Wednesday, October 03, 2007

A Learning Experience

I finished a romance last night that I considered a sub-par read. I won't say which book or which author, but I will tell you why I finished it. I learned A LOT about my own writing. I learned what I don't want to do and also how to improve my own writing. Bottom line: Conflict is everything.

This story didn't seem to have any sense of urgency in it. I kept wondering why the hero and heroine didn't just have their "Happily Ever After" right from the beginning. What kept the hero and heroine apart didn't feel very compelling or convincing. The author did write it so the heroine had to go through a transformation, but I didn't feel the characters were well motivated. Or maybe I just didn't understand their motivation. I really thought there could have been so much more depth to the novel, but the author didn't take the time to show us why the heroine did and said the things she did and said.

When I brainstormed with Heather during the retreat, she said wonderful things about my character goals, motivations and conflicts, but she also asked why these things HAD to happen right now. She made me think about the urgency of the events and she helped me make my upcoming manuscript that much richer because my heroine's goals conflict with the hero's AND she needs to have it all happen as soon as possible.

With the story I just read, there was no urgency. There didn't seem to be anything at stake for either character and I still don't know what motivated the hero to do anything he did. He just came across as a perfect hero. Which in my opinion makes a perfectly boring hero.

CONTEST NEWS: Don't miss my October contest! Check out my previous post for all the details. The basics? Leave a comment, mention something Scottish by midnight Monday, October 8th and then be eligible to win a prize on October 9th!


TJBrown said...

I have to remind myself of that same thing when I write. Need more urgency now!

And did I ever tell you my grandma went to Scotland when I was little? She brought me back a tam, that I still have:)

Kelly said...

Great observation! I'm going to keep that in mind when reading through my final draft.

Heather said...

I must admit, I love seeing my name in print. :-) The only thing that would make it even better would be seeing it while I'm in Scotland. heehee Sorry - not very creative tonight. ;-)

Sometimes reading a so-so (or worse than so-so) romance is such a great motivator. I often think, "If they can get published, I certainly can!" I know that it doesn't exactly work like that - there's timing and connections and fate and a whole lot of other stuff - but still, it motivates me!

Lexi said...

Conflict sells, Teri! You know that! That's cool that you still have the tam.

Kelly, yes, it was like a big light bulb going on in my head when I read the not so good book!

Hey, Heather, at least you tried. Maybe someday you'll be wandering through Scotland and you'll see a fan completely engrossed by your book!

Crystal said...

I have a question for you Lexi, I have been thinking about writing a book..but I think maybe I need to start out small like maybe a novella or something short. What motivates you to write about a certain topic and how do you pick your characters?? I'm going crazy trying to think of a story and what type of book it's going to be..Romance, Historical romance, Paranormal Romance...Any words of wisdom?? Crystal