Write what you know.
For some odd reason, while working on revisions of my current WIP, Syphons, a sci-fi/new adult novel, I started thinking about the write-what-you-know motto.
In my novel, I wanted to create a revamped love story between a plus-size African-American woman who awakens with rare abilities due to her hybrid alien heritage, and an Anglo-Saxon man with telepathic abilities and a craving for human brains caused by a 500-year-old parasitic alien living within his own brain.
The only problem with writing romantic elements in my sci-fi novel is the fact that I have limited (if any experience) in the romance department.
At 24, my longest and the only relationship I had lasted 62-days (can you even consider that a relationship?), and I dated the guy back at the ripe old age of 21. I suppose you don’t need to be in a relationship to write a great romantic story.
But, the imposter syndrome all writers seem to face hits home hard, especially when my characters have intimate (yet, tame) moments together.
Some of the common questions I battle with, thanks to feeling like an imposter includes:
- How do you write-what-you-know, when you don’t know anything about long-lasting romantic love!?
- Why did I ever take up the stressful task of writing a romantic story between two individuals in my first sci-fi novel?
- Isn’t this task just too big for me?
Sounds more like a sad predicament which is bigger than just writing romance.
The more I write, the more panicked I become about my own lack of love in life. I’ve questioned my motives. Wondered if my imperfections were so flawed that love will forever remain out of reach. Maybe, my issues with an unloving father finally caught up to me. I’m damaged goods, not worthy of love from anything with a pulse. I’m going to be the crazy cat lady who reads about love and never finds it.
The angst I feel now is what makes up my main characters unique take on her instant connection with her love interest in my novel. Even though, I didn’t spell out things the way I did above. You will be able to tell that my main character is afraid of love, even if the man she’s with adores her.
I guess, in a way, I am writing what I know.
Romance in some novels just seem so hot and heavy and all about getting the girl undressed, and ripping the guy’s jeans off that the characters forget to be intimate.
Kind of like the real world…
Sure babies are still being made, but is anyone really making an effort to turn off their Twitter notifications in order to hold an hour-long conversation with their SO at dinner?
Something to think about.
In high school, I remember devouring every romance novel I could get my claws on. And I’m not talking about the Stephanie Meyer stuff. I’m talking about the urban fantasy, sci-fi romance stories that made novels like Breaking Dawn, seem like a cheesy attempt at writing about love between two bloodsuckers.
Authors like Kelley Armstrong, Gini Koch, even Patricia Briggs created strong female characters who had romantic elements and complicated relationships. True, lust was explored in all of the relationships, but something about each individual romance story made you want to see the characters end up together and win.
Maybe, my main character will achieve love, even if the author who created her is using outside influences to create a romance worth reading.
But, then again, who said that writing-what-you-know means you actually have to go out and experience that particular scene?
I haven’t read about any crime authors attempting murder in order to learn more about methods to kill and get away with said murder. The same is true for romance authors.
So what if I never experienced a mindblowing first kiss, but I’m sure my wicked imagination will help me spin an idea of what makes a first kiss amazing. A dash of research and some sappy romance stories through the Hallmark Channel can help me create a fairytale ending for my characters in love.
What do you think about writing romance, imposter syndrome, or my post today? Let me know in the comments.