It's a Romance, Stupid!

The very first time I talked to editor Shannon Godwin, she said, "Oh, yours is the romance novel without the romance, right?"

Yeah, I get that a lot. I don't write straight romance. I used to, when I started, but then I wrote Hot Shot, and I can't move a story forward without some action. Problem is, it seems to take away from the emotional depth of my story. I keep my characters on the same page most of the story, but that's not enough to move a romance forward.

There are four stages of romance: Attraction, Respect, Trust and Love. I think part of my problem is that my characters move to Trust too early in the story, at least where the external conflict is concerned. They have to depend on each other in life and death situations, so they can trust each other with their lives pretty early on. It's their hearts they can't trust, and I suppose I need to make that more clear.

The funny thing about being a romance writer who doesn't write romance (you know, other than the title), is that I love romance. I love happily ever afters, I love watching the unfolding love story, I love the connections between the characters. I just can't seem to bring that to the page.

Hey, ask Trish how many cliches she found in the first few pages of DLB - I think it's like half a dozen!

This picture of Gerry's from the Beowulf premiere in Toronto - Bosey, have you seen it yet?

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Just found out I placed third in the PASIC with Where There's Smoke, my straight romance. No request, but it comes with a check, which I'll reinvest in another contest. Am I shameless or what?


Kelly (Lynn) Parra said...

Congrats on the PASIC, Mary!

When I first wrote my first book, I had lots of action with just some attraction scenes, so obviously I thought it was just a mainstream book, but once I rewrote it, I weaved in their emotional journey.

At first I still didn't think there was enough romance, but I was told otherwise. I guess it's a fine line these days.

Amie Stuart said...

YOu are shameless but we love you for it ;-)

I don't really write straight romance either. There's usually a bigger story going on *sigh* but anyway I think you can have trust but not have TRUST, ya know? Or maybe a truce would be a better word. I was watching Bones last night and this deifnitely came into play--the two lead characters had to work together (and I think there was definitely some attraction on the part of the male lead) but they didn't necessarily trust each other. You can definitely see where this is going to be part of the storyline. =) From a writer's standpoint it was definitely a learning experience.

Stephanie said...

Mary, I didn't get to see Beowulf! I couldn't get downtown that night. I was so bummed about it...

Anonymous said...

To wait to see Beowulf, then to realize that most likely I will have to wait until it comes out on DVD and order it from Canada...sigh...Boo Hoo. I want my Gerard fix.

Meanwhile, Congrats MAR! This is great news. So much good stuff is happening for you right now. Does a heart good. :)


MJFredrick said...

Bosey! Oh, no! Rats. I hope the movie gets picked up by a good distributor. Honestly, the boy picks the oddest movies.

Kelly, it is a fine line. I stay too far on the non-romance side of it, apparently. When the other Trish (who never comes here so I can talk about her) read my WIP, she emailed me, "You do know this is supposed to be a romance, right?"

Cece, I saw Bones last night, too, and I think they progressed a little too fast, although I gathered the two had worked together before. I like what the lead character's friend said about the way the lead character portrayed Angel in her book, something like "smoldering sensuality."

Thanks, JoAnn! Hey, what did you ever think of Dear Frankie?

Trish Milburn said...

Congrats on the PASIC placement and money! And trust me, I used to have tons of cliches in my writing and still catch myself doing it without even thinking, but some of them have been beaten out of me by my cps.

MJFredrick said...

Thanks, Trish!

Amie Stuart said...

The fact they seemed to have a history made the attraction work for me. It was her character I wasn't sure worked but I'll give it a couple more episodes =)


M.J. Fredrick's books on Goodreads
Breaking DaylightBreaking Daylight
ratings: 11 (avg rating 3.33)

Beneath the SurfaceBeneath the Surface
ratings: 11 (avg rating 4.00)

Hot ShotHot Shot (Samhain)
reviews: 2
ratings: 10 (avg rating 4.00)

Where There's SmokeWhere There's Smoke
ratings: 6 (avg rating 4.00)

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I'm a mom, a wife, a teacher and a writer. I have five cats and a dog to keep me company. I love bookstores and libraries and Netflix - movies are my greatest weakness.
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