Thursday, November 27, 2014

Turkey Dinner, With Sides

Seriously. Is anybody reading this? It’s Thanksgiving. You should be stuffed full of turkey and parked on the couch watching football, or out shopping for bargains or something. Or shoveling snow, if you live in the Northeast. I can’t say for sure on that last one because it hasn’t happened yet. I’m writing this on Tuesday afternoon, when the big snowstorm is still a prediction. And we all know how accurate our local weather forecasters are, don’t we?

Be that as it may, I don’t expect to be online for the holiday. I still don’t have home Internet, and if it snows I won’t be going anywhere until my car’s dug out and the roads are plowed. I do plan to get stuffed with turkey, but after that I’ll probably write, since I’m not a big fan of football. Things should be back to normal by the weekend, except for around the malls.

I suppose I might as well write at least a partial blog, just in case somebody’s actually surfing the web on a holiday weekend. I get to go through this again on Christmas, which is also on Thursday this year, and New Year’s Day, which is ditto. Maybe I’ll just skip Christmas. We’ll see about New Year’s. That’ll depend on how awake I am.

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Where do you get your ideas? Everybody wonders this about writers, especially the e-book romance authors who seem to have a new release every month or so. I watch a lot of TV, which sparks a load of ideas whenever a particularly hoary plot device gets trotted out yet again. Sometimes, however, the ideas can be self-generating. To wit:

I’m currently working on a Talbot’s Peak novel I hope to self-publish, which ought to generate quite a few blogs on its own. The book features a common romance trope, the runaway bride. Our Heroine is shipped over from India to become the wife of a Really Rotten Guy. She runs away, right into the arms of the Heroic Stranger who is, of course, her True Love. That’s the plot, the skeleton on which the rest of the story is hung. Move a few of those bones around, and you’ll find yourself with a whole new skeleton, and a whole new story.

Suppose Our Heroine didn’t run away. Suppose she stays, and submits to the marriage to this man she doesn’t know. Maybe Really Rotten Guy isn’t as Really Rotten as everybody thinks he is. He may even think it himself. The newlyweds find themselves falling in love, almost in spite of themselves. That plot worked perfectly in Beauty and the Beast, and variations of it still pop up regularly in category romance.

Of course, Really Rotten Guy, as I created him, really is rotten, and has no redeeming qualities. Fortunately for Our Heroine, RRG has two younger brothers living in the house. One (or both, if you’re into that) may take pity on his older brother’s unhappy bride. He might even fall in love with her himself. A forbidden romance develops, culminating in Younger Brother challenging RRG for the love and happiness of his betrothed. Falling in love with the fiance’s brother is another popular romance trope. Or sister, if you’re into that.

Our Heroine happened to run away into the mountains, where she met up with Our Hero. If she’d run away in a different direction, it would have led to different stories. There’s a ranch in one direction, a whole town in the other. Cowboys, cowboys everywhere, all eager to help out a damsel in distress. Any girl who can’t find love in a situation like that doesn’t belong in a romance novel.

And there you go. One basic premise, at least four different books, depending on what Our Heroine chooses to do in Chapter 1. If you throw in friends, partners and siblings, you can build a series out of any one of these ideas. Anyone want to write a book a month for 2015? I’ve just given you the blueprint. Have fun writing. After turkey and football, of course.


Pat C. said...

Once again coming to you live from the Dunkin Donuts by the PA Turnpike entrance. The "big" snowstorm fizzled, as I pretty much expected. Already enjoyed my turkey. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Savanna Kougar said...

HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Good going on all the 'trope' ideas. That would give those who write with flying fingers a good set of stories... Make it four sisters maybe, and each one has different romantic outcome.

Pat C. said...

There's an idea. I wonder if it would have to be alternate universe or SF or historical, though. Are arranged marriages still a thing in this day and age? Mail-order brides is a whole other story.

Savanna Kougar said...

I think you could go with any of those subgenres. And arranged marriages still happen, especially at the upper echelons of society, and of course, where that's the cultural tradition.
Lots of mail-order bride stories in the western romance genre, understandably.
I've had a lot of sci fi/fantasy plot ideas around arranged marriages, and the mail order bride idea.