It is definitely a time to read for me. I was out of the office on Friday due to a hacking cough, so I didn’t blog either. However, I had a productive long weekend. I read all of The First 50 Pages by Jeff Gerke. I also read most of my Writer’s Digest magazine and I started reading Writer with a Day Job: Inspiration and Exercises to Help You Craft a Writing Life Alongside Your Career by Aine Greaney. I felt I needed this book since I work full time. I also plan to start reading On Writing Romance by Leigh Michaels. It is the only book I have on writing within my genre and I should probably heed its advice as I go through the revision process.
Some of the advice in Gerke’s book felt like it didn’t work for the romance genre. I could be wrong, but I had a hard time interpreting it for the type of book I am writing. Most of the advice, however, was great. I have some new ideas for how to begin my book, especially the first line. He has very practical, usable advice for getting your readers hooked. I recommend the book overall, but I would not take every word to heart. Use the parts that seem to apply to your genre and for the rest of it, read a book about how to write your genre.
There are a lot of specific things I want to know as I go into On Writing Romance. How do I give the overall tone for the book in the first pages when I haven’t introduced my main characters yet? How do I build sexual tension between my couple? What kind of conflict is necessary to make the book move forward? I have found that I am a character first writer (thanks to Gerke) and I come up with great characters but have a hard time getting them to do things. My plot points in my book feel rather weak. I have some sexual tension, one defining moment, but these things feel hurried. I apparently don’t know how to build the conflict/tension in this story, so I am looking for advice. I hope to find it in Michaels’s book.
So reading is definitely on my agenda, and I am making notes in my manuscript as I go along, adding ideas of things to write about in those opening pages and hopefully beyond. My manuscript is always in the back of my mind as I read, so I am not forgetting it, but I feel I need to do a little self-education in order to make the editing process easier. I know I am going to have to edit more than once, but the fewer times the better. Happy writing, all!