Writing: Troubleshooting, Backstory, Romance?

Writing ResolutionThis blog has had many focuses over the course of its creation.  It started as a chronicle of my grad classes in Children’s Lit.  Then it transformed to a more book review focused blog.  One thing I need right now is a way for me to reflect and digest the progress I’m making on finishing my thesis.  (And seek out advice/tips from fellow writers–see bottom of post!) So I’m amping up the writing posts, but there should be a more steady diet of book reviews popping back up as well.

I’d set a deadline to be finished with the first draft of my novel over the summer.  But between having mono and transferring to a new job, nothing about this past summer went according to plan.  I’ve settled into the rhythm of my new job, and evenings spent sitting behind my desk with blankets and tea as I type away are now a real possibility.

I’m in the messy middle of my novel.  The middle was particularly difficult to even begin because I had a whole new setting and whole new cast of characters.  So I really felt like I was starting over.  I’ve written a large chunk of the middle and there are huge portions that I’m just not happy with.  I feel like I’ve taken some wrong turns and I need to go back in order to move forward.

I spent Friday night brainstorming every problem that I thought I had with this section of the novel.  Any doubt or frustration I was having.  See below:

photo 1

The next step was brainstorming possible solutions to these problems.  This has pretty much become my agenda for the next two weeks or so:

photo 3

Saturday afternoon I spent tackling some of the list.  I made Character Plan Sheets for the two characters I’m struggling with.  I also did some poking around on the internet for writing resources regarding romance writing.

I have no idea what I’m doing with the romance writing.  Really, I just want to know how to create romantic tension between my male and female characters and build a believable relationship.  I’m not writing Fifty Shades of Gray or anything.  It’s not THAT kind of romance writing.

But I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to break away from the chronological novel and write backstory for one character.  I think all my problems stem from my not knowing his character well enough.  I especially need to know and understand how he got himself into his current situation.  What flaws led him there?  What insecurities does he have?  Where do his goals and ambitions come from?

I know that none of his backstory will actually be in the novel.  Part of me is so eager to be done already that I’m frustrated to be taking this “time out” of sorts.  But it might be freeing to write something that never has to be seen.  So here’s hoping I have some fun with it.  And here’s hoping that this makes writing the messy middle a little neater and easier.

Questions for my readers:

  • Do you know any good resources on writing backstory?
  • Do you know any good resources on writing romance?
  • Can anyone recommend good YA historical romances?
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This entry was posted in Writing.

One comment on “Writing: Troubleshooting, Backstory, Romance?

  1. fakesteph says:

    READ THE AGENCY by YS Lee. The romance is superb. Also Grave Mercy and Dark Triumph are great, but a little more intense. Maybe check Stephanie Perkin’s site? I love her romances and I know her site has a lot of writing resources, but I’m not sure if any are geared specifically for romance. Good luuuuck!

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