Thursday, August 22, 2013

Yes, I"m Writing a Contemporary Romance Novella!

I joined a workshop in writing. It's called "Yes, I'm Writing a Contemporary Romance Novel". And here was my newspaper article in Manila Bulletin.

            Summer is here, you grow restless and dreamy. And then you suddenly think about the book you have dreamed of writing for the longest time.
             Perhaps you’re one of those who have read hundreds of romance books when you were young; or even now, an incorrigible passionista who one day decided to change places with your favourite writer and for once get the ending that you really ache for.
             So here you are, armed with a laptop and a mother lode of ideas that you think would catapult you to the bestsellers’ list ( or at least to be officially called an  “ author”) . But wait a minute, between actually coming up with the idea and signing a contract with a publisher is a whole gamut of complex decisions, sleepless nights and hopefully, growth. It is not unlike giving birth to a child, according to many writers.
             Last March 17, a handful of hopeful romantics met for the second time to discuss the specifics of their outlines for a romance novel in English. This writing workshop is ongoing and our group dynamics is in session 24/7 in Facebook, with everybody pitching in with ideas that may lead to the development of the stories. There are 99 members in this group. Right now, 37 submitted their outlines for love stories.
             Topselling romance novelist Ms. Mina V. Esguerra who organized the group facilitated and got the set to talk about their methods on how to tickle the readers and their preferences for love scenes. Yes, believe it or not, the icky stuff. Called “Yes, I’m Writing a Contemporary Romance Novella”, this class meet each month and lay out what they have accomplished that time.

            Mina V. Esguerra has written eight books, the latest, which is The Interim Goddess of Love, is about Hannah Maquiling (name sound familiar?) a second year college student who was given a job as a temp . Her mission? To be the goddess of love and help the world (or at least her campus) cope with love (or the lack of it).The Interim Goddess of Love has been out in the bookstores since January 2013. It can also be bought and read online where Ms. Esguerra self published it on Amazon,  Barnes and Noble.
            The authoress has been guiding us all throughout to make this arduous and beautiful task easier .  And what is the point of this exercise? What else but to come up with a 30,000 word novel at the end of six months. Wow. One wonders is it possible for the mostly virgin novel writers? Yes, most members have never written a novel, although a couple of girls have published Tagalog Romance novels under their belts.
             Many concerns were tackled every meet up. Like how to create fascinating and believable characters. We learned that to be able to write the story we must first give breath to the characters. And, like what Hemingway said, they are people. “Characters are caricatures,” unable to satisfy a reader’s emotional needs. We must write about people. Writing the history of a person, from the moment  she was born (at least on paper), her physical looks, the way she thinks, her quirks, is the backbone of the story. For many writers, the characters are the most important part of the story.
          Someone said that writing can only be taught to one who already has the gift for words. Seeing these interesting women (and man) who are bound by their love for reading and want to take it to the next level-which is writing, I have discovered that it is not only the gift of words, but the passion and the romance that these people believe in.
         Because no matter how a writer detaches herself from her main character, chances are she lives the character’s life for awhile until the words that say the end.

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