Wednesday, August 12, 2009

What Am I Writing?

Okay, so here's my dilemma.

Chapter 1: My new heroine's POV (Joslin). Begins at moment of significant change in her life.
Chapter 2: My hero's POV. Makes decision affecting the direction of his future life; very brief interaction with Joslin. Sparks don't exactly fly. (Mostly, they just annoy each other.)
Chapter 3: My hero's POV. Joslin mentioned positively by my hero's traveling companion.
Chapter 4: My hero's POV. No mention of Joslin, but furthers plot towards their eventual reunification, so to speak.
Chapter 5: My hero's POV. Ditto Chapter 4
Chapter 6: Joslin's POV. My hero is much referred to (though he's actually miles away), with hints of Joslin's reluctant attraction to him.

Chapter 7 (though I haven't started it yet) is looking like it will be in Joslin's POV as well.

Odds are looking strong that my hero and Joslin won't actually appear on the same page together again before Chapter 8 at the earliest (and that's if I'm lucky, the way I keep going!).

So, if the hero and heroine don't actually get physically on the same page together before Chapter 8 or 9 of a novel, is it still a romance, even if they fall in love before the end of the story?

If I'm not writing a romance, then what am I writing? And if it's something a little different, will readers of my first two romances be disappointed that the romance takes longer to happen in novel #3?

(Hey, if I can't think out loud on my own blog, where can I?)


Kaylee Baldwin said...

You can take this or leave it... When I read a novel I really don't have a problem with the main characters who end up fallng in love not being with each other in every scene or every chapter. I'm a big character person, and I just have to love the characters and hope that they get together. Of course, I eventually want them together in a scene, but if it takes a bit of writing/time to set up the tension of that meeting, I think that's totally okay. Is there any kissing eventually;)? I think its safe to still call it a romance, but maybe with a clarification like: historical romance for example.

Sarah M Eden said...

My $.02-
Basic requirements for a book to be a romance...
1. The main plot question is whether or not the hero and heroine end up together. That is what the reader is wondering the whole time. It drives the plot. Sure, there are a bunch of other things going on - that makes it interesting.
2. The hero and heroine DO end up together, and the reader is glad they do.
If your story is a romance, it would be a really good idea to have the hero/heroine think of their counterpart, or hear them mentioned, etc. during those chapters of separation, so that the reader doesn't lose sight of what's coming. And that initial interaction (Chapter 2), should set up their eventual coming together. Maybe a feeling of unwanted attraction or feeling intrigued, etc. Keep reminding your reader what your main point is.
If it isn't a romance, it's probably historical fiction (with a romantic side plot), which is great, too. Fans of JDP are gonna love it no matter what genre it fits best!

Joyce DiPastena said...

Yeah, maybe it's more of a historical fiction with a romance in it. I think I'm going more back to my roots with Loyalty's Web, where there's more plotting and intrigue going on along with the (eventual) romance. People who preferred LW may end up liking this one as well. Those who preferred Illumnations...I hope they won't be disappointed that the romantic elements are "different". Maybe I can speed things up a bit in my second draft, but for now, the story just seems to want to be what it wants to be.

Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen said...

It's hard to really say what's best since we're not you and not reading/writing/imagining it with you, but I'll just mention two things to consider: 1. lots of genres include romance, they just aren't termed romance. 2. This has nothing to do with your question, but as I looked over your quick summary, I kept thinking, where's the heroine's pov? Shouldn't there be more of her pov in those beginning chapters? Unless, of course, it's more his story than hers.
Again, just comments that may or may not be of any real use. you're such a good writer, though, I'm sure you'll work it out.

Rachel Harlin said...

I would echo what others have said. I think that when I pick up a book, I enjoy the journey the author takes me on. Obviously not all books will follow the same romantic patter, and that's okay! I agree with Sarah, we are always wondering what's going on between them and if they will get together. So mentioning the relationship is a good thing. But I think that part of the fun of being an author is getting to mix things up a bit! I'm excited to hear more!quumeni

The Heartless Gamer Girl said...

I'll insert my two cents now if nobody minds... :o)

My main concern is your question of whether or not you're writing a romance. Ask yourself: If I remove the romantic element from this story, will the story survive, or collapse? If the story can survive without the romance, you are writing historical fiction. (And with your credentials, you are fully qualified to do so if that is your wish. We will love it no matter what the "main" genre is.) However, if you find the story lacking life when the romance is removed, you are writing historical romance.

There is nothing wrong with developing your characters for a few chapters before they actually get to know each other. And the fact that they annoyed each other on their first meeting would not make them want to seek each other out immediately. They would think about each other, though, as annoyance is a rather strong emotion.

Listen to your characters, Joyce. They will tell you when it is time for them to interact on the same page. It sounds like they just aren't ready yet.

That's all I have for now. If I was able to help, YAY! If not, I apologize for wasting your time. :o)

Joyce DiPastena said...

Good point, Jaimey. No, this definitely won't be the same story if I rip out the romance part of it. It's a romance in my mind, even if it's not in anyone else's, because ultimately, it IS about my two characters falling in love and finding a way to be together. It may seem like they're following two individual plot lines at this point, but it's these individual plot lines that will ultimately bring them together on the page.

Thanks for everyone's comments! Each one has helped me more than you can know!

Nichole Giles said...


You've already been given so much great advice that I almost wasn't going to comment.

IMO, a romance is a story in which two characters meet, have big, huge conflicts, fall in love anyway, and then somehow overcome the obstacles. I don't really think there is a specific formula for when x should meet y and then when they should get together.

I know you have excellent writing abilities, and you are able to build a compelling story no matter which direction you go. As long as you stay true to your characters, your readers will not be disappointed.

I vote you write the story, then see how it comes together before you stress about the rest. =)


Joyce DiPastena said...

Thanks, Nichole. I think you're right. Write now, stress later. ;-)

Heather Justesen said...

I know my second book (being released next year) has the male and female leads interacting a bit in chapter 2, then again a few chapters later. Then a few more chapters pass before we start seeing them together a lot. Sometimes that growth period has to happen before their relationship can take off.

I read a NYT bestselling author who had a book where the male character sees the female across a room at a party, and tries to go meet her, but fails. Two or three more times over the years he sees her again and never gets to talk to her. Then FINALLY when the book is almost half over, they get to interact and things start to happen between them.

It may sound odd, but it was a great story and I think the romance worked great. If nothing else, it made me more excited when they finally met for real and made me groan and cringe when he makes a idiot of himself the first time. lol

Donna Hatch said...

I appear to be too late, but I'm going to leave my two cents' worth anyway. Write it the way it feels natural now. It can always be edited later. I agree with Sarah in that if they have fleeting thoughts of the other, even if it's something like, "She sure was an annoying insect" and yet recalls how lovely her voice was (or hair, eyes, body, pick a feature), then it will remind the reader about the potential for romance. Or maybe even he could think later how her story didn't quite add up. Look how popular "Sleepless in Seattle" was and they were in hardly any scenes together, and certainly not until much later. Looking forward to your brilliant resolution!

Joyce DiPastena said...

Thank you, Heather and Donna! I feel much better about my story now, thanks to everyone's input. Thank you EVERYONE!!!

Cass said...

I really liked the way loyalty's web was more even in historical and romance. I think that Illuminations of the heart was really heavy on the romance. Something of more balance may help a wider audience enjoy the book. Not everyone likes book that are big on the romance part of it. Whatever you like I will enjoy. It is someones opinion as to what they like more in books. Follow what you feel is best.

Joyce DiPastena said...

Thank you, Cass! Your comment is very reassuring, as I do think this one will be less heavy on the romance than Illuminations. Will probably disappoint some readers and make others happy. I know I'm not going to please everyone, no matter what I do. So as you say, I think I'll just have to let my characters tell the story they want to tell!