There has been a lot of buzz among the indie publishing community about authors who are deciding to no longer publish because of how hard it is to break through. While I understand this sentiment, if that's the only reason why you're writing, then maybe you shouldn't publish anymore.
I don't write with the intention of selling millions of books, although that would be my dream and has been since I was a young girl. I write because I have stories to tell and characters who deserve voices and because I love it. It is my craft. It is my therapy. It is one of the only things I have to actually call my own in this world. Why should I let the opinion of others diminish that for me?
Look, I am by no means faulting these authors. This is a tough business. The people in this industry are brutal. If you are original, no one wants to take a chance. If you are too similar, you will be considered a hack. The majority of the successful authors fall somewhere in the middle and I'm not too sure how much of that is by chance rather than choice. Sometimes people do what they must to survive and likely, this is the case with many authors in the world now.
Would I love to be a best selling author and have movies or TV shows made about the characters and worlds I create? You bet your ass I would, but just because it's not happening, that doesn't mean I need to give up on something I love and has been such a huge part of my life. I may not have a gift. I may be a talentless fool. But at the end of the day, if I'm doing what I love, what does it matter?
The bottom line: if you truly are in love with what you do, you won't be able to stop because nothing will feel right if you do. If sales matter more to you than your craft, it might be time to take a break and reevaluate why you started in the first place. Never let anyone take away something you love.
What makes your heart race?
What makes your legs weak?
What makes your palms sweat?
What makes your stomach feel like it's full of butterflies?
A convincing romance answers these questions, or at least challenges them. Not all love stories are "love at first sight" or "a universal love". I actually prefer the kind that makes the characters experience real issues that couples often face. No relationship is perfect. Falling in love is the easy part, but choosing to continue to love is where you have to put the work in. There isn't any justice given to love and relationships if the nuances are ignored.
Even when writing fantasy or sci-fi, faking the love story is very noticeable. The characters aren't relateable and the story suffers because the story just isn't believable. You can create a new world without the romance, but if you add the romance, at least make it seem real.
That being said, the love scenes in my books are not catered to my readers, sorry to say. Those love scenes are catered to the characters and how they react to one another. Two characters who are deeply in love may have a passionate encounter while two who are acquaintances may not. The chemistry is the biggest factor that sets the tone for the scene. I can definitely say that the sex isn't gratuitous, either. If the characters in my story are having sex, it's because they are either coming to a romantic milestone or progressing their intimacy.
RULE OF THUMB - if the sex doesn't progress the story, you don't need it.
Anyway, I hope I've made you think. Comment below if you have anything to add!
Let's face it, there's only one reason why we read romance novels; we crave the passion. We want to feel that spark again. The one that makes our bellies quiver with anticipation and our cheeks flush. You can't deny it, because that's exactly the same reason I read.
But I'm rather dissatisfied with the storytelling as of late. I understand the need to create the tension between the characters, I do much of that myself, but when nearly the entire book is some type of whining or back and forth or drama, it gets exhausting!!
I want the passion that's built up after the tension. I want the giggly feeling when the characters get cheeky. I want to fall in love and feel what they feel. I WANT SATISFACTION!! :D
It's about the love story and what it takes for the characters to get there, but it's also about the sex. I don't want porn, I don't want erotica (unless that's what I've purchased), I want the passionate love story that doesn't skimp on the sex scene I've been waiting for the entire book!
Hot and heavy kissing and petting, heavy breathing and messy hair, precarious situations and everything (and I do mean EVERYTHING) in between. Anything less isn't doing the lovers justice. If someone were to read about my love life, I'd want to make sure they were thoroughly entertained, the same as I'd want to be. Is that really too much to ask?
Don't get me wrong, casual sex can be a good thing, but it's just not what I'm into. The sex is only worth it if the characters have a deep, unmistakeably strong rooted emotional connection that creates the foundation for everything else in the story. Half-way love is too often portrayed with the wishy-washy dramas and characters who have no idea what they want and, although realistic, I don't care to read about that! Perhaps it is my past life indiscretions, perhaps it is my idealist mentality, but if I can't have it all, I don't want any of it!
So dare I ask...what type of passion do you crave?
It all sparks with one idea- attraction. That special person catches your eye and you instantly go weak. Tunnel vision takes over and heat builds from places inside you probably forgot were there in the first place. Your body temperature rises and all you can think about is their touch, their smell and how your name sounds as it rolls off their tongue.
For some, these thoughts occur with many people, while others reserve for only one. There is no shame in either preference. It doesn't matter how many partners you have, or what sex those partners are, the emotions are real and intense.
Desire. It's a funny thing. I think it stems from the parts of ourselves that aren't fully evolved yet. It's our basic sense of wanting what we see. Desire isn't only sexual. You can desire a new care, house, pet, job, etc. But where desire transgresses what we've come to understand as acceptable, is in the bedroom. The truth here; feeding that desire only makes you hungrier.
Once you feel that hunger, it overwhelms you. Your body is on fire, your mind is fuzzy and you stay in a constant state of arousal. What does it all mean? It means we're sexual creatures and even when we attempt to deny ourselves that pleasure, it haunts us. You body wants what is wants and who are you to say no?
It is important to understand that passion and desire aren't the same thing. Desire is the spark inside of YOU, while passion is the sparks SHARED. True, unbridled passion is raw, almost as painful as it is pleasurable, which is what makes it so addicting. Passion is the lifeblood of amazing sex and a truly epic love.
What does this mean to writers? It means we had better understand these concepts before writing a realistic love story. Women are not simple creatures, as portrayed in many romance novels throughout time. We are complex, beautiful and even a little crazy and there's absolutely nothing wrong with it. To write a female character who is weak and codependent does little justice to our current positions in the world. Women are strong and sexual and very, very capable and shouldn't be seen as objects or playthings. Their partners should compliment strengths and weaknesses without compromising themselves and the characters deserve a chance to act this out as they would in the real world.
The point? The more realistic the characters, the easier it will be for readers to relate. They know when you're not into it, so don't try to write about these complex emotions without being prepared to tap into that very private part of yourself. It's raw, it's painful, but it's absolutely the most satisfying.
Lately, I find myself drawn to stories (both in print and TV) with passionate love stories. Why? It may be because I enjoy a good love story, but I think there's more behind that. Some say, you only have one GREAT LOVE in a lifetime. Is that true? I'm not really sure, but what I do know is that passion, in my opinion, is the root of all great things such as love and art.
Without passion, how do you know what moves you? And if you don't know what moves you, how could you love or create? Actually, that answer isn't hard. If you lack passion, you are simply motivated by other means. While there's nothing wrong with that, I can only imagine the unsatisfactory lifestyle of those who are passionless.
I like to think that my life doesn't lack passion, but I'm drawn to it like a moth to a flame. Why? That's what I keep asking myself. Why am I so engrossed in the passionate stories of lovers, life and art? Sometimes it's best to be starved because your creativity has the freedom of your desires to roam - sometimes creating something better than you'd hoped. I've often found myself choosing to keep myself locked away while writing a novel so as not to have the creative process interrupted by the very desires I am writing. It's hard to, sometimes even causing me grief, but while I suffer as a person, my work usually thrives.
Now, however, I find these moments fleeting. It's almost like I've forgotten how to build passion or at the very least exploit it. I have characters needing to be written and stories needing to be spun and I am hung up on the one thing we all crave. PASSION is a rare thing, but it's also the most coveted and what keeps us coming back for more, no matter how toxic the consequences.
What is passion to you? What do you make of my...short comings? How would you add passion to your life? To your story?
I'm a writer, a mother, a wife, a friend, a sister, and a daughter. My journey as a published author is in full swing and I'm inviting all my friends along for the ride!