The Time Has Come

The time has come for a new romance movie to come out.  While I loved the Avengers, it wasn't romance.  I miss watching historical romance movies.  I know those movies do not make much money in the theaters, but I personally do not think there is a better way to see them than on the big screen.  Can you imagine Gone With the Wind, the Phantom of the Opera, or The Duchess just going to DVD first?  I surely cannot. They need the grand sweep of the big screen.  I miss that.

Tonight I am watching the remake of Jane Eyre.  It was done in 2011.  Of course I am seeing it on HBO and not in the movie theater, but at least I am getting to see a beautifully written story with amazing acting that will sweep me away to another time period.

I think the world needs a lovely romance to show everyone love does exist in the world.  We are inundated with science fiction, horror stories, and action dramas with blood and gore. Since I write historical romance novels, I think the time has come for one of our beautiful novels to be made into a movie for the big screen.

That said, tell me which of your favorite books do you wish to see made into a movie?  Which book would you flock to see? I know many romances have been made into tv movies for the Lifetime channel, but I believe a sweeping romance is necessary.

Leave me a message - what movie would you like seen in the theaters?  Which contemporary author's story would you like made into a movie? Julia Quinn, Madeline Hunter, Mary Balogh, or Eloisa James?

Editing - what will you sacrifice?

How often do you edit your manuscript? Do you do the editing yourself or do you hire someone to help you? Do you have a Beta Reader to do a final read through? Do you do all of this by yourself?

Someone said you have to decide if what you are doing is a hobby or a job?  If it’s just a hobby, then there is no rush to finish.  You don’t have to worry about how well the manuscript is edited because no one will really see it beside you.  If it is just a hobby you can write every day for pleasure and never worry about grammar.  You do not have to worry about misspelled words.  You do not have to worry about point of view or GMC (goal, motivation, and conflict). I’m not saying you will just ignore these parts of writing an excellent story, I’m saying you don’t have to worry if it’s not perfect when you are just writing for fun.

But if writing is your business – then just like in any other business, you have a reputation to build and then maintain.  That being said, you have to decide how to invest your money to make your work pay out.  Will you put money into an editing service?  Will you enter contests to get help?  Will you join critique groups AND actually follow their advice? Then, once you secure an editor or agent, will you put your money into publicity?  Will you purchase post cards and ad space in magazines? There is a lot more to consider – not just the money you will invest to become published, but the time commitment.  Are you willing to travel to bookstores, libraries, and other venues in order to reach out to new readers?  Are you willing to put some of your other life on hold in order to do this?  Are you willing to set aside your current job in order to make a success of your book? And then subsequent books? 

These are harsh facts you must face once you decide if you are writing because it’s a hobby or it’s a business.

But you say, “I can do it all”.  I just have to juggle my time better.  Good luck with that.  I’m not saying you can’t do it.  I’m just saying how hard it will be.  If you already have a full-time job and you write when you can, finding time for publicity and visits and book tours becomes difficult. If you have a family with small children, attending their events and writing and doing publicity will be next to impossible. With anything you want to do well, you must sacrifice something else.

Personally, I say if you have decided this is to be a business, then you have to decide what to do about your day job.  Next, since your day job pays your bills, how will you work it into your schedule?  Can you afford to work part-time in order to write full time?  Can you make enough money from your writing to make up the difference in your budget?

I know many published writers who still work a full time job.  Why do they do that?
The royalties from being published are small in comparison to what the bestsellers make.  You will not make enough in the beginning to survive, unless you are will to take the money you originally make and turn it into new dollars by advertising.

I know this sounds cliché, but life is filled with sacrifices.  You just have to decide which areas of your life are you will to sacrifice in order to become not just published, but a best-selling author?

If You Like Heroes ....

If you like heroes, you probably saw my recent post about the King Arthur movie.  Well, now I have another one to add to the list.  Filled with great male leads who will melt your pants.  Okay, well maybe not all of them, but I guarantee that one of them will make you go 'Yeah, baby, do that again'.

Tell me you were one of the millions who saw The Avengers this past weekend.

If you were living in a cave or you are not into pop culture or comic books, then you missed a real treat.  If you want to see the perfect stereotypes for male heroes, then you have to go see this movie.  I know you love a good strong male lead.  I know you love a man who is tender, yet can beat the pulp out of a bad guy at the same time.  Then there is absolutely no excuse whatsoever why you have not gone to see The Avengers.

Let's take a look at the male heroes in this movie:

Nick Fury - who does not love a man with eye patch?  Not only that, but he has a secret past that is simply hinted at and you know you want to be the one to unlock that secret, don't you?  He's enigmatic. He has a secret yet he's strong and can pull all of these men together with aplomb.  Well not always.  He is dealing with mega-egos over here, but he knows the men well enough to know they will eventually join forces with him if he dangles the right carrot under their noses.

Bruce Banner - aka - the Hulk - who does not love Mark Ruffalo?  He does a great job playing the mild mannered scientist who is trying to hide from the world.  A man tormented by his curse.  A man who feels he is unlovable and yet wants to join forces with the others.  He understands the power he keeps hidden.  He knows how to tap into it and when.  He also knows that evil forces will try to use him to their advantage.  He also knows the good guys want to use his power as a weapon as well.  He is a genius after all.  Does he come through in the end?  Does he show up when the world (or Manhattan) is being destroyed?  Watch the movie and find out.

Captain America - a man from another time period.  A man who believes that no matter the person's size, they should stick up for the little guy.  A man who does not see size as a reason to not fight.  He's the oldest one in the bunch (even though he looks so much younger - science is marvelous, isn't it?) and yet he has no problem stepping into the fray with each man who has powers that would seem to surpass his.  As a matter of fact, he so strongly believes in America and the American way that he appears a dinosaur to the other men.  Ah, but the ladies love him.  Unfortunately his love interest died while he was in a frozen coma.  His poor heart needs mending - so which lady is willing to go out on a limb for Captain America?

Thor - okay, who does not like a demigod with long blond hair and a dazzling smile?  Not to mention he's already gone through his arc so he's ready for loving.  Oh, wait, he's in love with Jane, but he cannot have her and she's off on some assignment far away, but he still pines for her and still wants to protect her and her world.  There's a man for you.  Of course it helps that he has great biceps and can swing that hammer around so readily.  Just wait until you see the relationship between him and the other men (or should I say their egos.)  Loved when he walked into the pet store in the original movie and asked for a horse.  Priceless.  Nothing was going to stop him from returning to his family and helping those he loved.  There's a hero worth fighting for.

Tony Stark - millionaire playboy (oh wait, he's with Pepper now), a reformed playboy who has a smart mouth and loves to tick people off.  Don't we wish all of our heroes had such witty dialogue and fantastic comebacks?  Comic relief, yes, but you can see in this movie he has a heart - and not one that is machine driven - but he has feelings.  You almost need someone with his ego in this kind of movie to keep the rest of them pushing toward a single goal.

Hawkeye - the hero who turns villain who turns hero again.  He was introduced in the Thor movie and we really did not get to see his personality much.  In this movie, you learn he has a past with Black Widow that intrigues you. Don't you want to know more?  I hate movies that leave me hanging and yet, in this case, I am willing to wait to see what drives this man who is wickedly accurate with the bow and arrow.  By the way, when you see it, you will chuckle over the reference to Legolas Tony Stark gives him.  A deadly man with a softer side, but one he does not show to many people.  As Shred would say - he's like an onion - you have to peel back the layers.

Phil Coulson - otherwise known as Agent Coulson.  You know you all like him.  A beta hero who is always there at the right time.  The man who has to do the dirty work for the secret organization but who does not want to hurt others, but has a job to do.  He's a gentle man who must have a family somewhere in the wings.  Don't you just picture him with a wife and at least three daughters?  I don't see sons, but daughters - yes, because he's just so nice.

Loki - I know what you are saying - he's not a hero.  True, he's the villain in this story, but he also has layers.  Can you imagine learning at the ripe age of twenty-something that you were adopted.  Oh, wait, not adopted, but ripped from your father's arms and raised by a god who doesn't like your daddy.  So, he has major issues.  A wicked sense of humor and while he loved his brother, Thor, now he hates him because he was always the chosen one.  Typical second son syndrome, don't you think?  You love hating him and you love him at the same time.

So, have I convinced you to see the movie yet?  You have to go see it for research.  Honestly - think of it as a chance to see different heroes and their arcs.  Convince yourself that looking at all those biceps and listening to them banter is so going to help you write your next hero.  Trust me, it will be worth the money.  As a matter of fact, I am going to go back and see it again.

You will thank me.


Post-conference editing

We edit our work all the time.  If you are like me, you are always tweaking something.  One of the things I heard this weekend at the conference I attended was - that rewriting is writing.  I have been trying to tell people this for years.  Many authors think they are not writing if they are not coming up with something new every day.  I always feel that even editing your work is writing because it is part of the writing process.

While it would be nice to create something new every day, it just isn't feasible to have that happen.  We would never improve upon our writing if we did not take the opportunity to reread what we have written in the throes of inspiration and rewrite it.  So, what does this have to do with 'post-conference editing'?

How many of you have attended conferences in the past - whether it's a small, more intimate conference, a medium sized conference like Chicago-North's Spring Fling, or the mammoth size like our RWA conference coming up in Anaheim.  What is good about conferences is that you come away revitalized.  You want to dive right into your writing and leave all the garbage behind.  All those troubles you had this morning are gone.  All those worries in your car have disappeared.  You come up with new ideas.  You suddenly understand what was not working in you novel and you start to rewrite it.

So, before you send your manuscript to the editor or agent who requested it, make sure you check for all typos.  This is the biggest part.  If you have time, ask a friend to read it over once more.  Of course you will rethink everything, but go with your gut.  If it feels right, then keep it.  If it doesn't hit you right, then change it.

Most importantly - you pitched a good story.  If you change it now, it will not be the story that got the attention of the editor or agent.  Fixing typos is one thing, but changing the plot or the main characters might not be in your best interest.

I'm just saying.

Of course, you do what you want, but that is my small piece of wisdom for the day.