Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Finding something new to write about…

by Donna Alward

Romance writers walk a fine line sometimes. There are often reader expectations – sometimes for tone, sensuality level, tropes, whatever. The trick is finding a new way to deliver the sort of story your readers expect. And the more stories you write, the more challenging it can get. My pal Liz Fielding blogged about it on The Chocolate Box a few weeks ago – being in the middle of a book and realizing a character already did such and such or you’ve already used that name or premise and trying to come up with something different – and yet the same.

After 25+ books, I was starting to feel that way. And yet there was still one hook I hadn’t used yet: the good old “sperm bank” hook.

Are you rolling your eyes?

I did the same thing when my critique partner a few years ago suggested I write an amnesia story for a special project. I took up the challenge and enjoyed it a lot.

A Cowboy to Come Home To
by Donna Alward
So…back to the sperm bank. In A COWBOY TO COME HOME TO, the heroine, Melissa, isn’t interested in marriage. She’s BTDT, and has the scars to prove it. Her husband cheated on her and she caught him – and then found out her best friend knew about it and said nothing. Her best friend, by the way, is the hero, Cooper Ford. Or at least he was her best friend. She hasn’t really spoken to him since everything blew up.

But Melissa *is* interested in a family of her own, so she’s looking at going it solo, much to her parents’ dismay. And Cadence Creek is a small town – she’s well aware that there will be whispers and rumours. But she’s a strong girl. The only problem is the procedures haven’t worked yet.

Yay me! I found something new to write about. But then there’s another tricky bit – and that’s taking something that is potentially cliché and making it genuine. And that comes down to character. Melissa was so hurt from being betrayed, but she was such a sweetheart that I knew she deserved to be a mom if she really wanted it. I admired her strength and determination – especially as a small business owner used to standing on her own two feet. Yeah, it was unorthodox, especially since a lot of my plotlines are a bit more on the “traditional” side of things. But I had a blast writing it and I hope readers really like it too.

Are there any plot hooks that make you roll your eyes, and have you read any stories that made you change your mind?

Twitter: @DonnaAlward
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  1. It's interesting. I read a lot of vintage and I tend to do it one writer at a time and I don't think I've come across a prolific writer who I can't say about some of their books "This book is very similar to such and such a book by the author" but mostly I still enjoy it.

  2. Yay, Donna! That sounds like an interesting premise. I don't mind reading about the same thing when the author draws me in and makes me care about the characters. My mind is like a sponge anyway so I rarely remember details.

  3. I think it's fun to take a well-used premise and be challenged to give it a fresh, unique twist!

    But I hear you about how hard it can be to come up with "something different." :)

  4. It's great when you can use a common premise and then step outside the box to make it new again!