Thursday, January 18, 2007

Writing Life

So I've been plugging away polishing the recently finished story. Polishing is a love - hate process for me.

I love having it done. I love the results. I love getting perfect scores on grammar. I love making the story stronger, cleaner, better.

I hate feeling like I'm sliding down that slippery slope of 'not good enough' that leads to endless editing and never submitting.

This is not a groundless fear. I have four complete manuscripts that have never been submitted anywhere. Are they truly crap or are they salvageable? I haven't even looked at them in ages - it's a hard call. They star characters I love, and stories that sing to me. I know I could do a better job today on any one of them, but deep revision isn't any faster than writing fresh. So which is smarter?

The reason behind all this thinking? It's almost time to start another project. I'm a believer in never mind the book of your heart, write the book of your voice. But there's a teensy little catch to that piece of advice. It is easy to figure out what you love. It is hard to figure out what you're good at.

I love reading both Presents and Blaze. I love the Alpha male heroes in Presents, but they're okay in Blaze too. Maybe not quite as cruel, more likely North American than Italian or Greek, or Spanish but one of my favorite Blazes had a Spaniard for the hero so . . . Sassy Dialogue is one of my strengths, Blaze is a better fit for banter. I like writing hot, but high degree of sensuality is essentual in both lines. The heroines are different, not in strength, but in experience, assertiveness and style.

None of this helps me. It's like asking which is better - chocolate bomb or hot fudge sundae?

Feel free to comment, how did you decide what genres or sub-genres to target?


Blogger Sam Hunter said...

Evanne! I didn't know you had a blog until I saw it on the sidebar at RTB! Great!

I love this post. I polish as I write, of course, and then I go back over once again before I send to an editor. But that's small stuff -- revisions, the larger scale editing, yes, that can take over your whole life and lead you down a road of never ending, literally.

Even books on the shelf, we look at them and say "oh, I could have..." or "Oh, I wish that I'd..." LOL

I actually grew up on Presents, and I haven't tried writing one, but I might. I like those stories, and those heroes, probably because they are burnt into my mind from my teenage years. I've also thought about giving Desire a try, because I like the shorter form...that would be nice, because it seems like everything I'm currently writing just gets longer and longer...

Anyway, glad I found your blog!


10:03 AM  
Blogger Evanne said...

Hi Sam,

Thanks for stopping by. I tried to comment on Love is an exploding cigar, but the server refused to recognize me. :) I have to be content with reading - which is fine. I'm too chatty by half.LOL

I have the opposite problem most of my stories run to mainstream length.:~

I've found writing a Presents very challenging, but fun too - I love the emotional punch, and of course, the requisite alpha hero.

My first submission to Harlequin was to Desire.;) I know the line has changed . . .

No,I'm already conflicted enough between Blaze and Presents. LOL

10:55 AM  
Blogger Evanne said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10:56 AM  
Anonymous Samantha Hunter said...

Evanne, email me at -- you should not have had a problem at Cigars, but it happens, and we can get you in there. ;) There's lot of good contests coming up, but also, we just would love to have you around...


2:11 PM  
Anonymous Samantha Hunter said...

Actually, my first submission, probably about 18 years ago, was also to Desire -- they asked for the full,then rejected it telling me it had too much sex! LOL I guess I was ahead of my time. ;)

I put it away, went back to school, and never really thought about writing again until I met Cara Summers and she inspired me to write for Blaze, and there you go...


2:13 PM  
Blogger Evanne said...

Cara must have inspired many women. She has a lovely elegant writing voice. How delightful that you know her. Perhaps fate was taking a hand and leading you gently forward - darn and I promised myself no more purple prose. LOL

Seriously, I popped off an email to your addy.

3:37 PM  
Blogger Melissa James said...

Evanne, I don't know how helpful this will be, but there's something to say about writing the book of your heart vs the one you think you "should" write--at least, the line of your heart if nothing else.

I write almost exclusively Blaze, and there is NOWHERE in the world I want to see my name more than on the cover of one of those. I don't have a specific reason for this, it's just what I do. It comes to me. It's the natural way I like to depict romance--witty, hot, and modern, with no worries as to offending people with certain language. It's the line that has called my name from the first day I started writing.

And apparently it's the right one, because I've completed two non-Blazes that never went anywhere with contests or submissions, and two Blazes that got very positive feedback in both. My two newest ones haven't been submitted anywhere yet, so I have no idea how I'm making out on those.

But my point is, do you feel drawn to one or the other more strongly in any way? I think it's really important to focus on what you love instead of where you might have the "best" chance at getting published. Your writing will show if you're into what you write or not. So maybe just forget about which line to submit to and write a new story, something you'd just love to write, and when you're finished (or have a partial, or whatever), see if it comes out as a Presents or a Blaze, or something completely different.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with submitting to two lines if you love them both. But you seem to be searching for a "home", and all I can say is, it's just something you feel--one line will stand out as a place you feel you belong, even if you don't think your writing is perfect yet. Have confidence in the stories of your heart. :-)

And go ahead and submit some of those babies!! You'll never know if you don't give it a shot.

7:23 PM  
Blogger Lori Borrill said...

I'm kinda with Melissa.

I followed my natural voice and it led me to Blaze. I didn't target the line, just wrote what felt natural and that's what it ended up being. And like Melissa, once I did that, the closed doors started opening. I think to do what comes naturally is very important to catching an editors eye.

I think I can speak Kensington/Brava, too, but that's about it.

8:53 PM  
Blogger Evanne said...

Aw you guys are so sweet and hot - I have not forgotten you're Blaze Babes. ;) The thing is I'm a hopeless romance slut I love both lines. You'd think I could make up my mind because they are very different in tone.
It's no secret Ive struggled to with targeting the Blaze line.

Melissa, your comments about the Blaze heroine really rang true for me and I feel like I could improve my most recent Blaze manuscript effectively with the help of all the Blaze babes and the lovely editor's advice about what she's like to see.

But at the same time I love Presents - I know they don't encourage newbie writers to cross lines but would they shoot me? LOL

Lori, FWIW I think you could speak Brava too.:)

9:23 PM  
Blogger Lori Borrill said...

Evanne, whatever line you sell first in is the line they'll expect you to write for before branching out. That doesn't mean that before you sell, you can't sub to multiple lines.

Honestly, I'm not sure what happens if you have books out to multiple lines and both editors want them. I've got a couple friends who could very well end up in that situation, but so far, they're still waiting to hear.

11:35 PM  
Blogger Evanne said...


Dunno what happens either - but I can't help thinking what a great problem to have. :)

If memory serves Nancy Warren sold to more than one line from the first - I'm pretty sure there are others.

Lucy Monroe tried but wound up selling to multiple publishers instead - that woman's energy blows me away.

10:49 AM  

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