Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Diary of a Mad Romance Writer

When I gave my first talk as a published writer I had no clue what to say. Then the idea of a writer's diary came to mind and this was born. It's been updated over the years, but the basics never go out of style.And I also think I should some day write the Diary of a Paranormal Writer. Or let Fluff and Puff do it. :}

When I had started high school, I began the habit of keeping a diary. Little did I know that I was already acting out the guise of a frustrated writer! I kept up the writing habit until I married. Upon the advice of my mother, wise woman that she is, I destroyed all my diaries not long before my wedding. What a waste of perfectly good research material!
What would a romance writer's diary read like? Mary Poppins or Fanny Hill?
Dear Diary,I've been reading romance books for the past few months and have decided there's no reason why I can't write one of my own. After all, they can't be all that difficult to write, can they? I'll give myself three months. That should be more than enough time to dash one off. First order of business, buy a computer. After all, I'm a professional now.
Dear Diary,I've decided to work out a profile on my main characters. The man should be a combination of Harrison Ford, Jeremy Northam and Keanu Reeves. I thought I should be subtle the first time. After all the first time is very special to a woman, isn't it?
Dear Diary, I wrote the first page today-three times. In my first draft the location seemed all wrong. Alaska can be pretty cold in the middle of winter. The second time it just didn't sound right. And the third time everything finally fell into place. Every word was a gem in my eyes and I knew it was exactly what I wanted to say. Trouble was, my computer lost it all. I just hope I can recreate something so fantasic.
Dear Diary, I can't understand my heroine at all! She insists on acting like Molly Shannon. She just doesn't seem to understand that she's supposed to be a cross between Nicole Kidman and Charlize Theron.
Dear Diary, It's the big day. I wrote my first love scene. There's only one problem. I listened to soft music, lit candles, sipped a glass of white wine and even read the Kama Sutra. The love scene still didn't work out and I can't figure out where I went wrong! Oh well, I'll just wait until my husband gets home tonight. Perhaps I should add some vitamin E to his dinner. I have a feeling I'll need to do a lot of research.
Dear Diary, I've done it! My book is finished! It has everything it's supposed to have; the hero and heroine meet on the first page, the required love scnee and their declaring their love on the last page. There's only one teeny problem. It's only fifty pages. I guess I'll have to see where I can stretch it out.
Dear Diary, I read parts of my book to a few of my closest friends today. Unfortunately, they didn't get to hear all of it because two said they were on their way out to walk their dogs and the other suddenly remembered she had a dental appointment. Funny, I didn't know Janet and Carla had dogs.
Dear Diary, I've done it! I finished my book, all 300 hundred pages. I will admit it took a bit longer than I expected it to take. Actually, ten months over my estimated three months. Now it's in an envelope and ready to send off to a publisher. All I have to do now is sit back and wait for the royalties to roll in!
Dear Diary,I can't believe it! They actually turned my book down! They kept it there for eight months and then returned it saying that it didn't fit their guidelines and had too many cliches. What do they mean by that? I thought my story was pretty good.
You see it dealt with a 17 year old girl who is studying to be a nurse and falls in love with a 40 year old brain surgeon. He doesn't realize that her sister was secretly married to his brother and bore him a son not long before he was killed in the WAR and the sister then killed herself because she felt she couldn't go on and left the child to the heroine. Naturally, the hero thinks the child staying with the heroine is her son which naturally makes her a FALLEN WOMAN. When he does learn the child is also his nephew, he decides the girl can't take care of the baby by herself and insists if she doesn't marry him he'll have the child taken away from her. Naturally, the marriage will be in name only because she's too young for his jaded taste. She has no choice but to agree.
Also, she's been secretly in love with him since the first time she saw him at the hospital. He whisks her off to his country home run by his autocratic mother who had been hoping he would come to his senses and marry her best friend's bitchy daughter, who, by the way, hates children. Thanks to Mom and friend's daughter telling her how young and naive she is and she doesn't know how to dress properly or behave in a proper setting, the heroine easily believes she's all wrong for the hero and decides she must do the right thing by leaving him, so he can marry his mother's friend's daughter and have the kind of wife a man in his position should have.
The evening of a large party, he follows her to the garden gazebo where she's gone to think about her dark future. And there, he makes fierce love to her on a conveniently placed couch and expresses surprise to discover she's a virgin. He coldly assures her it won't happen again.
After this, she knows even more she has to leave and sneaks off taking her nephew with her and finds a job in another city. Quite a few months later, he tracks her down to find her heavily pregnant and singing in a piano bar and while the child is in the care of the landlady in the ramshackle rooming house they've been living in.
He immediately takes them back home. There, she learns his mother has been banished to Europe and they will begin their married life again because he admits he has always loved her. So you tell me what's so wrong with that? How can it be a cliche when I've read similar stories?Dear Diary, I've sent my book to six publishers and they all say the same thing. I do believe this is the time to find out exactly what I'm doing wrong by signing up for a writing class. At least, I'll find out what publishers consider a cliche.
Maybe I'll take a computer class too.


  1. I love this Linda! That was so stinkin' funny and just what I needed this morning. I looked back at my first WIP the other day and did a major head thunk. Oh my!

  2. Thanks Elle.

    I first wrote this in 1982, although I've updated it since then. But some of it does still ring true.

  3. LOL! I was lucky. I found a group of writers to help me before I embarrassed myself too much with what I'd written before I found them. *g*

  4. LOL Tori!

    Back in the Dark Ages :} I didn't meet another writer for more than a year. Very scary time for me back then.