Sorry for the scary title. But writing is a scary business.
An aspiring author once said she envied me because, as a multi-published author, I didn’t have to be afraid when I started a book. Afraid that I’d fail. Afraid that the ideas would desert me.
I disabused her of that notion. Although writing may be rewarding, even exhilarating, it’s also daunting and dangerous in its way.
Take the book I just started writing for Harlequin American, the eleventh in my Safe Harbor Medical miniseries. I’d set up an appealing hero and heroine, an interesting plotline and good conflict. What could go wrong?
Well, as I began the second chapter, I sat staring at my computer thinking, This is too predictable.
Despite all the interesting elements, it was clear how the story would develop, where the conflicts and discoveries would come, and how the couple would resolve them.
If I’m already bored, the reader will be too. Never mind those idiots who don’t read romance novels but go around proclaiming that our books are all alike. They aren’t. Certainly not the good ones, and that’s what I try to write.
So I typed a note to myself: Make something unexpected happen.
And, after I played around with ideas and reevaluated my characters, it did. Nothing earth shattering or genre bending, I assure you (and my editor, who may be reading this). No aliens will land atop Safe Harbor Medical Center and no miracle-producing babies will be born in the maternity ward. I just found a twist to keep things interesting and produce additional tension and uncertainty for my characters.
I’m sure I’ll experience a few more scary moments before I finish the book, times when I'll wonder if I can pull it off and if these people really will fall in love in a dramatic, sparkling fashion. But that’s why, even after selling 93 novels, I never get tired of writing them.
Thanks for reading!
The M.D.’s Secret Daughter (Sept. 2012)