Tuesday, February 06, 2007
The Construction Zone - 5. Plot
I wasn't going to talk about plot at all, but I will touch on it briefly since it will tie in to my next topic, which is going to be BEGINNINGS.
For Harlequin Romance, (and I emphasize this because as I stated before, other types of writing demand heavier plots)this is my rule: External conflict: BAAAAAD. Internal conflict: GOOOOOD. The book I sent them BEFORE Hired By The Cowboy sold, came back as relying to heavily on external elements. It's what I guess you'd call "contrived situations". Don't throw external monkey wrenches in and have your characters react. Let the conflict come from within.
Of course, not all external conflict is bad. You DO need to have a plot. But you know, plot is minimal. In thinking of the Bella Brides series, each book has the underlying plot of the Valentine restaurants "directing" things. And each book has its own hook that gets the ball rolling. But is that the focus of the book? Nuh uh. First and foremost, as always, the characters and their internal conflict drive the book.
Even is there is an external element, it all comes down to the STORY being about how the characters deal with it. For example, in Hired By THe Cowboy, Connor is about to lose the family ranch. The reason why is external. How he deals with that information, though, forms the crux of his conflict. Alex is pregnant and alone. She is running out of options. External. But how she chooses to deal with that, the way her character thinks and feels as she goes on her own journey through the book, is what carries her character.
I think I'll summarize my thoughts on plot with this...WHAT happens in the book is simply a platform for the characters to fall in love, to grow, to get to their HEA.