Romance resistance syndrome

It’s the first Wednesday of the month again, time for a post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.

OPTIONAL SEPTEMBER QUESTION: Have you ever surprised yourself with your writing? (For example, by trying a new genre you didn’t think you’d be comfortable in?)

MY ANSWER: Oh, yeah. Romance. Regency romance, to be precise. Most of my fiction is pure fantasy, sometimes with a dash of romantic flavor, but most often not even a whiff. My brain doesn’t seem to lean in that direction. But I won’t surprise anyone to say that romance is the most popular genre in fiction. I enjoy reading romances, especially clean romances, like Georgette Heyer, even though I don’t write them.

After I started putting my fiction on wattpad and not getting many reads or votes, I decided to conduct an experiment. A couple years ago, I wrote a regency romance novella, Fibs in the Family, and put it on wattpad (you can read it here) to see what would happen. What did happen flabbergasted me. My little experiment has become the most read of all my stories there. At the last count, it got 24.6 thousand reads and 1.6 thousand votes. People like it, and the comments are most flattering. I don’t promote it at all, but it gets new readers all the time. If I was selling this novella and got such numbers, it would’ve been considered a bestseller.

Now, I want to capitalize on its success and write another regency novella, with two different protagonists, but it goes very slowly. Didn’t I tell you that my brain doesn’t bend towards love stories? I even made a charming cover in the same style as this one, but my new heroine keeps trying to fix all her problems herself. She doesn’t really need the guy and not even sure she likes him. And she is supposed to fall in love with him. Argh! I’m struggling to stuff the story into the proper and very rigid romantic format, but it bites back really hard. I’m stuck.

I can’t even call it a writer’s block. Since I started working on this new romance novella two years ago, I’ve been getting distracted by other ideas. I have written another novella, a steampunk adventure, and several short stories – neither of them overly romantic – and even got a couple of stories published already. But my regency romance wouldn’t unfold.

I want to finish that story. I really like both protagonists. Many of you write romance. Any advice?

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This entry was posted in Insecure Writer's Support Group, Novella, Olga Godim, Regency, Romance, wattpad, Writing and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Romance resistance syndrome

  1. bookcupidity says:

    I hope something comes together soon for you so that your story can be completed. Great post, it’s funny how things work out sometimes.

  2. Juneta says:

    Wow, that is cool writing regency romance. When I was a young adult I read a lot of that, so I know research and details are a huge part of that. Congrats.
    Juneta @ Writer’s Gambit

  3. Loni Townsend says:

    I’m a terribly unromantic person, so I don’t have any advice. Anytime I try to write a romantic relationship, it’s riddled with flippant humor and moment-ruining scenes. Ah well. Best of luck with your story!

  4. Hello, Olga. I’m also new to romance, having written mostly mysteries up until now. I really liked the craft book On Writing Romance: How to Craft a Novel that Sells, by Leigh Michaels. Lots of practical advice and examples from published romance stories. Perhaps that might bump you toward completion?

  5. spunkonastick says:

    Congrats! Although doesn’t that just make you bonkers knowing a genre you don’t even write is hugely popular and in place it pays no money? Surprised someone has approached you about publishing it.

  6. Wow, that’s incredible!
    You might be just pressuring yourself too much. Just relax and let the story flow.

  7. I started with romance – even outlined a trilogy (contemporary romance). But it still sits on the back burner. I fell in love with writing whodunit mysteries. There you have it! Write your passion….

  8. Erika Beebe says:

    I wish I could help you Olga but they scare me too! Please share tips in the future as you learn them 🙂

  9. Lee says:

    I don’t write romance, but I have always found art work to be useful in stirring the imagination when I feel stymied. For me, murder scenes, graveyards, dark, rainy highways. Maybe some regency art work could shake loose some ideas.

  10. Those numbers are astounding! Congratulations!

  11. I’m impressed that you switched from fantasy to romance. I don’t think I can. Sorry I can’t help you with what you’re stuck with in your story. Maybe give it a rest and think about it in the background, like when you’re taking a shower or walking. That sometimes does it for me.

  12. Excellent about that novella on Wattpad – good for you! I don’t know much about reading or writing romance so I would just say let the story tell you what it wants to be. Forcing it into a mold will make for a stilted story.

  13. patgarcia says:

    Hi,
    I love Georgette Heyer and have read everyone or almost everyone of her books as well as Phyllis Whitney, Victoria Holt and Mary Stewart. In fact, one of the reasons that I write romance is because of these writers.
    All the best in your endeavours.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Patricia Everything Must Change>/a>

  14. Donna Hole says:

    Lol; figures romance would be the one most people read. I prefer fantasy, or horror/thriller. I don’t need clean romance, but it can’t be all angsty or shallow either.
    Congrats on the Wattpad likes.

  15. I wish I could help, but I think romance is the toughest genre to write.
    Way to go with Wattpad and that novel!

  16. yvettecarol says:

    That’s interesting to hear about Wattpad. I must revisit that idea sometime, too. Funny thing is, the first novel I ever attempted writing as an adult was romance. I made a vision board with pictures and notes, yet never finished it. I admire your sticking with your story. Keep it up!

  17. Oops! Forgot this in my comment above….

    You and your blog have been nominated by me for the Liebster Blog Award. Check it out:

    My post: https://dbmcnicol.blogspot.com/2017/09/blog-awards-and-thank-you.html

  18. Georgette Heyer nailed those romances didn’t she? And her heroines weren’t weak either.
    As a non-writer with not a lot of romance in my soul I can’t help but wonder whether giving your characters their head is the way to go?

  19. Kathy says:

    Hi there! I’m new to IWSG, so this comment comes late. Not sure if the intentions of the blog hop are to have folks read and post comments only on the day of the hop or not. Given that I’m brand spanking new to blogging in general, I’m slowly making my way through all of the participants’ sites to get a flavor for website design and post formats, etc. I haven’t explored Wattpad at all. I know Joanna Penn did a podcast about using it as a marketing and publicity tool, but something about putting up our creative work for free reading bothers me. I’d love to hear your thoughts on Wattpad in more depth. Perhaps a blog post topic? Regarding the current WIP and your struggles with your strong female lead not needing the man to solve her problems… perhaps your WIP is presenting you with an opportunity to turn the trope on its head? I’m sensing some gender role reversals. In any case, thanks for the post and happy writing to you! 🙂

  20. Rebecca Douglass says:

    I can’t help thinking that if writing inside the lines of the romance genre isn’t working, maybe that’s not your genre? Of course, since I’m no fan of romances, it’s easy for me to say you should dump it and write what you like!

    But maybe…maybe we could have Regency Romance with a heroine who takes care of her own problems and accept a man in the end on her own terms? Just a (no doubt heretical) thought 🙂

    —Rebecca
    My IWSG Post

  21. Liza says:

    I don’t write romance, so I can’t guide you…but I’d write the story the way it wants to be written, not the way the genre tells you. I’m thinking you’ll get better writing that way…

  22. Lynn La Vita says:

    I love your imagination and story telling. I’m sure your strong-minded characters will find a way to communicate with you. It’s all gonna work out just fine.

  23. That is so cool. Congrats on the success of this novella. The covering is intriguing, and the title also draws you in.
    Mary from Play off the Page

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