Tuesday, April 27, 2010

No New Story?

Writers argue over how many basic stories exist. Some say seven, others say up to twenty-one. Editors vow they want "something fresh" and "something new" and that leaves writers wondering how they can come up with the perfect story. In my opinion, what editors really mean is they want a fresh way to tell the old stories. How does a writer come up with something new when there are only so many ways to lead the hero and heroine to committment? Not an easy question to answer!

Here's how I came up with the idea for my next release, OUT OF THE BLUE. My critique partner (Sandy Crowley) and I were talking and she remarked that I do historic heroines much better than contemporary heroines. I realized this is true. Because the women in my family are "old souls" rather than trendy, my contemporary heroines turn out to be too mature for their age. Sigh. Then an editor for Luna said she would like to see a heroine from the past come forward to present day. Hooray! the perfect solution for me.

Both Sandy and I had attended the all-day plotting workshop "Story Magic" prsented by Laura Baker and Robin Perini. To get this story plotted, I set up my story board on the dining room table. Sandy and I polotted a romantic suspense in which an Irish heroine from 1845 came forward to current time.  I set out writing the book, inserting a few surprise detours (and explosions per my friend Geri Foster) along the way. By the time I finished the book, Luna had folded. Another sigh.

Writing this book was fun. Sandy and another critique partner, Jeanmarie Hamilton, critiqued as I wrote. OUT OF THE BLUE is my husband's favorite of all the stories I've written so far. I doubt time travel is in any of the basic stories. However, the concept would be. Damsel in jeopardy + alpha hero who is an authority figure + villain from the past.

Tomorrow, I'll discuss the "Story Magic" plotting technique.


Diana Cosby said...

Hi Caroline,
I think it's neat that your heroines tend to be old souls. Very interesting. I'm glad your story came together for you, brainstorming is so fun! And, I'm glad you have such amazing cp's to work with. Take care and thank you for sharing your process! ^5


Sandra Crowley said...

I can barely wait until OUT OF THE BLUE is released. Your characters and settings are always fascinating. Creating unique story plots is one way to write the "fresh stories" agents, editors, and readers want. I also love to read about engaging characters whose dreams, goals and problems keep me turning pages.