I emailed the revised book yesterday to my first beta reader, a friend of mine for roughly 16 years now and a friend that I bonded with over plenty of things, romance books in particular. We met when I was maybe 19 or 20 and I saw her working at a fast food chain. She was nice at the counter and I knew the restaurant I was working at was looking to hire someone new. Who knew we’d still be friends today? And that her returning the favor – getting me a new job once she’d left – would eventually lead to me meeting my husband! It’s a wild world.
Anyway, she would get a crapload of romance novels – in particular those ever abundant Silhouette or Harlequin novels – and she was a voracious reader. Once she was done, she often passed those books along to me. She still likes reading romance, so I thought she was the perfect first reader for me. She’s also blunt, like me, and honest, so hopefully any parts in character, story, chemistry or sex that don’t work out will stand out and she’ll be able to point them out so I can fix them!
For now, though, I am left with a choice. I could move on to begin to plot book two in the Wandalucia series – which I already have ideas for – or I could create some free stories that would go out to any readers that buy and love Leaving Wandalucia and that happen to look me up.
Because whether or not Harlequin (or any other traditional publisher) takes it, it’s getting published. I am worried that the dynamics of the character personalities might not fit the world’s current ‘politically correct’ male and female personas and therefor might not be what they’re looking for. Those are the things that I will not change to get the book accepted. I love my characters the way they are and everything happens the way it does for a reason.
So I decided I’d start on the short stories, at least until Leaving Wandalucia is in the hands of my bug hunters. This gives me a reason to crack open a new course I have, How to Write Short Stories and I am thrilled. I have written short stories many times and successful* ones. But the reason I am taking the course is because I want to be more successful. Even though I have had success with my short stories, that doesn’t mean I can’t get better. I don’t think I will ever reach a point where I am done learning and when it comes to art and writing, I am always happy and willing to take course upon course, read book upon book in order to learn more!
So today I am opening lesson one (and may get further!), pulling out a fresh notebook and naming it Wandalucia Shorts. I am planning on creating a series of short romances that tie in to the larger ones with side characters brought up in the course of the books. I thought that would be so cool, to give readers more of the background for all of these characters walking around in the world that they see but only in short glimpses.
And as a huge learning dork I finally get to dive into the new Short Stories course! I cannot wait to make my writing better and better. For as long as I live!
*In this case I define success with my short stories as ‘stories that people have paid for and were pleased with my writing, wanting more’. They loved what I wrote. Giving the value for the short stories more than what people expected 😀
- the above links for How to Write Short Stories are affiliate links and will never cost you extra to buy if you wanted to do so. You can also just Google “How to Write Short Stories Holly Lisle” if you don’t want to use my links 🙂