Thursday, July 30, 2009

You had me from...huh?

I get a lot of proposals via email lately and some of the ideas sound pretty dang good. At least, the small paragraph they send sounds good. So I ask to see more, thinking when the thing shows up, I will be just as blown away as I was with the query.

The day arrives, I open the envelope and start in. Suddenly, the synopsis or the storyline makes me simply scream. This is far from amazing. This is far from wow. This is one big "huh?" When I get e-queries, I always ask the writer to send along the email as a reference as well. Mostly I do this to prevent people from claiming they have received a request. Lately, however, I use it to go back and read the original submission to figure out what it was that I liked. No, the original premise looked good. It was the additional information and the majority of the time, it deals with the characters.

Now, first of all, I don't know how some of you even get the names for your characters, but some are beyond stupid. Military guys don't need to be named Gunner. Western heroes don't need to be named Trigger. If you are a person that can't find a name, use the phone book. Please.

But let's get to the real issue here. Since we are dealing with romances, we want to see a relationship, right? That means that we have to not only like the characters but want to see them move together in the romance. If you have a character who is a jerk from the beginning, I don't want to see if he or she will change. I want to see that person go away. If I see a character doing something unethical, I simply will not want to follow that person.

I have also seen cases where the heroine has done a lot of things, or at least it comes through in the back story, that has caused her to be in this bad situation. And then, the author is asking us to give her sympathy. Hey, when I see something like that, I simply scream, "No way, you did this to yourself, dig your own way out." Let me provide an analogy here. I love the music from RENT, I love the staging from RENT, but I have a real hard time feeling sorry the characters. Many of those characters had a good life before they started in doing drugs and sleeping around. Yes, I am being pretty harsh here but I think you get the idea.

Yes, you can have a character that is "rough on the surface" but make sure that we see something in that character to want to like them. I have always said that the guy can be a bad boy but we still have to see that he is a mama's boy. Oh, and just good looks is not enough. Putting the guy in board shorts with 6 pack abs isn't going to work. Personality needs to be there too!

Your homework today. Go and see if you have characters that we really would like to invite to our house for dinner. Ladies, would you really bring this guy home to meet your parents? Guys, would you take this lady to the office party?

1 comment:

  1. You mean you wouldn't want to see my romantic military western staring Gunner "Trig" Haas, the former Navy SEAL, who falls for Bitzy, the pole dancer with a crack problem, that is stuck in the middle of a drug syndicate deep in the heart of Texas?

    (lol, couldn't help myself... Maybe I've had too much coffee...)