I forget exactly how I stumbled upon this documentary. I know that it was one of those internet rabbit holes where you start out looking at articles that give writing advice and resources and end up in more and more obscure articles, videos and other such things. Although this particular rabbit hole stayed relevant to the topic of writing. It wasn’t like what happens when I get lost on YouTube and find videos explaining the science behind the 10 weirdest and most unexplainable allergies (cold, water, and touch were the more normal ones…).
Anyway, I found this link to the teaser for a documentary on romance writers called “Love Between the Covers” (of a book, you dirty minded people). I found it on Netflix (thank God). I just watched it for the second time today. I think I mentioned it briefly in the post Writing Update: What I Am Working On, but I figured I would explain more of it here.
This documentary has lots of little quotes and good advice throughout that are easy to miss. But it does give the watcher (especially if they are a romance writer themselves) a good sense of encouragement and a feeling of “I can do this!”.
A couple of my favorite tips and paraphrases:
- No one sees Hemmingway as formulaic, even though every one of his novels ends the same way. So why is one labeled literary and the other as hopelessly optimistic?
- It is written by women, for women, and about women. That’s why the romance genre is so stigmatized.
- This is the only genre where women’s sexuality is treated fairly and in a positive way.
- Much like the internet; whatever your cup of tea, someone is pouring it.
- We have the tendency to think three years or more ahead. We worry about how long a series is before we even have the first book written. Don’t do that! Just focus on writing that first book.
- “My first book took me five years. The second, about a year. The third, four months.”
- Why are romances stigmatized for their happily ever after’s (HEA’s)? Sure, they’re a fantasy, but so are all of the Arnold Schwarzenegger movies.
- In no other genre have I seen such a ‘pay it forward’ attitude.
- I wouldn’t recommend anyone quit their day job to be a full-time romance writer because so few people make it.
I hope this gives you an idea of how encouraging and full of little tidbits of advice this documentary is. It basically gave me a feeling that eradicates some of my shame for writing romances. I grew up in a church (or really a cult) where anything sexual was highly stigmatized, so I have a lot of embarrassment and shame around the fact that I like to read and write romances. This documentary helps remind me that there is a reason these books are the big money makers for publishers.
It helps make me want to keep writing my novels. In fact, whenever I am feeling discouraged from writing them I have watched this movie. Then, I write over 1,000 words in a very short amount of time. A little encouragement and knowing you are not alone goes a long way.
Even though writing and reading are often solitary experiences, it always helps to know that other people read the stuff you read. That other people enjoy the same genres and that it is okay to write this stuff.
So, for all of you aspiring romance writers: watch this documentary when you need a little encouragement or if you feel alone. I guarantee it will help you to keep writing and reaching for your dream.