Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Finding Your Authorly Bliss

So I heard from my editor and lo and behold, I must make some changes to my synopsis, including a new, more easily pronounceable name for my hero. Ah well, that's the nature of this business, and I have learned that it pays to listen to my editor.

This is one of those times, though, that I really appreciate having a flexible mind. I came up with suggestions on how to make those changes quite quickly. More difficulties crept in as I incorporated them into the story as a whole, but that's par for the course. As any writer will tell you, one plot or character change can set off a chain reaction that cascades through the rest of the story.

However, I also appreciate that this is one reason I write historical, and not contemporary, romance. It is much, much easier for me to come up with ideas for a historical. When it comes to a contemporary romance, it's well nigh impossible, although I have tried.

Like most aspiring authors, when I was just starting out, I experimented and, thinking it would be easier to write a short contemporary than a long historical even though my first attempt was a historical, I decided to try to write some. Big mistake.

Those efforts were rejected, and justly so. However, I also came to appreciate how much easier it was for me to think of historical characters and plots, and how much more fun I had working on the historical. I realized that whatever the market is doing, however popular contemporary romances may be in their various forms, they aren't for me.

I think that for aspiring writers, finding out what they ought to be writing independent of what other people are saying or doing, is vitally important. Writing is fraught with enough angst that to try to force yourself to write what you don't really enjoy,and what you're not creatively suited for, is a mistake that will only make the process more painful and, I think, the success harder to come by.

How does a writer find out what they enjoy writing? First, they should look at what they enjoy reading. And then, they should write. For good or ill, and like much of writing, finding out where your heart as a writer lies is one of those things you can best learn by doing.


Michelle said...

Interesting. I was just thinking the other day that the one genre I can't think of any ideas for is historical! (Even though I've definitely read my share of 'em). However, throw in a time travel element and I can think of five ideas right away.

What was the hard to pronounce name your editor made you change? I'm curious.

Margaret Moore said...

Whereas I? Would never write a time travel.

The name was Cyne. How do you think it's pronounced? Guess and I'll let you know if you're right.

The new name is "Finn," short for Fingal.

Michelle said...

I would pronounce it like "sign." Am I right?

Hey, I have a hero named Thierry. Even I pronounce it wrong sometimes. ;-)

Margaret Moore said...

Yes, indeedy -- although if folks wanted to say "Sin" that would have been okay by me. :-) But Finn he is and I came up with some fun stuff about that, all worked out. The other time I had to change a name in the preliminary stages, it became one of my favorite hero names ever, Paris. This was long before Paris Hilton appeared on the scene, though. Now I'd never use it.