Friday, April 22, 2011

The Bad Review

Honestly, as an author I have grown the hide of an alligator. But even alligators can be injured if you shoot them in the eye. I can endure agents not liking my voice. That's individual taste. Or just not caring for my genre or how I presented my story. I still get wounded when someone doesn't like my characters. They are like my children. Please don't call them ugly. Recently, I received a poor review on Wish for a Sinner. Okay, the reader still gave me an average grade. All the others have been higher. However, she hated every major character. After I cried on the shoulder of my grown journalist daughter who understands, I did go back and check this person's other reviews. Mostly, she likes paranormal romance and is cool towards other forms of the genre. So I give her credit for even trying a sports romance. It was not her thing. Arrogant athletes and the women who tame them don't stack up the same against sympathetic vampires and loving werewolves. I do feel better now.

Another that hurt was a rejection from an editor who said one of my beloved but unpublished Regencies was merely Jane Eyre rewritten. True, I have read Jane Eyre many times, one of my favorites, so it is possible some of that flavor crept into my story. I can swear, however, that Jane Eyre never had sex with Mr. Rochester prior to marriage, and just because a heroine is plain and a hero brooding does not make them Jane and Mr. R. My gal is a tart-tongued spinster who bullies a man back to health and falls in love with him of course. If you reject all arrogant masters of the manor and plain women characters, there goes half the romance genre into the waste basket. I've never sent that story out again though I do still love it. Just want to protect my ugly children.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Writing for the Minute

Recently attending a writers' conference always gets me thinking, as it should. As usual, I went to the agents and editors panel to see what they were looking for in the way of new books. I wasn't at all surprised to hear most say they want something fresh and of course, the next big thing, although no one knows what that is. All would like to represent a best seller, the one all the book clubs want to read. I truly wish I could offer them The Help or Water for Elephants, both marvelous works of fiction, but I am afraid I don't have great literature in me. I write not for the ages but for the minute. My stories are designed to entertain and bring on a smile or a laugh to take the reader away from this troubled world for awhile and into another where a happy ending is guaranteed. Rarely does a literary novel do this, though the two mentioned above manage to pull off satisifying conclusions that don't leave one depressed for a week after finishing the book. Kudos to their authors. As for wanting something fresh, offer that and it will usually be turned down. If a story is not easily categorized for the publisher or book store, rarely will an agent or editor accept it. Not their fault. That's just the way it is in traditional publishing. So, the fresh and unique books today end up coming out e-published. Over the past few years, I've been told the 1920's won't sell, the eighteenth century in America won't sell, football romances won't sell, and a hybrid novel having both contemporary and historical elements won't sell. Seems I have a real penchant for writing the wrong thing. So, look for my football romances selling steadily on under the Lynn Shurr name, both put out by e-presses. And keep an eye out for probably my best book, Queen of the Mardi Gras Ball, a 1920's novel to be released in January, 2012, by micropress L & L Dreamspell in both paperback and e-book. I hope they make you smile.