Friday, May 18, 2012

Stretching My Boundaries

by Mary Sutton / @mary_sutton73

Last week, via Twitter, I got a link to a writing contest from a tweep of mine. Novella length, 15k-50k words. Due by 1 June. I thought, "That looks interesting." Just one problem.

It was for the romance genre.

Okay, I'll wait while you have whatever reaction you have to romance novels.

Now, I've never written romance. Don't really read them either. Not my thing. Not for me. Pass.

Until my husband, who had been reading one of my short stories, said "Are you sure you aren't writing a romance disguised as a mystery?" Whoa.

And that got me thinking: Perhaps I need to stretch my writing legs. You know, go outside the norm. Get out of my "comfort zone," as my friend Amy would say.

So I looked at the contest rules again. The level of "heat" in the manuscript was up to me. Which is good, because I don't think I'm ready to write an explicit sex scene yet. I started thinking. And for some reason, my three-month sojourn in Puerto Rico popped into my head. "What if two people, each looking to get over a heartbreak, met in San Juan? And what would happen if...?"

And thus, a story is born.

I finished the first draft using the #1k1hr tactic of fast-drafting. Don't spend days on an outline, just write. Some in the biz call this "pantsing" - writing by the seat of your pants.

Is the story any good? Well, I kind of like it. It's been fun writing something a little sexy, without the conundrums of "who got killed, by whom, how, and why."

Will I enter the contest? Don't know yet. I'm doing draft #2 now, expanding things, adding some more detail. If I like where the story is at by 1 June, I just might enter. You know, just for kicks.

Wish me luck.


  1. Go for it. You might just find a whole new area of writing for yourself.

    1. Thanks. I'm almost through the first revision. Got past the minimum word count, so that's good. I recently saw a post that likened writing to building a house. My framework is up, my stairs are in place. I'm putting the final touches on the drywall and I'm getting ready to pain and lay carpet! LOL