Books: on Romance
April 29, 2010 § 11 Comments
I was never going to read one. You could have taken all my other books, kidnapped my beagle (believe me, you’d give him back after 10 minutes) or snatched away my precious bookmark collection. But I was never going to read one. Not a single one. I am now compelled otherwise. I am, in fact, reading a romance novel. One of Ms. Smith’s.
I recently attended the Missouri Writers Guild Annual Conference. It was in my own backyard; how could I not attend? I was so ready for three days of workshops and classes that I would have been happy if no one had even showed up. I would have sat there, writing, looking around, having some of the free coffee or water that the Drury is good at providing, and gone back each day to do it again. Just because it was claimed, free, dedicated time.
Anyway, that’s not how it went. People showed up; there were lots of workshop choices and then suddenly it was Sunday. Only thing left, after the happy hour and the mingling and the pitching and the workshopping and the tips and tricks and a dinner (with a radiant speaker, Catherine Rankovic), was the Sunday Master Class. We paid extra for this if we signed up. I had no clue what it would be like, a 3-hour workshop/class. And I had to choose one. Just one. Hmmm… I zigged and zagged. I hemmed and hawed. I tapped and tiptoed around the topic. And finally chose one and sent in my application.
I chose a 3-hour workshop class with Bobbi Smith. I had to choose something and I wasn’t interested in screenplays or fantasy or scifi or beginning writing and getting one’s name out there. So I chose Bobbi and she’s a romance writer. But romance writers are successful which means they know stuff, right?
Well, lucky me (and my friend, Linda)! Bobbi Smith was dynamite. She shared tips, she told the truth about stuff (I could just tell) about income and agents and best of all, talked writing process, timelines, and working her real life into the schedules it required. She shared some rules, some (romance) industry standards, some anecdotes on how, what, why, where, how and a welath of writing things, all wrapped up in a nice tight format she had evolved for giving three-hour classes. She also involved us in her discussions, asking questions. She talked about hero types and heroines and who’s who in formula novels. Nothing wrong wtih seeing how they work their “romance” templeate, along with the actual act of writing and what it takes or pre-empts. She talked about the energy of the Romance Writers of America and they have fun but they’re serious about their stuff. And they know that what they do is for sheer entertainment.
Hats off, Bobbi. On the way home, I picked up one of your novels. It’s in my purse. And thanks for signing my notebook. Ha. Yeah, now that I ‘ve met her and “worked” with her for nearly half a day, yeah, I’m interested in reading her book (RELENTLESS, with a fine looking cowboy on the cover) and who knows…
PS Romance has rules, like you have to meet the hero (troubled for some reason) right in the first few pages and the book has to end with a wedding. It’s not all about bodice ripping and how-many-ways-can-you-write-a-sex-scene, no, it’s about entertainment and escapism.
Yah, we can use that.