Thursday, February 18, 2010

I Want Something Normal - Time for a small rant!

I was reading through the March Romantic Times Reviews today and as I scanned those reviews, something hit me. No, this wasn't one of those, WOW moments, bur more of a clarification of something that has been lurking in the back part of my mind for some time. I don't know if I recognized it until this moment, or if I did, I just hadn't put my finger on it. In any case, the realization was simple.

I want a manuscript that is normal!

No, this is not saying I want the average story, so those of you with boring stories, this is a not a call to you. What I want is a down to earth story with a great romance and a great relationship that is not full of all that extra stuff.

It's kind of like, every now and then you don't want a gourmet meal but a plain old every day hamburger.

As I was reading all the reviews, some from some great authors that I would read in a heartbeat, I found myself questioning why they took that approach. Why couldn't the story have been simpler and more to the point. If it was a vampire struggling with immortality as he falls for a human, that would have been great. But throwing in a CIA plot, serial killer and a time traveling Demon out to destroy humanity just ruined it for me. Oh sure, I bet the story was fantastic and the writing fine, but it was just not the type of story I am looking for.

I even went back and reviewed my submission log and took a look at all of the stories I have passed on. I was starting to worry that maybe I was being too critical about the writing. Maybe I had passed on a story that really was that down to earth story.

Now I have to say, one part of me was hoping that maybe I had and this thought that so many of the stories I see are just too complicated. The other part was praying that I hadn't missed out. In the end, I was unfortunately faced with the reality that many of the stories I had seen were indeed full of all that extra stuff.

I am sure this is one of the reasons why I am more often than not, passing on proposals of contemporary romances and women's fiction. I mean, I don't even ask for additional material. The stories are just lacking that element of normalcy that I want in a story.

I often talk to writers about how I want characters to be interesting for who they are and not all the drama they have had to go through in their life. I think, as I contemplate this, I am really looking for stories that do the same thing. Hey, real people in this world have some fantastic romantic relationships without all that baggage and these are great stories. I am sure demons and angels have also had great romances. Let's shoot for bring normalcy back into fiction!



  1. Thank you so much for this post. It came at the perfect moment for me. As I'm working on blurbs/query pitches for my time travel romance, I keep wondering if it's lacking another plot line. It's simply about love and the forces of a curse at birth tearing the heroine from a life and man she adores. No werewolves involved. No deep murder mystery. Now that I've read your blog entry, I feel more confident. I'll stay true to myself. Thanks!

  2. Great post Scott, I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks so. No werewolves, vamps, CIA or otherwise in my stories. Just love and romance, one central conflict that keeps the MC's apart, and a resolution that brings them back together.

  3. I can't begin to tell you how "over it" I am with the vamps, weres and fairies. I read the Twilight series and the Sookie Stackhouse stuff but that's all I needed.

    I'd rather read Karen White, Sarah Addison Allen and Barbara O'Neal books (which are the kind I write).

    Give me a mainstream/women's fiction with romance elements or a mainstream with romantic suspense elements any day of the week ... but please leave out the breast cancer (over that as well).

  4. It just hit me that this is a segue from your guest blog on NINC! I'm the one who posted there as well about the "over it" bit.

    Robin Hillyer-Miles

  5. When I met with my publisher last year, they told me nothing was selling - unless it had a vampire in it! My novel, Face Value, has a romance between a journalist and a plastic surgeon, but sadly, while both can be a little blood-sucking at times (metaphorically speaking), neither profession qualifies for the "vampire" tag!

  6. Let me comment on something here. I am, in no way saying to dump the weres, vamps and CIA people. What I am saying is that they simply need to be normal. It's the over-kill that I am referrring to.

  7. How good to read that things can go around in full circle,and normal becomes a good read again.
    Interesting post.