Saturday, October 20, 2007

Romance novels in a nutshell

So I promised you synopses of mine and my sisters' romance novels. My two younger sisters, Linz and Bucky (clearly a nickname, but the story isn't nearly as funny as what you are imagining, I'm sure, so I won't bore you with it) are my fellow Tinglers. I have two more sisters but they are using maturity as an excuse not to join us. Pfft. I keep telling them that membership in the Tingling Touches Club can only boost their resumes should they choose to find new employment in the future, but apparently, they have their doubts.

Anyhow, let me first say that when you decide to write a romance novel there are several immediate decisions that are both important and difficult.

1) You have to decide on a setting. I mean, it makes a big difference to your story if it is set in Napoleonic France or China during the Boxer Rebellion (yeah, I don't really know what that is either). You can't imagine the hours of agony that we spent (and the number of homemade cookies that we ate) before we all were sufficiently inspired.

2) You have to decide on the names of your main characters. This is equally important, because let's be honest, NO ONE wants to read about a Mildred and a Horace making out. True? But EVERYONE wants to read about a Madeleine (it must be spelled like this) and a Brent sharing passionate kisses (By the way, has anyone read a Madeleine Brent novel? I love those!) Again, agonizing decisions that must be resolved before even a single word can be typed!

3) You have to figure out a reason for these people to stay apart, and that's not as easy as it sounds. Because, you know, generally two people who are "made for each other" or "destined to be together" don't have nearly as much conflict as a romance novel requires. I mean, really. In most romance novels the couple is either a) fighting most of the time or b) kissing each other passionately. There's no middle ground. Don't you think if you were in this kind of relationship you would head for the hills, relationship-wise? Of course you would! So the real challenge is trying to figure out how to make it seem plausible that these two perfectly matched, ideally suited, future best friends are unable to see their deep and abiding love for each other. Tricky!

Well, here's how Linz solved the big three:

1) Setting--I have to say, Linz took some big risks on this one. Because her setting is the deep South during Civil War times. Not only is she treading on Scarlett O'Hara's legacy, but she also doesn't like the dresses from this time period at all. Not to worry! Linz's heroine eschews fashion dictates and wears A-line dresses with capped sleeves. I think she's very, very ahead of her time. . .

2) Character Names--The hero is named Cam and the heroine is named Blair. I'm not sure why Linz picked these, but they are pretty sweet, don't you think? Plus, I'm almost positive they are traditional Southern names. Or not.

3) Why are these two not falling into each other's arms and declaring undying love? Well, it's complicated. See, Blair, who lives in the deep South, is also (shocker!) a fervent abolitionist. She just morally can't marry a man who owns slaves. Cam is a plantation owner and horrors! a slave owner! But don't worry. It's all an act, because Cam is secretly a link on the Underground Railroad and he just PRETENDS he owns slaves so that his fellow Southerners don't lynch him or find the runaway slaves he is assisting. All of his slaves are actually PAID workers! So they stay apart because he doesn't want to involve her in his dangerous work (such self-sacrifice is ALWAYS a sign of true love) and she can't let herself love him because he owns other human beings. Wow, Linz. That is sheer genius!

Next up: Bucky's Big Three!


Miss Pink Ponsonby said...

Oh no! Not A-line dresses with Capped Sleeves?! That's sooo Napoleanic! I always think the costuming is the best part! All those corsets, stockings held by string, damp skirts and shawls blown away in the wind. Sigh...As a Civil War Reeneactor, I must protest! Anyway, about the Prairie Fire? Winter Thunder Storms...with Lightening, of course!!! Oh, and thanks for visiting my blog! I love yours! It's tres Amuseant! (Spoken by a hapless refugee of pseudo-French Lineage, trapped in the Deep South by a master?

Miss Pink Ponsonby said...

) I forgot the closing parenthesis. I hate that!

Celia and Scott said...

Oh don't leave us hanging. What about Bucky?!?

Also, I still remember quite well how you loved Gone With the Wind. Was Linzi trying to steal all your passionate, creative thunder? Whatever could be your setting?