What makes a great romance novel? No matter how carefully we examine, analyze and deconstruct it, it’s always ultimately a matter of opinion. I know it when I smile as I read, and the passage isn’t remotely funny…it’s just well-written and I am firmly in the author’s world. I’m reluctant to finish the book and leave that world. But what works for me might not work for you. And here is where I need your help.
I have two completed manuscripts, both sort of fairy-tale based. Currently they’re operating under the titles By Midnight and Waking Beauty (They used to be Bride by Midnight and Bride by Chance, but I kept thinking Bride of Chucky.). I’ve sent out half-a-dozen queries and was not surprised to see the self-addressed, stamped envelopes come back to my mailbox. One rejection letter had a nice hand-written note—I had been in the “maybe” pile for several months, but ultimately wasn’t loved enough.
I believe I may have done the unforgivable in BOTH books—my heroes are unfaithful to my heroines. For good reasons, so the devilish, dark-haired dummies think. Talk about a Big Misunderstanding and possibly a Big Mistake for the Author. I don’t know why my characters stumbled into the beds of women from their past—it just seemed right at the time to make them so wrong. I do so love a good grovel scene. And I wanted to give my characters something important to overcome, although I would personally eviscerate my own husband should he stray. I know he’s going to read this. Hi, honey.
So, what do you think? Have I broken the ultimate romance taboo? If (When. WHEN!) I finish Third-Rate Romance (in this corner, weighing in as of this morning at 70,230 words), should I go back and smarten up those bad boys and give them something else altogether to bring them to their knees? I’m willing to slice and dice!
Have you ever had to chuck a huge chunk of your book? Say something encouraging to me.