That's where I am right now, peeps.
Most of you know the manuscript that landed my kickass agent was a contemporary romance. It makes perfect sense, considering I'm a romance junkie. I love reading it. I love writing it. If most other genres are coconut milk ice cream - enjoyable enough, a lot better for you, but just not quite as delicious - then a good romance is my ginormous bowl of real, chocolate-fudgey Ben and Jerry's dairy Heaven.
|Yes, I really did do a photo shoot with a container of ice|
So why, I ask, am I attempting to write a psychological thriller right now?
I'll tell you.
When the idea for this manuscript came to me months ago, it was as a paranormal romance/thriller type novel.
I let the idea percolate while I finished LYM, but as time went on, it seemed agents and editors alike had started to regard "paranormal" as a four-letter word. (Click the link for a great post by Tristina Wright)
Then I had the amazing fortune to speak to John and the Other Awesome Offering Agent on the phone. The only not-so-awesome part? They both confirmed my fear that paranormal is getting the cold shoulder in the publishing market right now.
Cue instant, intense panic. And sadness, because I like a good supernatural story.
I'd already started writing SP as a paranormal and had about 20K down. There were no vampires, no werewolves, no shape-shifting unicorns or whatever - just a not-so-dead dead girl. I should be fine, right? It's all those *other* things that are crowding the bandwagon, right? RIGHT?
WHAT IN THE HELL WAS I GOING TO DO??
(And just a side note on bandwagons: if everyone didn't clamor for the same one at the same time, they wouldn't have to abandon ship en masse. Though I suppose that's the nature of a bandwagon. *sigh*)
I had ideas for new contemporary romances, but they were just twinkles in my eye at that point, and I am a sloooow drafter.
Cue copious hyperventilation.
I think it was my CP Dahlia who said, "Well... does SP *have* to be paranormal?" (Not kidding, guys, I associate with geniuses)
That's when it hit me: No it does not! I can morph this puppy into a psychological thriller while still keeping the basic structure of the premise AND all the sweet-n-steamy romance! Wahoo!
The only problem? It was WAY easier to write as a paranormal. Like, way.
Developing a main character people can be sympathetic toward while also questioning whether or not she's completely off her rocker has been daunting, to say the least.
Which is to say: this mc is driving me freaking crazy with all her psychological issues and all her damn "feels," because I'm the one who has to do them justice. My original vision was much more cut-and-dry.
I'm finding that when I sit down to write, I wind up staring at the blinking cursor with my bitch face, like so:
|Seriously, SP? You can't write your damn self already?|
On the other hand, when I do finally manage to pull off a scene that I've mulled over for hours or even days?
It's freaking awesome.
So while I'm still a bit miffed at paranormal being mean-girled out of the market as punishment for its own popularity, the upside is that it's been an opportunity to challenge myself as a writer. I might be kicking and screaming every step of the way, but I have a feeling I'm going to be seriously proud of myself and this novel when and if I finish it.
Will it be good? No clue.
Will my CP's think I've lost my damn mind? Quite possibly.
Will my agent think it's crap? God I hope not.
Will psychological thrillers replace straight romance as my Ben andJerry's? I highly doubt it
But I tried something new, and that in itself feels pretty good. You know... when it's not making me want to go on a murderous rampage. And if it doesn't work out, I can still rock a contemporary romance like it's my birthday (I hope).
What about you, peeps? Have you ever stepped outside your writing comfort zone? Were you glad you did it? (And what are your thoughts on the current stigma against paranormal?)