In this post:
- What I'm going to do in each post this week.
- Why I'm doing this.
- Some reservations I have, and my feeling that they don't make logical sense.
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:
- I'm not interested in getting published; on the off-chance that I create a book-like artifact, I'll be looking into self-publishing, probably.
- I'm not necessarily looking to write anything at all, but I judge there to be a good chance I won't find something that exactly works for me, so I'm definitely not ruling it out.
- With that in mind, rather than trying to jump right into writing with a little research, I'm going to focus first on drawing up a list of novels, and make actually reading them a separate project, probably tackled after I've read more of my wife's adventure novel.
- Instead of attempting a broad survey from just a few books, my plan is to draw up as large a list as I can of books that look like they'd appeal to me, and also include some other information for cross-referencing purposes.
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.
- The first goal is to put together a list of things I'd like to see, ideally broken down into must-haves and nice-to-haves.
- The second goal is to get a spread of publishers, authors, and books, according to those criteria. I basically want to have a reading list for later, in spreadsheet form or something like it, so I can rate books as I finish them, and analyze the results to figure out what works for me.
Next time, I'm going to post the list of what I want to read about.