Friday, May 11, 2007
by Christine Wells
When I started writing novels (which wasn't so very long ago), I owned a tiny Toshiba Libretto the size of a Trade Paperback. I wasn't connected to the internet, didn't know there was a market for Regency historicals, which was what I was writing, hadn't heard of Romance Writers of America. Basically, I was writing in a vacuum.
Then I discovered RWA, critique groups, contests, self-help books--you get the picture. I learned the 'rules'. I discovered and studied wonderful books by Regency historical writers (who were still alive and selling!) and I applied all of this knowledge to my writing. And at some point, I felt my own voice about to slip away.
Romance writers are incredibly lucky. I can't think of any other genre that has such institutional support for its writers, nurturing them and guiding them and paving the way to publication. But there can be a downside to all this wonderful support. You can pay so much attention to 'rules' and other people's opinions and what the market's doing, that you lose the one thing that will make your novel stand out from the crowd: your voice.
As a new writer, you need to listen and take advice that you judge to be sound. But there comes a time when you really need to shut everyone else out and do your own thing. Every writer needs that small amount of arrogance that says, No one can tell this story as well as I can. Even if you never say it aloud, you have to believe it, or you'll end writing the same book as everyone else. It's your very uniqueness that will give your story universal appeal.
The X-factor, the thing that is going to sell your book, is you.
So now, imagine you're a future bestseller with your debut book in the pipeline. Your favourite author (living or dead) writes a cover blurb--that quote on the front of the book that sums up the wonderful appeal of this masterpiece you've written, in 10 words or less. What would it be?
My favourite answer wins a $25 gift voucher from Amazon.com!
OH, AND DON'T FORGET OUR BANDITAS CONTEST BELOW! WE HAVE LOTS OF COMMENTS TO CHOOSE FROM, SO MAKE YOURS A GOOD ONE!