This is part two to my behind the scenes look/into my mind about my new sports romance Ice Gladiators. I am answering some of the questions I received while in the process of writing. I will attempt to answer most of them without being repetitious. If I omit something on accident or there is a question not asked but that you would like answered, please email me or leave a comment.
The first question I’ll tackle is what was the most difficult thing about writing a sports romance. To me, there is a difference in writing a romance whose main character is a professional athlete than one that highlights the sport side-by-side with romance. There needs to be a balance between the two elements. If one overpowers the other than the flow of the book changes, and possibly the genre. Hockey, which is the sports featured in Ice Gladiators, is fast-paced. It is sometimes difficult to express that pace on paper. It’s even more difficult to maintain that same pace with romance and have it feel genuine to readers. Oh, I’m not saying it can’t be done. It can be a challenge.
On a similar note, I was asked if I found writing in general, not just sports romance, difficult. Someone asked me if it was to write. To me, all writing professionally is a challenge. I think for even the most prolific writers and novelists with natural talent, writing still requires work and cannot be taken for granted. Writing takes disciple and extraneous effort. It is not easy to take an image in one’s head and express it on paper so the readers see what the writer sees. Sure, some stories and projects come easier than others, and each writer has his/her own process that may ease or complicate writing. But at the end of the day, all writers have the same challenge of communicating a well-written tale on paper with a beginning, middle, and end that on some level is enjoyable to the intended audience. Anyone can write a string of words. Bringing images to those words is the true challenge.
As most know, I’m a panster, (i.e., a writer who does not generate an outline prior to beginning writing). Many would argue this is a complicated (and some would say irresponsible) way to approach the writing process. All I can say is that it works for me. However, if I’m honest, and I will be here, being a panster is not without its problems. When I began writing Ice Gladiators, it began with a vague idea that I believe stemmed from another project I was working on at the time. I wrote a few paragraphs just to get the idea on paper and then set it aside to marinate. When I read what I’d written some months later, I felt more of a direction where I wanted to take the story. I changed my process, and Ice Gladiators is perhaps one of the only stories that I have written primarily in order. Most times, I jump from scene to scene or shift the placement of scenes by the final version. (I know. I know. All of my planner colleagues are laughing and thinking if I had an outline or storyboard that wouldn’t be an issue. Yeah, well, outlines and I don’t get along, and that’s all I have to say about that (in my Forrest Gump voice). After a read through my first draft, the story didn’t read the way I thought it did. I can’t say I wasn’t surprised; although, I shouldn’t have been. My objective then became molding my original vision of the story together with the present—basically, the best of both worlds. However, that meant a lot of editing.
Editing is a critical part of the writing process. I dredge it, and it never gets easier. Sometimes, editing is faster than other times, but in general, it is tedious. A phrase commonly used in the writing community is “kill your darlings.” Well, I don’t buy into that. I’m not emotionally attached to my drafts. Instead, I’m committed to seeing them develop into the best manuscript possible. It does not hurt my feelings to cut and delete. However, I’m not going to slash pages just for the sake of doing so. To me, that is pointless and is the equivalent of embellishing a body count in a B-minus movie horror. At the end, there’s a large number of tossed pages, but did it improve the story?
I’m an overwriter by nature. One thing that I attempt to do while writing is to be minimalistic. I do edit as I go, which is another writing no-no for some. Editing as I go provides me clarity as to the direction I need to head (or abandon). If I do this properly, I shouldn’t have tons of slashing to do in editing. I used my draft as a structure to build. I clarify and make stronger the scene. I try to include only the useful information in my first draft. But I just said I was an overwriter, didn’t I? Well, how that comes about is that usually, I have to fill in. As I said previously, I rarely write in order or move scenes within the story. That causes scenes to sometimes not flow (or worst, an inconsistency or plot hole). It’s the additions that cause the overwriting. Then, I have to clean up to make the scene mesh. (Yes, I hear you plotters out there. Get over it.) This is where my cuts begin.
I don’t remember which writer said it, but in a discussion about her personal writing process, she indicated that she strives to have quality writing sessions as opposed to quantity writing sessions. She stated that as a professional writer and having writing be her sole and primary job, it is critical that she develop manuscripts quickly. This writer is known to have several publications a year, or at least, annually. And I’m not talking small short stories, novelettes, or novellas. Granted, she does have editors at her fingertips and does not have to oversee details such as cover art, blurbs, formatting, marketing, etc. because she is affluential in the writing world. Her books would sell regardless if they were poorly edited or not. But she points out, for her to be able to be so prolific, she cannot afford to spend one day writing and the next day throwing out everything she wrote the day prior. I hear so many writers focusing on word count when the amount of words is moot if they are all garbage. When I write, I seek to make each word count the first time. My true first drafts tend to be very lean, and I add fat (like Botox) to fill in the wrinkles. But if I plump the script out too much, then I’m forced to do the reduction. Again, the reduction is difficult not because I’m emotionally attached, but because I have to trim the right amount. I can’t cut something important or leave something that is fluff. Again, it becomes a balancing game.
With Ice Gladiators, I wanted to bring some of the previous books into it to maintain that connection and cohesiveness of the series. But I also wanted Ice Gladiators to be able to stand on its own merit, without the dependency of the previous books. For that reason, Ice Gladiators can be read as a standalone novel.
That’s all I have for today. Is there anything that I missed that you would like to know? If you’re a fellow writer, are you a plotter or panster? What is the most difficult part of the writing process for you? Do you tend to be an underwriter or an overwriter? Do you enjoy editing? (Yes, I know a lot of people do. It makes me feel productive to be polishing my manuscript but at the same time it’s draining.) What genre do you write? Or do you write in multiple genres? Would you like to read other genres (besides contemporary romance) from me? I do have fantasy romances that I’m willing to share. Let me know. It’s always exciting to hear from my readers. And, as can be seen from this post, I do read and answer (or at least attempt) questions asked.
Again, thank you to everyone for taking the time to read this post as well as reaching out to contact me. I enjoy the interaction and appreciate each one of you. I cannot express enough how important my readers are to me. Without you, none of this would be possible.
- Coming February 2020… Ice Gladiators… Hockey so hot it melts the ice.
- Preorder: www.books2read.com/icegladiators
Enjoy sports romance and athletic bad boys? Check out my adult romance, Defending the Net. It is the second in my hockey series and guaranteed to melt the ice. It is sold at Kindle, Apple Store, Nook, Kobo, !ndigo, Angus & Robertson, and Mondadori Store. DTN is the second in my gay sports romance novel series and guaranteed to melt the ice. Order a copy now at www.books2read.com/defending. Crossing the line could cost the game.
Missed the first book in my Locker Room Love sports romance series? No frets. Out of the Penalty Box, where it’s one minute in the box or a lifetime, out is available at http://amzn.to/2Bhnngw. It also can be ordered on iTunes, Nook, or Kobo. Visit www.books2read.com/penalty.
- Writer’s Digest
- Sports Romance
- Huffington Post Queervoice
- Romance Writers of America
- Southern Writers of Louisiana
- Barnes & Noble