Today, I have the wonderful Jane Toombs on my blog.
She is here to give us some plot tips and share a little about her Historical romance "Bride of the Baja"
Please give her a round of applause *claps* and enjoy!
Thank you for coming Jane. The floor is yours. *g*
If you’ve ever been told your plot it too thin or too complicated, here’s something that may help you understand why:
Plot Problems: Too Little And Too Much
In a romance, confronted by too thin a plot line, a reader comes to feel she’s turning pages but getting nowhere. Something like peddling away on a stationary exercycle, in the same room day after day, instead of riding a real bicycle and confronting real scenery and action.
Thin plots arise from weak conflict. In romances, constant bickering between the hero and heroine over minor matters often reveals the lack of true conflict. Bickering is not conflict. Give your characters some potent differences to cope with. If she were an animal rights advocate intent on saving dolphins while he’s a part of an organization training dolphins for underwater demolition, these two are not going to see eye to eye and conflict will arise from their colliding viewpoints.
Too many secondary characters can also dilute conflict because the focus comes off the hero and heroine. So don’t stuff too many people into the story.
A top-heavy plot is also a problem. In a romance, if too much information and/or action is crammed into too few pages this leads to bogging down a romance. Yes, these are good in westerns, suspense and mysteries, but need to be using sparingly in a romance. Why? Because it takes away from the main purpose of a romance, which is to have the main characters finally figure out they were meant for each other.
Cliches in romance plots are all too common and tend to weaken the plot. The other woman is a common one. If you must have one, do make her something other than a a fluff-headed, sexy bimbo.
Another cliché is overheard information or an event secretly seen and misinterpreted.
The number one cliche is the cute meet. Do your best to avoid this one.
I’ve never forgotten listening to a talk by the fabulous Phyllis Whitney. Her advice was to give every major character in a story a secret in their background they’d rather die than have revealed. She said that when a plot seems to be developing a middle sag, one of these secrets revealed or threatened to be revealed provides a great way to keep the action moving right along, while still focusing on the main characters.
In my historical romance Bride of the Baja, which will be up as an ebook in September, I tried not to make it plot heavy, despite the theme of : Which of the three men will she choose?
If you decide to read it, do let me know whether or not I succeeded.
(I Love the cover!)
So, what is some advice you folks have gotten that turned out to be handy? Share with me.