November 27, 2011

A peek at my next project

I'm happy to say that my new eBook is coming along nicely. My countdown calendar gives me 7 weeks and 20 hours for my desired completion (prior to my editor tearing it up, LOL). This is an unlikely love story I'm tentatively calling Isn't She Lovely? and is shaping up to be the most layered, complex romance I've ever written, really more of a mainstream storyline, since I break several romance rules. One of the many good things about being an independent publisher is that I'm in charge, and there are no rules!

I started writing this story with one man and one woman who had well-defined backgrounds, each struggling to cope with the circumstances of their respective lives, he with the loss of his wife in a fiery car crash he and his son witnessed; she a divorced mother of two trying to make ends meet as she takes baby steps toward getting a college degree. To this I added one inciting incident that made their paths cross, in which his troubled teenage son through reckless behavior causes an injury to her young son. After that, the story pretty much plotted itself...the characters' personalities and those of the people close to them dictated the action.

I happen to think it's an exciting, fast-paced story that readers will be able to identify with (but of course, I'm biased). Today's reader tastes being what they are, though, I'm sure that some will complain that it takes too long for the hero and heroine to burn up the sheets. Given the circumstances of the hero and heroine's initial meeting, bringing sex into the equation too early would turn my project into some silly fairy tale. I mean, what kind of woman would look at the father of the boy who caused her son a grievous injury and want to jump his bones? Can you even imagine anyone behaving in such a manner? This heroine hasn't much use for either the father, whom she feels is a ruthlessly ambitious politician who is sacrificing his troubled son, or his son, whom she feels is being neglected by his surviving parent, but also feels he is more than a little spoiled.

I will probably use a disclaimer in my marketing efforts warning potential readers that this is more of a mainstream romantic novel than a single title romance with instant attraction between the hero and heroine (and trust me, there will still be people who miss it, just as people continue to ask me why they haven't seen my latest books on store shelves).

Yes, I've written books where the air has been thick with sexual tension from the very first meeting of the hero and both The Heat of Heat (one of the main character's dress gets caught in a man's zipper while waiting for an elevator) and A Kiss of a Different Color (an unexpected dance dip inadvertently pulls down the neckline of the heroine's blouse, captivating the hero), and even in the tamer Save The Best For Last when the heroine experiences the equivalent of a taste bud orgasm and is embarrassed when the hero reminds her he's there. But I'm all about the individual story rather than writing the same kind of story, and in this story, at least the beginning, this type of action is inappropriate.

What's your opinion? I'd love to know. 


Anonymous said...

i personally love to have a good story well written characters that u can relate too..i also dont need a whole bunch of sex scene to make the book be good or worth while , i have to say sometimes i get tired of reading books like that cause for the most part that is all they have in common is sex i want more an need more for a book to be good to or hold my interest i will put a book down if its too much sex or too hard to believe that can happen now i know sometimes some books are called for it but not all the time. give me a good book well written something that i can follow an being able to fall in love with the words and characters. i think a book needs a balance an it will work..i also like to know that the author is up to date with the real world an events. an put them in the book makes it even better more realistic .. by sharon l blount

Chicki said...

Bettye, you must be my sister from another mother, because you've expressed me thoughts perfectly.

When I was submitting to editors and agents, I got sick and tired of hearing about the romance "rules." The first one I got on my manuscript for HAVE YOU SEEN HER? was, "You can't call this a romance if your heroine is with another man at the beginning of the story." Well, that's the whole point of the story, her husband is abusive and her goal is to escape her horrid life and start over.

That manuscript has become my best seller since I published it myself. In general, readers don't care about those publisher-created constraints. They just want a good story.

Write what's in your heart!

Anonymous said...

Candy Little says (via Facebook Romance Junkies):

Although my couple get married in the third chapter they don't fall in love and have sex until half way through. You are right about her needing time to change her heart. I think that is the beauty of romance. To me sex isn't romance, it's two people overcoming obstacles to be together.

Anonymous said...

Avis Exley says (via Facebook Romance Junkies):

Personally speaking, I prefer romances with a strong plot so it's not just about the sex scenes. The market is so broad now, readers can find anything they want - if you're more comfortable writing a realistic story rather than straight erotica, go with it. there'll be readers out there for it.

Anonymous said...

Nancy Naigle says (via Facebook Romance Junkies):

I'll admit ... I'm a sex scene skimmer.

Anonymous said...

Tori Scott says (via Facebook Romance Junkies):

I tend to skip sex scenes when I read if they're all about the details. If they're about the emotions involved rather than body parts, I'll read them.

PatriciaW said...

I'm in for the story and the romance. I don't have a problem with sex scenes but I don't read a story looking for them, and only appreciate them if they fold seamlessly into the story and are not overdone. As to how hot, I don't need super hot. I'm more into sensual than graphic and even more into the romance and emotional tension of the scene.

I think readers come in many shapes so there's no book that is one size fits all.

Jennifer said...

I don't read romance novels just to get to the sex scene. I like a good story line and if there is a sex scene, fine, if not, I am okay with that too. I have read novels where the sex scene is six pages long and it takes away from the story. If is part of the natural flow of events, then I am fine.

bettye griffin said...

@Sharon, I think you summed it up beautifully when you said a book needs balance. Thank you.

@Chicki (or should I say "Sis," LOL), here's something else we have in common: The hero of Isn't She Lovely? is actively involved in an increasingly unsatisfying affair at the beginning of the book, and the heroine is inactively involved with a man as well, although it's clear that this hasn't happened recently. Considering the amount and explicitness that publishers allow in books these days, I'm surprised this rule still exists!

Thanks to the Romance Junkies who responded!

@Patricia, also summed up nicely when you say that there is no such thing as one size fits all when it comes to books. I also prefer the sensual to the graphic, although this can sometimes be a fine line to straddle.

@Jennifer, wow, six pages long? That's one loooooong love scene, LOL. Thanks for commenting. I think you'll enjoy Isn't She Lovely?.