Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Switching Genres

When I finish a draft, be it the first or the tenth, I've learned to put it away and forget about it for a few weeks. That way, when I edit, I'm looking at it with fresher eyes. It's great for finding typos and missing words, and things that just don't make sense. When I've been staring at, and working on, a book I find that I see what I want instead of what should be on the page. Not good.

Sometimes it's tought to stuff it in a folder and ignore it. Usually, I end on a high note, and want to get right to work to rewrite. Never a good idea. Sometimes I'll start something new, y'know, just to keep the creative cogs oiled. On rare occasions I take an actual break - especially if the draft I've just thrown in the drawer was giving me problems.

Right now, the manuscript I'm revising is a category-length contemporary, which is completely out of my genre-ballpark. It was fun to write, and it was nice to get away from stays and breeches for a while. It also made me wonder if I could handle writing in two different genres.

Contemporaries are easy for obvious reasons - I live in the now (for the most part), so I know the slang, I don't need to explain to anyone what a toaster is or why the heroine's waxing her legs. For historicals, there are things like that that need explaining. There were very specific rules and guidelines to follow. And don't even get me started on the contractions vs. no contractions rules (no one can agree on this. One house says they sound anachronistic, another says speech is too stiff without them. Argh.)

I like the change of pace when it comes to writing contemporary romance, but I don't know if I have enough ideas. Plots for historicals seem to come a lot more easily (excluding the first draft I wrote about a few posts ago that had NO plot but a lot of sex scenes strung together. That's the exception to the rule, and I fixed it.) But I'm always afraid that the only idea I'll have for a plot is one that someone else thought of, and that's just not so good.

Category is also a bit easier because they are generally about half the size of single-title, word-count wise, and there are few, if any, subplots. That was easy for me, since I usually get about 3/4 of the way through a draft and do the what about secondary character Z's problem??? You brough it up in Chapters three and seven, and then forgot about it!". Oops. Then I have to go back and weave that in, and sometimes it ends up changing the whole book. One time I completely forgot about a secondary character who was almost a main character. When I realized the screw up and went back to rewrite, it led to one problem after another.

So not only am I taking a break from the newly finished draft, I'm taking a break from the entire genre for now. The manuscript I'm working on was a fun one to write, and it was a great exercise for me - telling a 100,000 word story in less than 60,000 words. It's something I can see myself doing on a regular basis. After a while, I tend to get a bit burnt out on history. Maybe this way, I won't.

However, the one pitfall is which name to write under. Do I write it under the same name as my historicals? Or do I choose another name and build an audience that way? Or maybe that's just wishful thinking that I'll even have to worry about it?

Well, either way, it's a nice break and I'm enjoying it. And at least this one definitely has a plot. And a very sexy construction worker named Nick.

hee hee

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