External conflict on its own rarely stands up as being big enough, emotional enough or important enough. Yes, external factors are important in keeping a story moving, but internal factors are the driving force behind character arc and development, and our pathways to making two-dimensional, imaginary characters human. Real.
When you measure your type of writing against someone else’s and it doesn’t add up, well, you’re bound to feel inferior, and that inferiority manifests in the favorite of all phenomena, Imposter Syndrome.
Cities do not speak. Beaches do not dance. Mountain ranges do not dream. Places are not, intrinsically, human. The humanity we derive from them is based in our own perception, the sights, sounds and smells that form a location or environment in our mind. There is no natural anthropomorphism to a place, and that is why it is so important that we put it there.
From the outside, writing doesn’t look too hard. After all, I spent eight to ten hours a day on my computer, doing the thing I love most in the world. What could be difficult about that? I get to research unique and interesting things, and tell the stories that I want to tell. It’s the dream job. And it is the dream job, but it’s sure as hell not an easy one.
Why aren’t these books marketed as romance novels and why do so many stories have love-story plots or subplots but scoff at the ones that do so intentionally?
But despite all those things people tend to say about romance, reading it has made me a fundamentally better author, both in and out of the genre. These books are often escapist and fantastical, yes, but I have taken many important writing skills and themes away from them. Here are just a few.
If you do find yourself in the midst of more than one long-term project at a time, here are a few tips and tricks for keeping all the books in the air.