Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Stretching Your Muscles - Donna Alward

Admittedly, I don't stretch my muscles nearly enough. It IS spring though, and with the longer days I'm walking more and I'm back out in the garden. And boy did I stretch some muscles a few weeks ago, hunched over staining step railings and also picking rocks to put around my perennial beds.

Not quite what I meant to talk about today, though. While my body could definitely benefit from some yoga, I've been doing a different kind of stretching lately - of my writing muscles.

Last month I blogged about what to do when there was nothing to do. I've moved past that now, and having a little fun. You see, I'm actually not on any firm deadline. I have a few months to play, and I'm having quite a bit of fun with it.

The last ten books I have written have been solely targeted at Harlequin Romance, as great a home as any category author could wish for. I LOVE writing for Romance. And what's more, I know how to do it. Doesn't mean the books come easy, but I know what Romance is, and sliding into a pair of characters and a nice hook is like putting on a pair of comfortable slippers. I love the depth of emotion, the broadness of it. Let's face it, in Romance you will see online dating as a hook, you have cowboys, you have royalty and office romances. You can be set in a fictional kingdom, a Canadian ranch, in the middle of Manhattan or in the wildest corner of the outback. It's great.

But as many authors know, sometimes you yearn for something just a little different. And that's GOOD in my opinion. Thinking outside the box - stretching your muscles - will make you a better writer.

But it's not always easy. What I'm working on now is hopefully for another line, and while in Romance the bedroom door is closed, in this line it is not. And the TONE of the books are different as the worry is, will my voice fit? Will my sex scenes read the way they should? After all, I haven't written very many. Even the slightest difference in construction means a shift in thinking. I told my CP recently that I think the process for this book will be write, get it out, and then fix and shift as I go. Adjustments are being made more than usual.

But this isn't a bad thing. It is seeing something from a different angle, a different camera shot. It's interesting, and it's fun to explore a side that's slightly different than what I usually write.

And I'm not even switching genres.

I can only imagine the huge writerly gymnastics that occur when you go category to single title, or contemporary to historical, or perhaps to paranormal...maybe you're dying to try a saucy YA!

The thing is, you'll discover a lot about your strengths and your weaknesses, and what works for each genre or subgenre as you go.

So go ahead. Stretch. Have fun! Who knows what will happen?

My latest release is HIRED: THE ITALIAN'S BRIDE, a June 09 Harlequin Romance release. It's available for presale on eharlequin and Mills and Boon in both print and e-book.


Caroline said...

Hi Donna. Good luck on your "stretching" -- you are obviously looking forward to doing something different! I'm currently working on my latest historical; but I've got sooooo many ideas buzzing in my head! One book would definately be a "Modern" for Harelequin; another is a futuristic time travel and I've other historical's set in other time periods such as Regency and Viking. The only thing that stops me writing all of them at the same time is time itself and the real possibility of going mad! Take Care. Caroline.

Janet said...

So, if your Modern Heat is accepted you could soon be writing 6 books a year? I feel exhausted just thinking about that!

Donna Alward said...

Janet - I doubt 6, but possibly 4-5? LOL. I'm trying not to get ahead of myself. :-) Right now I'm just having fun.