Yesterday my goal was to plot out the middle of my romance novel. Instead, I plotted out half of the middle. What got me stuck was I created a bit of a mystery in my storyline, and as I was plotting I realized I have no idea what the solution to the mystery is. Fortunately, I'm just in the planning stages now. It's not too hard to go back and change things or provide foreshadowing if I need to. I couldn't sleep last night - after I fed the baby at 3am I was up until 5am, thinking about it.
The other thing that had me tossing and turning is I want to add a big surprise smack in the middle of the book - something that comes from and affects the hero and heroine's romance. I have an idea of what that could be, but I'm wondering if I put it in now, after the reader has been with the characters for 100 pages, will the reader feel betrayed? Like, "Hey, I thought I was reading these characters' innermost thoughts, so why did he never think of that??"
That happened to me once when I was reading a thriller. After several chapters where the protagonist doesn't even think about or mention her occupation as a detective, all of sudden she's pulling out a badge - and the rest of the novel she's thinking like a cop. I thought that was pretty underhanded. But then again, he's published and I'm not, so there you go.
I've been finding the book "Writing a Romance Novel for Dummies" by Leslie Wainger very helpful. She's an editor at Harlequin, and since I'm hoping to eventually be published by Harlequin (hey, I can dream, right?) I am taking her advice very seriously.
This book has everything - information about characterization (make your heroine someone your readers want to be, and your hero someone they want to be with), manuscript preparation, plotting, the basic points every romance novel must have, and so much more I couldn't begin to list it all. Basically, if you want to write romance, this book is a must have.
According to Wainger (and any romance novel you buy), the milestones that all romances share are:
- The first meeting
- Physical Attraction
- The realization of love (once of the heroine and once for the hero, but before they declare their love)
- The mutual confession of love, The End.
Today my goal is to finish plotting the middle of my novel. I would also like to reread a large portion of Wainger's book - because just flipping through it again I'm reminded of all the wonderful tidbits of information she has to share.
Wish me luck, and good luck to you too!