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  • Writer's pictureValerie Miller

Why I scrapped my first romance manuscript?

As you know better than anyone, you know best, so whatever Capricorn path you take, as long as you follow your heart, it's right. This month is about self-discovery.

Hours spent on my romance writing craft

0 to 5+

Romance novel I’m reading:

Emma on 83rd Street by Audrey Bellezza and Emily Harding

Romantic movie watched:

Sliding Doors

Chocolates eaten

I've cut back. I'm only eating Lindt 95% Dark Chocolate. It's good for me!


Baron Betsy Pinot Gris (Nobel Fellows 2022)

Goodness me! It's been ten months since I wrote my first entry for this journal. There is a reason I haven't written a new entry. I had to put my romance writing on hold while I figured out how I could continue writing in another genre (I write under a different author name), while I work full-time as a high school English teacher, and find time to spend with my friends and family. Then there's getting in some daily exercise, and looking after my pets—I have an ageing Hungarian Vizsla and two cats. Oh! and to find time to do loads of reading. This is an important pursuit as a writer.

So much has happened since I last wrote, too. I got my manuscript for one of my romance stories back from the editor. It was a mess, and it requires a major rewrite. To be honest, this was the reason I stopped my romance writing. I didn't have the time, and therefore, the mental and emotional headspace, to deal with it. I also need to think about how I would start the rewrite.

The manuscript needs my full attention and time. At the moment, it is patiently waiting for me to get to it.

Then there's the first romance novel I started drafting in September 2021. More on this manuscript in a moment. Finally, I had, and still have, plans to revise my dissertation novelette, The Secret Me, into a novella or short novel—the length will depend on whatever the story needs.

And so I stopped and let myself breathe. Giving myself the space to allow me to work out a plan. By the new year, and after completing a romance writing course with Professional Writing Academy, I knew I wanted to keep writing romance and publish these books. The goal is to build my backlist. So, I came up with a plan that I believed would suit my life as a dual-genre author, a full-time teacher and an earth dweller—I would work on my romance stories in the school holidays.

I implemented the plan.

For part of this year. I worked on my romance stories during the summer school holidays, before the new 2023 school year started here in Brisbane, Australia. I continued to do a bit more work on my romance stories during the April and July holidays.

It wasn't enough for me. I needed more traction. I went back to ponder some more.

Then mid-August swung around, which meant one wonderful thing—the annual Romance Writers of Australia Conference. This year it was in Sydney. My hometown.

Two things happened to me at the conference. Well, three.

First, I realised that the reason my two WIPs weren't happening was that I was writing in the wrong subgenre and using a double point of view for both the heroine and the hero. I actually prefer the one point of view. The point of view of the heroine. This is one element of romantic comedies that I like. The second thing was that my inspiration and motivation soared. But it was meeting Libby M Iriks, who is a romance writing coach, that helped me to fine-tune my commitment to writing romance stories.

Libby has a romance writing course that helps you to write stories with heart, plus she coaches you as you write the first draft or, as you edit and revise, a draft already written. Her style and process suited me perfectly.

Now I had someone who could help and guide me. So, I sat and pondered some more. I spent more time thinking about my current writing projects and this niggly feeling kept flicking at me. I needed to fix these stories. One story needed a rewrite—as my editor had advised — and the other story wasn't working either.

Deep down, I knew there was an issue. Deep down, I knew why I wasn't getting on and finishing the draft for one or attending to the rewrite for the other.

Then last night, at around 9.30 pm, I pulled the pin and scrapped the story I just couldn't finish. I realised this novel was my practice manuscript. And like the practice manuscript for the other genre I write in, it will never see the light of day.

The good news for you, my friend, is that I will be journalling my process—the trials and tribulations of writing romantic comedies as an emerging writer. You will join me in this venture. Learn from my mistakes and discover what is possible. Cry with the failures and the rejections. Celebrate the good times and cherish all the successes.

What's on the writing table now?

I will work through Libby's first module Story Fundamentals #1: The Basics. After completing the module, I will submit my work and get some feedback and coaching.

I'm excited and inspired to begin.

Well, that's all for now. I'm off to start again on this second attempt at this manuscript for my romantic comedy. It will have the same heroine and love interest. I'm still deciding if it'll be one point of view or dual points of view between the heroine and the hero. I'll let the story guide me. The town is moving locations and it may have a slight name change too.

The other manuscript will wait until this one's drafted and then I will give it the time and space it needs. For now, I will share my thinking time on ways to revise it so it shines.

I will reveal all as I work through the drafting and editing process. In this journal, I will share character names, book titles, and other interesting details as I work through the stories from drafting to revising to publishing.

Happy romance reading, watching and living.

Signing off with ❤️


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