Still moving right along with the WIP at a pace of about 4,500K per day — I’ve hit the hundred page mark so I’m stoked. Until my moment of panic last night.

See, I’ve been reading all the blog-talk about heroines and romance writers not reading much romance,etc. Personally, I understand where everyone was coming from, and hey, that’s kind of what makes the world go round. One of my favorite romance authors reads mostly non-fiction, and it doesn’t bother me as long as she continues to support the genre, and I don’t mind a needy heroine every now and again if she’s got the right motivation and she grows up in the course of the book. What I do love to see is how passionate people are about romance.

Anyway, I really had to sit down and measure where I came in, and I didn’t have to look all that hard. Dammit — I want the fantasy. I really do. Giver me a larger than life hero and a dose of, I wish this could happen to me, and it’s really easy for me to suspend my disbelief. As soon as I open a book, I tend to give the author a certain latitude if I like the characters. I mean, I live a stone’s throw from a major city and I’ve read books set there and I can tell that author’s probably never been, but it doesn’t bother me. I’m able to sink into the story, and that’s probably because I don’t tend to notice details in my own life. *g* The husband always jokes that he could paint entire rooms and I wouldn’t notice until weeks later (he’s totally right.) I know that’s why I have such a hard time fleshing out scenes like that in my own books.

Still, I freaked about my current heroine. I didn’t have enough research, I made her have a career that might or might not be one hundred percent correct the way I wrote it. I was going to have to toss this entire book. (I’m a little dramatic, I know)

I started Googling like a madwoman, thought about ripping my first chapters to shreds to make things completely realistic. When the husband came home, I started asking him all kinds of frantic questions about this particular career, since it’s something he knows about.

Funny things I learned: First, when I pick a character and his/her career, I usually do it because I do already have some kind of a knowledge base of them, something I tend to forget, since I feel like these characters spill onto the paper fully formed, kind of like Athena springing from Zeus’s head. Second, he reminded me that I write fiction. Actually, he said something like, “You’re writing fiction, Steph. Everything doesn’t have to be perfectly true, because then it would be kind of boring, wouldn’t it?”

The husband is a non-writer/reader-type. And he expects a lot of what he reads in fiction to be somewhat exaggerated. Interesting. Even more so when he grabbed the dictionary and looked up fiction (yes, I was still totally freaking out at this point, because I tend to sometimes forget the man does make good points.)

Fiction: literary work based on the imagination and not necessarily on fact. A fabrication: a deliberately false or improbable account. Also, an imaginative narrative in any form of presentation that is designed to entertain, rather than explain, argue, or merely describe.

And then I looked up romance, of course: a term used to describe stories of an idealized existence; a tale of bliss or happiness.

And then I moved to Suspension of disbelief: a willingness of a reader or viewer to suspend his critical faculties to the extent of ignoring minor inconsistencies so as to enjoy a work of fiction. The phrase was coined by Coleridge in 1817, writing… it was agreed, that my endeavours should be directed to persons and characters supernatural, or at least romantic, yet so as to transfer from our inward nature a human interest and a semblance of truth sufficient to procure for these shadows of imagination that willing suspension of disbelief for the moment, which constitutes poetic faith.

Also found this one: The audience accepts limitations in the story being presented, sacrificing realism.

I calmed down, changed a few things in chapter one, like how the heroine made some extra cash and taped the definitions to my wall. I write fiction, not 100% reality. I still do a ton of research, but I stretch the realm of reality if I have to, and I’m comfortable with that. I can relax and go back to sufficiently torturing my characters, making sure they have enough real-life conflict and motivation for their feelings.

If you want the complete, 100% fact-based, read the non-fiction version. If you want the fantasy, come on over my way.

In other news, there are two quails getting it on out on my back deck, so I guess the Stevie Nick’s CD is even more inspiring than I thought for real life love scenes too.

And if you made it through this long, semi-incoherent ramble, you probably deserve a prize.

Steph T.