This weekend, I signed up for an online class: Writing Paranormal Romance 101.
I can’t really tell you what prompted me to get into it. It started with a message from Headquarters, introducing a new program picked up for our library system. Free online classes, what’s not to like? Being the first adopter that I am, and realizing that I should probably get myself at least partly re-accustomed to online classes before grad school starts, I decided I’d test it out. My original plan hadn’t been this class, mind you, but as I was looking through the list of writing classes, there it was.
I realized I may as well give it a shot when I was mentioning it to my game group. What goes into a class like this, anyway? I’ve read more critiques and reviews of books in the genre than actual books, so I had some vague idea, but I was still curious. Besides, it seems like I never do anything new these days, or at least not anything particularly unusual. And while I haven’t read all that much paranormal romance, I run into it a lot as a library technician (either because it’s on several layers of hold, or because someone’s trying to shelve it outside the speculative fiction section again), so I figure I may as well learn to understand it.
The explanation I gave the instructor, on the other hand, was that romance as plot element is a weak point of mine, and that I was hoping to try to learn how it worked while in something that was technically my genre comfort zone. All true, really—I don’t think I’m completely inept at writing romance plots, since I had a player who at one point mentioned he was sticking around almost entirely for his character’s romantic entanglements, after the frequency of fighting had gone down and he and the rest of the group had spent a lot of time at both IC and OOC forms of loggerheads, but I wouldn’t say I’m good at them, either. I’ve never made sense of physical attraction; I fall and fall hard, but for minds, not faces or bodies. As it currently stands, I can’t make sense of the kind of character who would be as concerned with how sexy someone is as with the danger they pose. And… while I could write what I know, I imagine the kinds of couples whose idea of celebrating a romantic holiday is psychological horror and game design in equal portions probably work better as a small subset of the population rather than as every character set with a romance plot EVER.
Why am I blogging about it? I got the idea when I saw the second assignment for the first lesson, and realized that the instructor asks pretty good questions, but it was probably inevitable. I’m past the 1,300 post mark, this is something new and different, it relates to writing and therefore might be useful, and if I’m going to use writing my process as a way to figuring out what to do for my assignments, as I already have once, I may as well get a few decent posts out of it. And what’s the fun of learning to work in a genre I have trouble taking seriously if I don’t have a snark outlet somewhere?
(And no, I promise, this is not going to be a batch series. I don’t get through my assignments that quickly.)
Welcome to the adventure.