That is such great advice. Write for the market and you will sell lots of books. It's such an easy equation. Why can't I just do that? The rules for fiction that sells are so basic in the romance genre.
- Nice heroines (Ie., not snarky)
- Handsome, manly heroes (ie., not nerds in venture capital)
- Romantic settings (not Silicon Valley -- trust me on that one!)
- Primary focus is on the relationship (this one really gets me, I'm too ADD for that.)
The problem for me is that my favorite romances don't have these elements, so that really screws me up."Pride and Prejudice" has the best hero in the history of heroes, and he's a total jerk. (Until we find out who he really is.) Lizzy is so proud and full of herself that she turns down a proposal that could rescue her family from entailment laws. And is the suburbs in England really that romantic?
What about "Jane Eyre?" Mr. Rochester might just be a sociopath. LOL "Far from the Madding Crowd" -- Bathsheba definitely has narcissistic personality disorder and Gabriel Oak is probably an enabler, but he loves her as Jesus loves us -- when we are not worthy of being loved. Could there be anything more romantic?
My current heroine is a social worker in San Francisco. She dresses badly and couldn't care less. The hero is a would-be lawyer who has secrets and a broken hip. The setting is a gothic mansion in modern-day San Francisco where the heroine lives with the father who abandoned her. This is what my brain is like. It is NOT normal. It cannot do what it's supposed to. I'm feeling frustrated today that I have to finish this story with too many characters and a lot of resolution still to go.
If only I could throw a sword fight in and make my heroine swoon over her handsome rake savior. Alas, I cannot. I just need to finish the book. If you identify with any of this craziness, this post is for you. Not all of us are meant for the masses. Some of us are meant to appeal to a specific palate. Just finish the book. I have to tell myself that after 40 books published. Just finish the book. It's for someone.