Monday Motivations; Two of Swords

Hello friends and welcome to another weird and wonderful week of writing!

On Friday, the holding pattern I’ve been in with my freelancing came to an end as the new pitch guidelines for the first quarter of 2022 came out. I had been anxiously waiting for that email for over a month, but as I reviewed the new guidelines my heart sank a little. What my publisher was asking for… well, it was all just a bit outside my comfort zone writing wise.

I confess, I went to bed discouraged.

But then I woke up and said to myself, “screw that.”

This is going to sound crass, but to be perfectly honest I didn’t apply for this freelancing work to write strictly what I wanted. No, I signed up so I could make money off my writing. That’s it. I needed cash and the opportunity was there. Was I a romance author before I landed this gig? Hell no. But that’s what the market (and my publisher) wanted and so, to earn some money when I was in a dire financial pinch, I became one.

Now, it turns out I love the work and find the experience in and of itself just as valuable as the money I’m making, but point is this job has been stretching my limits since day one. To hang my head and wonder if I’m able to step up to this new challenge goes against everything I’ve learned about myself this last year.

So, if keeping my freelancing gig means learning how to write steamier, cliche-ier romances? So be it. I’m gonna do it. If my imprint wants cozy mysteries, guess what conventions I’m going to be studying up on? Because, for me, this opportunity has shown me what I am capable of and it sure as hell doesn’t stop at writing fantasy whenever I feel up to it.

Sometimes writing is a business and dammit do I love my job.

Kerry Share

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Romancing the Muse

Manuscript News

I tried a fun little exercise this last week. I had just tapped out on my note card phase (simply put: I write every single scene I can possibly think of on a note card, even if it might never make it into the MS; I do it largely to generate new ideas) and was feeling pretty good about what I had come up with. I had about three times as many note cards as I produced for Border Towns and several plot threads I wanted to follow. But, with so many ideas, I worried about losing track of the important beats I wanted to hit. 

So I made a list for myself of all the plots and subplots that I had come up with. Most were character relationships, others could be condensed. When I was happy with my list I went back to my scene cards and on the backs I wrote down each plot it contributed to. This helped me figure out which scenes were doing work, and which ones were just fluff.

The next step was to organize the cards according to the plot(s) they were apart of (since most of them have the potential to forward along more than one, I repeated this step for each plot). Then I examined the story lines closely to see if they all had coherent beginnings, middles, and ends. In this way I was able to identify which plots should either be scrubbed entirely, or at least beefed up, and which ones were carrying the novel.

I have no idea if this exercise will help me write a better novel in November, but it really helped me figure some things out about my story that, until then, were kind of foggy before.


The Weekly Struggle

So, there I was at my day job, doing one of those mindless repetitive tasks, listening to Print Run, and thinking about my upcoming NaNo project, when–

plot twist

Here is the entire plot and all the characters for a contemporary romance novel, my brain whispered lovingly, as if it was handing me a great gift.

But me, I said to meI write fantasy. I don’t even read romance, I wouldn’t know the first thing about how to write it.

Tooooo damnnnnn badddddd, my brain replied, fading into the distance.

And here we are.

Truthfully, this didn’t really come out of nowhere. I had written about 30k of a romance story about six years ago and recently unearthed it to give myself a shot in the arm, desperate for anything to get myself back into a creative state of mind. Normally I shy away from anything I’ve written in the past, but this particular story I was quite proud of at the time. It (for the most part) held up after all these years. The hook, I feel, is solid and the characters have depth and nuance, and feel real. The premise might be a little cheesy, but not unrealistic. It needs some work, of course, but it wouldn’t take too much effort to whip it into a complete first draft.

Still, I have reservations. As I mentioned, I really don’t know much about the genre. Now and again I try to get into it, but I struggle to maintain interest. Further, and pursuant to last week’s post, what would be the point of writing a one-off romance novel? Romance is not a genre I feel compelled to pursue beyond this one idea, though, I admit, I didn’t feel compelled to pursue it before the idea either, and yet…

Well, what’s the harm, right?

So, I’m going to write it. It might be terrible, or it might be the best thing I ever write. It might be a distraction from my fantasy projects, or it might be a nice escape whenever I’m blocked or frustrated with them. It might just be a practice novel, or it might be what I pitch at next year’s DFWCon. I won’t know until I try.

Here’s to new adventures.


That’s all from me this week! Until next time, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few!

Kerry Share

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