Plotlines...good, bad, and throw book against the wall
by Gina Welborn
For those of you who write fiction, you know exactly what I'm not saying in that last sentence. For those of you who don't write fiction, you're lost. Bear with me.
Think root canal.
Actually, no. I've had a root canal and it really wasn't that painful.
To better explain where I'm going, lemme go back to last week. So on Wednesday my agent (the fabulous Tamela Hancock Murray) asked me to put together a book proposal (one book or a 3-book series) for a CBA publisher. Sure, I said. Then hung up the phone and went, "I have no idea what to write. Ugggh. What was I thinking?!"
After a few hours of researching, I called my mentor-friend, Laurie Alice Eakes. She wisely steered me away from one idea and toward another. So, I had basic concept. But individual plots? Nada. More researching. Lots and lots of prayers for divine inspiration. Still, nada.
That's when I decided to beg my Inky sisters for idea. Anything.
As I mulled over their ideas (well, Lisa's ideas, Dina's I was doing my best to ignore), I walked frustratedly out of my office and collected the mail from the mailbox. One of the pieces of mail was a flyer for a local bookstore. Ooooh. Inside are fiction new release blurbs. Maybe seeing how each story is condensed will spur my creativity? Nada.
Instead what I saw in that book flyers irked me.
In the last twent-five years, I've read a slew of romances...and I've learned one thing: I like pretty much all plotlines but one. Wait. To be fair, that's not a fair statement. Perhaps it'd be better phrased, "Of all romance novel plotlines I've read, there's only one I utterly despise."
Before I share, pause reading for a moment and ask yourself, "What basic romance plot do I dislike to the point I'd practically refuse to read any stories like that?" Millionare cowboy boss secret baby? Millionare sheik boss secret baby? If you aren't a romance reader, then focus on your prefered genre.
Okay, my confession. My dislike-the-most (and please know I mean no offense to authors who've written novels with this plotline) novels are those where heroine's husband dies and through the course of the story she falls in love with her dead husband's brother. Storyline made worse if the brothers are twins. Storyline made even more worse if she's pregnant.
I wish I could figure out my particular aversion to widowed heroines marrying their brothers-in-law, but I can't think of any psychological scar. Just think it's...well, gross. Icky. And in the case of twin brothers, rather creepy. Considering this plotline keeps being used, I'm wondering if I'm the only one with an aversion to it. Hmmm.....
Of course, on the flip side, I can think of several plotlines that I'll read again and again. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Cinderella stories. Or pretty much any fairytale one. Marriage of convenience or arranged marriage. Hidden identity/undercover. Amnesia stories are fabulous...if done right.
I could really go on and on about plotlines I like and give examples, but since I've been working on four different book proposals (including one 3-book series) in the last month, I'd really like to know from y'all what romance plots do you blech at and which ones make you snatch the book off the shelves.
Oh, and what 2011 upcoming releases are you anxiously awaiting? My two next-to-be-read novels are FOUND IN TRANSLATION by Roger Bruner and KAYDIE by Penny Zeller. Roger's book is an older Young Adult fiction. Penny's is a historical western romance.
Let's talk BLECHY plots and LOVE-IT! plots.