Saturday, April 8


So I'm in the middle of my editing on HH, and all of a sudden I am sure that my story is weak-weak-WEAK. Although, actually, my sudden panic seems to be more to do with my characters.

I have reached this strange point of total immersion in the story where I can no longer see if they're doing something because they choose to, or whether I am forcing their hand and therefore the story. I've suddenly found it very hard to become objective.

When I was editing on Wednesday, I was pretty happy with the way things were going. But today, as I'm going through my second draft, I am having visions of an editor reading it and thinking "weak plot, not enough conflict, silly heroine -- but the hero is OK".

I'm worried that my characters have no goals. I was reading an article on conflict earlier this morning by a popular Silhouette author and in talking about the conflict of characters with opposing goals, she used the example of Romancing the Stone: a story I am very familiar with. She said, quite succinctly, "Jack Colton wants the treasure map to get the gem. Joan Wilder wants the treasure map to rescue her sister." You can't really get plainer than that.

So then I thought about my story and, quite distressingly, drew a blank. I had a niggling worry when I did my first read-through that my characters didn't appear to have very clear goals, and now I am really worried about it. My heroine's goal as far as I can see it is that she needs to know why the hero broke up with her so unceremoniously ten years ago. She's been married and divorced in the meantime, but suddenly it all smacks of neediness. She got on with her life, but now that she's in close proximity to him again, all she can think about is how to get her answers. Is that normal?! I keep trying to think of how I would act in her situation, or how I would want her to act if this was a romance novel I was reading by another author. And I thought I'd done it OK, but...

And for my hero's goal, well -- I'm not sure that he has one...

This is TERRIBLE!!

Just finished reading: Face of Deception by Ana Leigh


Anonymous said...

Like you I'm reading lots of articles on external goals and they all seem to say that the secret to a strong external goal in a romance novel is: it's something the lead character has BEFORE he/she meets the romantic interest (e.g. a better job, a million dollars, running her/his own company)And s/he has to need this goal so badly s/he'll take action to get it (action creates plot)

Maybe all you need to do is up the stakes on your h's goal and put her future happiness at stake)

Maybe she has to find out why the H broke up with her because she's recently realised that not knowing is stopping her from being happy. Maybe she thinks not knowing caused her divorce and she won't be able to have a happy relationship until she understands what went wrong all those years ago.


Jessica Raymond said...

Hi Janet -- Thanks for your comment and your advice. You reminded me of something Vicki Lewis Thompson told me when I first started trying to write romance a few years ago (I emailed her to say how much I'd enjoyed one of her books). She said you have to put your characters up in a tree and throw rocks at them! I'm not sure my trees are high enough... ;) I'll work on it! -- Jessica