Since I am approaching my 50th birthday at the end of June, I'm trying to wrap up my 6-month Professional Mid-Life Crisis.
Good luck to me! Hee hee.
I have been searching for a place for me and my writing...a community that values quality, integrity, and originality.
I tried to squeeze myself in the cozy mystery genre, but I realized that my heart wasn't in it.
I thought about mystery, horror, women's fiction.
But I keep coming back to the same issue. My "heart" wants to write love stories with happy endings. Unfortunately, I'm not sure I belong in the romance genre anymore.
So, instead of trying to squeeze my round self (extremely round...*wink*) into the square peg, I'm making up a new term for what I want to write.
What is it? What are the things I care about as a writer?
1. Original content.
I'm interested in original characters, storylines, concepts. No copycat books, trends, series. No bandwagon-jumping. Original, unique writing is key.
2. Character-driven fiction.
3. Hopeful themes, faith in people, inspiring characters.
I'm not interested in dark topics/themes like rape, abuse, torture, cheating, etc. I like fiction that is hopeful, inspiring, and showcases the good in people.
4. Real heroes.
That includes men, women, children, elves, dachshunds, etc. Characters who are loyal and heroic. Heroic acts are not always huge, over-the-top events. Sometimes they are small and subtle. But they're still critical.
It's very important to me to produce a quality book. I hire professional editors, cover artists, and formatters. I care about grammar, craft, storytelling.
6. Love stories.
How does love affect our lives in every way? Friendship, family bonds, romantic relationships.
7. Integrity in publishing.
No manipulative stuff to make a bestseller list. My focus is creating a well-crafted book, and I'm still learning. I would rather spend my time working on craft than gaming the publishing system.
8. Stories for all ages.
Children, adults, universal themes.
9. Happy endings.
Non-negotiable. It doesn't matter if I write romance, humor, fantasy, or children's fiction. My books have a happy ending. It's a sure thing.
10. Optimistic Fiction.
When you finish the book, it makes you happy. It's a simple concept. It's the whole reason I was attracted to romance in the first place.
Now, if someone asks me what I write, I answer "Optimistic Fiction." It's a lot easier than saying love stories-and comedy-and holiday fantasy-and super heroic weenie dog tales-and over-forty romance...and...
And the best part? I don't have to worry about the person saying..."Romance? Oh! Like 50 Shades of Grey?"
No, not like that at all.