Romance Update: Edit as I Go

Time for the weekend update on The Romance Novel Project. Since I missed my Thursday post due to work-induced exhaustion, I’m going to combine them in this one. The short and sweet of it is that I believe I’ve figured out how to fix my conundrum of fearing that I need to switch the roles for the Main Character (MC) and her Love Interest (LI). I no longer believe I have to do that, but it will require me to break my personal rule of “no editing until the draft is finished.”

This is a rule I learned in grad school: Don’t edit until you get the ideas on the page. That’s what the first draft, or as we were taught to call it the “shitty first draft,” is for. Neil Gaiman says something similar when he articulates that the first draft is where you write down the events that happen in the story, and that subsequent revisions are where you look like you knew what you were doing the whole time. I’ve lived by that. Get it drafted so you don’t lose momentum. Take a break. Then revise.

But this project is different for me. I’ve never intentionally written a romance. I’ve accidentally written erotica, sure, but never an intentional romance that follows the structure and hits a ton of the tropes. And while I outlined the book as I always do, the writing has veered significantly from the outline as I’ve played with beats and attempted to subvert the frustrating parts of certain tropes (the ones that make me throw down a romance novel in annoyance), the characters have started telling me more about who they are and what they want. I always allow for this (and it always happens), but Sam, Destiny, and Carmilla have never been this “argumentative,” if you will, regarding my plans for their lives.

As I write, the narrative feels like it’s morphing into something I did not intend. I’m not unhappy with the direction, but it feels like it’s skirting or maybe switching between two sub-genres in a manner that doesn’t make logical sense. I don’t mind blending sub-genres in interesting ways. Carmilla’s Ghost blends Urban Fantasy, Mystery, and Gothic Romance. And that turned out to be the book I’m most proud of.

So, even though I am almost 70% of the way through the book, and pushing on to finish the shitty first draft would be easy, I am going to stop, make notes on what needs to be changed so the story makes sense, and then make those changes. That way, when I finish the shitty first draft, it will at least be a coherent narrative. Then I can have my personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut as a reward, take a break, and begin revisions.

So, writers, has this ever happened to you? Have you realized you needed to make serious changes to a story and then stopped writing to regroup and re-plan?

Promotional Hype

My debut novel, Liam’s Doom, is on sale at all major and minor retail outlets from Amazon to Barnes & Noble to Bookshop.org. I request that you support Bookshop.org, as their site supports local and independent bookstores. The eBook is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and through my webstore.

Carmilla’s Ghost is now on sale. The paperback version is available all major online retailers, including AmazonBookshop.org and at Barnes & Noble. Currently, eBook pre-orders are only available at Amazon and through my webstore.

It Hungers (formerly Stone Cold), the third book in the series is currently available for pre-order as an ebook on Amazon. Paperback preorders go through my website and will all be autographed! The book will officially release on 3 May 2022.

My prequel novel, Blood/Lust is also available as an Amazon exclusive.