Thursday, May 11, 2017

Please Give Me Something To Talk About

Kris Fletcher

A few months back, my minister pulled me aside after church and asked to speak to me for a few minutes. My immediate reaction was to ask what I messed up this time :-) He assured me that I hadn't screwed up anything (for the moment), and that he wanted me to speak at an upcoming Lenten service. Fool that I am - and because I had just finished reading Year Of Yes, by Shonda Rimes - I agreed.

The first hint of trouble came when I realized that I had absolutely nothing to say. Oh, the minister had given me some guidelines, but "serving with our minds" wasn't exactly the bullet point outline I needed. I finally cobbled together something to fill the seven minutes allotted to me and set out, confidant that if I could not speak intelligently, I could at least grunt out something that sounded like words.

My second whack of trouble when I looked out over the group and remembered that there is something very special about my church, and that is the number of retired pastors among our membership. They're like their own little gang, complete with their own turf (a pew affectionately known as Preachers Row). Individually they are wonderful, kind, and loving people whom I adore.

Collectively, they scared the crap out of me.

I got through my talk somehow. I remember very little of what I said. And I can honestly say that it's
the first time in my life when I have come home from church and gone directly to the bottle of Irish Cream in the fridge.

You would think I had learned my lesson.

You would be wrong.

A few days after my debacle debut, the head of the women's group gave me a call. Could I possibly talk to them at their June gathering?

I should have said no. I should have said that I would be celebrating my son's birthday. (It is the same day. So what if I'm in central New York and he's in Boston? I can still celebrate!) I should have assured her that I was having elective surgery that day, preferably to have my tongue removed.

Instead, because she is a wonderful, kind, and loving woman, I said yes.

And now I am doomed.

I have nothing to say. I talked to this group once before, two or three years ago, so they have already heard my comments about the myths and realities of writing romance. (Summary: no to feather boas, yes to sweaters with holes in the sleeves.) I see them every week, twice weekly for my fellow choir members, so they know all my stories already. Worse, I can't pretend to be witty, charming, or intelligent, because they have all seen me in my Spongebob costume, and believe me, there is no coming back from that.

I need to come up with a truly wow-worthy topic. And so, dear blog, I am coming to you.

What would YOU like to hear from a romance writer? What do YOU think would be worth leaving home to listen to? All suggestions will be welcomed with sobs of joy, and all comments will be entered into a drawing for a $10 gift card to the online book retailer of the winner's choice. (Drawing to be done Sunday May 14 at whatever time I get a chance to do it.)

Help me, Obi-Blog-a-Roni. You're my only hope.

And if you, like me, are now humming along to that old Bonnie Raitt tune, well ...




5 comments:

Laney4 said...

Since your talk is in June, can you do a Father's Day related theme - or an end-of-school-year theme? If Father's Day, then talk about incorporating fathers into your romances (from finding out your mate is pregnant ... to finding out your ex had your secret child ... to dating someone with a child already); if at the end of the school year, then storylines could incorporate children and possible angst (from not knowing how to care for babies ... to a child not liking the girlfriend/boyfriend of the parent ... to juvenile truancy/delinquency). I'm sure you can include many more twists to storylines that would incorporate these (or other) themes.
You can consider what items you could bring to "wow" them, as well. Something as simple as your pens or even notepaper (if you have them). The red Harlequin pens with the guy's shirt going up and down might be a conversation starter!
Good luck!

Summer said...

Maybe you could talk about perseverance, since that's such a huge thing in becoming a writer, the ups and downs of publishing, and at the same time it's a skill/trait that applies to people from every walk of life, in any kind of career, so even if some of those you're talking to aren't necessarily aspiring writers they might still and get something out of it.

Laurie I said...

I'd want to hear why they chose to become a romance writer—who or what inspired them; how long did it take to get their first book published; how did they learn how to submit a manuscript to a publisher; did they receive rejection letters; how long does it take them to write a book; how do they feel about reviews, good and bad; how do they plot out their books; where do their ideas come from; do they construct Pinterest boards for their books; how are the covers chosen; do they prefer writing stand-alone books or series, and why; have they wanted to venture into writing other genres besides romance, like mystery; do they use people they know in their books.
Just a few things that came to my mind as a reader. ( :

Carol said...

I think I would like to hear how you thought romance novels compared with real life. Do they help women in their everyday lives or in their own romances? Do romances set the bar too high for women in real life relationships? I think that might interest women whether they read romances or not. Once who do read may feel it helps them and women who don't may consider romance novels too unrealistic. (Of course you'd set them straight!) You could even do a littl give and take and see what they think.

kris said...

Oh, I love these ideas! Thank you all. You've given me any number of possibilities and helped unstick my reluctant brain. SO SO grateful!

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