Okay, so I’m only 1,600 words in but a start is a start! After my brain finished the whole “nah, this isn’t good” play, it took another tactic. The wonderful, “well, this one is good but you’ll never write a sequel that people will like just as much!” strategy.
Cue paralysing fear for a day or two! My biggest concern is that the way I envisaged the first book was a very specific way of telling Ariana and Gabriel’s story but it doesn’t fit for the other three books.
I also made the mistake of Googling “how to write a romance novel” (insert eye roll here). It turns out that the way I wrote The Album is pretty much just wrong for the romance genre, go me!
I’ve spoken to a few friends about this since and they’ve all agreed that they liked what I’ve written and that maybe the romance genre needs a breath of fresh air. Maybe I’m just writing my own genre…the genre of “I love trashy chick lit but I’ll accept a book written that bucks some of the standard tropes if I like the story” genre?
Don’t get me wrong, The Album is desperately full of romance tropes, it wouldn’t be good (in my opinion), otherwise! But yeah…when I was reading those articles, it reminded me of what my editor had said, that romance readers expect something specific from their books and I should consider giving it to them.
Again, though, I lost interest in my own novel when I started writing it that way! It literally transformed into Generic Romance Novel by Sian Ceinwen instead of being The Album. I truly adore it the way it is and I’m hoping that other people will, too. Maybe romance readers only like a certain thing because that’s what the romance publishers have been serving up to them?
Several people (including my editor, who has edited professionally for years) have told me that they’ve never seen a story told the way mine is told. That’s not to say that my way of storytelling is particularly unique or special but just that it’s different.
Gah! I can’t wait for more people to read it! But yes, that is why I’m scared of writing the second one because the way I wrote the first was so specific to that couple and would be, quite frankly, dumb if I tried to use it again.
I guess if you think about it, Stephenie Meyer did do something similar in Breaking Dawn, with that whole section from Jacob’s point of view which broke the mould of how the series was written up to that point but we were all so enamoured by then that we didn’t care about the change up.
What if people love the way The Album is told and then just hate the switch? I’ve kind of come to the conclusion through all of this that the way I want to tell these stories is just going to be weird and hopefully wonderful.
I got feedback from another advance reader today. The IT manager at work gave it to his wife to read and so far she’s been really positive. That’s a step removed from “my friend read it and liked it” so take that, scumbag brain! Apparently it’s “just as good as Twilight” which is a big compliment as I’m told that’s her favourite book!
Fingers crossed I hear something back from my editor soon, in the meantime, I’m working with someone on the cover and then it can go for formatting and I’ll be ready to publish. Eeeeeek!