Sweet and Sticky

Like many writers, I can’t look at my early writing without feeling a little bit of discomfort. When I started writing romance, I was still in the English-major mindset where I was trying to Transcend The Genre, which meant (at that time) avoiding cliches and treacly language. I approached my novels with an air of seriousness, because let’s face it, I was An English Major and therefore could write as good as (or even better than) the rest. So I followed all the writing rules as best as I could.

Six years, three books, and a few dead manuscripts later, I look at all of the things that I’d written, and I giggle for a bit. Let’s face it, all of my attempts to write stately minimalist prose resulted in a writing style that was so dry that it was almost flavorless.

Meanwhile, I was devouring all of the romance books that came out–both here and internationally–and found that the books that I loved were so rich in detail, so warm and comforting, that I found myself championing the characters who wore their hearts on their sleeves.

And I realized that maybe that was what’s been missing from my writing: a sense of richness, sweetness, and depth.

So when I started writing again, I concentrated on writing “sticky” prose–sweet and substantial where my previous literary attempts were heavy and dry. And I had to make a better commitment to my own writing, because everything that I’d done was guided by a spirit of good cheer.

I’d like to say my writing has more direction now, but it just occurred to me that it’ll be another year before you guys get to read the book that I wrote with sweet intent. I’m not saying that everything’s going to change again (because I always say that anyway) but there will be a few changes along the way about how I write. How I approach sex on the page. How I prioritize relationships. How I do research.

But most of all, I must learn again how to wear my heart on my own sleeve.

So yes, there’s more work to be done here. But writing (for the most part) will no longer a burden on my shoulders. When it stops being fun, I will step back, rest for a while, and go back to it when I’m ready on my own terms. And this time, I’ll be stronger for it.

Love, Stella

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Stella Torres

is the author of the adult contemporary romances Save the Cake, Crushingly Close, and Nine Years Away, as well as the short story “Be Creative” in the anthology Kids These Days: Stories from Luna East Vol. 1.

In her previous life, she has worked in public relations, taught English as a second language, and even attended graduate school (twice!). She has lived in Indonesia, Honolulu, and Quezon City before moving back to her hometown of Los Banos, a few hours’ drive (with traffic) from the heart of Manila.

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