by Celeste Bradley
MYTH: Romance writers are glamorous and elegant, and work in perfumed parlors while wearing boudoir pumps and feather boas.
FACT: The official uniform of the RWA is chocolate-stained sweatpants with thick white socks. The computer might be located anywhere in the house, usually someplace crowded and inconvenient, like on top of the microwave.
MYTH: Romance writers make oodles of money.
FACT: Excuse me, I’m rolling on the rug, laughing at that one. The income of the professional romance writer makes me think longingly of my days as a floor-mopping fry grunt at McDonald’s.
MYTH: Writers are special in some way, better than the garden-variety human.
FACT: Writers are special, in the way that everyone is special, but they can be good, bad, mean, generous, spiteful or beautiful, just like anyone else. They just don’t dress as well. Or make as much money.
MYTH: There is some secret formula to writing romance.
FACT: All you need are minimal typing skills, a story idea, and a thick skin. Spellcheck doesn’t hurt.
MYTH: There is some secret formula to getting published.
FACT: All you need is a great book. And a really, really, REALLY thick skin.
MYTH: Writers get full control over their next book, their covers, and their release dates.
FACT: You know, if I spend any more time rolling on the floor, I’ll have to adopt the dust bunnies. In reality, writers wait like teenagers by the phone for our editors to call to accept or reject that next story. Covers and release dates are handed down from above (with a parting of the clouds and full heavenly chorus) for us to accept with gritted teeth and a smile. But we get to wear sweatpants to work.
MYTH: Romance novels are written by formula.
FACT: I wish. Wouldn’t that be easy? A+B=C. Then there would be no need to tear out one’s hair over a tepid premise or a sagging middle. The only real rule is that a romance must have a happy ending. If it doesn’t, then we call it “women’s fiction” and let Oprah push it.
MYTH: Romance writers write 10-page, heart-pounding love scenes from personal experience.
FACT: That is NOT a myth, that is one hundred percent TRUE!!! (sorry, but my husband was listening)
MYTH: Any professional writer is just dying to hear your fascinating life story, and would be interested in splitting the profits on a novel about your lurid past.
FACT: Hello again, dust bunnies.
MYTH: Romance writers pluck new and original ideas out of the air, and never come up blank.
FACT: How do you think I came up with Myth # 10?