Thursday, April 12, 2012

Nora Roberts on Writing

Nora Roberts rocks my world.  When I pick up one of her books, I don't breathe until I'm finished.  I've blogged before about how I used to roll my eyes in scorn when I thought of romance books.  Two years ago, when I was on vacation, I decided to check one out, to see if I was wrong.  The book I picked up was Taming Natasha by Nora Roberts.  Yes, the title was dumb, and the cover looked ridiculous, but from the first page, it captured my attention.  I have no doubt that if I had picked up any of Nora's books, I would have had the same reaction.  She writes strong, independent women who demand equality in addition to love.

So it's no surprise that when she talks about writing, she inspires me.  In this video, she's addressing an audience at the Washington Post.  I've watched it several times, and when I'm gearing up to a new project, I find myself watching it yet again.  One of my favorite quotes is "Sister Mary Responsibility kicks the Muses ass every time."  Or "Determination, guilt, and guilt are a writer's best friends."  I keep trying to think of an appropriate place I could have these tattooed on my body, but in the meantime, they're my personal mantras.

Part of what I love about Nora Roberts is that she produces like none other.  She churns out titles not only under her name, but under the pen name J.D. Robb, writing several books a year for each brand.  How she does it, I'm not quite sure, but I think it probably has something to do with her consistent writing habit.  She compares it to working out--you better keep it up, or you'll lose it (and it will hurt like hell when you try to get back at it).

I also love her characters.  She writes people that I could imagine meeting--they have hopes, strengths, flaws, and snappy come-backs.  They're not idealized (like so many characters I meet in fantasy) or ridiculous (like several I've read in other romances).  Most importantly, I can't put the book down until I find out what happens to them.  Why do I care so much?  That's the magic, and that's what I want to make happen in my own writing.

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