For the next six months, I’m embarking on a little experiment. I’ve been thinking about it for a while. I think it was a blog post from Lindsay Buroker that pushed me to action. Basically, I’m going to try my hand at writing romance, under a pen name.
No, I’m not telling you what the pen name is. That’s the point of a pen name. I think a certain amount of my writer’s block for the past six months has been related to the fact that I write under my real name. About a decade ago, I was an active member of a message board community. Looking back, I did some of the best writing of my life under that alias, albeit in the form of essays and nonfiction. I can’t help but think some of it was the freedom of expression that comes with anonymity. For all that anonymity can bring out the worst in people, it can also bring out the best.
I also tend to overthink everything. Writing under a pseudonym alleviates at least some of that overthinking. I fully expect my first efforts in a new genre to be bad, and eventually get better. That’s how writing works. I’d like to go through that process at least once without everybody I know watching me.
Why romance? A lot of reasons. I read a lot of romance when I was younger. I’ve been reading more of it lately. Some of it is so good, it inspires me to see if I can write that well. Some of it is so bad, it encourages me to think even my initial efforts would be better. Let’s hear it for aspiring to the midlist!
Relationships are at least as interesting as rocket ships. Romantic relationships are the crucible where we work out a lot of our inner demons. (See also: Sacred Marriage and pretty much anything by Gary Thomas.)
Several of my Clockwork Republic stories have a “strong romantic element,” but since they’re YA fairy tale retellings, there’s really only room to explore one facet of romantic love in these stories. I’d like to dig into what love and relationships are like for grown women, for women who’ve experienced betrayal and loss, for women whose desires and needs are more complex and interesting.
A 40+ woman can really only write so many ingenues, know what I mean?
On a separate but related note, this doesn’t mean I’m not going to continue working on speculative fiction. Right now, I’m shifting back and forth between several different WIPs, and working on whichever story I’m feeling the most affinity for in the moment. I still expect to finish Clockwork Republics #5, Bete Noire, and a dieselpunk adventure under the working title The Mummy’s Messenger sometime this year.