Thursday, August 11, 2005

Yellow Brick Roadtrip

Two works of erotic urban fantasy romance.

A contemporary erotic paranormal romance.

A medieval-set erotic fairytale romance.

An erotic chick lit with paranormal elements.

The above describes the five projects currently taking up my time and attention. When I shove each into its own teeny, neatly labeled box, it's easy to see how the whole 'branding' thing may jump up and bite me in the ass.(Also, the labels themselves make me break out in hives.) The only similarity between them is the vast amounts of what the
Smart Bitches call the 'rumpy-pumpy.'

When pressed, I'll admit that each also contains some element or elements of the paranormal. But these elements--classic late-show monsters characterized as villains, the same 'monsters' cast as heroes, black witchcraft and hoodoo as practiced in present-day Louisiana, fairytale magic full of talking horses and bad guys turned into rodents, and a ghost that may or may not be a figment of the protagonist's soiled conscience--are so disparate as to be nearly useless in helping me and my work fit into a particular marketing niche.

The problem lies entirely with me and my short attention span. Once I've told myself a story in my head...once it's laid out like a movie I can rewind and fast-forward and edit and re-edit obsessively...I find myself losing interest in actually getting it down on the page. I KNOW the story, and how it ends. Even if I'm not entirely certain of every detail, my subconscious or unconscious or muse or WHATEVER is already barking like a cop on the corner: "Move along, now. Nuthin' to see. Ya don't hafta go home, but ya can't stay here."

Of course, once I actually complete something, the satisfaction is enormous and gratifying and motivating and all that excellent shit. But the idea of writing something else in that world? Or--God forbid--employing those characters? Appalls me. I want fresh meat. I want to research another city/state/country; I want to explore a new kind of supernatural/paranormal phenomenon. I want to get to know new characters and find interesting ways in which to make them miserable. I want to FLIT to the next project, telling myself I can always come back to the first one later. I'm addicted to FLITTING. I...*hangs head in shame* a FLIT-ER-ER.

So, being perverse and naturally inclined to torment myself, I've begun a series of novellas set in the same world. I've already sold one, and if it generates interest and sales, I'll be writing three more--hopefully enough to fill a small anthology (always assuming my brilliant, sensitive, and startlingly well-groomed editor likes them, of course). By the time I'm finished, I fully expect to be thoroughly sick of that world and those who inhabit it, but I'll have proved I can do it, at least to myself.

I guess the big question is this: Is the rumpy-pumpy, combined with utterly disparate paranormal elements, enough to 'brand' an author? Or will my natural inclination toward diversity--and, let's be honest, the lack of self-discipline that's led to the diversity--screw me big-time in terms of marketing? Do I need to pick a 'type' of paranormal element (urban fantasy, contemporary witchcraft, fairytale skullduggery, magic realism) and stick to it in order to build a readership within the erotic romance audience? I'm askin'.

So, to re-cap...from my last post, we know I'm a lily-livered coward who's afraid to submit projects out of an irrational terror of rejection. And now we know I lack self-discipline and am in possession of the attention span of a two-year-old hopped up on a full box of Cocoa Puffs. What a pretty picture, no?

My buddy and crit partner, Watcher Don,
discusses similar issues in his usual insightful manner. (I take no responsibility for his views on romance fiction or the process by which it's created or published, btw.) It's good to know I'm not alone as I struggle with this issue.

In other news, the indescribably talented, witty, and brilliant Barb Ferrer has
officially announced her deal with Pocket/MTV Books. Self-discipline? And an attention-span that can be calculated in millennia? She's got 'em both, and look what they--along with the indescribable talent, wit, and brilliance...did I mention those?--have gotten her.

There's a lesson here. Of course, I'd have to ingest the creative equivalent of a boatload of Ritalin to sit still long enough to learn it, vicious FLIT-ER-ER that I am.

But that's okay. As Jenny Crusie has been known to say, there are many roads to Oz. The fact that my road is complicated by detours of my own design may only make my journey that much richer. And after all, if a virgin with the bad taste to wear gingham with red-sequined shoes can find her way, how tough can it be?


Blogger Eva Gale said...

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Do not look at the whole thing and become overwhelmed, look at what's directly in front of you and accomplish that. Set daily goals, and you'll have the beast eaten down to the bones in no time.

I get writing ADD too, and because Hatchling #1 actually has it, I get my coping strageties from him. :)

Sounds like some hot fun you have planned there! So go write, so I can read!

8/11/2005 10:55 AM  
Anonymous Barb said...

What I find ironic about the whole, "being appalled by staying in the same world" thing, is who exactly, was it, who encouraged me to "write Sam's story, wouldja, wouldja, wouldja, please??" or, "I think there's another story with that Valdes clan..."

Irony, thy name is Selah.

And once more with feeling: I don't care what you write, as long as you keep writing. Because everything I've read of yours is so good and I so envy your ability to leap from historical to contemporary; from third to first to the way you weave paranormal elements so seamlessly into your stories.

Face it, Cocoa Puffs. You're good.

8/11/2005 11:09 AM  
Blogger Donald Francis said...

Another excellent post, but I have to point out a disagreement with the thesis presented.

You think of yourself as a FLIT-ER-ER, but many, many novelists are, at least in the sense you describe. Stephen King, for example, doesn't write sequels, per se, with the exception of the Dark Tower series. The bulk of his work, while there are interconnections and certain characters who may lead one book and make a cameo in another, is very much like yours in terms of content. Haunted Colorado Hiltons, gothic Southern mansions, werewolves in New England, vampires, alien invasions, evil Plymouths...and yet he's probably the most successful novelist since Dickens.

In fact, I would say that in terms of themes and voice, you are a female, kinky Stephen King...a Stephanie Queen, if you will, with stronger female protagonists and quite a lot more sexual content. And fewer bathroom references. And no groups of six preteens banging little girls. But I digress. I guess I'm a fliterer, too.

8/12/2005 12:18 PM  
Blogger Selah March said...

Briana--you make good sense. I shall keep trying.

Barbara--show me where I claimed I wasn't a HUGE hypocrite. Cocoa Puffs. *snerk*

Donald--Stephanie Queen? Where were you when I was choosing a pseudonym? Oh, that's right. You were standing in the corner, pointing and laughing. :p

8/12/2005 1:46 PM  
Blogger Donald Francis said...

Laughing? At YOU...SELAH?

Heaven forfend.

Although I still believe that Tacitus has a lengthy discourse somewhere on how the Roman General Selah's legions dismantled the troublesome Veneditians or somebody.

8/13/2005 12:22 AM  
Blogger Selah March said...

I'll have you know the name Selah has a lengthy tradition of use in New England--having fallen out of favor only in the past two hundred or so years--was EXTREMELY popular amongst the Puritans (ranking right up there with Sarah, Anne, Elizabeth, and Mary)--and features PROMINENTLY in the Book of Psalms.


8/13/2005 9:32 PM  
Blogger Donald Francis said...

Well, yes, if there is ANY name that belongs prominently displayed on the covers of erotic romances, it's one with a distinctly Puritanical tradition.

Actually, I've warmed to it. :)

8/17/2005 12:05 AM  
Blogger Selah March said...

What? You don't appreciate IRONY anymore?

8/17/2005 10:10 AM  

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