Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Gimics Don't Make A Good Story

Sure, books like this may be fun, but in the end, a story either built on gimics or full of nothing but gimics isn't a story. Instead, I see this as a written version of a comedy show like SNL. We have a string of funny things happening with no theme.

I am currently reading a very funny romance from one of my favorite historical authors at Avon. For purposes of this post, I want to leave this person nameless because that would cause some to miss the point. The thing is, this voice has some great voice to it and the scenes between the characters are a riot. I keep wanting to read scenes out to people around me, including those that have read the book. We laugh about the scenes but unfortunatley, that is it. We still end up saying, "this is funny, but what is the point?"

My comment yesterday about contemporary romances was an attempt to look at this concept from a slighly different angle. We have to remember that in romances, the key is the relationship. The focal story arc should be the romance and the relationship. An author simply cannot fill it with a lot of other stuff because the end result is we lose focus.

I do think that many people believe stories without action, demons, intrigue and constant plot gimics are boring. Heck, my father-in-law believes this about movies. When I hear this, I often feel it is a real shame. Stories about relationships without all the baggage can be good, IF the story is written well. As I said yesterday, the problem is not that contemporary romances are not selling or that as agents we aren't signing contemporary romances, it is simply that we aren't seeing well written contemporary romances.

As an agent, I look for the story and the relationship. Sure, I see the gimics, and like that favorite author of mine at Avon, I will often talk about it, but I will not be swayed by the gimics. I want a relationship. Hey, when it says Greyhaus Literary Agency represents "romance and women's fiction" that should be a key!


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