Saturday, 30 August 2008

New Romance... or is it?

Over on LiveJournal, AlleyPat discusses Colleen Gleason's article “The New Romance?” and whether or not the HEA (Happily Ever After ending) is necessary to call a romance tale a Romance.

Now, is an HEA necessary, and I mean ABSOLUTELY necessary to make a romance a Romance? For the most part, pretty everyone would say yes.

But there is a trend in some of the crossgenre works to have a strong romance plot and yet not feature an HEA. Some are calling this the New Romance.

Me, I don't know if I want to give it such a label. Genres evolve. They change, they adapt. I think the overwhelming oppression of HEA requirement may stifle some of the strength of storytelling. From the very beginning, you know Our Hero and Our Heroine are going to get together and everything will turn out all right. This knowledge can take the tension and delicious suspense out of a story. It becomes not so much a question of will they get together, but how it'll happen.

I'm starting to think this is weakening stories.

Compare two TV shows I've loved in their time--Star Trek and BBC's Spooks (aka MI5).

In Star Trek, you know no matter what, the main crew will survive whatever comes their way. You know they're going to outsmart them, what you don't know is how. (But woe the Red Shirts. This is a series of disposable extras.)

Then there's Spooks. They get into all sorts of scrapes, and there is some serious tension. Not only do you wonder how they're going to get out of the scrape, but you have some serious angst about whether or not they will. Forget Red Shirts. Spooks features disposable regulars. Main characters die all the time, and it puts some serious tension into the show.

Now, back to Romance. Most of the Romance published in the past thirty years has mandated each story have an HEA.

Perhaps readers are no longer requiring an HEA, because they prefer deeper tension in their stories.

And there is nothing wrong with that.

But there is also nothing new about it.

Georgette Heyer (if you read romance and you haven't heard of her, go google her) has written stories that don't feature obvious HEAs. I recently read her "Cotillion". For pretty much most of the book, I wonder if Our Heroine is going to end up with the guy she's in a sham engagement, or the fancy lord she had a young crush on as a child.

Now, this story isn't exactly "new". It was published before most of today's authors were even born.

Want another romance story that features Not-an-HEA? Romeo and Juliet.

If anything, the mandatory requirement that all Romance stories feature an HEA is the New Romance, and hopefully a genre straitjacket that will be loosened and we can discover the true tearjerk of a bittersweet ending.

Saturday, 23 August 2008

New Date for Print Copy Release

For those of you who wish to read a copy of The Enchanted Faerie in the tub without risking electric shock by dropping your eBook Reader in the water...

The release date for the print version of The Enchanted Faerie has moved up to February 27, 2009. (The sticker price is tentatively set at a very reasonable $12.99.)

Happy Birthday, Richard!

From all of us silly, hearts-on-our-sleeves Romance Spinners, we would like to wish one of our favouritest British actors Richard Armitage a very happy 7th Birthday for 22 August.

Hope you get the chocolate cake of your dreams, preferably with a file baked into it.

Monday, 4 August 2008

Oh Mama! What a long carpet ride.

The dream begins.
First time, as Heidi says, and carrying on slightly in that flavor of new beginnings, is that which you write. The manuscript. Things happen maybe for a reason, and our adventure here started with a failure. Fortunately not for us, but for the publisher who went bust, just as each of us was beginning.

But as sure as Mother Luck would have it, this fork in the road was just a fork so Cheryl Write, our lovely editor and mentor, tucked her little band of chicklets under her arms, and...

Off went we to market.

A writer/author must have as part of their inbuilt structure, a huge dose of optimism. A self-belief not only to dream but to pursue the dream and make it happen. That is scary. You bear the loads of whatever good times and bad times as you pursue the dream, the pain, the agony, the doubt, the fear, the inferiority, bouts of blockage, we went with hope to seek and find and found and...

This our first anthology in what will hopefully ensue, one of many.

We are in the process our next anthology, talking about the third already. Publishing is like that. Release date November 21/22. Ebook and May 2009! What a long wait and the galleys were finished a few months ago. But that's what this game is like.

The dream starts with the first chapter of your new novel. The characters form and you live and love them as you write. It's a long journey and editing is literally a pain in your rear, but you go through the process of the approach to the editor, the acceptance which according to your experience and your reputation, a process you approach as an 'if', or an 'not if but when'.

Once it's gone, your love affair is starting again. You get excited about the next project. Your old love affair comes back, first as editorial changes which you can either love, respect, loathe, dread, consider as interruptions, but must face. Then come galleys (proofs). All of them reminders of this old love affair as your novel goes through it's incubation. Your head is so into your next manuscript and gradually the release of your novel sits somewhere in the back of your mind as something exciting to anticipate.

And then the actual release date, like a birth, this dream is now out with wings and off to catch it's own worms soon. Out of that nest and your nest is full of the new batch of eggs to hatch.

I now have the release date to be excited about and I hope I never never take it for granted. That slight childish feeling - remember? Like when you are getting close to Christmas and the tree goes up with it's decorations and that smell of pine needles in the house. The shiny shapes that appear beneath it waiting for you like mysteries.

Waiting for you, my reader to share that vision and that love affair I started so long ago.

Friday, 1 August 2008

Writerly Firsts

A writer has a lot of firsts that make up the milestones of one's career. Some are wonderful, some are not.

How many have you had?

First story completed.
First submission.
First rejection letter.
First acceptance.
First paycheck.
First publication.
First fanmail.
First incidence of plagiarism.
First repeat assignment.
First agent.
First contract.
First galley.
First booksigning.
First good review.
First bad review.
First hate mail.
First advance.
First reprint.
First missed deadline.
First fired agent.
First mistake to get past copyeditor, galleys and typesetters.
First manuscript auction.
First Guest-of-Honour appearance at a convention.
First stalker.
First three-book contract.
First best-seller.
First "retirement from day job".
First personal secretary to handle everything else while you write.
First posthumous publication.

Any other firsts to go on this list?