Hello lovely blog readers. Thanks again for your great comments re my synopsis! Maybe I’m not as lousy at writing them as I thought… 🙂 Right, prepare for a long post…
You’ve probably seen the editorial comment go up on I Heart Presents. I want to say Anna wrote an extremely flattering and lovely piece – I don’t know if it’s fully deserved but I’m extremely grateful to her for her faith in me. It does seem to be true what they say – the editorial staff at Mills and Boon are great!
Right, so the editorial comment. She says that I leaned quite heavily on stereotypes and she’s absolutely right. This was part of the whole ‘lack of of internal conflict’ thing. Now, poor old Kate seems to exist in a vacuum. There aren’t any reasons given for her to act in the way that she did. Why does she feel so passionately about her beliefs? My only excuse is that ‘she’s a hippy. That’s what she does’. Stereotype? Uh huh. Anna told me I needed to provide reasons for her to act the way she does otherwise she doesn’t come across as a fully rounded character. She said that at every step you have to keep asking yourself why your characters do the things they do. What made Kate lie in the dirt? Why did she go with Alex to his office? Why did he threaten her? ‘Just because’ isn’t a good enough reason! Providing reasons means providing backstory and you’ll notice that there wasn’t any backstory in that first chapter. Now, I’m no expert, but I’ve been told a number of times that because these are short romances, you have to get all the information out there quickly. And do it without info-dumping. Who said writing Mills and Boon was easy again??
Now, what else did they say? Kate’s appearance was an issue. She’s got a nosering (thank God I didn’t give her a tattoo!) which may be a turn-off for some readers. Readers have to identify with the heroine so you can’t go for extremes. They also thought the whole protest scene was a ‘gimmick’ and over shadowed the rest of the story. Does that make sense? Their conflict stemmed from the setup and not from their internal conflict. A no no.
And the humour. Yes, I’m a dialogue girl. I love writing it. I can hear my characters talk in my head like it’s a movie. I am extremely flattered that some people found the dialogue funny because humour is just one of those things that’s hard to do. But (you knew there was a but didn’t you?) I got kind of carried away with it in this chapter. They told me that the humour was great but it couldn’t be there just for the sake of it. The dialogue should drive the romance forward and if it doesn’t, you should cut it.
Do you see now why they didn’t want it? I did revise and give Kate some backstory, toned down the protest scene (should have not put it in at all in retrospect but I liked it!) and gave them a bit more in the way of internal conflict. But I didn’t go far enough. The archetypes were still there. Again, stick your characters in a room, with no external plot or sub characters or anything else, and what is it that keeps them apart? If there isn’t anything, then there is no internal conflict and therefore no story.
However, all is not lost for Kate and Alex. I am going to write their story. It will be a new story though and hopefully with lots of internal conflict and absolutely no archetypes!
Okay, I’d better stop now. Does this help people? Feel free to ask me any questions about it. Again, I’m not an expert (hello! Still unpublished!) but I hope that by passing on comment like this, it helps others get an insight into their own work.