Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Plot and Prejudice
I’ve got a contest running over on my site where I ask readers to tell me some of the things they like or don’t like in a romance novel. One reader said, somewhat sheepishly, that she liked secret baby stories. Another liked the marriage of convenience plot. Still another said she couldn’t stand heroines who were TSTL (Too Stupid To Live). Kick-ass heroines are popular, but in the regency period when my novels are set, a heroine who is too kick-ass is going to get her sweet little derriere booted out of Almack’s.
I confess as a romance reader I come to a book with certain expectations...well, prejudices, really. Like CJ’s judge, I’m not a fan of short heroes. I don’t care for regencies set in France. I like paranormal, but usually not in my historicals. As a writer, however, I want to push the envelope. I don’t want to tell the same story everyone else is telling--or the same story I wrote in my last book. Yet I do feel a need to stay within general expectations. If I go too far a field, not only won’t my editor like it, more importantly, my readers won’t. And really, once I get into a story, the characters take over and tell me what to write.
So, what are your plot prejudices? Any plots you love, plots that are almost an autobuy? (It's okay if you like secret baby amnesia cowboy stories!) Would you pick up a book with a Transylvanian hunchbacked dwarf as a hero or is tall, dark, and handsome the only way to go?