Romance Instrumentality Project - Planning 2018-08-22

By Max Woerner Chase

In this post:

Recently, I've been having trouble finding prose that I like. So, I tried writing stuff that worked for me. I ended up with an overdone backstory that distracted from the core ideas and was basically a mess of nonsense.

I suspect part of the issue there is that I had some form of plans for various things that would happen, but no disciplined outline. It occurs to me that I could probably really improve my writing if I got practice writing with an outline, as opposed to writing without. However, outlining seems to me to have been mostly presented as a distinct skill, so it kind of looks like I'd have to do even more work before seeing results.

Except... mostly, not fully. There is some fiction that takes a much more "predefined guard-rails" approach to outlines. And the last NaNoWriMo I remember attempting, I found myself genuinely affected by the emotionally fraught relationship drama I attempted to inject into the gonzo sci-fi I was writing, before the whole thing turned into a flabby mess and fell apart. Bit of a theme, that. Inspired by Rutskarn's recent Quest for Romance, I think I'll try to get into this whole romance genre. My priorities will be somewhat different than his:

My plan for converting whatever books I find into a framework for advancing my own writing is to principally rate the publishers based on how I feel about what they publish. From there, look over their submission guidelines, and draw up a set of requirements for my own project, and especially the outline.

Before I lay out my plans for this week specifically, there's something I need to talk about.

Like most people, I've got a variety of things I feel uncomfortable talking about. And sometimes I compare the stuff I'm comfortable talking about, and the stuff I'm not, and I can pull out examples from each that make no sense next to each other. Like, I have no issue talking about the horror movies I watch with my wife, some of which are ridiculous sleaze, and some of which are merely gory. But I feel like I'm not comfortable talking about what kind of equally fictional relationships I'd like to see in media, and I think, on balance, that doesn't make sense to me. Like, polyamory is way more wholesome than Warwick Davis cutting a man's torso open with his hideous leprechaun claws. That is a statement that I can find no fault with, but I'm still working my way through accepting on an intuitive level.

So, I'm going to try to talk frankly about what kinds of themes and situations I want to see, because romance is an incredibly broad genre, and it doesn't pay, I don't think, to be vague about what I want. And I want be more open to talking about myself.

In any case, this week, I have two goals I want to accomplish.

Next time, I'm going to post the list of what I want to read about.