I must say I’ve been looking forward to this day because I get to introduce you to a pretty happening chick. She’s pretty, she’s happening, she’s Sophie Sansregret, writer of romance, comedy, and erotica for the self-loathing (which in itself is hysterical, you must check it out, trust me). Sophie is also a blogger and editor for EvolvedWorld, a fun and sexy blog.
Sophie is one of those gals I wished lived right next door. I would love to share a cup of coffee, dish the dirt and just plain hang with her. In fact, I feel that way about a handful of cyber writer, reviewer, reader friends. I say we all move to the same neighborhood and get together for Thursday night martini/poker parties Desperate Housewife style. Okay, how much fun would that be? While I check the real estate listings to find houses for y’all (you don’t mind moving to Jersey, do you?), check out Sophie’s take on the dreaded writers block. Take it away Soph!
Hi Sandra! Thank you so much for having me here today. The nice thing about visiting people’s blogs is it makes one write. That sounds funny coming from a writer, but sometimes we just don’t get to write enough. Especially since we always seem busy editing books ad infinitum or we are trapped in the Black Hole.
My topic today is very self-indulgent. It’s all about me! Or better, it’s about my total writer’s block that I’m enjoying these past few weeks.
The nice thing about being a romance author is that there are certain things that are expected in a romance story. Boy meets girl (or girl meets girl, or boy meets boy, or two boys and a girl meet the consensual alien), boy or alien or girl loses vampire, werewolf or zombie. In the end, a happily ever after. Or in some cases, happy for now.
This is what I call the Seven Percent Solution.
The thing that kills me these days is the other 93%. What I find I do is I end up writing the ending, then the beginning, and all the sex scenes. I like to think that all this is the armature.
And once that 7% is done, I’m screwed. Fortunately, all the other characters are screwed too, so at least I have something to read when I blank out.
So here I am today with, as always, two partial books sitting on my lap (historical and hysterical… a romance and a self-loathing erotica novel) and I’m in the writer’s Black Hole. I have a whole bunch of sex scenes to reread if I get bored. Most people hate to write sex scenes, it makes them uncomfortable. I find I really enjoy them. I know my husband does! But what to do in between bouts of lovemaking? Just how many strawberries and how much champagne can one have?
I have learned a few basic tricks over the years, which are called “cheating” in basic narratology. And here they are:
- When in doubt, bump somebody off.
- When in doubt, bring in a long-lost relative, preferably one with a deep dark secret.
- When in doubt, unearth a cast-off lover.
- When in doubt, give one of your protagonists a dramatic life altering event, injury, or illness to give excuse for a digression in flashback so that you can either a bring up a cast-off lover or unearth a long-lost relative or see need to bump somebody off.
And when you’re totally screwed, turn someone into a vampire, alien, werewolf, zombie, mutant, or chartered accountant. That gives one more variety of action (and sometimes dialogue… but not always, at least in the case of zombies or chartered accountants).
And this, by the way, is no offense to anyone who writes vampires zombies and so on. Anyone who’s read my books knows that there is always at least a vampire, zombie, in some cases time travel. Always. Even my Elizabethan historical, The Fire, has a vampire in it, as prescribed by Scripture. The Coach House does time travel, vampires, and zombies (coyly called Phagein, betraying my background in the Classics) and a telepathic cat.
Now that I’ve said all this aloud, I wonder why I was in the Black Hole at all.
Then I remember, the other horrible Black Hole which kills every writer: the Tragic Narrative Flaw.
One of my stories right now has a Tragic Narrative Flaw or a TNF as I call them. This means I have to rewrite a whole bunch of shit, pardon my French, and we all know how that works. You change one paragraph and you have to go back and find any connections in another paragraph or chapter and it never ends and you wonder why you ever, ever invoked a vegan shape shifter into a medieval science fiction socio-political satire story in the first place.
So here’s my final advice on how to get out of the Black Hole, indeed, any black hole:
- Take some time in your day to do a guest post on a friend’s blog. Having a beautiful change of pace and narrative is so refreshing. I know I spent half of this weekend wondering what the heck I would write about for your blog then realized that all I needed to do was articulate my anxiety and self-loathing and suddenly would all become clear to me: my female protagonists must have a covert meeting with her love interest before she even knows he is her love interest. They meet in a sex dungeon which she thought was the local haberdashery. It is all so clear to me now.
Thank you for having me Sandra!
Thanks for taking over ALL THINGS GIRL this week, Sophie! Great advice. Sometimes it takes a good chat, or blog post, to see the forest beyond the trees (isn’t that how the saying goes?). Hey, that’s yet another reason to move to the erotic romance compound. Come on, who’s with me?