The Bodice Rips on Page 25 is a tongue-in-cheek contemporary and regency romance in a draft state. Warning! The ending of this story about love will not be revealed!
Jane picked up the phone on the third ring. Two weeks had passed since she sent the final manuscript to her agent. Probably too soon to hear back, but she was desparate for the money. Even a little advance would help her get caught up with the rent.
Sheila’s voice was music to Jane’s ears. “Yes?”
“I’ve got bad news.”
Jane slumped against the wall and slid to the floor. “They didn’t like it.”
“Not at all.”
“Not even a revision letter?”
“I’m sorry,” Sheila said. “No.”
Now what am I supposed to do?
Sheila continued. “They did say they’d look at another book, if you actually learn to write in the genre.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“It means your disdain showed. Remember, I warned you about that, but you wanted me to submit it anyway.”
“What’s to writing a romance? Boy meets girl. Boy loses girl. Boy gets girl. Done.” Jane picked at a loose thread on the seam of her jeans.
“That’s your problem.” Sheila paused. “Romance is more than a formula. You need to actually understand your characters and sympathize with them. Just because you’ve never had a date doesn’t mean other people aren’t interested in love.”
Damn. It was the same thing Michael had said to her.
But it was safer being alone, wasn’t it? No nasty girls dumping the contents of your purse into the toilet. No heartbreak when you sat home alone during Senior Prom.
“Still there?”Sheila asked.
“Yeah.” Thoughts raced through Jane’s mind. Maybe she should try again. Maybe now that she had Michael.
But Michael was going back to England.
That’s how love always ended. The guy left.
No wonder she couldn’t write romance.
“What would you like to do?” Sheila asked.
“Go back to writing what I do best, I guess.” A tear managed to slip from her eye.
Where did that come from?
“Jane, there’s no market for it.”
“Well, I can’t write romance, that’s for sure.”
“I don’t know,” Sheila said. “Despite the overall tone of the book, you had some interesting characters. I really liked Sophie. She had spunk.”
Jane laughed, remembering Sophie’s appearances in her life. “She certainly did.”
“Maybe if you went to England, immersed yourself in the culture for a few weeks, you could capture the feelings that you need to write a romance. You’ve got a good imagination. Use it.”
“Gee, maybe I could imagine the few thousand dollars it would take to do that.” And how could I go to England and not see Michael?
“Actually,” Sheila said, “There’s a grant you could apply for. Only problem is that the deadline is in two days.”
Jane chewed her bottom lip. She hated writing grant applications, but she needed to do something. Women’s lit appeared to be dead. Maybe a trip to England would get her juices flowing again.
“O.K. I’ll do it.”