Amazingly, it seems that there is an assumption out there that dedicated romance readers can easily convert to being great romance authors. In fact, every so often my mother says to me, with complete sincerity, “Katie, you should write romance novels.” And every so often, I think, “Yeah, maybe I should.” Luckily, this period of self-delusion doesn’t last long. I know where my strengths lie, and this just isn’t one of them. But Mom has that blind overconfidence in me that only a mother can possess, and she isn’t backing down from the idea. So I’ve come up with a list of all the obstacles to my career as the next Nora Roberts, and whittled it down to the top ten. Mom, I hope you’re paying attention this time.
#10 I do my best writing the old-school way: with pen and paper. If I had to write an entire novel, my hand would curl up and die.
#9 I’m one of those people who thinks of the perfect comeback 12 hours later. It would take me 5 years to write one book with witty repartee.
#8 Is there a market for a mini-mini-novella? Because frankly, writing all that gradual story development with flirting and conflict and chemistry and nuance sounds exhausting.
#7 My vocabulary is seriously lacking in imagination. I’d end up writing the entire book using the same 5 adjectives, then pull out my thesaurus and hit “Find and Replace.” And we all know what embarassing things that can lead to.
#6 I’m a terrible procrastinator. I’d put off writing by watching TV. Then I’d feel guilty. So I’d read from my TBR pile to “seek inspiration.” Then I’d feel guiltier. Then I’d stuff my face and take a vacation to de-stress from feeling so guilty.
#5 Research? I have to do research? So what if plumbing and electricity didn’t exist in the 18th century? This is fiction, right?
#4 Any creative writing ability I may have had has been systematically sucked out of me as I developed my academic writing ability. But if you’re looking for a paper on the long-term impact of British colonialism on Haitian agriculture, I’m your gal.
#3 After failing to hit upon a unique story idea (an inevitability, really), my book would deteriorate into variations of the fantasy Roarke Divorces Eve and Marries Katie, or Roarke and Katie: Together Forever, or my personal favorite, Roarke and Katie Make Beautiful Love and Babies.
#2 I couldn’t handle the rejection. The first rejection letter would send me on a late-night run for Ben and Jerry’s. The second would have me drowning my pain in margaritas and cheesy dance movies. By the third letter I’d be crying in my Cheerios.
And the number one obstacle to my career as a romance novelist:
The thought of my algebra teacher, or boss, or grandma, or anyone I know reading one of my sex scenes would be like having a picture of my bare ass magnified and posted on a billboard in Times Square—absolutely mortifying.
So, you see? I’m much better at appreciating the inspired work of professional authors.
Have you ever considered writing a romance novel? If so, what happened? If not, why? Why do you think non-romance readers assume it’s easy to write romances?