And the Winner Is …

Romance.

Which is to say, that’s where I’m going to focus my writing efforts for the foreseeable future. Realistically, I can plan only one semester at a time, as my schedule changes from term to term, but I’m thinking by the end of May 2018 I want to have finished a second romance novel. The publisher of my first novel has right of first refusal, but I’d actually like to go with a different press if possible.

Time enough to worry about that come May, however.

I’m still going to have to juggle my time across three different writing projects:  romance novel 2 (henceforth RN2); a paper for an academic conference in Venice at the end of October (more on that as it draws nearer; and a book chapter which, if the anthology of which it’s a part is accepted for publication (it’s someone else’s anthology, not mine), will probably need to be revised.

But at this point in my life and career, I think I want to take on only occasional book chapters, articles, and conferences now. I’m not materially rewarded for further academic publications in terms of pay or rank, and since I’ve already reached full professor, I don’t need to do it to build my c.v.  I might as well take advantage of the limitations of the system in which I work to focus on what something fun and frothy.

My first novel was pretty much a paint-by-numbers affair to see if I could produce a credible piece of genre fiction. There’s something about working within genres that I find stimulating:  the challenge is to abide by certain conventions, even as one attempts to do something unique as well.  This novel was very short (no more than 50,000 words) and pretty formulaic. On the other hand, it received some good reader reviews. In any case, it was enjoyable to write, even as I took baby steps to learn a particular kind of craft that’s massively different from academic prose or literary nonfiction (obviously).

At the time I was stunned that the the manuscript was picked up by a press at all. Now, however, I’ve set my sights on using little less formula and achieving a little more depth.  I’m not talking Hamlet here–just something that’s a little more evolved than my first effort.

So that’s my plan.  I know I’m good at making plans and generally pretty good at following through on them–but I’m still feeling a tad intimidated.

I always am when I start something new.

Write it anyway.

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