It’s been a long time since I read something that made me think, “Huh. I’d like to learn to write that kind of story.” My regular method of operation relies heavily upon instinct, things I’ve already learned. I read romance growing up, so I knew the ingredients that go into a romance, so I write romance now. Historical involves specific elements. Paranormal, same thing. I know what those elements are, in basic definitions. Comic books? What? I wouldn’t know the first step to take if someone said to me, “You should write a superhero story.” I don’t read comic books (there’s a definite skill involved, and I never learned it) and have no idea what goes into a comic book. Good guy. Bad guy. Some “Pow!” and…what else? Is there anything else?
According to my husband, I can learn how to read comic books. He even has a how-to-read-comics book. But come on. What would I do with it? I like romance, not “Zap! Crrrash!” action. The two don’t mix. Um, so I thought. World, meet R.G. Alexander and her first release*, WHO WANTS TO DATE A SUPERHERO? – romance, meet comic book superhero action.
Hot sex. Villainy. Heroism. Boy totally gets girl. Put in this format, I suddenly got comic books. I understood the story elements, and a whole new world opened up. I can read comics now…I could even write a comic-genre story (minus the pictures) if I wanted to. I don’t want to, but that isn’t the point – the point is, this a skill I can learn if I ever want to learn it.
I sometimes forget that writing is as much learning and education and actual study as it is instinct, and this particular book reminded me that the world doesn’t stop with what I already know. (And did I mention it’s really hot? Can’t wait for the sequel.)
The realization that I can learn a different kind of writing came just in time. I’m in the midst of edits for my own Ellora’s Cave release (hopefully the first of many) and my editor has remarked upon the potential for “maturing” my writing. It’s heartening to recognize that this whole writing thing is a skill that builds, rather than one that hits a ceiling and stops.
* Yes, I am still gushing over this book.