On Facebook, where I live, my 500 plus close, personal friends are posting something they are thankful for every day in November. I thought about it, but between keeping the flock clean, fed, and watered, and writing two thousand words a day for NaNoWriMo, I am just going to throw my list up here, and be done with it.
1. Never a dull moment: How can life be dull when you need every spare moment to figure out the worst thing that could happen to your heroine or hero? Baby kidnapped? Done! Pirates in the basement? Done! Finds out hero is gay? Do– wait, better not go there unless both main characters are male or female. Hmmmm.
2. Gather with other writers: I am blessed to have gathering resources both online, like Scribophile, and in person, with Romance Writers of America-San Diego. And someday I will achieve my goal of attending a writing conference. That will be amazing. (Wait! I’ve been to three writing conferences since I first wrote this. Yay, me!)
3. So many resources online: Everything from when a word first started to be used, as much as can be documented, to generators to help you pick names for the characters and places. Even Google Maps helps to show how far Point A is from Point B and the top speed of a horse.
4. Books about writing: There is always something to learn. There are many books to teach you the specific thing you need to learn. I am looking forward to the day I need to open the book How to Write Irresistible Query Letters by Lisa Collier Cool.
5. Online Publishing, Baby: More money for the author, less expense for the publisher, easier to reach readers, easy to track readers and sales. Win-win-win-win!
6. Share favorite authors: Email and social media make it so easy to introduce friends to our favorite authors, and they always reciprocate. Mike and I both are enthralled with the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. I am so thankful to the friend who asked if anyone was a fan. I certainly am now.
7. Never too late to start writing: Yes, I do wish I had kept up my writing from two decades ago. Oh, well, life happens. I am back on track and will not give up this time. I learned that lesson.
8. Contests: Of course, whenever I get a letter saying that I did not win a contest I entered, I feel like the judges were just being mean to me. Then I wait a while. Once I can calmly and objectively read their notes and comments, I can find the good there. I can improve my story. It’s all good.
9. Positive Outlook: The world of Romance Writers, published or not, is an upbeat, happy place to live. Friends and even acquaintances are willing to work with you, to solve problems, and to make you see the light at the end of the tunnel you wrote yourself into.
10. Being Male Temporarily: One of the earliest writing classes I took suggested thinking just as your characters would. If you have a male character, and you are female (which I currently am), close your eyes as in meditation and imagine what your body looks like. Granted, I must do this in a particular order because once I get to my favorite part, it’s over for that day.
11. Storyline tweaking: Yes, most authors are tweakers, but no drugs (as far as I know) are involved. Did I start the story too soon? Tweak! Does the hero not have enough cuts and bruises by the end of the book? Tweak! Is there a theme to the story that got lost mid-way? Tweak!
12. Names of characters: I wanted to have 10 children. I’m happy I got to raise two. But in high school, my friends and I came up with 10 or more names apiece. What does one do with all those names? Characters! Just like having a few hundred children, because honestly while the birthing of characters is nowhere near as calamitous and rigorous as real births, you never let them go. They are with you always.
13. So many books needed: One of the facts that let authors and writers be so open and friendly with each other is that the market for books has blown wide open. We’ll never write more than can be sold. India is one of the new, fast-growing markets, how many new readers is that? A lot!
14. Names of Stories: This may be bittersweet, but still I am thankful for it. For several decades I called my Regency Romance The Mouse and Miles. A suggestion from a publisher that I call it The Viscount’s Mouse to confirm it’s being a Regency took time for me to digest, but when I posted about it and heard from other writers, they agreed with the publisher. So there it is. My Work In Progress has the working title of May and December, but I am running lots of alternate titles around in my head.
15. Names of Planets: Yes, in spite of being stuck in the Regency for the moment, not that I mind so much, I do have several sci-fi romances on back-burners. I like these because they can be as erotic as I like, and it breaks no taboos unless I put that taboo there. And all the stories need names of the planet where they are, or where they came from, or the ship they are on, etc. Endless possibilities in infinite combination. (Please don’t sue me, Paramount! I tweaked it a bit)
Come back on Thursday for the rest of the list! See you then.
This blog was originally posted way back when, November 17 of 2013. There were many typos and no graphics. I’m thankful I got the chance to correct that in 2017.