Honestly one of the best parts of being a writer is when I get to know people whose work I admire and they turn into friends. It’s still odd to me sometimes when I chit chat with my friends whose books I totally squee over – but I can’t deny how wonderful they are. One of those friends/writers I love is HelenKay Dimon. She’s one of the authors keeping contemporary romance vibrant and alive and thank goodness for it (selfishly also, I love her books so it’s good to have a consistent supply of them)
It’s the end of the year and that tends to bring about a rush of “Best Of…” lists and gets people thinking about their TBR piles, as well as the books we all want to read and and write. I read a lot this year. Also wrote a lot. I’ve decided there are a few things I want to avoid in 2011. This is the list of topics/tropes/hooks that work in many books, and topics/tropes/hooks I’ve used myself (sometimes better than others), but I’m ready to put them all on hold for 2011:
1. The Evil Ex â€“ I’ve read so many books lately where the ex (wife,husband,boyfriend or girlfriend) is just nasty. If the ex is female, she’s a horrible bitch who is secretly scheming to destroy the hero or win him back through trickery. If the ex is male, he’s abusive. Seems to me, while the world is unfortunately full of these types of folks, there has to be another way for a hero or heroine to have a past love life.
2. Angry For The Sake Of Being Angry â€“ This type of character exhausts me. To be fair, this type of real-life person exhausts me. I’m thinking we should exile the type from romance fiction for a little while.
3. Sex Disguised As Plot â€“ Writing sex is hard. I know that sounds like a punchline of a joke, but really, it’s hard. Sex is based on emotion â€“ anger, love, confusion, need or whatever. Conveying that while creating a compelling and sensual scene takes skill. Some authors excel at it. In fact, I have read some great erotic romance this year. The kind of books that fill me with awe and make me wish I could write half that well. These books are rich and deep. They drag me into the story and remind me that sex is more than physical. On the flipside, I’ve read a few where there’s a lot of action in the bedroom (or shower, or kitchen table…you get my point) but not much going on in terms of plot or emotion. I’m hoping we continue to see less and less of the latter type.
4. They’re Not Dead! – I keep hearing romantic suspense and contemporary romance are in trouble. The whispers say readers aren’t buying them and publishers are turning down those books from authors. This is somewhat upsetting since I write…well, romantic suspense and contemporary romance. Since I know many authors who are actually thriving in these genres, I’m hoping the panic will soon subside. I want to write them and, honestly, I want to read them. So, spread the word these genres aren’t dead. 🙂
5. Knitting â€“ No offense to those who knit. No offense to those who write about those who knit. I’m just thinking we’ve seen enough knitting. Or, maybe I should say I have.
6. Cover Phobia â€“ I frequently buy books by their covers. I love going into a bookstore or looking on author websites and seeing the covers of upcoming books. But there are some covers I hate. Basically, if there’s a porch, a pretty house with an outside scene but nothing else, two beach chairs, or anything similar…my mind turns off. I know small-town Debbie Macomber romances are in but those covers make me roll my eyes. They also make me ignore the books when it comes time to purchase. To combat this, in 2011 I will try not to judge a book by its cover.
I’m sure there are more. I’m sure I’ll also violate most of these by March, but I’ll give it a try. Anyone have a similar list or a suggestion for one I should add to mine?
I’d also be happy give away a copy of my upcoming Intrigue, GUNS AND THE GIRL NEXT DOOR, to someone who comments. Lauren will announce the winner upon her return.