Bang For My Buck

I wasn’t sure I should come to National. Actually, I didn’t want to come to National. The only reason I came is that I had made commitments — financial commitments, as well as personal commitments.

Losing my voice, as amusing as that was, didn’t change things either way, mainly because I don’t think it’s connected. Seeing my friends makes me glad I’m here, but the penny-pinching part of my nature mutters that I’m spending an awful lot of money to see my friends, and this really needs to be about writing.

Then, today, something happened that told me why I came.

I went to a workshop about the similarities and differences between fantasy romance and romantic fantasy. I’d planned on attending, then got sleepy and decided not to go. Then, just as it was due to start, I knew I had to go. I got up and hurried to the room.

The talk was interesting and I took some good notes, but the value to me comes down to one idea, presented by Mary Jo Putney. Look at the adjective-noun combination of the description; the noun tells you what genre you’re writing, and which genre’s expectations you have to take into consideration. So, in the case of a fantasy romance, you’re writing romance with strong fantasy elements and romance’s expectations are the ones you need to consider. Conversely, in the case of romantic fantasy, it’s fantasy’s conventions that govern your work.

But what if you’re not sure? If the resolution of the romantic story releases the story’s tension, you’re writing romance. If the resolution of the romantic story doesn’t release the story’s tension, if there’s still story after that, you’re not writing a romance.

Why is this such a big deal for me? Because it gives me a lens through which to see my story, and I’ve felt the need for that.


One thing about coming to National is that it’s inevitable that workshops I really want to attend will be scheduled against each other. It’s nothing that can be avoided — there are 200+ workshops presented in two and a half dsays. Fortunately, most of the workshops are recorded and can be purchased. I ordered my DVD of the complete roster this afternoon. I should have it at the end of August.


Happily, my voice seems to be coming back. I still need to be careful of it, and I sound like Lauren Bacall when I do talk, but now I don’t need pad and pen to communicate. Happy day!


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. slgreatsuccess
    Jul 16, 2009 @ 22:43:59

    Any chance a writer can network with other like minded people, it is usually worthwhile.


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