Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Why I'm enjoying the adventure of writing romantic fiction

In a break with tradition I’m going to talk about writing on this blog.

For the last couple of months I’ve been writing my first proper work of fiction – a romance novel. In the past I’ve always leaned toward writing non-fiction (including a whole book last year), but I was starting to feel like I was in a bit of a rut. I’ve really enjoyed writing things like ‘Youth of Goan’ and ‘A history of Junk Culture’ on a kind of instalment plan, but I wanted a new challenge.

I decided to write a romantic fiction novel because although it’s a genre that is (apparently) sneered at by literary snobs it is loved by millions around the globe (including me). Anyone who is familiar with anything I’ve written in the past will be aware that I have always favoured writing about the lighter side of life, and what’s lighter or more positive than love? Love affects everyone, sometimes whether they want it to or not. So after devouring some divine Katy Fforde and admiring an Adele Parks I planned my first novel.

At first I was daunted by the scale of the task before me, but an inspiring book called ‘Successful Novel Plotting’ helped me plan like I’ve never planned before. So here I am today; I’m about 80% of the way through the first draft of ‘Why you’re unhappy’ and having a whale of a time. I’ve found a great writing buddy in the shape of Jenny Lock and the habit we’ve formed of kicking each other up the bum (to make sure we stick with it) has been a big help.

So what have I learnt? I’ve learned that all fiction is valid no matter who writes it, what style it is or what genre. I’ve learned that the way I write long fiction is totally different to the style I use in articles, reviews, online or in emails. It’s also become clear to me that no matter what happens in my life I MUST write at least 100 words every day to stay in touch with the characters I have created. Obsession is the name of the game; I’m sure my wife and family will be relieved when I’ve finished this book so that I can start talking about something else. This book has consumed me; my characters are real and (at least in my head) the events within actually took place.

Oh, and finally (much to my surprise) I’ve figured out that I can write really early in the morning. Previously the fact that I’m such a night owl made me assume I’d be useless at being creative first thing, but I don’t think it’s been too bad. Judge for yourself, this blog post was written at 7am!

1st June 2010
I have sent off sample manuscripts to a few agents, I'll keep you posted on progress (or lack of). The synopsis has changed a fair bit, you can read the latest version here -

You can also follow my progress on my twitter page here -


  1. Hey dude - I love hearing how you are getting on with your work.

    Always love the idea of writing... although I don't think I've an original imagination to be any good.

    I love that your characters are real in your head, too! :)

    Something from my distant past spring to mind when reading your post, about writing - and writing in the morning as I'm a night owl too. It went along the lines of; when you are writing you should always write in one place (predominantly) and only ever use that place for writing. This means whenever you use that place, your brain 'clicks' into writing mode and you're off. No sitting at a blank page or getting writers block, because your brain is switched on to what you want to do. You could be creative in the morning, because your brain knows it needs to be, etc.

    I thought I'd benefit from that, because I'm a scatterbrain, and hence I've remembered it! Do you do something similar?

  2. Hey Colin (ob1), you're a stand up comedian and as such you base your routine on observations of life, which is exactly what I'm doing as as writer!

    I have taken to writing in the lounge with a laptop rather than in my study where I do my other work and it's really helped.

    The characters are so real I'm going to miss them when we're done!

  3. "Hey Colin (ob1), you're a stand up comedian and as such you base your routine on observations of life, which is exactly what I'm doing as as writer!"

    I'm guessing this is a reply to the "imagination" bit... I'm thinking more along the lines of - if I was to write Sci-fi or Fantasy (my personal passions) - my ideas would just be regurgitated(sp?) from everything else...

    I'm quite intrigued by your plotting book - purely out of academic interest...

    "I have taken to writing in the lounge with a laptop rather than in my study where I do my other work and it's really helped."


    Yeah - you need to split your concerns, when it comes to concentrating.

    "The characters are so real I'm going to miss them when we're done!"

    Sell the film rights, and they'll insist on a sequel! :)

    Dunno how your are planning to release your book... but some of the idea about "Connect With Fans and Reason To Buy" from might help... for example;

    You could for example - release the first 3rd free (to allow people to pass around to friends - best marketing ever!)... then offer 2nd 3rd free, but in exchange for their email address (and hence you gain a massive marketing tool and direct line to your fans), and then the final chapters as something to buy, with a physical product (i.e. the whole paperback book) in tow.

    Wish I was in a decent band - I'd love to experiment with the business models currently available...

  4. I like the 'obscurity is a greater threat than piracy' quote!

    To be honest I'm hoping to have some support an agent and the backing of a publisher when marketing this book, but the freebie chapter is a good idea for the Gadgie book so I'll do it now!

    GADGIE -

  5. Oh come on im getting bored now i want to read it!
    Grr its like waiting for a new book by a good author to come out but the difference is i know a lot of the storyline already!

    Tell me no more and finish it i say!

  6. Not sure if that worked! So you may have two comments now

    Basically stop talking about it and finish it please as i want to read it.

    Its like waiting for your favorite authors next book to come out but the difference this time is i know most of the story.

    You need to finish it soon and i cant see you till you do or i will know all the storyline before i read it!

  7. I should point out at this moment that 'Jed' is my kid sister, and she helped me with the plausibility of the plot.

  8. Saw this... thought of you...

  9. Arg, it's a real shame it's largely unreadable!