STATUS: Beyond crazy since I was out of the office on Friday. Finished a contract, signed a new client, smiled thinking about my great weekend in Dallas.
What song is playing on the ipod right now? DIDDLEY DADDY by Chris Isaak
Once again, great aspiration to get this blog done early. Didn’t happen as you can tell. I’ll work on that.
I had a great weekend in Dallas. April is definitely the time to visit Texas. Low humidity. Temps in the 80s. I broke out my sandals and got the toenails painted hot pink just for the occasion.
I can’t tell you how many writers came up to me to say that they read my blog. It’s so nice to meet some actual faces behind the readers so thank you for that.
I also have one little tidbit of advice gleaned from the weekend. Announcing that romance is “fluff” while attending a romance conference and sitting in on a workshop that tackles the genre might not be the best way to win friends. I could feel the room temperature physically drop a notch after many cold stares were thrown the speaker’s way.
Might want to avoid that kind of social gaffe in the future. You’ll get more out of the conference that way.
I’m sure I’ll have a few more tidbits to share as the week unfolds.
But it’s Monday and you know what happens on Mondays. It’s time for some Partial Madness comments.
I’ve got two for you today since I have romance on the mind.
I’ve been noticing an interesting trend for openers in the romance partials I’ve received lately. And to be honest, this is merely an observation and certainly not a rule as something to avoid. You might want to keep them in mind just in case there’s a better way to launch your story. This might also be a personal taste thing and what doesn’t rock my boat might be a favorite thing for other agents.
If any other agents read this (or editors for that matter), feel free to pipe up in the comments section.
1. Launching into your narrative via a dream sequence.
Now, I understand the motivation for this. It allows a writer to leap into some action immediately. Usually the dream sequence is a nightmare or something unusual, which makes for a gripping start.
The problem for me is when the dream scene ends and the next scene is fairly mundane. It’s such a let down after the intensity of the opening. It’s like a false promise of what will be the story and then the reader realizes that oh, it’s just a dream. Not real. And there is a level of disappointment in that.
For the most part, if your character is dreaming, then she’s in bed. I find the next scene will often involve the heroine waking up. Not too many places to go in the narrative giving the narrowness of this perspective. She might get up and shower or something like that and suddenly, the story has lost a lot of momentum. Have you defeated the point of your opening?
2. Heroine waking up alone to find a strange man in her room.
Yikes folks. This is most women’s worst nightmare. I’m often surprised at how often this is an opening scene in a romance novel (usually a paranormal or something where time-travel might be involved). Often the stranger is going to be the hero but I can’t help thinking that it doesn’t show a lot of good judgment on his part to awaken a sleeping woman in this manner. How can she be anything other than terrified? Also, it doesn’t allow the heroine a whole lot of room to develop either. In reality, this would be beyond frightening and I don’t think it would matter how gorgeous the intruder happens to be. If a woman thinks her life is a stake, such a thought on physical beauty would be incongruous. For me, opening scenes have to make sense and this set up is something I can’t quite wrap my mind around.
Now I’m sure there is a bestselling author out there who wrote this and got away with it. I’m thinking if you’re a bestselling author, you can get away with just about anything.
However unfair, the standards are way higher for a writer trying to break in.