Wednesday, July 1, 2009

My First Time

My First Time

By Pat Cunningham

No, not that first time. (Made ya look, though, didn’t I? Ha ha!) I’m talking about my first sale of a romance story to a romance publisher. “Coyote Moon” will be available shortly from epublisher Siren/BookStrand. Since my other story sales were all to SF/fantasy markets, this means I’ve successfully crossed over into another genre.

Well, crossed over, at any rate. We’ll find out how successful I was once the reviews start coming in.

To be fair, I cheated. It’s a paranormal (shape-shifters), so there are strong fantasy elements, which kept me well within my comfort zone. It’s a comedy – again, something I’m no stranger to. I had a ball writing the dialogue, but for me dialogue’s the fun part.

Switching focus from a plot-driven adventure to the developing relationship between two people – okay, you got me. That was the tricky part. Still locked in action/adventure mode, I tend to run with the plot and forget the relationship. I need to slow down and give these people a chance to get to know each other. Half the time I have to go back and shoehorn in the sex scene. That’s not how you write a romance, much less keep your characters happy.

So, what have I learned from my foray into a brand-new genre? I love humor and snappy repartee. I should probably focus on romcoms. I need to add more sensory detail. I use variations of “was” far too often. (The editor highlighted every one of them in the manuscript. Yikes! Passive voice was rampant. See what I mean?)

Best of all, I’ve added a new form of writing to my resume. Now I can get rejected in science fiction, fantasy, and romance. Tomorrow, the world.

How long will I swim in my new pool? Depends on how long the paranormal trend stays healthy. I’ve got all sorts of ideas. My current WIP involves a werewolf paired with a witch (she’s a vegetarian – hilarity ensues) to solve a murder mystery. Great, now I’m doing mysteries. Genre number four.

The important thing is to learn the rules, keep them in mind, and treat the material with respect, regardless of the genre(s). With luck and lots of practice, you’re bound to produce a tale that people will read from end to end and find entertaining enough to thank you afterwards. That works no matter what genre you write in.


Savanna Kougar said...

Pat, yay! I'm so excited! Your take on humor is great.

Wendi Zwaduk said...

Great post. Congrats on the sale and subsequent publish. Sounds like a fun read.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, everybody! I love humor and sparkling repartee (did I spell that right?) between hero and heroine. As long as paranormal stays popular, I'm in for the long haul. After that, it's on to mysteries. Maybe we should hold a contest: How many genres can you write in? Or mix and match. That's the fun part.

If anybody's wondering if the hero looks familiar, I asked them to base him on Owen Wilson. That's who I pictured while I wrote the story.


Savanna Kougar said...

Pat, so far, so good as far as paranormal romance goes...
I haven't seen any slowing down... perhaps, a change in the type of story... but I think it's still wide open.
I enjoy writing in the different genres... but only if I can write the romance story that goes with the story.
Besides, romance is a top-selling genre, and even more so in these economic times.