Saturday, January 12, 2008

Mills & Boo

Who the hell were they anyway?

This is what I imagine so far:

Miss Elizabeth Mills (Betsy to her friends) was a fifty odd year old spinster (actually make that an odd fifty year old spinster), who met another lovely middle-aged spinster, Edith Boon, one day in the publisher's office. Both had achieved limited success as writers of tame, fairytale style, romantic fiction - love stories for discerning ladies of leisure. You know the sort I mean: wives with empty nests who have nothing to fill the void but paperback consumption.

"We are very good at this." said Miss Mills.

"Indeed we are." replied Miss Boon.

"Let's set up on our own." suggested Miss Mills.

"What a simply splendid idea." responded Miss Boon.

And so they did, buying the novellas of other like-minded souls and casting them out into the ever yearning world.


To be perfectly honest, I don't care how Mills & Boon started or became the leviathon in bulk publishing that it is. The reality is that writing a fifty thousand word story of wishy washy romantic adventure, no, not even adventure, is no easy feat. Or maybe it is if this is the kind of thing one likes as a reader (and it's most certainly not).

However, I firstly owe it to the company to point out that as they've been making a decent living out of this for a century, there are evidently enough people out there who do like this kind of thing. What worries me is that I don't and as a consequence I'm not really writing the sort of story that would enthral the average M&B reader (professional women in their 20s and 30s, according to an article by Julie Bindel of The Guardian).

Nor do I want to be writing the kind of story where the heroine abandons her strength and independence to submit to a man. That kind of occupation isn't for everybody and definitely isn't one I can endorse.

Curses to my setting out of goals to be achieved. I've got to write it now, whether I want to or not.

The Wikipedia entry for Mills & Boon probably presents a more accurate account of the origins of the company than I do here.

I believe that the most accurate description of this blog posting is procrastination.

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