Saturday, 11 February 2012

'Bodice Busters'...those were the days!

So here's the thing. I always told myself, whenever I flipped through my mother's romance novels (which I wasn't supposed to be reading, especially the bits that said 'thigh' or 'turgid', the latter being surprisingly common word in the genre), that I could write this stuff.'s not Jane Austen after all.

Of course back then, pretty much every romance novel sported Fabio on the cover. Yeeks. I never really did get the appeal...

Seriously, he's totally naked?!

It took me a while, but I'm finally doing it. Writing, that is (what were you thinking?). And more than that, I'm actually enjoying it. I have a whole story, but at this point it's not quite fleshed out enough to qualify as a standalone contemporary romance title. More work to be done!

But in the meantime, I've started a little project.

A rather wise man said the best way to learn how to write well, particularly for a specific genre, is to study that genre in great detail. Break it down, find out what makes it tick. Find out what makes the genre what it is. You're working with the expectations of readers who know what that genre usually offers. So that means meeting their expectations, and if at all possible - exceeding them!

So I'll start with one of my favourite romance authors, Karen Robards

I've been busy on Amazon buying up used copies for my 'analysis'. By the time I'm finished I expect I shall have enough of them to build, say, a small cabin. A nice DIY project for the summer perhaps.

But here are some of the criteria I'm going to try to collect for each book I read, so I can go back and compare and spot the trends. I'll share these on the blog and see what you think.

1. Chapter 1 Exposition - basically - what do we find out and how?
2. First meeting - when do they first clap eyes on each other?
3. Key kiss - Robert McKee's term for that point-of-no-return intimate moment
4. What’s to keep them apart?
5. What key turning points bring them together?
6. Which key turning points push/pull them apart?
7. When are they fully committed?
8. Sub-plots!
9. What is her major flaw and how does she overcome this?
10. Any other notes...

Let's see how it goes - I'd better get reading!

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