Once the podcast launches on May 21st, every other episode will have instructions for steps in the process. Everyone is encouraged to write along with us! We'll post the assignments here as we release them. Over 20 weeks, there will be 10 assignments to help you along the way. Ten writers went on this journey with us. Here is what we asked of them. Join us!
1) Pick a trope. Use one from the Tropes page of our website, or think of your own.
2) Try a bunch of different sacred writing practices. Will you write 20 minutes a day, every day? Will you journal in the bath with a cocktail? Will you get together with a group of friends and write in silence for an hour, then read aloud?
3) Write your Romance novel for 3 months. Try to write 1,000 words per week. Bad is good. Don't judge yourself. Don't second guess yourself. Write, and write, and write.
4) Share the experience with your friends. Call your best friend once a week and tell them how it's going. Update them on what your characters are up to. Read your story to them. Mail them your story by carrier pigeon.
5) Send us what you wrote! We would love to read whatever you have, even if it just a few sentences or an idea for a first kiss.
Through community, rigor, and ritual, we treat traditionally secular things as if they were sacred. In this commitment, we practice empathy, courage, and imagination. We believe that if we are able to encompass these values, we can move closer to treating to each other as sacred.
Romance novels offer us a way to dive into this practice. They are optimistic, sexy, and fun. The process of writing them gives us two opportunities:
The first is the simple act of writing. When you dedicate yourself to writing a Romance novel, you give yourself the space for creativity. You must allow yourself time to reflect and the freedom to build your own world. With writing, you make time to examine your interior life, an opportunity that can be hard to come by in a hectic world. Writing Romance novels further gives you the chance to explore big questions of love, fate, gender, and sexuality. When you commit to write a Romance novel, you allow yourself to imagine a happy ending.
For the second, we look to bring people together through talking about their writing and their writing process. We encourage people to write these novels in community, to seek advice, and to brag about their wonderful ideas. These earnest and exciting conversations forge meaningful, supportive, and emotionally honest relationships. By talking to people about what we love, and listening to people about what they love, we create a more joyful world.
Here is some pieces about writing, romance novels, and feminism that have informed our work:
"We Need Bodice-Ripper Sex Ed", Jennifer Weiner, New York Times
"The State of Racial Diversity in Romance Publishing", The Ripped Bodice Bookstore
Love Between the Covers, dir. Laurie Kahn-Leavitt, available on Netflix
Reading the Romance: Women, Patriarchy, and Popular Literature, Janice A. Radway
‘‘She Exploded into a Million Pieces’’: A Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis of Orgasms in Contemporary Romance Novels, Christine Cabrera and Amy Dana Menard
Making Meaning in Popular Romance Fiction, Jayashree Kamble