New Year – New Project

Happy New Year!

This year I’ll be busy working on my fifth novel. I’ve signed up with other authors to work on the Common Elements Romance Project. Each author writes their own novel, novella, or short story. The story that you write must include all of the five elements:

  • A lightning storm
  • A person named Max
  • A stack of thick books
  • Lost keys
  • A haunted house

Author Cora Lee provided the concept and asked if other authors would be interested in doing the project. With my trilogy almost complete, I was up for the challenge. I signed to join the project in April, 2018, knowing that I’d have some time to write the book with an October/November 2019 timeframe for publishing.

Now with all three books of the Dream or Reality trilogy are available in eBook and print, I’ll be working on this project. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.

I hope everyone has a great 2019!

Beth M James – Author of novels based on strong characters and elements of romance.

www.bethmjames.com

Common Elements Logo

Advertisements

Writing Romance

Saturday, March 7, I attended a writer’s group event in Amery, Wisconsin, that was hosted by the Northern Lakes Center for the Arts. One of our WisRWA members, Helen C. Johannes, spoke at the event to discuss romance and what it means. The writer’s group in Amery, chartered by the Wisconsin Writer’s Association, wanted to learn more about what constitutes a romance novel and how to write one. Tina Susedik, Danielle Johnson, and I, members of the WisRWA – Chippewa Falls Area, went to support Helen and to help answer questions about romance writing if needed.

Helen did a great job explaining the definition of a romance novel. The Romance Writers of America (RWA) organization defines a romance novel as having a central love story with a happy or optimistic ending. She explained how romance writing received a bad rap in the 80’s when people began to stereotype romances as “bodice rippers.” Not so much anymore. Today, romance is a big business with over $1 Billion in sales.

Today’s romance stories are sophisticated, fun, comedic, smart, suspenseful, etc. There’s different genres within romance which includes, but not limited to, historical, young adult, suspense, contemporary, and erotica. The question was asked whether or not Romeo and Juliet was a romance. The classic is a love story but not a romance because the ending is tragic. A few good examples of romance in movies include: The Princess Bride, The Sound of Music, and Shrek. I remember my nephew, a producer, telling me that romance doesn’t sell. I beg to differ – note the three movies above.

Helen also discussed how she writes. Her style is pretty much free form. She creates the story in her head, she may have a loose outline, but mainly she writes. She won’t know how the story ends until the last word is written. Tina Susedik is the same way. For me, I will create a detailed outline, but it always changes.

I think the writer’s group enjoyed learning about romance. I had a fun time as well. It’s nice to have a refresher on the basics of romance and to confirm why we write. In the world that we live in today, it’s nice to read a story with a happily ever after or an optimistic ending. We can live in someone else’s world for a short period of time.