When I write a novel I do it first and foremost for myself. The first draft is a truly free experience for me. However, there comes a point where you have to have some boundaries in place. I like to think of them as fences that guide the novel on the write path never allowing it to far off the course it needs to be on.
Two areas where boundaries are set for me is my publisher and my genre.
I read and write paranormal romance. At the moment there are two phrases dominating the genre.
"Vampires and werewolves are the it thing."
"Vampires and werewolves are everywhere people want a change."
Two true but contradictory statements. How do I apply that to my novels. I wrote for myself first and while there are vampires in Familial Witch and Forever Witch they are secondaries to other beings. At one time I considered writing in a werewolf then thought it's not really necessary so I tossed the idea. While I advise listening and being very aware of your genre in the industry don't let it dictate your muse. If you want to write a classic Dracula legend novel crossed with Teen Wolf be my guest.
Astraea Press's motto is Where romance meets virtue. Needless to say we don't do romance where the clothes come off. But with that in mind what if your novel gets a little steamy and better yet what if this is the first time you've submitted to this publisher...what do you do?
Like I have said always for yourself first...then make sure to be willing to rewrite a scene or listen to suggestions your editor offers. Speaking from experience with Astraea most of the time the suggestions make the novel stronger.
I'll share an experience I had with AP. Familial Witch was my first publication with Astraea Press. There was a scene in the novel that I didn't know would be appropriate but I really loved. Here's the scene...
A statuesque woman stretched her elegant body, turning her
face to the sun’s rays. The ivory of her complexion was as soft as a
cloud on the breeze. The beams colored her cheeks rose. Chestnut
hair was pulled taut in a braid that ended at the small of her back.
Her flowing white gown was almost see-through with the sunlight
streaming behind it, revealing shapely feminine curves. He smiled
in admiration. Lucien was an immortal, but at times, especially
lately, he was more of a man than he had ever been. He continued
to admire the view that temporarily distracted him from his aching
I made my thoughts known to the editor when I submitted the first draft and she took note. There were only a few minor changes that had big effects. In the end the result was something we both loved and could be proud of.
That's my two sense on boundaries. Have any of you struggled with these?