The Insufferable Writer’s Podcast Episode 2: Is Trauma the New Taboo In Romance?
In the second episode of the podcast I review Colleen Hoover’s romantic Thriller Verity. I also discuss the feedback from the blog post, Is Trauma the New Taboo in Romance. I elaborate more on the subject, sharing some of the feedback and further make the case why these stories matter.
I finish off the podcast by talking about what I am currently writing, and why it’s a big deal to me.
Where to Listen:
You can subscribe directly to the Insufferable Writer’s Podcast’s RSS feed HERE
Show Notes from Episode 2:
Verity by Colleen Hoover- https://www.colleenhoover.com/portfolio/verity/
Blog Post: Is Trauma the New Taboo in Romance? https://jacquelinecthomas.com/is-trauma-the-new-taboo-in-romance/
The Blank Canvas Series by Adriana Anders- https://www.adrianaanders.com/blank-canvas.html
Fat Tuesday by Sandra Brown- https://amzn.to/3r52ws0
The Steel Brothers Saga- https://www.helenhardt.com/book/?series=steel-brothers-saga
Transcript of Episode 2: Is Tramua the New Taboo in Romance
Please note: this transcript was generated using A.I. so it may not be completely accurate.
Podcast Episode 2: 4/6/2022
Hi, and welcome back to episode two of the insufferable writers podcast. I’m Jackie Thomas self-professed insufferable writer, and your host in episode two, I’m going to review Colleen Hoover’s romantic thriller Verity for the discussion topic for today, I want to discuss is trauma, the new taboo in romance.
And last but not least. I want to close out the episode by talking about what I’m writing right now, because after all, if I’m an insufferable writer, I should actually be writing.
Let’s kick things off today with a book review. I read a lot and I read. A lot of romance because that’s the genre I write in and I have heard such good things about Colleen Hoover’s work. And I read a book by her awhile back and it was really good.
Um, I’d rather not kind of name what the book is. I, it was a great romance. It was fun. It was. No offense to Colleen, like it just, it was a good romance, but it wasn’t like one of those books where I was like, it was life-changing. It was, it was a great story. The characters were really likable by.
Everybody raves about calling Hoover’s work. And I thought, well, maybe I just need to give this another chance. So I picked up a copy of Verity. That’s what the. And it’s a romantic thriller. That sounds like, how do you, how do you do a romantic thriller? That is such a weird combination of work, , and weird combination of genres, but actually it really does work
So I’ll give you kind of the brief synopsis of the book. The premise is, there is a writer, her name is Lowen and she is. Uh, I would say like, not the most confident writer, but she’s written a book it’s been somewhat successful and I’ll be really honest in the first chapter of the book for me, at least the character of low end comes off as really unlikable so much so that I actually almost didn’t finish the book.
But the premise is, is that low and is hired to come in and finish writing a series of books for the very famous author named Verity who has succumbed to a pretty serious, , accident and, and is left incapacitated and cannot finish writing her best-selling series. , and we meet, Verity’s husband, Jeremy in the first chapter as well.
And, uh, lo and who’s the writer who’s hired, , meets Jeremy out on the street, , just by chance. And they witnessed this really traumatic event. And really from the very beginning of the book, like Jeremy is he’s Swoon worthy. Like you like. Wow. Like Helene Hoover did a fantastic job writing this character.
He is Swoon worthy before you even scratch the surface of who he is and what he’s been through and just, oh my God. So, like I said, I read the first chapter and the premise of the book is. That low is hired to finish writing Verity’s work and low incomes up to Jeremy and Verdi’s country estate where Jeremy lives and Verity is cared for by, by a nurse.
And she’s basically. I don’t want to necessarily say in a vegetative state, but definitely not conscious, not able to, you know, be present and that sort of thing. One of the things that I find really interesting about the work is that I think Colleen Hoover did a really great job in kind of getting into the psyche of around.
And again, right? This is the insufferable writers podcast. So I’m going to be really insufferable for a moment. She did such a great job, in describing the thought process that low-end had in attempting another author’s work and especially a highly successful authors work. It was absolutely fantastic to I found myself really liking the character of low end and really being able to relate as the book moved on. What is incredible about the book is how the story is told as well. You were kind of taken on a wild ride as a reader. We, you know, get to, experience everything through Logan’s eyes.
And she finds me a new script and her first day going through Verdi’s office. The manuscripts written by Verity it’s, it’s a biography that she’s written by her of herself and . She’s telling this nitty gritty tale of who Verity really is.
It’s it’s, it’s shocking. It’s uh, you know, I think Verity says in the beginning of the manuscript, like, you’re not gonna like who, who I am by the time I finished reading, you finished reading this manuscript. And so we learn about Verity and who she is through Loewen’s eyes. And. Like I said, first chapter really did not hook me, but what I did love about the first chapter is that there was action from page one.
I try and write in a similar style where you are interested in what is going on from page one even though there was action from the get go, like I said, I didn’t really enjoy the character loan from the start. She definitely grew on me, but. I picked up the book. I gave it a second chance. I started chapter two and I did not put the book down until I closed the back cover.
It was that good. I literally could not put it down. Absolutely fantastic. A masterclass in how to write a romantic thriller. Which again, I would never think that the two genres go hand in hand, but they absolutely. I also just as a side note in doing a little bit of research about the book and about, Colleen Hoover, I learned that there’s talk about Verity actually becoming a movie, which that would be exceptionally cool,
so we’ll have to keep our eyes out for that. So moving on, , I wanted to, discuss, a blog post that I had wrote about a month ago now. And I asked the question in the blog post on my website is trauma, the new taboo in romance. And I want to start by saying that. You know the purpose of the blog again, much like the podcast is to build a platform, to build an audience, to share my thoughts as a romance writer and, you know, very rarely do I get a lot of feedback.
And that’s okay. But let me tell you guys, this blog post struck a nerve , and I think in a really good way . When I put a blog post up or now a podcast or both, I share it out on social media and what I was really shocked at was the response. I got a lot of comments, , a lot of private comments, , A lot of DMS on Twitter saying I write suspenseful dramatic romance with a heavy subject matter.
And I agree with you completely. There’s not a lot of it out there on the shelf. I wish there was more of it out there for readers. And I thought that that was really, really incredible. So with that being said, I wanted to discuss it a little more. In the podcast today and kind of elaborate on, what I mean by is it taboo and why it’s so important that really, this is a discussion that I think should be happening, especially in the romance community, the romance, writing community, the romance reading community.
I want to start by saying that. Stories are meant to entertain. They’re meant to inspire the, they fill a number of different needs. With that being said, , I really want to make it very, very clear. What I mean by is, is trauma taboo in romance and what I mean by depicting assault and abuse. I just want to be clear, , for those of you out there where my position is on this, because. I do understand there is definitely kind of a flip side to this argument.
Sexual assault, depictions of rape abuse, that kind of stuff for the purpose of entertainment in literature, in romance in really kind of anything, any entertainment medium for me, is not okay. In my work there are instances where, my female characters are survivors of different types of trauma and that sort of thing.
And I don’t, I don’t write in this trope for, the shock value of. For me, it brings more to the story. It just, and I’ll go on a little more about that here in a minute or two, but I just want to make very, very clear. I am in no way, advocating for abuse or assault or mistreatment of others as a form of entertainment in the case of my work.
And in the case of some of the work that I’ll cite in a little bit, , it is a, . Mode to show character development, to show where somebody has come from for lot authors use it for lots of different reasons. And again, I’ll speak about that in a little bit, but, , I just want to make very, very clear that my position is that assault and abuse is not entertainment.
So. Let’s circle back to the blog post. Right? Where did the idea of the blog post come about? Cause it’s kind of a weird subject matter, to just be thinking about, it really kind of started with what I write. I write serious dramatic stories of really strong women who overcome all sorts of obstacles to find.
And not necessarily be rescued by a man, not to say that there’s not a spot for that and romance. And sometimes the Knight on the white horse is awesome, but I really, my passion is writing stories about women who have really come through really tough challenges and some of the true ugliness of life.
And. Overcome that and how they build trust. And they heal as people, because I think that these stories are really, really important to tell. . So I started looking at what I write and there’s the old adage, right? The book that you want to read and looking on the bookstore shelves, like physical bookstore shelves, if you.
Happened to take a Gander at the romance section, . I will say the majority of the bookshelf in the romance section, , is filled with romantic comedy. And let me just say, I have nothing against romantic comedy. It’s fun. It’s funny. But for me as a writer, as a reader, As a life experience, love is serious stuff.
Love is scary. You, you put yourself out there and you become vulnerable and you have to overcome things to learn how to trust another person. You know, when you look at. What’s on the bookshelf. As a whole, , the majority of it is romantic comedy.
And then there is a subsection of really serious dramatic romance. And it’s kind of broken down in, , more often than not. You’ll have the male lead in the book will be somebody that’s recovering from trauma and you don’t really have. A lot of stories out there about women recovering from trauma and women finding themselves and who they are and healing through a relationship.
And I feel like if we break it down further, like you kind of, as far as what I would consider, like dramatic or serious. AKA, not romantic comedy. You’ll have stories that kind of fall into it into a sub genre of dramatic romance. And I feel like they’re very male focused in that. It’s the man who’s recovering from something and you’ll get usually one of three things, the rugged emotional warrior.
So this is like military special ops paramilitary guy who’s like closed off or maybe is, you know, went through some sort of trauma where he’s been harmed and he’s just not open to a relationship. And he meets a special woman who suddenly changes his life and, and helps him heal and helps him get better, you know, not just physically, but emotionally.
And whatnot. The second subset is you’ll have what I call the cowboy romances or the rancher romances, where, he’s a rough, tough guy and, , there’s trauma in the past, or, you know, he’s been wronged by love before, and he’s kind of a loner and he’s out on the land and the land is his love and he’s not interested in, you know, Uh, mate, and that kind of thing.
And then a woman comes by and suddenly he’s intrigued and, , together, they work through his issues and they all live happily ever after. And then the last one you’ll have is like firemen or cop or even millionaire, bad boy, like that. That’s a big one. Like who they’re all emotionally damaged in some way.
They’re recovering from trauma. They’re recovering from some sort of abuse and through the love of a good woman, , they find their way and they live their happily ever after. But the point I’m trying to make is is that when you take the small subset of. What I would call serious dramatic romance on the shelf.
And you take away those three tropes. What you’re left with, where the female heroine is the one who is recovering. From trauma. There are very, very few of them. And I say this over years, as, as a reader, when I find a book where there is a female, , heroine who is overcoming some sort of obstacle in life and learning how to trust again and learning, you know, who they are as people like seriously, I can not put my money down on the counter fast enough.
So. The blog post came about by just kind of observing this. , and I’m so glad that, romance, as a genre is growing, I think it was 2021. It might’ve been 20, 21 or, yeah, it was 2021 romance, I believe was the highest grossing fiction genre , in the U S so people are reading love stories, and , I’ve noticed this kind of, this lack of, of these stories being told. It’s not something I’ve noticed just as of late, it’s something that I’ve noticed for a while now. And I think it’s probably one of the reasons I write what I write. But in addition to that, I, , as I mentioned in the last podcast, I’m querying a book, I’m querying a story about a woman who.
, overcomes a really, , horrific experience where there is abuse and she’s learning to stand on her own two feet and she is not interested in a relationship. She’s not interested in a man and she meets this incredible guy who’s going through his own stuff and he’s got his own baggage and together, they kind of find their way towards which will hopefully be their happily ever after.
I don’t want to give anything away, . So, I started querying this book , at the beginning of this year. And I think I talked a lot about querying in the last episode of the podcast, but usually the querying process, once you send your query will take anywhere from like really, really fast as three weeks.
That’s not common. You know, the average I would say was between like six weeks to three months for a response from an agent. And then sometimes you just never hear and then. I started getting responses back really quickly, like under three weeks. And I got quite a few of them back in quick succession.
Which as an author, I’m going, okay, wait a minute. What, like, is there a massive typo? Did I attach the wrong manuscript? Like what is going on here? And I started to wonder why I was getting these responses back so quickly and I’m not so full of myself that I can’t think that there may be other reasons for getting.
The manuscript rejection so quickly, maybe the writing’s not there. Maybe the story isn’t compelling enough. It could be like a laundry list of other things. But this is a third book that I’ve put kind of through the querying process and all of the books that I’ve written about are. Stories of, like I said, of these strong heroines overcoming, you know, really, really kind of coming out of a tough, horrible situations and kind of blossoming into people through love.
And, I started to wonder that mixed with what I was seeing on the bookshelves . And I started to wonder, is it the subject. Is trauma and abuse when the female character of the book experiences at is this the new taboo in romance?
Is this something that the publishing industry has said, we don’t want to publish this. And it, like, I really thought about it and I thought about how hard it is to find those kinds of stories. They’re not impossible. And I’m going to give some great examples of a couple of books that that illustrate, , when it’s done really, really well.
In querying. As you look up, an agent, each agent has something called a manuscript wishlist, and it’s literally, it’s a, it’s a wishlist of the projects and the types of books that they want to represent. , I see a lot, I, you know, I’ve been querying for a couple of years now for different projects and I see.
Trends and shifts, but over the past two years, and, and I, I want to just state for the record right off the get go. I am completely in support of, of what I’m about to say. I’m not saying that we can champion one cause and not another cause or anything like that. We can champion all causes, but there’s really a push in the publishing industry and it’s.
Do it’s warranted, , for representation across the board. And I think representation is so incredibly important. There’s this, massive requests from agents right now for books written in like own voices and LGBTQ IAA and marginalized authors and represented authors. And. I think , yes, I absolutely, I championed this a hundred percent.
We should have these books on the shelf and we should have these, these, authors should be represented in all genres, not just romance, but I think it’s, it’s, it’s important that you know, that the publishing industry seek out these voices, but. What I find really interesting about it is if we’re going to be inclusive, let’s be all the way inclusive.
Like let’s tell stories and let there be stories published where we do see female heroines coming through something. And I think that, you know, By not publishing these stories of women who overcome and heal and come out of really bad situations. You know, it makes me wonder, like, are we really being inclusive in the romance genre?
I mean, I can’t really speak for other genres, but I can for romance. Are we being inclusive as is, are on rod to make sure that we’re telling all stories? I mean, like I said, if you look on, on the bookshelf and what is out there and I’m talking like traditionally published bookshelf, I know that there is a wealth of great stories out there in D published.
And, but I I’m mainly speaking about traditionally published work. You know, I think that these stories are just as important to tell, as let’s say, you know, a romantic comedy that, you know, makes you. Hurt because you’ve left so hard. Like I want to read a story about a woman who has fought like hell to find love again and to learn how to trust somebody again.
And I think that for me, you know, as a reader, I feel like there’s so much more on the line when it comes to that relationship that is being built in that story. There’s a deeper level of trust. I’m compelled as a, as a reader and as an author, it is really fulfilling to write these stories.
It’s fulfilling to see, to build a character who, you know, has really been through some stuff. And, you know, now is taking a second chance at happiness and is taking a second chance at life. And what that looks like I think is, you know, if we’re going to be representative of. Different voices and different, different subsets of, of culture, then why aren’t we telling these stories in such a big way as well?
And I think that, you know, here, I see, I see a lack of these stories and one of the things that surprised me in the feedback I got to the blog posts, where I discussed this, is that. Fellow authors who, who write in this genre and some, uh, I, I, I’m not gonna name names, but I had somebody reach out to me via Twitter and they’re well-known author and said, you’re on the money here.
And I was like, holy cow, like, okay. You know, which. It makes me sad. It’s not just, and it’s not just like, self-absorbed, I know, you know, a whole, my work won’t be published because I write in this genre or this TRO, but I’m just like, wow, if you’re at the top of your game and you’re seeing this and I met the beginning, we’ve got a problem here.
And I thought it was interesting and it made me think of a quote by Judy. , the famous children’s author and she is famously quoted by saying librarians save lives by handing the right book at the right time to a kid need. And although I’m not talking about children, or librarians, I think you could just as easily translate that to an author.
An author writes the right book and it ends up on the shelf. For, a woman who doesn’t think that she’ll ever recover from the trauma that she’s been through and has no idea what a path forward looks like. And, , maybe it’s through reading these fictional stories of women who do take a chance on love again and, , gain strength.
And maybe this is the book that, that woman needs at that time to continue her healing journey and, you know, I think with all art, like, I think I saw somewhere, something somewhere the other day that said something like we’re writing books, we’re not curing cancer and yes, yes. But you know, like all art it’s meant to inspire in a life without art, whether that be, you know, Music or, you know, literature or, you know, performative art, like, wow, I’m not, I’m not real interested in a life without art because it’s a reflection of life.
And so, I guess my concern is that are we really, as a genre, are we being fully representative of all different types of love stories. If that is the push,. As a genre that we’re telling all kinds of stories, these stories matter. We need to be telling these stories. I think that the only way forward is to vote with my dollars. So I wanted to put together a. A few recommendations of a few series recommendations where that really illustrate female heroines who have come through really traumatic experiences and, come into a relationship, maybe not looking for a relationship at all.
Um, but. I wanted to illustrate a couple of examples of what I’ve meant, what I mean by this and where I’ve seen it done really, really well. And I hope that, it’s, if it’s not triggering for you, I, I highly recommend them. And I think that, you know, give it a shot. Let’s vote with our dollars.
Let’s, you know, if this is something that you agree with, . Let’s support this work. The first one I wanted to call out was the blank canvas series by Adriana Anders. , she’s famously known she’s fantastic romance writer. She had a great hit, I want to say in 20, 20, 20, 20 or 2021, she wrote white out, which was absolutely fantastic, um, that doesn’t fall into this category, but, , Maybe we where you would know the name, if you follow romance.
The first book in the series under her skin. And it tells the story of a woman named Ooma who is fleeing from an abusive relationship. And the, the abuse depicted in the book.
It’s like flashback style abuse, and it is. It’s gripping, it’s chilling. It rocked me to my core. Um, and it made me root for the character of Ooma in a way that. Uh, like I, I so wanted things to work out for her and it’s a wild ride. And I think that it is a masterclass in how to write this genre really, really well.
It’s done in a really sympathetic way. And I think that. It really illustrates the point of what I mean by not necessarily writing trauma or abuse for the sake of entertainment, but it’s, it’s put in the book because it shows character growth and it shows some of the roadblocks that una has Ooma. Sorry, I keep saying it’s Ooma.
Ooma has in, growing as a person and learning to trust somebody again in the challenges that the male love and trust. You know, has in trying to strike up a relationship with somebody who is just really. Is is, I don’t want to say not willing because she’s willing, but you know, she’s got some baggage, she’s got some pretty significant baggage and, and what that love story looks like because it’s not easy.
It’s really not easy for both partners really. So, um, could not put it down, literally read it in one go. I had, in fact, I had to remind myself to slow down. You can only read a really good book the first time. Once, um, this, this book was good enough. I would probably read it again for entertainment and I know how it ends.
The second book in the series is by her touch. This one, the table is turned a little bit. It’s still stays kind of in the same town in the same universe, that under her skin takes place in. , and it’s, , the story of a police detective, clay Navarro, he’s an undercover cop and he goes through some really traumatic things and he goes to see a doctor who lives in the same town, where the first book takes place and they all kind of know each other.
Which is fun because. Little tidbits of how, Ooma is doing and her relationship. And that’s really fun. we see Dr. Georgette, in, by her touch and she is, she’s got some baggage too, and she’s going through a lot and she comes from a place where it’s trauma, recognizing trauma it’s hurt people, recognizing hurt people.
And I think that that’s really, powerful and. Again, I literally, I could not put it down. Granted, this is a story where it’s a more male-focused,, trauma recovery, but I think Georgette has has enough there and it kind of swirls in that universe that it’s still relevant and I would highly recommend it.
The third book, which is actually lined up on my Kindle is in his hands. So it’s the third book in the series. I haven’t read it yet. I cannot wait to read it. Um, I think it’s been out for a little while, but, I just haven’t gotten around to it, but like I said, it’s queued up on the Kindle. So hopefully that will be this weekend’s entertainment.
Switching, I’m switching authors. I thought Sandra Brown’s fat Tuesday. This is another story where the female heroine in the book is it’s not just sexual abuse. It’s it’s an older man who. I don’t want to necessarily say grooms, but for the sake of lack of a better term, I would say, groom’s this woman and she’s emotionally vulnerable and she falls into a relationship with, With the villain and the book, and he really is a villain.
Um, and a lot of the grooming in that happens before the story takes place, but she’s in this relationship with this man and he’s very controlling and he’s abusive. And, there’s a detective who’s investigating the villain and we see in the story. The detective, you know, much like us, the reader has like an outside view of kind of what the life that this woman is living and why she’s living it. And it’s a really great depiction of a woman finding herself coming out of just really. Ugly circumstances and you know what she has to do to fight, to survive and keep those who she loves alive and, you know, kind of finds her own inner strength. And I don’t want to give anything away.
It’s, it’s absolutely fantastic, really gripping, super compelling, but another great example of a woman who is really kind of in a bad situation and how she comes to trust someone else and starts to begin to heal.
. The last example I have are the steel brothers saga by Helen heart trigger warning, super, super heavy subject matter in these books.
The heroes and the male love interest in the first book is overcoming. Um, it tells the story of he was abducted as, as a young boy, um, and was sexually abused. And it, again, trigger warning. Graphic, but it’s not written in a way to shock. I don’t think, and it’s not written in a way, like I, that is not entertainment, like to depict stories of, you know, sexual abuse of children.
That is like, that turns my stomach. But it’s written in a way where we see, the character is now a grown man and he’s really kind of working through this trauma with a therapist and we see him. Really want to work past it and really work to build a life. And what is trust look like again? And what is intimacy look like maybe for the first time, you know, intimacy in a way that it is, um, you know, W, how do you even begin?
How do you even begin? Where do you even begin to heal from that? And the trust that it takes and the relationship that they build together as a co as a couple? Um, there are, gosh, I think there are now 24 books in this series, full disclosure. I think I’ve read 10 or 11 of them. , And it’s not just males in the series who are overcoming things. It’s, there’s female love interest, whoever come abuse and, and all sorts of abuse, whether it’s physical or sexual or, mental, . They are incredibly gripping. And I think that they’re done really, well in that they, they show character development and they show, , I think probably a pretty realistic idea of what it takes to trust somebody and what it takes to allow yourself to be in an intimate situation with somebody again, after you’ve really, been through something traumatic and really ugly and, and.
What that looks like. so those are my suggestions. Just off the top of my head. I’ll put links to them again in the show notes., if you have a recommendation of a book that you think is. This really well. Please shoot me, shoot me a email or, you can contact me on the website, Jacqueline C thomas dot com or, I’m also on Twitter at Jackie C Thomas. , I would love to hear your recommendations of where this. Been done really well. , like I said, I vote with my dollars and these are books I’ll buy because it’s something I want to support because in the end I really do feel very strongly that, , no matter the genre, if we say we’re going to be representative of telling all different types of stories we really should, and that means being inclusive.
And that means. Some readers enjoy the heavier subject matter and others don’t and that’s okay. But we should make sure that the right book is on the shelf at the right time for the right person. Okay. So now moving on, I wanted to talk a little bit about what I’m writing right now, because if it’s the insufferable writers podcast that assumes that I’m writing and I am, so.
I wanted to talk a little bit about kind of where, where I have been, , within the past year writing and why it matters to me. So. The last full-length novel I finished, , was a love story. Again, it’s a love story of a woman who comes out of it’s the one that I’m querying that I mentioned, where she comes out of a really serious, abusive situation.
And she’s not looking for love, but she finds love. And I finished writing that, , that work in February of 2020. And. It was an incredible book to write it. The writing was easy. It came naturally. I did a career transition as I was writing that book and started to commute in Chicago. and I would have a train journey back and forth, and that was like my built-in writing time.
I absolutely adored it. And like creatively like it was percolating, like from the first time. The first novel I ever wrote, which was about five years ago. I pretty much wrote continuously. There’ve been little blips of time where I’ve taken a break, but I would say no more than, let’s say six weeks, I’m either writing something or I’m revising something or like I’m always writing.
Well, when I finished the novel, at the end of, February of 20, 20, um, little did I know. Nobody knew, I don’t think that what was coming down the line, which was a global pandemic. And, , I know that for a lot of writers, stress can either kind of dry up the creative muse or they write prolifically.
I was not one of the lucky ones. I think to make matters worse. I was in a professional situation where I had an experience with gaslighting where I I’ve been always been very, very lucky wherever I’ve worked to have my work really well respected and have the respect of my colleagues and vice versa.
And this was a really challenging time in my life and really affected me deeply. And, you know, I don’t want to go too far into it, but it was something where, It took a long time. It took a long time to kind of find me again through that, through that situation. But in that process, I stopped writing it wasn’t that I didn’t want to write it just, it, it wasn’t.
It wasn’t easy. And, and I’m not one that like, oh, it’s not easy, so I’m not going to do it. I just, I could not be productive at it. And it, I felt like, okay, life is hard enough right now, give yourself a break, step away from it and come back when you’re ready. So, I ended up leaving that position, for a lot of different reasons, but about a month monthly.
I had an idea for a book. So I wrote it. Um, I wrote the book and it came out like fast and furious as, as it normally does with me. And I wrote kind of a dystopian. Romance novel and like scifi is not my genre. Like it, my husband’s a huge Saifai fan. Like I think I’ve maybe read two scifi books in my whole life, but this book came out and came out of me and it’s, it was an incredible experience to write.
But after that, Again, still kind of, working through the trauma of 2020. And I just, I couldn’t write, like I started lots of different projects but it just seemed that no matter how, what I did, how invested I was in the story idea, I’d get to this point where I was like at the 10,000 word mark and.
I just like if writer’s block is, something visual, this was like the great wall of writer’s block. Like I could not, no matter how hard I tried, I could not get past the 10,000 word mark. And so, you know, I kept trying eventually I was like, okay, you know what? You just, you need to stop. You need to pause.
There are other things you can be doing. You can be reading, you could be like, just, just relax. So. I did. And I hadn’t written anything in more than a year. And for me, uh, like that, I just, it ate at me at who I am as a person. And yes, I know I’m being insufferable. I’m not going to apologize. It seems sufferable writers podcasts, but I.
Finally, hopefully knock on wood, have broken the streak. I had the spark of an idea. There is, um, a song by Kings of Leon and the song title is I believe it’s clear and Eddy and there’s, there’s a verse in it where he says there they’re like swimming in the Colorado river and she reveals herself to him for the very first time.
And it like gave me the spark of an idea for a book. And I even called my husband. And I said to him, I think I have got an idea. And I think it’s a really good one. And I think this might work. And so I started writing in February and I’ve approached this project a little differently and the kind of writer where, when I sit down to write.
Like a story comes fast and furious. I will write a novel, which is like about six, between 60,000 and 80,000 words for the romance genre. I will sit down and do that in a week. Nine days, 10 days for the first draft. And it’s just, it’s how I write I’m, you know, they say you’re either a planner where you outline a book or you’re a pants stir, and that means you’re flying by the seat of your pants.
And I’m definitely a pants stir in, in how I write. I don’t plan it creatively for me. It just, it like. Let it go where it wants to go, that, you know, that’s what editing is for. You can always come back and take something out. Um, but I’m happy to report with this new project. I am almost at the 40,000 word mark, and I could not be more excited, that I’m writing and then I’m pushing through and, , writing a project where, this is another story as somebody who’s kind of, uh, coming out of a really bad situation and giving life another chance and giving love another chance.
I’m approaching this project differently and that rather than sitting down and getting it, down in the computer as fast as I can, I’m approaching it in a more relaxed manner and, for example, like I wrote probably the first 10,000 words and I was like, oh, okay. Or, Hey, we got to make it past this 10,000 word mark, like, come on and keep going.
You’ve got the idea. It’s there. It’s strong. The characters are strong. And I, I paused, like I never pause when I’m writing and. I really wanted to think about the characters. I really wanted to think about the setting and the situation, and I really wanted to be respectful of the story that I’m writing in that.
Really kind of looking at what a character who’s come out of this situation really acting this way. And would they really do this and just kind of letting the idea kind of marinade for a couple of days, which is just sounds ridiculous. But if you ask any writer about, character development and that kind of thing, They’re going to know what I’m talking about and they’re gonna, you know, just kind of giving some time and some space for the characters to kind of introduce themselves to you.
And again, like completely insufferable. I know if you’re not a writer you’re got, you’re gotta be like, oh my God, Jackie, please stop droning on about this. But if you’re a writer, you get it. And. It’s been a whole new way of writing and it’s been an incredible way of writing so far. And I, you know, I’m getting the ability to fall in love with falling in love again, and falling in love through my characters and through their love story and it’s complex and it’s scary for them.
And it’s, you know, getting to feel all of those emotions is, is just really, really incredible. Yay. I’m writing again and, and it’s going really well. And I hope to finish, , I feel fairly confident that, , there is a novel length story here. , I, you know, I don’t necessarily write to hit a word count, but, , I, I always feel too, you know, You get a first draft done.
And then,, when you come back through and you do that first edit, that’s kind of where the rubber meets the road in, as far as word count goes, where you can add or subtract. And it also allows me to see like, are there holes in the story here? Do I need to add a chapter? You know, or do I need to take a scene out?
Like this is not relevant, you know, that kind of thing. So, you know, I think that. It’s interesting, right. It, how it all comes together. I’m just so grateful to be writing again, and I’m grateful that it’s, it’s coming pretty easily and I’m writing every day again. And I’m reading, you know, at the same time I’m reading romance right now.
And, Reading romance, but, I think Stephen King famously says like reading his writing, or he says something to that effect. Obviously that’s not a direct quote, but you know, that it’s important as an author to be reading and to be reading in the genre that you write in.
, I don’t want to share too much about it because you know, I’m not superstitious and I don’t want to jinx it, but the story is still coming together. Um, and you know, who knows it could change directions very, very quickly. I don’t want to necessarily commit to something, but, um, yeah, let you know, I’ll keep you updated on how it’s going.
So all in all, this was the second episode of the insufferable writers podcast. Thank you so much for listening in today. , please feel free to leave me a comment. , again, you can comment on the website where the show notes will be. As well as feel free to hit me up on Twitter. , I’d love to hear your thoughts on today’s episode book recommendations.
Thanks again. Have a great day.
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