One of my local radio station morning shows has decided they are going to write a romance novel. The premise is that they, along with contributions from the listening audience, will write a page a day and that the finished product will be published and the proceeds go to Toys for Tots. You can read the story here.
I’m hoping there is some sort of explanation for this on the radio that I missed. Perhaps that there is an e-publisher working with Toys for Tots that is guaranteeing to publish the books from various radio stations and donate the sales. Or that they’re auctioning off printed copies of the ‘book’ somewhere. I’m really not sure. I just hope they aren’t doing this expecting the book to just sell the old fashioned way. Every editor in NYC would laugh this off their desk and it certainly wouldn’t be published in time for Toys For Tots to make money this Christmas. Or next Christmas for that matter.
All I do know is that it annoys me. It shouldn’t. It’s for charity. But it does. Not enough to keep me up at night, but everytime I hear them talk about it on the radio, I wince. Maybe it is because as romance writers, we are always fighting the stigma of quick read trash that is EASY to write. So easy a couple DJs and some radio listeners can do it. Then publish it. No problem.
Yeah. Ok. So I’ll just run out and write a story and publish it so I can donate the money to Toys For Tots too, if its that easy. Heck, I’ll sell three! And if they can do my job so easily, maybe I can run out and run the radio station for a while. Easy as pie.
I won’t go into the story itself except to say that I find it to be a little choppy, it head hops, moves too quickly, they tell instead of show and the heroine keeps referring to the hero as her prince. (suppressing gag reflex) All as to be expected from novice writers, really. It takes a lot of work to write well enough for publication, a fact they seem oblivious to. (As an aside, if they do manage to really get this published, I'm going to have kittens.)
But I have to ask - why a romance? Why not write a mystery? Or a war drama? Why not a coming of age tale of a young boy coping with the stigma of his family’s harrowed past?? Why did they choose a romance novel? Just brings me back to the stigma. Cause its easy. Sure. I’m sorry I can’t suppress my bitterness about this. I guess it has just brought to the surface in my mind every person that has said they’re writing romance so they can get published, get an agent, then write a real book. Cause everyone knows romance novels are formulaic. Cheap. Trashy. They don’t offer any real messages or contribute to literature as a whole. It’s just housewife entertainment.
...Deep breath...Ok. I’ll stop now. I’m writing this blog as a substitute for actually contacting the radio station itself. I want to write them and explain to them where their story has gone awry. Give them some pointers. Make sure this goes out into the world as a reasonably well written piece of romantic fiction that represents the genre well. But I won’t. I don’t want them to say – well, who are you to tell us what we’ve done is bad? Have you published anything??
Not exactly. Doesn't mean I don't have an opinion or know something about the biz. But I still don't want to answer the question.
Anyway...despite what people might say or think about the romance community (sidenote - did you hear about the political race in Texas where a female candidate is accused of being a pornographer by her opponent for writing a romance novel in 1990?) I still am proud to be a part of it. What about the romance writing industry (whether you're a writer or a reader) makes you proud?