Sunday, July 20, 2008

Detours in the road

Sometimes, finding your way is hard. Back when I started writing seriously, and me and Cowboy were just casual friends--I told him about my book. Back then it was called the Pele Project, and had paranormal elements. He wanted to read it because he liked the paranormal aspect. I...er, hadn't written all of it, so I ended up with a crit-partner, and he ended up with a life-long mooch.

We batted the plot line around for awhile, deleted the paranormal stuff, and then I came up with StallingCo--funny how I always thought I'd seen my plot line before, but when I finally started doing research, it was just my thoughts floating out there in the ether. I'm a big fan of urban fantasy, and evil dynasties are pretty standard.

I'd originally set my sights on Silhouette Intimate Moments, Harlequin's romantic suspense line. I couldn't finish to save my life, because the characters didn't do what I wanted. After talking to Cowboy, I decided--okay, maybe it's the genre. All the writers I read came out of Silhouette IM, and turned into single title.

I stopped censoring myself, swore, darkened the sex, and put Corlis and Fallon back in. And...one day, it was done. Of course, it stank to high heaven--Gina was a long way off in my future--and I got over ninety rejections.

At the end, they were good rejections.

Most said things along the lines of, your voice is perfect for what you're writing. SLOW DOWN. lol...

I started writing Kill Velocity--Tris's story, only to switch in mid-stream to Dead Gorgeous. It was coming, although slowly, because maybe I'm overly ambitious or something, but I always get this feeling I'm trying to write a level over what I'm actually capable of.

...then I had a life change, and the words stopped. The only thing I could do was edit, and editing was a life-saver. I finally started Dead Gorgeous again, but this time, it felt weird. I started researching Silhouette, and discovered--hey, maybe the reason I didn't fit before was because I hadn't approached it the right way.

In a lot of ways, H/S is very corporate. There are rules, and within those rules, there is freedom of expression, but you have to know the rules, how they work, and what you can and can't do.

I'd followed the old writer's saying, "write what you want", not knowing that really successful authors wrote what they wanted, within the boundaries of the rules. In following my bliss, I'd excluded myself from doing what I wanted, which was write for Intimate Moments.

Fast forward a few years. I just finished the detour, and I'm back on track. Sometimes, the best goals are original goals.

10 comments:

Deanna said...

A writer's history - I appreciate it. Detours, yes, it's all about those. And "I always get this feeling I'm trying to write a level over what I'm actually capable of." Me, too. Maybe that's the best way to learn.

Alice Audrey said...

Me too on the writing above my level thing. I'm starting to wonder if there's a top.

I tried to write for IM seven or eight years ago. I landed a manuscrips on Leslie Wanger's desk. I've since wondered if the peacock in it didn't have something to do with the rejection.

At some point I realized I don't enjoy reading IMs anymore. Then a book I intended for Blaze took first in Single Title, which lead me to see I fit better there than in category.

jodi said...

I think so, too, Deanna. It's always like acoustical tile. You can see it, and you know it's the ceiling, but it's not...not really. The real ceiling is like eleven feet up, and solid concrete with rebar.

Leslie Wainger is my hero, Alice (you probably know that, lol. I gush about her enough) (*peacock*?)

Honestly, you have to tell us about the peacock!!

I think IM is a fast read. It's a niche market.

AND YOU NEED TO CONSOLIDATE SUZIES HOUSE and market it. seriously. honestly. really.

You find your voice when you write it. Just take it all, and send it out. I think it would sell.

Unhinged said...

Oh yeah, writing above my level is part of what's crippling me now.

And lately, I've felt really blocked because of being crippled and then finding another niche I might want to try.

My original goal was to become a famous painter and send my mom to Hawaii on vacation.

I know that's not what you meant, though.

My original goal was to write for the YA audience. Can you believe that? And now that I've stumbled across something that's awakened that desire again, my head is all aslosh.

DANG it.

Kaige said...

RE: Oil changes: if you ignore them too long, you end up having to put in a new engine or buy a new car. A little time and money every 3 months or so is MUCH easier. Yes, learned this one the hard way.

Thanks for sharing and making me think again, Jodi. You're so good at that.

bria said...

This was so encouraging!

It's funny, but I was explaining writing detours to a friend just last week - the best trip we ever went on we ended up on a looooong detour around Napa that brought us up into the mountains to one of the most spectacular views I've ever seen.

May all our writings bring us spectacular views.

bria

Jeanna said...

Sometimes they are, if you can ever get back to them. It will be a miracle if I ever write so much as a fictional short story again.
You take rejection very well. How do you do that?

Unhinged said...

jeanna, I don't think Jodi's brain is wired the same way a normal person's is. Sure, you can dress her up in a navy blue suit and pumps, but she's still Cup; one of those light-weight polished aluminum jobbies what's good at keeping the soup inside warm.

jodi said...

how did you know I have pumps to go with the SUIT (plural, I have two suits, same color)? *suspicious look*

Unhinged said...

Well, hell.

You wouldn't be wearing Mootsie's Tootsies, ye rebel.