by Kimberly A. Cook (Twitter@ WarriorTales)
Some writers always know what they want to write about from age three, while others discover they want to write about erotic vampires only after years of trial and error. Other writers have one book published and never write again. Some writers publish in multiple genres and then find their true love; author Bob Mayer is one example. Just like swimsuits, one size does not fit all.
So how do we know what we really want to write? For me, I was hooked after picking up young adult romances from Surfboard Summer to When Boy Likes Girl. Moving on to Harlequin romances in my teens, the happy endings lifted my hopes and made me believe in the power of love. Disney did a fine job of reinforcement with Lady and the Tramp and Hayley Mills brought me full circle in Summer Magic.
Working on my fifth romance manuscript these days, those four under-the-bed romance novels helped me learn my craft. To be a writer we have to write. Odd but funny truth. After my non-fiction writing book was published in 2006, a strange thing happened to my fiction writing; it was tight. Very tight. Seems the discipline of fact-filled writing and teaching on the page was strangling my fiction creation. I needed to let light, senses and joy back in my writing. Fluff it up, so to speak.
This was confirmed when I asked author Suzanne Brockmann to answer three secret questions when I won the bid to have her critique my first chapter. She agreed about the tight prose, I needed to let the writing breathe. So what do we do if we feel strangled by the genre or field we are writing in? Do we get to change?
Author friends of mine do it all the time. Cindy Hiday moved from romance to women’s fiction, Irene Radford Karr switched from romance to fantasy. New York Times bestseller Janet Evanovich moved from romance to mystery and it paid off quite well for her. If we are going to marry a manuscript for the long haul, we better like the vehicle we are riding in. We all know how those road trips with people who make us nuts turn out; not well.
How can we tell if the grinding on our current writing project is slogging in the trenches hard work or we are truly not writing what we want? Here’s a test; do we still love it in the morning? Every morning? If not, it might be time to change. We do get to change; it’s allowed.