. I'm very much a plot-driven kinda guy. But romance is such a great new dimension that I really like. Yeah. Go figure.
5) Strong women are awesome. I don't like the idea of having a strong female character that suddenly becomes a stumbling idiot whenever some hunky guy is around. I like strong, intelligent, independent women in the books that I read. So I will make sure to include that in my own writing.
6) Love is a powerful motivator. Whether a book is a Western, sci-fi, action, or whatever...love is a pretty awesome reason for your main character to keep going. We put our characters through hell, and love is definitely one thing that will drive your characters to reach their goals no matter how bad they're suffering.
So having romantic elements in my book has been a great experience. I feel like I'm stretching myself, striving to be a better writer. I think it's important to challenge yourself in order to grow - no matter what you're pursuing. I'm not a very good romance writer.
In fact, a lot of what I write is laughable. So, yeah, I'm no Nicholas Sparks.
But I hope to be a better Jay Noel.