Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Teaching to learn - Original plots

Story Essentials – Continued

Recapping as we work our way down the romance editor’s wish list, so far we have:

An opening hook
An appealing, human heroine
A hero to fall in love with. He must be human, appealing and honorable

This weeks essential – an original story line.

An original plot has caused me more angst than the rest of the requirements put together. There are no original plots. Even a fresh twist on the well-trodden ground of boy-meets-girl is hard to come by.

Read the lines the stories filling the category display shelves are the opposite of fresh. You pick up a Blaze, a Presents, an Intrigue, a Superromance you know what you’re getting. They are romances. You know what flavor the story comes in. Blaze is spicy, Presents Rich, Intrigue thrilling, Superromance heartwarming. The writer’s voices vary, the romance plots have variations, that’s it.

That’s the way the editors and all the other readers like it.

As a reader I understand. There’s nothing worse than picking up a nice cozy mystery author, finding she’s gone edgy, and hip. Harlequin editors are smart enough to prevent any jarring of their readers sensibilities.

Hence, the cogent advice – read the line. Don’t get distracted by the different title, different names, read the core story that’s what the reader requires.

Core stories from our already pile:

Avon Single title medieval – Heroine’s evil relatives force her into dishonorable acts, which harm the hero. He avenges his damaged honor by subjecting her to the same cruelties she imposed on him. A secondary character reveals the heroine’s noble motives and he forgives her, acknowledges his love and punishes her malevolent stepbrother.

Silhouette Intimate Moments – Recovering alcoholic heroine needs a hero to facilitate making amends to the daughter, who’s in ex-husband’s custody. Stiff-necked hero learns not to judge others failings as he grants heroine’s wish to reconnect with her child. Overcoming their personal demons, they fall in love.

Harlequin Intrigue – Grieving father, burned by psychic who failed to help locate his missing daughter gets a case of missing child. Psychic teacher has visions of missing child. The grieving father cop and psychic teacher work together to find missing child, losing the fight to keep from falling in love during their quest.
Harlequin Intrigue – Guilty hero forced to work with widow, he’s attracted to in order to foil fiendish plot to commit acts of mayhem. Conflicted widow of traitor battled menacing abusive villain women while fight attraction to hero. The duo foiled the evil machinations of the fiend and fell in love.

Harlequin Blaze – Efficient stalker terrorizes woman, who reaches out to hero for help. Underground warrior, hero comes to her rescue. Complications arise as does the sexual tension until their lives, their libidos and their hearts are on the line. Since this is part of continuity the bad guys are only held at bay, not eradicated.

Avon Single Title Contemporary – Disgruntled undercover cop suspects quirky antique dealer of involvement in art heist. When antique dealer assaults the cop she agrees to pretend to be his girlfriend to aid his investigation as part of her plea bargain to avoid prosecution. Enforced propinquity works its magic and love happens.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Free Hit Counters
Free Web Counter