FALLING - IN LOVE AGAINHooray! I've got my laptop back again! It's got nice new insides- a 500 gb hard drive with go-faster wheels!
Now don't go laughing at the pic I've posted. I did this cover design years ago, back when I was just beginning to figure out how to "paint" digitally. and I had only a vague idea of how to go about making a cover. In fact, I knew so little that I had to figure out how to actually paint the balloon and its gondola, over a photo I took of Warwick Castle in 2004. But I sort of thought it fit with what I'm gabbing about today.
Theresa was talking yesterday about taking a break. I sure know what she's talking about. I think I started taking my break around 2006, and I'm just now putting myself back together as a writer.
The truth is, I did a lot of writing during that time, but it was writing that didn't seem to be going anywhere. I set out to try all kinds of things and explore new avenues. And I really didn't care a lot whether I sold anything. I didn't do much submitting at all. But I'd never done any fiction except my beloved historicals, and that, only as Regency or Medieval. So where was I going to go? Contemporary just wouldn't work for me. But maybe paranormal, if it was historical. Could I do erotic? No, but I could try really hot romance. And how about short, maybe novella length?
I actually tried not writing. And I succeeded pretty well with that. For awhile. Funny how many other things a person can do to fill up time. But it's an addiction, and it just kept preying on me, so I kept coming back to it.
Exploring both very sensual and paranormal historicals has followed a very rough and twisting road. Writing short was a whole lot harder than I thought. I hadn't read a lot of paranormal romance, and had often not liked what I read- maybe I wasn't finding the right stuff. Every idea I turned into my agent, she didn't like. And I was seriously thnking I had completely lost my edge. Old age. Alzheimers. Out of touch. Over the hill...
I was really groping in a drk tunnel that seemed to have a thousand branches, at a time when I was trying to get around with the fading batteries in my Itty Bitty Book Light. My friends and CPs said they loved the stories, but to me, I had a bunch of fragment pieces that I just couldn't join together. I just couldn't find the emotional pull I'd always loved about writing romance.
I think traveling helped. Seeing places in the world I'd been afraid I'd never get to see was giving me new perspective. Florence and Pisa opened up ideas, and so did that tiny medieval mountain village, St. Paul de Vence. Last summer, Hawaii took on new meaning for me when I began writing places I already knew into a sea fantasy romance.
The new writer in me finally started emerging this last spring. I went back and looked at all the old stories that have lain in the dust, either unfinished or unsold, and decided I wasn't wrong about them after all. I started revising and finishing. And the more I work, the more I work.
What's really been surprising to me is the story that had seemed to be so many disconnected fragments. I had extremely strong feelings that those pieces (which had totally confused one of my CPs) really needed to be part of the whole, but I couldn't see how. Then the connecting tissue began to grow. And the big shock is, my gut instinct had been right all along. It's an extremely surprising story, yet it all fits.
My big discovery, though, is that I can't (can't speak for anyone else here) write romance if I can't be in love. In love with my hero, my heroine, my villain, in love with every character, and the place where they belong. If I can't do that, then the story has no vital organs. But once I find that love again, my story begins to live. Funny thing- it's true with my cover art, too. When I can fall in love with it, it comes alive. And so do I.
And so, here I am. It's fall. And I'm falling. Falling in love again.
What about you? Are there times when you can't fall in love with romance? Do you have to be "in love" with your story when you write it? Have you ever had to leave in order to find your way back?