Thursday, December 23, 2010
Mary's Rants - Guest Blogger: Marie Higgins
Write What You Know
For years the phrase write what you know has been drilled into my head, and for many years I couldn’t figure out what it meant. Write what I know? Really? And this is supposed to make my romances come alive? Hmm… I just couldn’t see that happening. After all, my life is boring! Well, except for the time when my 16 yr old daughter got pregnant, married a wife-beater, then he took her and my grandson away to another state without letting us talk to her or even know where they were staying. Other than that, my life has been boring. For many years I worked, came home, fixed dinner, took care of the kids, and took them to school activities. I tried to do my best at the terrible day job, tried to be a good mother and wife, and attended church regularly and fulfilled my church duties. What could I possibly write about that would keep people interested?
So for years I wrote what I didn’t know… I wrote sensual romance. I created worlds with yummy heroes bent on seducing the heroine. I wrote lusty heroines who although put up a good front, they really wanted the hero to seduce them. And, all this time, I used a pen name because I didn’t want my extended family and church family to know what kind of stories I wrote. Heaven forbid someone in my church would read one of my stories! I didn’t want to be responsible for giving someone a heart attack. For years I tried to catch an agent’s interest. I wanted to show her how my writing was different from the other thousands of sensual romance writers out there. I was rejected time and time again.
Then the first of this year (2010) I decided to try Christian romance. It was a light bulb moment for me because then I realized THIS IS WHAT I KNOW!!! I was born a Christian and I’ve been going to church every day and believing in God, praying, etc. I also realized I wouldn’t be competing with thousands of other writers because the number of Christian writers are not as high as the number of sensual writers.
After making it a goal to get a Christian romance published, I took one of my previously published sensual romances and…converted my characters. Yup, I took out the sexual tension (and sex scenes) and I added in faith promoting ideas. The first publisher I submitted to rejected my story but told me they liked my writing but my characters were just a little bit too sensual. (Really? Where did that come from? lol) So I went through my story again and cleaned it up. This particular publisher wanted snail mail submissions, and it just so happened that I didn’t have any paper to print and I was out of ink, so I couldn’t send my story back to them until payday. During that wait, I found another Christian publisher who took email submissions. The editor read the first chapter of my story and was hooked – and they contracted me within three weeks!!
Thanks, Marie, I've heard the same thing, I guess now I need to find out what "I know" so I can write about it.