Up until now, Flo Fitzpatrick‘s been more known for her quirky, fun mysteries than her romances! But after growing interested in Harlequin Heartwarming, she thought she’d give pure, wholesome romance a shot, and we’re delighted! Flo volunteered to talk about switching genres and keeping focused…
When I first received a call from a Harlequin editor who’d previously reprinted my mysteries for the World Wide Library imprint, telling me about Heartwarming, I didn’t know I’d be about to make some major changes in how I approach writing.
The most daunting was writing the dreaded synopsis BEFORE writing the book. I’ve been a seat of the pants writer since my second book was published. I had a crazy contract at the time that granted me a six week deadline for that book at and I had no idea what the book was going to be about.
Once my editor had accepted the one phrase ‘stolen cursed statue-Bollywood’ as the premise, I relied on a technique I’d learned (but never tried) at a workshop “Book in a Week” (given by the wonderful April Kilhstrom) I wrote that book in eight days, revised and edited it in another six and sent it to the editor, with a couple of weeks to spare in case she hated it. I’m embarrassed to admit I never did write a synopsis for that one. And it led me down the path of “pantsing” for my other books.
But when I sent in the proposal for “Paint the Silence”, I knew it was time to ‘woman-up’, be brave and write the synopsis pre-manuscript. So I hit what I call the “Vinny Barbarino” questions: “What? Where? Who? How? Why?”wrote the synopsis – and I lived. 🙂
The next change was writing in third person point of view. I’m not sure if it’s because I was heavily influenced by romantic suspense novels of Mary Stewart or the mysteries of Elizabeth Peters, but I’ve always written in first person. In writing Paint the Silence I have to occasionally check to be certain I didn’t write “I began to play piano for him.” and realize I need to substitute the name of my heroine, Miranda, for those “I’s.” But computers have a mind of their own and will arbitrarily think it’s funny to take your ‘find and replace “I” with “Miranda” and replace all the ‘I’s –in every word. There are times I’ll reread a sentence like the one above and realize I then must manually redo to get rid of “Miranda began to play pMirandano for hiMiranda.”
Because I’ve been writing amateur sleuth mysteries with romantic elements, one of the biggest changes for me has been to shift my focus from unusual means of murder to writing about real, adult, relationship issues between hero and heroine.
Things that have NOT changed: research. I live for Google. Humor- I’m not going for the wacky characters I tend to create in mystery but I occasionally add something I hope will make readers smile. Care with grammar. Duh. That’s a given no matter what genre. Which goes right along with what I see as one of the most important things in writing – self editing. Always.
Thank you, Flo, for sharing your wisdom! We’re looking forward to your humor, suspense, characterization and now romance in the Harlequin Heartwarming line.
You can find Flo most often on Facebook, or visit her website or follow her occasional tweets @FloFitzpatrick. Her first Harlequin Heartwarming title, Paint the Silence, is scheduled for July 2014. Make a note to look for it then!
Meanwhile, you can check out her Abby Fouchet title, Aria in Ice.
Happy reading–and writing!