Hi there. Hello. Welcome to something I am rather uncomfortable putting out in the universe. As evidenced before, I am a huge lover of all romance novels. I would say I read at least 3 a week. Maybe more. It’s an obsession and my way to relax after a day of working, parenting, cooking, and finally, crashing. I also love to write. So I suppose it was only a matter of time before my love of reading romance novels and my love of writing collided.
This decision to write a romance novel had been in the back of my brain for a few months. Truth be told, about five years ago I did write a full book. But also, it’s total crap. So I’m pretending it doesn’t exist. Except to inform me that I am capable of doing this since I’ve done it once before.
Last week I decided it was time. I needed the creative outlet and had been thinking about it for long enough that it was time to either shit or get off the pot (excuse my language).
While going through this journey, I thought it would be helpful for me (and maybe someone else?) to document how I go about what seems like a fairly monumental task. What are the steps I’m taking? And why? So here’s my first post on what I’ve done so far for this book.
Step 1: Try to find other blogs that outline the entire process of writing a romance novel. I didn’t find much. But maybe that’s because people actually writing books don’t have time to blog.
Step 2: Find interviews with my favorite romance authors about their writing process. Julie James had a good one. So did Lauren Layne. And Kristan Higgins. But then I stopped reading them because they were making me feel like I couldn’t do this. These women were all so successful already and so sure of what they could do. And I’m not there yet. So I realized these were doing more harm than good and I stopped.
Step 3: Looked into Romance Writers of America. But I found it completely overwhelming and decided not to purse anything to do with it until I actually finish writing this new book. The group will be a lot more helpful when I have finished the first-draft, and I am ready to open my eyes to how hard it is to write a book I’m proud of and actually want to share with other people.
Step 4: I wrote an outline and a character beat sheet (just who the main characters are and a few stats about them). It’s a pretty bare-bones outline, but I know how many chapters I want, about how many words, and the general trajectory of the story. Julie James says her outlines are 15-20 pages. Mine is eight. I’ll report back on if this is enough or not. I’m still not sure exactly how many words this book is supposed to be. From what I gather, romance novels are usually around 60,000. Alison Hammer, a genius creative director I used to work with at FCB (back when I was in advertising) has a wonderful blog that is super helpful, although she writes women’s fiction which is different from romance. But still, she has a good post about word count and also formatting.
Step 5: I read and re-read my outline and made adjustments. But then I stopped because I was procrastinating.
Step 6: This morning I wrote my first chapter. I can’t tell if it’s good. Or if it’s awful. I am trying not to go back and re-read until the story is told. But it’s hard.
My next steps
Write. Write. Write.
Part of me wonders if I should be doing some writing prompts or outlining deeper. However, I’m determined to find my own writing process. As I go along I’ll know more what works for me and what doesn’t.
I am giving myself the goal of writing 1-2k words a day.
Thanks for taking the ride with me.