The Do-Over

I’m trying to get back in writing mode because I was so into it a few weeks ago after getting that email re my story going in an anthology. I got so excited about editing two of my novels (one finished, one a colossal mess worth saving), and also writing another O&C adventure, which I have absolutely clearly detailed in my mind.

(Sorry I can’t elaborate on O&C here. If you don’t know and want to, email me.)

But it’s been kinda hard to get in a romance-writing mood, to say the least, with all the stuff that’s been happening with my father. I know that a “real writer” would be able to put all that out of her mind and just get on with it already, but ugh. I have to be in somewhere within a reasonable range of the mood.

So, I perused some  novels at the drugstore, and even bought a couple, started them. Was thinking about the kind of romances I really like, and don’t. There are an infinite variety of settings, but only a handful of actual themes.

One very popular one, that I dislike intensely, is the do-over. This is where two people who’ve already failed at a relationship must get together again (because their child is kidnapped or the earth is about to be vaporized and only they can rescue/save — together). The protags have learned and grown in the years apart and are now much more evolved and able to see each other differently bla de bla. They fall in love all over again but in a better way, rescue the child, save the planet, live happily ever after. I hate that.

My feeling is that if it didn’t work the first time, it’s not going to. Plus also I don’t believe people actually change, not fundamentally. So there you go.

OTOH, probably my favorite motif is the screwed-up identity one.  This is would be something like a woman invents a fantasy fiance for whatever reason (to take title to an estate, forex) and then some strange guy arrives in the middle of a crowded party announcing he is the fiance. The woman has to play along. The man has his own mysterious purpose for doing this (he’s trying to ferret out a double agent in the military, say). And the whole thing goes on from there, completely tangled, drawing the protags closer, until there’s only one possible outcome — they have to get married, have insanely wonderful sex, and LHEA.

Hard to do these identity mix-ups in contemporaries because people would be Googling everyone else like mad. Or is that just me? No, I think we all Google. Who wouldn’t Google?

Anyway. I do have a novel started with an identity mix-up, but I have to sort out the details. There’s a lot of computer stuff and police work I have to finesse, and unlike real writers I don’t want to do any boring research. I just want to make shit up. And I have another novel that’s finished, though completely messed-up, with the protags lying about their purposes for being where they are, which should end up being wildly ironically funny, but it needs a ton of work. These are not the same two novels I mentioned in the first paragraph, if anyone cares.

Oh, my short story that’s getting published is a do-over. You should know by now I’m inconsistent. 🙂

Actually, there’s a simple explanation. When you have these erotica type of things where there’s only 5K words to play with and most of them have to involve sex, it’s very difficult to set things up quickly unless the characters already know each other.

But I never would write a novel d0-over. You can take that to the bank.

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7 responses to “The Do-Over

  1. Great thing about writing is that do-overs, also referred to as “revisions,” DO work!

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  2. Of course the original Parent Trap worked by sheer force of a young Haley Mills’ formidable acting prowess and charisma. Even though I’ve always thought that anyone with hair as red as Maureen O’Hara’s could never have towheaded children without a hint of red or freckles or anything, no matter how damn cute they are.
    You’re totally ignoring the Karma/reincarnation theme even though that, apparently, is the story of my life. I’m trying to be nicer.

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  3. I also dislike the do-over. Most of the romanaces I’ve read have been historicals, and the screwed up identity is very popular there. I think it’s fun when done right.

    So many historicals involve the bride-by-force (not necessarily physical) who then falls in love with her husband. I’d rather the governess find a mad wife in the attic than read that one more time.

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  4. The romantic plot thread in the TV show, House, is using that. He married a Russian immigrant to help her get her green card, and now they are falling in love. It’s realistic because he is an aging, manipulative, sprung-butt smart ass with little redeeming value, (other than his genius at medical evaluation) and she is a walking wet dream.

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  5. Cuddy’s off the show. End of last season. She broke up with him, he did something stupid and landed in jail. (I don’t want to give it all away) The jail time episodes were good, just like his psychiatric ward episodes. Once he’s back in the hospital, it’s too predictable again, but I still love watching.

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  6. Oh, House married to get back at Cuddy, sort of. One never knows with House.

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