Selecting a Niche Market

The kidlet is out of school for the summer. He's bored and bugging the “$%@#” out of me! I'll do my best to keep blogging until his 8 weeks of vacation is over. Thank heavens for the year round school program!

I've decided on a niche market to write for – woman's romantic science fiction and fantasy. Okay, not much different from my first attempt. But these one will be written in the accepted form for woman's romantic fiction, switching point of view from the hero to heroine. The relationships is the main focus with events putting them together and pulling them apart – with plenty of verbal foreplay and near misses. One good sex scene after the couple have made some type of commitment. And of course, a happy ending.

I really enjoyed 'Heartmate' by Robin Owens. It takes place 400 years in the future on a distant planet colonized by technically and magically gifted humans who left earth so they could practice their magic. The hero is a rich, magical Tarzan the hero a magical Jane. It's sweet and funny with elements of danger.

Creating my own future worlds will take less time than researching for an historical romance. I thought of writing contemporary romace, but couldn't come up with new ways of two people meeting without twisting reality. I tried to brainstorm a list. But, I need magic or technology for my plots.

Last week I finished the first draft of a new novel. Actually, the novel wrote itsself. I was surprised! I set up the concept in my head and started writing. I used the completely orgainc approach. I had no idea where the story was going and let the characters tell me who they are and events just naturally happened.

I picked up a pen, started writing and within a week I had it done! The story is in one journal notebook with very few scratch outs. It's as if the novel wanted to be written as it streamed from my brain and onto the page. This is the most fun I've had writing in a very long time. It felt effortless, as if I was simply dictating the words of the muse in my head. When I wasn't writing, I was planning the next scene – in the car, doing housework and before my son's ice hockey game.

The next step is to get these words into a text file and start polishing. I need to make certain the language I use matches what is expected by the reader.

This novel will be called 'Dreamsayer.' Next blog, I'll give more details.

I'll keep you posted.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

I finished reading Outlander by Diana Gabaldon last night. Though I don't have the exact word count, this story has well over 125,000. The 6” x 9” paperback version has 656 pages. (My 125,000 word novel 6x9 has 247). Of course, this was not her first printed title. She had an established fan base, so a publisher is more likely to take the risk of printing a thick book.

The story is well detailed (sometimes too much), starting in 1942 then time traveling through a small Stonehenge circle back to 1742. She took quite a few chapters to set up the story, introducing history, place, characters and their ancestors for both time periods. Necessary, I suppose, but rather boring.

The story is told in the first person, Claire's voice, almost a memoir style – not my first choice for point of view reading. But her thoughts are interesting enough to make me like her and some of the dialog is charming, truly funny and properly reflects the characters. (I like dialog)

I liked the two main characters, Claire a nurse from 1942 and Jamie a fiery Scotsman from 1742. Though to took me a while to figure out he was the intended love interest and I didn't quite see the attraction.

Even if factual for the time, she pushed the limits of reality forcing her characters to endure the worst of what two people of any time could endure. Quite frankly, when Claire found she could go back to her own time, she didn't and I couldn't believe it! – after being kidnapped by a band of Scotsmen, nearly raped four times, killing a man (eventually two), flogged, almost convicted and killed for being a witch, forced into marriage or suffer torture for being suspected a spy for the French, her backside strapped by her husband for failing to obey his orders, same man making clear the meaning of “obey” in her marriage vows included his needs in the bed.

Instead, she falls in “lust” with her new husband, an outlaw, warrior and murderer with a price on his head, with few friends or people he can trust – even among his own relatives and clansmen, hunted by the English, always on the run, in hiding or fighting capture, or being captured, completely scarred from head to toe from the abuse he suffered at the hands of the English and never ending fighting with sword, knife and pistol (good thing she's got medical training – one of the reasons why he married her), physically injured many times but apparently a fast healer, who admits he's not a very good husband because he has no money or property and he beats his wife.

But the sex is good.

Really, Claire – wake up from the nightmare and go home! Is a good lay really that damn important!

There's nothing “gentile” about this story. It's brutal, violent. She found ways of abusing her characters both mentally and physically that left me disgusted. Though the characters seem to “brush” everything off after a few days and a good emotional release (fight or cry) and move onto the next horrific event - courage and bravery? Their lives are one never ending, no-win scenario – either suffer or die. It did leave me delighted I live where I do and in this century.

I finished reading the book not knowing it was part of a trilogy. The last chapter left the characters at a happy point (with much unresolved) enough for me to let them go and imagine a happily ever after, even though they seem doomed. I don't have the stomach for two more books no matter how much I like the rapport between the two main characters. I'm done.

I'll keep you posted.

Crap and Cream

Sorry I haven't blogged lately. I've been reading and writing fiction, trying to get into the language. The more research I do, the more reading I do, the more I read posts for the Yahoo groups, the more I look into everything that is out there, I realize I have made a huge error in judgement.

I need to write for a niche market.

I have every intention of finishing this trilogy. I like the story. I like the characters. But I'm having trouble finding the readers, the people, who, like me, will enjoy my characters adventures. I thought it should be easy to find others like myself who enjoy the same. But the more I look at what is out there, the more I read what other people read, the more convinced I am that I've set myself up for failure.

I don't have time to devote to a failed concept.

A while ago I read an article from a professional editor who also freelances. I don't remember the name nor did I keep the link. This morning, I remembered something I dismissed when I read the blog, she said, “Write a story that people actually want to read.”

Lately, I've read enough crap and cream stories that I'm getting a much clearer picture of what that editor means. Ride the tide. Write for the niche. Find out what the audience expects, wants and desires based on what has worked in the past. Do the same as everyone else only different, a slight twist, a different angle. Get into the language of a particular niche market – i.e. romance – and write in a similar style, similar structure, similar characters only slightly different.

I'm selling a novel that breaks the genre rules and crosses borders into uninhabited territory.

I'm writing the novels for me, not for a specific audience. My likes run the gambit of non-fiction, history, romance, science fiction, fantasy, science fantasy, mystery and mythical stories. I don't like vampires or werewolves. I prefer humans with magical powers to mythical creations. I don't like reluctant heroes forced into a destiny they'd prefer to run screaming from. I want heroes who plunge headlong into danger, feeling the rush, working through a no-win situation and coming out on top. And I like the added spice of a little romance and sex between the main characters. I don't like the old style James Bond who bed hops without hesitation. Give me a hero in love with a heroine who fills his every need, even if it takes a while for both of them to realize it.

All of the above poses a problem. Where do I find people like me? I don't think the audience I'm looking for reads books. I think they prefer to watch TV.

I'll keep you posted.