Tuesday, March 10, 2009

How I did not become a romance writer

I had a creative non-fiction book published about a Cree man shot in Prince Albert, by a neo-Nazi - who was actually an RCMP informer. I was a full-time newspaper reporter then and I had been following the story since before the victim died actually. The book won a Saskatchewan Book Award. It is still available after 15 years, which is really good.

Damn, I’m good, except, maybe, well consider.

I was a very good journalist. I learned $400 a month. One year, I won both of Canada’s top journalism awards. I earned $400 a month. I retired.

Being as I was a very good writer but hadn’t earned anything even Revenue Canada was all that interested in, I thought about writing romance.

One. This was going to be so easy! After all, I was a published author!
Two. I wanted to know if there was any money in writing. Ha!
Three. I didn’t sleep well in those days, so I made up romantic stories.
They put me to sleep. That should have told me something.

I think I have some newspaper ghosts to shed very first thing. Reporters do not have a point of view. Stories must be no longer than 10 column inches. Adding sexual tension will get you fired, (although it would add a certain ‘sine qua non’ to city council reports).

I started pounding out my favorite plot. Books don’t take long to write if you don’t have to spend time researching. Husband promised to take me to Scotland if I finished by January - which was three months hence. Nothing to it and I loved Scotland. Harlequin didn’t love the book, plot, title, characters or anything else about it. I have the mass produced letter of get-out-of-here in place of honor on the wall.

I joined Saskatchewan Romance Writers and as I listened to some real romance writers, something awful happened: I learned I’m not even a novice.

Crash and burn.

So, humbled in spades, I am going to start again and learn something..
Listen. Listen. Listen. Read. Read. Read. Write. Write. Write.

And someday, I may be a real romance writer - published even.


Karen said...

Good morning, Connie.
Congratulations on your first post with the Chicks!

Listen, read, write. I'd say you're well on your way to reaching your goal.

Great post, Connie.

Jana Richards said...

Hi Connie,
Great first post. Welcome to the Chicks!

We haven't actually met yet, except through email, so I didn't know you'd been a reporter. Although newspaper reporting and novel writing, especially romance novel writing, are two different beasts, I'm sure your experience will come in handy. You're obviously a good writer with a sense of humour, and I'm sure you're good with a deadline and with research. It sounds like you're getting the whole rejection thing covered too!

Good luck with your writing. I look forward to reading more from you here on the Prairies.


Helena said...

Love your post, Connie. You have clearly mastered the art of making every word count (the journalist in you showing through). And you have the knack of making the reader laugh and relate at the same time, no mean feat.

You have set a high standard for the rest of us newbie Chicks!

Captain Hook said...

Hey there, Connie! There is an old quote (can't remember by whom or the exact words) that says, "The first step towards true knowledge is knowing that you know nothing." I think that is very true, especially in regards to writing.

Wish you the best of luck - with your novel and with the Chicks.

Hayley E. Lavik said...

Great post Connie, and welcome to the Chicks!

As Jana said, your experiences in writing and journalism are going to compliment each other really well, and enhance your storytelling.

Suse said...

Congratulations Connie on your first blog! What I like about you is that you always say it like it is.

As Captain Hook alluded to, we learn when we realize we have something to learn. You're on your way, girl, or should I say Chick?

Anita Mae Draper said...

Hey Connie, congratulations. You're officially a Prairie Chick, now.

That's a great post for your first one. I sat beside you at the last Sask Rom Writers meeting and I didn't know you'd been a reporter, either. Or that you were a published author.

Well, let's hope this blog helps you as you take the plunge into a sea of imagination.

Thanks for jumping in to help with the Tues, spot.

connie said...

jana i am not sure my answers are getting through. i have already forgotten what janet told me to do. I have a lousy memory. i have my name pinned to my bra.
i appreciate your comments. thank you! i hoe we meet one of these days soon

connie said...

Hi Karen
Thanks for your comments
i read your profile. good to know someone else is unorganized too

connie said...

thank you! you sure know how to make heads swell. i'll try to live up to the standard you have set

connie said...

captain hook,
if that quote is so (and it is) then i am in luck!
thanks for your comments and your wishes

connie said...

hi hayley
i still write a column for a newspaper to keep my hands in but novel writing is much more fun. much more
thanks for your comment

connie said...

Hi Suse
thanks for your comment. i hope i am a chick but i suspect i am also an old hen. i have been an official old broad for some time now!

connie said...

hi anita
thanks for your comment
i remember sitting together
i hope the sea of imagination isn't as cold as it is outside today.
i'm frozen!

Janet C. said...

Welcome to The Prairies, Connie. And good job on the first blog post - now that one's down, you'll be a pro on the next one.

The SRW is a great place to learn and grow as a writer. If not for them, I wouldn't be as enthusiastic about blogging or submitting my work for others to read/critique.

Good luck with your journey :)


connie said...

only if i can find the site twice!thanks again for all your help