I love this question. I do have a peeve from some authors. Because I primarily read romance, the formula is pretty "cookie cutter" when you're reading some of the more popular authors. 1) I hate when the H/h have a minor "misunderstanding" that lasts throughout the book, which could have been resolved pretty quickly if they would have talked to each other instead of constantly wondering what the other was thinking.
How would you avoid this situation in a Romance novel? I'm trying to come up with ways to keep from doing these irritating things.
How I've tried to manage it is by having a real dilemma that needs to be solved that carries throughout the book, but when minor things crop up I resolve them early so they won't become irritating. (ie: "The Gift of Joy" deals with Domestic Violence, which carries the story and all of the trust issues are dealt with at the end). It's a delicate balance for sure, and we all have to figure out what works for our stories.
Thank you for making Domestic Violence a major theme! I was a victim of it thirty-some years ago, and I am just now alluding to it in passing in my current writing. I hope you can inspire and encourage the victims.
Resolving the little things early is a good idea.
Great question. As a crime fiction thriller author, I know I'm supposed to present obstacles for my protagonist: Hobisan choices, no-win situations, and scrapes that he/she has to use their wits to master. But sometimes it can stretch credulity. And the last thing I want is for a reader to throw my book across the room while saying "that would never happen!" or "She doesn't know what she's talking about.# That's where research comes in. I am constantly researching EVERYTHING just to make sure it COULD happen. Or it COULD be resolved one way or another. There is a little latitude in thrillers -- I think most readers want their protagonist to dazzle them with their clever thinking and skill. But it's a very precarious balance. SOmetimes I have to force myself by saying, "it's really not that complicated... keep it simple."
Yes, thank heavens for research. You do find some things in factual research that you hesitate to put in fiction. Hugo von Kohler was an illegitimate son of Crown Prince Rudolf, and he had some amazing adventures. One thing he did was eat lamb chops bones and all. (I've always had this feeling that we're not getting our money's worth when we get meat with a lot of bone.) He also once bit through the rung of a chair to show his wife the chair was unsound. The guy did a lot of serious stuff that would work nicely in fiction and left a legacy in the person of his stepson Claibourne Pell. You do have to pick and choose.
It's a fine balance for sure. One of my favourite authors has a series based on a single character and she lets the reader watch his life through his thoughts and through his eyes - it's very intimate in some ways. But this man is such a social misfit, such a depressive, such a mess that you just want to slap him half the time. You'd think it was overdone, how she shows us disaster after disaster when he really could just listen to the advice he's being given, he could just stop and think.....
But somehow it's not, it's fascinating and by the end of the 6th book you realise exactly why he's the way he is and it's not entirely his fault. If done carefully those plot lines can be a powerful conflict and draw for the reader.
Yes, it is a real balancing challenge. Some authors can manage to bring it off.
I actually cut a lot of gory details out of my first book. I kept saying to myself what if I give a murderer some ideas! Stupid I know, but I would have felt guilty if they'd used some of the crimes in my book, don't think I could've lived with myself.
I understand your qualms. Actually, gore is one of the areas where less is more. You need just a hint to stick in the mind. I just reread Terry Pratchett's GOING POSTAL. There was one sentence that repeated almost like a mantra at various points. "His head was all over the wall." Really, that's all you need to know. I love quick, understated dramatic effects.
LOL, see what you mean! I got the image no problem.