01 02 03 Amorina Rose Writes: Paralysis by Analysis or too many cooks spoil the broth or stop thinking so much!!! 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

Paralysis by Analysis or too many cooks spoil the broth or stop thinking so much!!!

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I met up with a new friend the other day who is trying to build a new business.  What was fascinating is that writing can be related to everything she is going through.  Choosing to write is creating a business. It’s not enough to write the story; it’s only the beginning.  My friend Julia knows her area of expertise and wants to spread the word. Writers have a little more difficulty in this area as our work at the end of the day is so subjective.  However getting our words out there to be read is no different than my friend marketing her ideas and just as complicated and time consuming.  Hence the problem and the topic of today’s post amongst other things. 
Let me make it clear that I am not about to offer tips and ideas about marketing but it is about our approach to things that make our business grow including marketing.  Please bear in mind I am still in kindergarten in as far as all of this is concerned. However like all young children in their first approach to schooling a certain amount of information is at our fingertips. In our innocence we enjoy this but as we move up in grades and we begin to see what is up ahead we are often struck by a very serious illness of our competitive times.  It is known as ‘paralysis by analysis’.  I thought this a great expression when Julia used it.  We are not claiming credit for the name of this disease; we just know it exists because we are victims and although Julia is in a specialist area (health coaching) and I am a writer we face the same constraints.  Firstly though let me fill you in on the symptoms.  These include reading too much, not enough reading, untidy desk full of resources, resources in huge neat ordered files, listening to other people, not listening to other people, learning too much and not knowing enough and the most deadly two – wanting to give your best and what to do first.  Are you getting the picture?  This is a progressive, destructive germ that undermines confidence as it weaves its way through the bloodstream. Is medical relief available?  Good question!
Every morning I receive numerous emails and newsletters which I read, comment on, try to file somewhere I can find them again if necessary, review books I have read, check updates on Goodreads then I check my blog, do some writing unless real life says pajamas need to be replaced by clothes and didn’t you have to be somewhere ten minutes ago?  Since I have a very bad case of this terrible condition I usually tell myself I’ll make one more comment and shut down. Don’t ask if I do or don’t listen? All I can say is that today I really wanted to write a post about romance and sex scenes until flu like inertia reared its ugly little paws.  No not head, paws, all four of them so it is harder to resist or escape.
However hope for a cure or at the very least remission, came in the shape of a request from Sandra Beckwith.  Sandy wanted to know about our fears and asked us to comment on this so she could be of better help.  It occurred to me we do succumb to those crazy depleting symptoms because we are fear driven.  We want to succeed and are afraid that if we don’t cover all options we won’t.  Some are afraid of even more insidious and deeply personal enemies of our souls.  You can see this is not just about writers.  Don’t we all suffer the same thing in some way no matter what we do?  My comment for Sandy was the following:
To be honest reading the above comments by others it seems we all have a common thread and the only way to solve this is to ride the wave. I don't know what to add other than the fear that all this hard work taking so much energy could have been spent on something easier is the beat of the drum in my head.  I too have to earn a living and have time constraints but I can't not do this either.
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said “always do what you are afraid to do.” Sandy deliberately chose this quote as a starting point to her information gathering with good reason.  We fear what we most want.  Of course we do, because it brings the greatest happiness and greatest despair and thus of course we find ourselves contaminated by analysis by paralysis.  So I guess I have to suck it up, buttercup or is that princess and find a way to work with the illness? (I like princess better.) I don’t think there is a cure and remission is short allowing the disease to surface regularly.  
On a practical level, that is the original post I had wanted to do before I got side-tracked I have just finished my final rewrite of my novel after many previous efforts (most of the previous efforts were pre-disease).  My biggest worry all along has been that I have not succeeded in creating effective romantic and sexual tension in my contemporary romance because of rejection letters I have received.  Carina Press rejected me twice.  Don’t get scared off as I have been listening and reading. Don’t you remember I now have the disease?  Truthfully I caught it a while ago.  So now feverishly armed with information but a what if it’s not enough attitude (a side-symptom) I went to their website and found a post by Rhonda Helms, a freelance acquisitions and developmental editor with Carina to double-check (did I mention paranoia is also a side-symptom).  I found everything she said very helpful.  They offer some great advice on the Carina Press website.
This is what I learned. 
1.       Readers need to see motivation.  Characters have goals and the romantic interest distracts them.  I can understand that this needs to be clear.  I think Lia and Nico have this and hopefully I have made it obvious to the reader (I said the hope word).
2.      Readers need to see an evolution of intimacy.   Rhonda talks about revealing “secrets, flaws, vulnerabilities, past experiences. All those things that show someone how important he/she is becoming to our protagonist.”  I think so?  There is a point when Nico realises she is too important. Wow this is hard.  I think that nasty germ is inside my head.
3.      Readers need to see commitment.   This involves fear being pushed aside. Considering how hard it is for me to push my fear aside this one is a worry. I think I managed this with Nico; Lia is a woman and of course she gets it first?
4.      Readers need sexual tension.  It’s not about the act; it’s about the buildup. Rhonda describes it as a “hyperawareness of the other person that makes us feel an exquisite rush.”  I’ve tried but with it comes with a need to understand layering and I freely admit this is so difficult.
5.      Readers respond to the use of the five senses.  Smell in particularly draws such a response to so many people. Again I have made the effort to think about what is seen, what is heard and felt but heavens above (only use this expression as I don’t want to swear) it is hard.  Sorry I have said this now a few times but it’s true.
6.      Readers like raw emotion.  Readers like external and internal sensory experiences and not just in those parts. They want to know how those emotions manifest “in the body, in the pulse, lungs, hands, lips, eyes, ears, etc? If you only layer in sexual elements but don’t show how we feel when falling in love, your story may not be romantic enough.”

Where to from here?  Well, I could say all I have learned is present in my novel so let’s just send it away and relax; alternatively self-publish and relax.  Or I can accept my condition gracefully and send it to some very capable people to edit to make sure what I think I have done I have actually done (paranoia much)?  You know what?  I think I will take the latter road.  It will involve more work but it might get me to the land that readers like and they’re the ones we have to please.  Call them patients, clients, students but a rose by any other name is still a rose, isn’t it?
Ciao

Barb

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