Hello, Gentle Readers,
Have any of you all written flash romance fiction? I read about an editor whose father was a ‘traveling minister.’ In Oklahoma mountain-speak, that means a revival/tent preacher. I was at the keyboard immediately and just 4 days later, I sent it in to a Flash F house.
This was another story about the deep south of Oklahoma. It’s about the Book of Revelations’ creating a runaway marriage. In 1,000 words.
I don’t think it’s my normal editors’ dream submission. Might be too … weird. What do you think?
After thinking it over I submitted it as Mainstream Flash Fiction, for a similar reason. Although it did have a happy ending, the Book of Revelations and an Oklahoma Tent Revival aren’t the near-slapstick fare that sometimes hits the Romance shelf these days. Not much snappy dialogue, either, because people talk very slowly down there, especially the folks below the poverty line who go to revivals.
Plenty of accurate dialogue and local color went into this 4-page story. Grit and realism…
Technique-wise, I wrote in Close/Limited Omniscience, 3rd person. I broke the pov into two scenes, making the heroine start the story. I made sure to use her name in the first sentence, too, to avoid any reader confusion. The girl, Liddie, was talking from her world.
Next section was ‘his.’ It clearly began with his name, immediately, and his masculine country voice was doing the talking.
Romance novelist Christie Craig emphasizes that characters should sound whatever sex you’ve written them to be. This was easy, because the action/plot had clarified that he was financially stable and she wasn’t. That he was a farmer and she was a preacher’s daughter. And so on (as my Chinese students said).
The hero’s section was more cheerful, too, and easier to write; I’d gone through all their tribulations already. SPOILER FOLLOWS.
Now the happy couple was just sailing along together.
This was actually hard work. I didn’t have to do much research, but it called for remembering things I wanted to just forget — like the harshness and narrow-minded people we all run across.
Therefore, I’ll be glad to write a flippant, cheery Regency romance now!
Howdy. Being a responsible writer, let me say “I was wrong.”
I thought this little story was interesting. It even mentions The (great) New Yorker. (http://www.foliomag.com/2016/magazine-publishers-embrace-vr/)
I swear I read what I’d said earlier; but maybe i dreamed it.
It doesn’t look like magazines are less interested now in media. (I said that a post or two ago.)
I have now read every book on writing 3rd Limited/Close and the evil habit of straying into 3rd Omniscient. I’ve also alienated all my friends, asking for advice.
I finally wrote some ‘experts’ as to where I could take a class/workshop. I think I’m OK with writing in 3rd Limited now. But i want this to be as fool proof as my non fiction about cowboys in Oklahoma or shamans in Nepal.
I’ve seen hundreds of letters from writers struggling with this POV thing, too. They’re all over the Net, frantically asking for help. And the dozens of unrealistic articles: ‘You have to choose which pov suits you!’
I know that a critique group or even hiring an editor won’t correct this. I have to learn it for myself.
Tune in for the results. I’ll post where to find those classes.
Thanks again for your comments. I learn a lot from you! Julie
“Volition and Vocation” = guts, stamina, personal will to achieve what you know you should do.
In a fragmented age it’s hard to even want to follow your own path. But it’s more important now than ever. Take a deep breath. Do you want to express yourself? Look around. Find out what you can do, immediately. Do you need to earn a little money? Figure that in and get moving.
Is writing your vocation? Are you flexible? But can you still be yourself?
Studying other writers last night, I kept coming on that phrase, “Volition and Vocation.” It means many things. For most of us today, it simply means putting our heads down and being the artists we know we are. Going for it, despite all the distractions.
The ancient Greeks and Romans, talking about the work of art itself, said that it should ‘move’ a person, from one state of mind to another.
That’s how I feel about my life work. It must constantly challenge and move me, from a stalemate to a vital, living and breathing way of life.
What we do should move us and change us for the better.
So far, micro-jobs don’t cut it — for me. I frankly don’t believe that life is profile-driven. I’ve read others who get ‘sucked down the rabbit hole of the internet’ in this process.
But if you can get through their process quickly, that’s one idea for you! I met a Scotsman (in Thailand) yesterday who supports himself, traveling for months at a time, writing about what interests him. He started with micro-jobs.
His advice: there are thousands of micro-jobs on the Net. Just find something that interests you… it works. Give me feedback about how you were able to cope with micro-jobs!
(My only good experience with a micro-job so far: the chat line people were very helpful. I’m an expert now on customer service reps. Maybe I’ll write an article on that.)
Now in my heart of hearts, I’d just like to finish Sexy Oil Field Lover!
You might also be interested to know that non fiction article writing is a bit more ‘human’ than it was for a few years. I’ve seen a few ads lately asking for ‘less emphasis on media’ which is nice. (More writing, fewer supporting videos). I still like Writers Market and some online marketing services, too. Quite a bit of work, but it’s worth it.
(I published my first article in an internationally published trade magazine in 1995. I threw a yoga hand-out I’d written into an envelope. They published it as a ‘linked poem’ and I wrote for them for over 10 years.)
Time to meet a friend for lunch. Let me know what you’re up to. You’re interesting, you know.
Remember that song by the Stones, long long ago? Pretty creative, energetic, descriptive? Recall the next line: ‘Her … got soul…’
Creativity is the way to keep your soul as your own. You can quote me on that.
I was reading up on deep point of view today. My favorite explanation is here:
Writers in the Storm isn’t always my favorite writing blog, but this was just perfect. It explains very clearly what publishers (so far as I know) demand of us, if we’re writing love stories. (I don’t know about other forms of fiction, but non-fiction doesn’t have these expectations.)
Frankly, I became exasperated with Writers in the Storm when they went on a tech-is-Life jag. I’m pretty strong on keeping humans in charge. There are so many wonderful sci fi stories about humans becoming passive and lazy. I read some especially chilling ones this last year. I’m careful about using too many gadgets and devices to do my writing for me.
At any rate, I do recommend this post. It also gives credence to using fewer and more descriptive dialogue tags, even if you’re uninterested in the other stuff. I think we can all learn from this post.
Although I’ve read Julia Quinn novels and agree with other authors that JQ’s text is ‘sparse’ — I enjoy her light touch and simplicity. Also, I think her sparse prose sends us a wonderful sense of FUN.
I’m looking over my dream-journals (I’ve written my dreams down for years, first thing each morning) to make my descriptions come alive. Hemingway refused to describe his protagonists. I describe people once and that’s enough. I simply won’t shove long-winded descriptions down readers throats.
But I want to be fair so I looked over some of Julia Quinn’s books today. I decided that learning to have a light, cheerful touch is probably the answer.
Another idea is to look at your own journals/dream journals. Translating a dream into everyday English does strengthen your powers of description. You have taken an abstract thought and put it into robust, earthy English. And diaries/journals do keep us describing our emotions.
A little talk about technique that will hopefully help! Keep in touch. Julia Bates