How to Become a (Romance) Author by Julie Arduini
This is part of my Fall Book Club discussion Tuesday nights, 8pm, EDT at http://facebook.com/JulieArduini/Author. I’m going through my first contemporary romance, ENTRUSTED, and also sharing writing tips and behind-the-scenes info on the characters, chapters, plot, and the Adirondack Mountains. I just started, so feel free to grab your copy and join me!
I’m not sure my journey into contemporary romance is normal, but I thought I’d share my experience into how ENTRUSTED came to be and see if you can glean anything to encourage you.
One thing I know isn’t normal but it seems to mark the authors from the rest of the world is that I was always asking questions. There was one I was constantly putting out there as an observer in life.
What if that goodbye in the airport is a break-up?
What if that phone call in a parking lot is the start of a reunion?
I was, and continue to ask the “what if” question everywhere I go. From there, story ideas take a life of their own. It gets the creative juices flowing. Take it a step further and journal those thoughts.
1. Ask “what if” to people you see in everyday places and let your creativity flow. Journal where your mind takes you.
I was a recent college graduate the first time I visited the village of Speculator in the Adirondack Mountains. As my friend walked me around, I pictured Ben and Jenna and asked myself, “What if Jenna moved here from somewhere else and wanted to belong?” “What if Ben owned the grocery store and had lived here forever, and resented change—including a new girl in town?” That’s the genesis of ENTRUSTED.
Years passed thanks to marriage and kids, but the desire to write never truly went away. About ten years ago I took a course from the Christian Writer’s Guild and I wrote articles and flash fiction for FaithWriters.
2. Never stop learning. Read books on the writing craft. Read books by authors in your genre. For me, I read a lot of craft books by authors associated with Writer’s Digest. I signed up for blogs that featured writing tips and read them. I joined American Christian Fiction Writers, ACFW, and joined critique groups. ENTRUSTED was more than one draft. I think it might have been five. If you truly want this, you will persevere through the red marks, suggestions, and parts you know have to go.
3. Write! It sounds easy, but this remains my biggest challenge. I let my mind get the best of me and convince myself I’m wasting my time. If you are called, you’ll be equipped. You can do it, but only if you actually write. If being at home is a problem, set office hours. Go to the library. But take yourself and your writing seriously. Your book will never be published if you don’t write it. ENTRUSTED, from idea to tangible book, took 20 years. TWENTY. YEARS. That doesn’t have to be your story.
I’d love to hear from you!