Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Chapters and Plot Points

While I'm editing Rekindling, I've been bandying around different things.

I have two very good friends who I've tapped to do a beta read of the story. Too often, I leave out very important details that I can see very clearly in my head and that never make it to the page. And they pointed some of those things out to me. One of those points is that they'd like to see more backstory on some of these characters since they have so much history together (they are high school friends, nine years after graduation). So I thought to myself, "what better way to show the past than with a prologue?" And proceeded to write one. Which I hated, and tried again. And still hated. And then sent to one of those friends and said "tell me what you think." Guess what? She hated it too. And the main reason is that this book is Cinda and Brody's story. Not the rest of the gang of friends. AND most of what the prologue covered had been woven in throughout the story (like it's supposed to be).

No more prologue, but there will be additional snippets of backstory.

Another point that they both mentioned (and I'm not writing JUST for them, but when two people bring up the same points, it bears consideration) - The ROMANCE part. One of the ladies said "I would have liked to see Cinda and Brody get together sooner." Translation - get them into the bedroom. One of the things I often wonder about is whether that bedroom door should remain open or closed. I will tell you that I write one of "those" scenes in every novel. It just happens. And then I usually cut it. I get it out of my system. Some of them make it through to the final cut. For some of the stories, "those scenes" are part of the plot. Being aware of some readers' sensibilities, I will admit that I shy away from passing them through to the final version. If the story is strong enough, you don't need "those" scenes. I'm surprised at the number of romance readers who now expect those scenes.

So here's my thinking. I've read some novels in the past couple of years that might have been better labeled soft porn. Historicals where the heroine couldn't wait to lose her virginity, and thus, her reputation. I'm sorry, but if I'm reading a historical, I'm expecting my heroine to live to the standards of her time. For a strong-willed, strong-minded one to jump up every now and then is one thing, but I know one author who took it upon herself to make ALL of her heroines this way. I had to cross her off my reading list, because although I might enjoy a bit of spice in my reading, there are certain genres where it doesn't work for me. You need to put in a bit of angst along with the strong will. There are plenty of authors who can make it work, and I do enjoy them. But back to me . . .

I've given Cinda and Brody their night of passion. Given their strong personalities, it's a bit rowdy, although they are in a bedroom (not all of my characters are that lucky - taking advantage of a beach or a kitchen table . . . but I digress). So the next question that comes to mind - should that bedroom door be open or closed? Do readers want to see all the flying body parts on the page or is it better left to the imagination? Certainly Cinda and Brody are making enough noise that Cinda's best friend can give the reader a pretty clear picture of what she's overheard.  A very brief, very informal poll tells me readers want to see it ON the page. So for now, that's where it is, while I continue to edit.

Is the sex a plot point? Yah, you betcha. One of Cinda's issues is that Brody left. Without her. Nine years ago. And now he's back. So rather than wander through the entire book being mad at him, they make their peace (and make love). But now they have this new issue to deal with. So the book will be stronger for removing a stale conflict that was being overplayed and adding the new dimension of "now what?" Best friends, taking that next step. Is it going to change the dynamic of their friendship?

Okay, I've rambled on long enough. Edits are calling to me. Feel free to weigh in and add your voice to the informal poll. Sex on the page or off? And as far as the prologue? It's already written into the story, where it belongs. Can I add more? Yep. Woven into the story. Where it belongs.

No comments:

Post a Comment