Monday, July 29, 2013

Different Strokes

I entered my first RWA contest in 2007, the Romancing the Tome First Five Pages. I read my entry to my husband, who makes no bones about what he thinks of reading. The word "book" is spoken with vehemence in our household, unless it's a L'Amour or Johnstone or Brandvolt western ;) (A book arrives in the mail and he announces, "You got a "book!" as if I'd ordered by accident.) He only reads when he's forced to; when he's been forced inside for weeks at a time and has run out of taped "Pawn Stars", Pickers, duck and deer hunting shows, "Strike Force" ad Encore westerns. You get the picture.

So I was astonished and pleased when he listened to my romantic suspense entry and was very complimentary. And then, when I received my constructive and kind rejection letter from Wanda Ottwell at Harlequin SR he was incensed on my behalf. It was sweet. That was then.

When I wrote the next contemporary romance based on my experiences as a rural carrier, he praised the story and the snippet I read to him. But then I felt like something was missing and turned it into a paranormal. I got ready to enter it in te WRW contest and handed him the first pages expectantly.

After much eyebrow scrunching, grunting and several sidelong glances, he handed it back to me with a sigh. "You'll have to give this to someone smarter than me. I'm totally in the dark." (He doesn't do vampires, fairires, or anything that goes bump or hoodoo.)

Encouraged by the WRW judges and not daunted in the least by his opinion I pitched the story in Atlanta at Moonlight and Magnolias to an HQ editor who seemed excited to hear more. Ironically, she also wanted to see a contemporary version! This WAS daunting. I coudn't see myself doing two entirely different genre versions of the same story.

I also gave it to my girlfriend who reads epic fantasy. After reading it and the C.L. Wilson Tairen Soul books I'd sent her, she told her boss with whom she shares her fantasy reading, "Who knew? There's such a thing as chic fantasy!"

What is the moral of this story? I guess it's that there is a genre out there for everyone but if you really want beneficial feedback for your story, search for someone who reads that subgenre.

Do you, like me, read across genres of fiction? Do you read different genres for different purposes? I tend to read historical romance when I want to relax, maybe because I couldn't in a million years actually write it.

I guess another lesson for me was not to let friends and family read my writing. ;))

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