Thursday, April 24, 2008

Making it click

Maven Lacey KayeMaveFave Keira Soleore and I were at Panera Bread last Sunday doing a little plotting for VHM, the novel. (Yes, even a book based on my super-sweet life needs a little plotting oomph occasionally. Sorry if that destroys any conceptions you had about me :-).

One of the discussions revolved around techniques an author of contemporary novels can use to show her characters falling into True Love. To explain: we feel like in historical novels, the men can be more macho (and sweeter) and the women can be more stubborn (and home-makery) without throwing your reader out of the story. In other words, the dichotomy potentially allows the author to show more growth in her characters. In addition (and sort of related), in a lot of contemporary novels, we feel authors often skip over opportunities for their characters to engage in deeper conversation. Dialogue is often glib and flirty without being meaningful, which can make it harder for the reader to know the characters are headed for a true HEA. Sure, it's fun now, but what will happen six years from now? Will the characters grow together? Do they want the same things out of life? How do we show this without hitting the reader over the head with the answers?

What do you think? Who should I read to get a better feel for the how? And what do you think makes a good contemporary 'let's fall in love' conversation?


La Belle Americaine said...

When I read contemporaries, it's tends to be "chick lit", but Marian Keyes is great with dialogue, and I believe in the characters HEA at the end of the book. If you've never tried her, I highly recommend Sushi For Beginners,Lucy Sullivan Is Getting Married, and Watermelon.

Jackie Barbosa said...

I read so little contemporary (so little of anything, lately, to be honest!) that it's hard for me to make a good suggestion from personal experience, but Janice raves about Susan Elizabeth Phillips. I keep meaning to pick up something from her, but I always get sidetracked in the romance aisle by the titles with women in long, flowing dresses and men in breeches.

Erica Ridley said...

I don't know the answers to any of those questions, so I'll be keeping an eye on the comment thread for the upcoming ah-ha moment.

LBA: Oh great, a new author for me to gorge myself on... *g

Jackie: RE: SEP--I enjoyed Ain't She Sweet and Nobody's Baby But Mine.

Amy Addison said...

If you're looking for a good contemporary author that does the "how" brillaintly, I recommend Christie Ridgway's single title books.

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