The Hook – Vital Plot Element or Unnecessary Complication?

Okay, you’ll all be pleased to know that I’m done with the crows (until I hear from the eds I guess but NTAI!). My poor climber has been left to languish at a crucial moment so I should probably get back to him and give him his HEA. However, my sticking point is my plot. I have a fake engagement hook in the middle of it and though it stems from actions the characters themselves take, I’m wondering if it’s a tad unbelievable. It’s purpose is mainly to force the h&h together and maybe to deepen his conflict a bit but I’m still doubtful about it. Do they really need something to force them together? Can’t they just be together because they’re having a hot affair? I’m at 44k already and the black moment isn’t coming for a wee while yet, so maybe my fake engagement is just an unnecessary complication…

The other thing I’m having doubts about is my timeline. Maybe it’s just me, but does anyone else think that two weeks is an awfully short time to fall in love? Or is it just the nature of the genre and two weeks is fine and I’m being overly picky?
I don’t know. Until I get over these stumbling blocks, I’m not sure I can finish the WIP. Might just wait until I hear back about whether the story is a goer or not.

Anyway, in the meantime, I have gone back to rewriting my Feel the Heat entry. It’s so much better now I’ve got the conflict sorted! Since the editorial assistant asked me about it, I think I might submit that one next should the other one not succeed.

Ah conflict, how do I hate thee? Let me count the ways….

12 thoughts on “The Hook – Vital Plot Element or Unnecessary Complication?”

  1. Two weeks? That’s long compared to my current MH wip in which they fall for each other in a couple of days. Guess it’s (again) all in the execution!!

  2. It IS just me then!! Thanks guys. To tell you the truth, the heroine is toast for the hero after one weekend but OF COURSE she doesn’t admit it to herself… 🙂

  3. I’m a love at first sight girl (although they don’t admit it of course and fight it like crazy 🙂

    I think with the hook (having been at the M&B editors talk where they were teaching about it) is to ask yourself:

    Do you believe it? Do you yourself think it could happen?

    Do you need it?

  4. The shortest length of time I have heard of is one evening. Someone once wrote a publiished M&B that spanned an entire evening.
    The longest I have heard of is a year/9 mos.
    Time spans can be lengthened with epilogue/time forced to be apart.
    \see Nina Harrington for notes on the M&B editors talk at the RNA conference.

  5. can’t resist throwing in tuppenceworth: my fave is of a couple who meet again when his (hero) relative, her (heroine) relative and their unborn child all die together. Within hours, our H&H are analysing their old relationship (it was via them that their now-dead relatives met) and ‘consummation’ takes place within 24 hrs with nary a thought for their dead, close relatives. And I don’t think the family name was Hussein, but suspect some psychopathic tendencies might be shared…

  6. Lorraine, that’s exactly what I’m wondering. Will ponder more.

    Michelle, yes indeed, I’m thinking I’m okay here given the different time spans. Will check out Nina’s notes. Thanks for that.

    Chris, hours?? Combined with the dead rellies, that sounds a little odd if you ask me!

  7. I’m a great believer in love at first sight – so two weeks is a very believable time frame from where I’m sitting.

    I think I read the book that spanned an evening – about 15 years ago? – the heroine had dark/black hair and wore a blue evening dress (saphire? or was that her eye colour) and they went to dinner (on a boat I think?). I also want to say that it was set in Austrailia????????

  8. I love a good fake engagement 😉 I don’t see a problem with it as a reader. It just depends on their circumstances.

    What came first the engagement or the affair? A lot of the time the affair si the result of the engagement. Or perhaps, for example, the hero thinks the heroine is doubting the affair and thinking of calling it off and he may create the need for a fake engagement to keep things as they are.

    P.S. I’m all for love at first sight too. Michelle has me intrigued about the book spanning a single evening, veeery interesting. I want it! 🙂

  9. Yay, Suzanne! I wonder what the book was? In any case, I shall cease worrying about my two weeks.

    Lacey, the affair came first and the fake engagement is a slip of the tongue by the heroine, which takes on a life of its own. Hmmm, might wait and see what the eds think before I do anything drastic about it.

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