So every Sunday I participate in #RWchat on Twitter. It’s a chat about romance writing where Romance Writer Chat asks questions and a bunch of romance authors answer and discuss them.
So this past Sunday was about fear. Which I thought was a great topic because writing is a scary mindfuck.
Just bein’ honest.
So anyway, one of the questions was whether there was something we were afraid to write. And it made me reflect on the fact that there were a ton of things I was scared to write. A lot of things I’m still scared to write. And how many novels are sitting on my hard drive that’ll never see the light of day.
Here’s the thing I want to stress. No writing is a waste. Back before I wrote MAKE IT COUNT, I’d started an entire New Adult romance trilogy. Seriously, I have book one written and book two mostly written and even some of book three. I don’t hate it. I remember those characters and those books quite fondly. Why? Because some of those characters are a part of characters I have published, and some of those scenes? Yeah I plagiarized myself. The first book in my never-to-be-seen series had a scene where the heroine dances with the hero in a bar. It’s sexy. They are all up in each other. There is moist breath on necks and hard arousals grinding into hips. Alla dat.
Sound familiar? That’s right, because that scene is in MAKE IT COUNT.
I full believe that I never would have been able to write MAKE IT COUNT without writing that first New Adult book. I found my voice while drafting that first book, I learned how to plot! I figured out so many things that I needed to figure out. And then I needed to start fresh on something new. Which ended up being Kat and Alec. I don’t consider that first trilogy a waste. I needed to write it.
I have another book on my hard drive. It’s a paranormal romance I wrote two years ago after I’d already signed my first two publishing deals for contemporary romances. It was my first non contemporary novel. I was so into it, I wrote 65k in less than thirty days. It’s kind of a mess. The world-building needs work. The plot is a little coincidental. BUT, it was amazing practice for me. Non-contemporary scared me, so I wrote this book without any expectations to publish it. I just wrote it. It felt like I was sharpening my blade. I wanted to learn how I could write paranormal my way. How my voice would fit into a non-contemporary world.
A lot of who that heroine and heroine are showed up in BLOODGUARD, my vampire romance out this fall. I’m not sure I could have written BLOODGUARD without writing that first paranormal romance. I needed to learn how to weave in a supernatural plot to a romance, and how to write paranormal characters that were still very much me. I wanted my fans to recognize me in blood-sucking vampires.
I have half a dark romance sitting on my computer, as well as a sports romance. I might finish them. I might not. But I don’t consider the time I spent on them a waste in any way. Sometimes when I’m stuck on a current book, I’ll veer off track. I’ll write a chapter of something zany and different. And it unlocks something in my brain, and then I can get back to my current project.
So what I want to emphasize is sometimes our brains know what we need. Sometimes our brains are shitheads and are full of anxiety and tell us we suck BUT LET’S IGNORE THAT. And it’s okay to write a book that isn’t quite there. None of my practice books were there. I knew it in my heart. So I put them to the side, but they were the reasons I could write that next book. The one that my agent saw potential in and so did editors. The ones my readers are excited about.
It’s okay to fail spectacularly bad on a book, because maybe you needed that fail to succeed. I’m being really after-school special right now, but I think people need to hear it. We all have shitty manuscripts in our drawers. And that’s okay. It’s what you write after that that matters.
Happy Writing. <3