Friday, December 22, 2006

Creating Community

While the spirit of neighborliness was important on the frontier because neighbors were so few, it is even more important now because our neighbors are so many. ~ Lady Bird Johnson

I've been wondering, lately, just where my strange version of romance novels would fit in the grand scheme of the publishing world. I have a couple that I don't believe would fit into the box of a print publisher because they're a little different. But I have a couple that I think might fit in the Harlequin American mold. I've read several in that series (I like Kara Lennox's stories quite well... thanks Kara, for writing such interesting stuff), but took it upon myself to read more.

I went to the library in Salem (45 mins away) because my library doesn't buy category romance (which ticks me off a little, but that's a story for another day) and loaded up. I showed the logo to my daughter and where to find the copyright date (because I wanted more recent stuff to see what's being published now) and sent her into the stacks. I checked out about fifty books!

Last night I started reading one. I'm enjoying the story so far, and writing is really quite good.

But... (you knew there had to be a "but" didn't you?)

The author is trying to introduce an entire town in the first two chapters. This book happens to be the first in a series that takes place in this little town, so I understand why she's doing it. I just think she should slow it down a little because I'm lost. The hero (we'll call him Joe - names have been changed to protect the innocent) keeps bumping into people and the author describes them thusly:

Joe saw Amy on the corner. Amy was the sister of his friend, Mike and the daughter of the mayor, Pete, by his first wife, Lydia. She currently worked at the library with Joe's employee's fiancee, Jane who was the step-sister of Fred and Dave down at the auto repair shop that Frank owned.
Ack!

The mystery that I'm currently working on takes place in a fictional small town in Colorado. There's definite community there, as in all small towns where everyone not only knows your name, but your past and present and they spend much time speculating over your future at the local diner.

I have lots of characters I want to introduce, but I'm trying to do them one by one so that the reader will remember them, who they are, where they work, etc. without having to make a chart.

I wonder if this story will still be Harlequin American material? That's not to mention that I'm 19,000 words into the story and my H/H haven't so much as held hands. There's a good reason for it, and it's in character, they both know that they're attracted to one another but nothing has happened yet. Partly because it's only been three days since they met, and I have issues with the "meet and make out" scenario that I see so often (are folks really that easy in real life? I'm not that old, and I don't recall that folks were that easy...) and partly because my heroine has serious intimacy issues because of abuse in her past.

The more I think about it, the more I wonder if I'll ever write anything appropriate for category. But, you know, I'm okay with that because I have to write what I have to write. My characters wouldn't have it any other way.

What about you?

4 comments:

anno said...

But, you know, I'm okay with that because I have to write what I have to write. My characters wouldn't have it any other way.

Sounds to me like the only sure path to true love.

Tori Lennox said...

Amy was the sister of his friend, Mike and the daughter of the mayor, Pete, by his first wife, Lydia. She currently worked at the library with Joe's employee's fiancee, Jane who was the step-sister of Fred and Dave down at the auto repair shop that Frank owned.

LOL! I wanted to add "I'm my own grandpa" to that list. *g* I agree. It's a little confusing and way Too Much Information Too Soon.

MaryF said...

50 books!!! Wow.

One of the GH entries I judged this week did the same thing with introducing everyone right up front. GAH!

Allie Boniface said...

Yeah, that's why I think my novels don't really fit into category so much as single title. The "templates" of the ones I've read aren't a good match for the way I like to write...