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Author Help > Need help adding action to my romance :)

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message 1: by Erin (new)

Erin Daniels | 120 comments Hi everyone!
My beta reader wisely informed me that there is too much backstory and not enough plot/action in my contemporary romance. It takes place in a ski chalet and I'm having a tough time introducing action. Basically a young woman meets a sexy, charming man at the chalet and they spend a passionate night together. Problem is he neglected to tell her he is the billionaire property developer who owns the chalet. Our heroine is there with her boss because their design firm has been hired to redo the main lobby and sitting room in the chalet. i have some natural conflict but almost no action and I think it hurts the novella.

Any suggestions? How do you keep the pace going in your own romances? Thank you :)


message 2: by Bree (new)

Bree Verity (breeverity) Stories are always based on conflict. It sounds to me as if the conflict isn't deep enough. If it is pure romance, it doesn't need action per se, but it DOES need conflict.
I assume the existing conflict is (a) she avoiding telling her boss she slept with the client and (b) being annoyed with the gorgeous billionaire for not telling her? Both reasons for conflict, but fairly easily resolved, if the characters are adult and reasonable.
But that's what's fun about writing!! Characters can be as flawed and you like, and you can put them through hell. A few fun things to do with your heroine might be:
(A) Have the billionaire totally ignore her following their tryst. She then has to get over the sting of rejection, help the hero get over the flaw that has him vowing never to fall in love, and trying to hide from her boss that she has the hots for the client until the job is over;
(B) Have either of them storm out of the chalet after a big argument and into the snow, only to disappear. Then, they can either go try to rescue the lost, reflect on their feelings while the authorities do the rescuing, or reflect on their feelings while undertaking a bad-a$$ rescue.
(C) Have her boss fire her as soon as the affair is found out, and then have her stuck at the chalet (no transport, weather problems, etc) THen refer to (A) about emotional rescue, only you can keep adding in snarky stuff the boss might say/do, or the boss could relent and hire her back and try to keep her from the client (Oooh!! If the boss is a woman, she could be trying to get the billionaire for herself!!!...)
Yeah, so I would say add conflict rather than action. And yes, trim as much backstory as you can, because it slows everything down.
Hope this helps!!
Bree


message 3: by Erin (last edited Jan 25, 2017 09:53PM) (new)

Erin Daniels | 120 comments Bree wrote: "Stories are always based on conflict. It sounds to me as if the conflict isn't deep enough. If it is pure romance, it doesn't need action per se, but it DOES need conflict.
I assume the existing co..."


It helps a *lot* actually! ...and I'm seeing I can use the snow/setting to my advantage. Maybe when the billionaire reAlizes he's jeopardized her career he leaves without explaining. She is devastated and thinks he's dumping her after the tryst. The bitter ex-wife tells her the truth and upset she flees, going for a walk to clear her head. She gets lost, a snowstorm comes up and no one even knows where she is. In the meantime marlee's boss feels guilty for not defending her assistant against the ex. She was worried about losing the contract but now just wants Marlee found safe. She calls Marc and tells him what happened. Marc panics and has his pilot take him back to the chalet. He is furious when he finds out what his ex did. He goes to look for Marlee, not caring who knows but when he finds her she wants to scratch is eyes out ha ha.

I'm getting closer!


message 4: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Sharpe (abigailsharpe) | 118 comments Yeah, I was thinking that too - lacks conflict. Your thoughts are good ones.

Re: backstory - our readers don't need to know even half of what we think they need to know. Ditch as much as possible.


message 5: by Jane (new)

Jane Blythe Bree came up with some absolutely awesome ideas, and I love the your new ideas on where you're going to take your story!

I have to say I am a lover of backstory, even some of my minor characters get quite a detailed one, but if it doesn't further the story and give the readers something they need to know to understand why the character did/said something, then it is a good idea to remove it or trim it down.

Have fun reworking your story!


message 6: by Erin (new)

Erin Daniels | 120 comments Jane wrote: "Bree came up with some absolutely awesome ideas, and I love the your new ideas on where you're going to take your story!

I have to say I am a lover of backstory, even some of my minor characters ..."


Thank you so much! I love backstory but you're right, ig it kills the pace it kills the story.


message 7: by Erin (new)

Erin Daniels | 120 comments Abigail wrote: "Yeah, I was thinking that too - lacks conflict. Your thoughts are good ones.

Re: backstory - our readers don't need to know even half of what we think they need to know. Ditch as much as possible."


So far I've removed about half the backstory and it hasn't hurt the storyline. There's my proof ha ha.


message 8: by Annie, The Mistress (new)

Annie Arcane (anniearcane) | 2365 comments Mod
Hiya, Miss Erin!!

*waves happily*

As a reader, I tend to skim-read backstory cuz I get bored and I'm more about tension between characters. Now, this isn't to say tension necessarily means action or conflict or anything crazy at all. Personally, I'm a sucker for feels and heart tugs, ya know?

Anyhoo, when I write, I cut out EVERYTHING that doesn't drive the plot forward in some way. Sooo if you've removed 1/2 the backstory and the storyline hasn't suffered...

I'm gonna guess you're on the right track.

Sorry that wasn't more helpful but the lovely ladies have already given you fantabulous ideas haha!

Hugs,
Ann


message 9: by Ember-Raine, The Lady (new)

Ember-Raine Winters (ember-raine_winters) | 688 comments Mod
I don't know if I completely agree with not having a lot of backstory in some cases a lot of backstory is helpful. I used flashbacks to tell backstory in my book but at the same time that back story was always showing the antagonists character flaws and they were always full of angst and drama ( more often than not violence) so it might be the exception in this case.

What I do though is tell the backstory in flash fiction on my blog give the readers something extra or you could also make an ebook of just the back story and give it away to email subscribers! Everyone likes a little freebe and that way your not scrapping all of the work you did! Just a thought! Good luck!


message 10: by Annie, The Mistress (new)

Annie Arcane (anniearcane) | 2365 comments Mod
Oh, sorry, Miss Ember. I totally sounded like a butt up there haha! I do admittedly have reeeally particular tastes in terms of reading, but you're totes right...

Different strokes for different folks and different stories ^_~


message 11: by Ember-Raine, The Lady (new)

Ember-Raine Winters (ember-raine_winters) | 688 comments Mod
No apology necessary Mistress Ann! I totally get what you're saying!


message 12: by Annie, The Mistress (new)

Annie Arcane (anniearcane) | 2365 comments Mod
But I fancy a trip to the dungeon...

*grins*

Sorry, Miss Erin. I'll behave myself now. Really.


message 13: by Jane (new)

Jane Blythe I'm totally obsessed with backstory because I am totally obsessed with character motivation (well actually not just characters in books I write or read but real life people's motivations too!) but I think it is all about finding a great balance. You want enough to make your characters well rounded and to make why they do what they do make sense, but not so much that it takes the reader out of the story. Also it's your story, so take advice and put it to good use to improve your book, but also it is your book so you know best how it should go!


message 14: by Ember-Raine, The Lady (new)

Ember-Raine Winters (ember-raine_winters) | 688 comments Mod
Oh man speaking straight to my black shriveled soul again!!


message 15: by Ember-Raine, The Lady (new)

Ember-Raine Winters (ember-raine_winters) | 688 comments Mod
What princess Jane said!!


message 16: by Annie, The Mistress (new)

Annie Arcane (anniearcane) | 2365 comments Mod
I gotchu, Miss Ember ^_~

Annnd I finally dug up this article I bookmarked:

http://www.writersdigest.com/online-e...

Oldie but goodie, imho.


message 17: by Ember-Raine, The Lady (new)

Ember-Raine Winters (ember-raine_winters) | 688 comments Mod
Ohh! I love writers digest! They always have awesome advice and I totally agree with sprinkling backstory evenly throughout the book! Great article Mistress Ann!


message 18: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Siegrist (amandasiegrist) Ember wrote: "I don't know if I completely agree with not having a lot of backstory in some cases a lot of backstory is helpful. I used flashbacks to tell backstory in my book but at the same time that back stor..."

I used flashbacks in one of my books to tell backstory. *fist bump* The flashbacks in my book really gave you a sense of who one of the characters was.


message 19: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Siegrist (amandasiegrist) Some really great suggestions by Bree! It sounds like you have a great direction to go now. Good luck writing:)


message 20: by Amie (new)

Amie O'Brien | 47 comments I actually enjoy romances where the pursuit is wrapped around attaining the love interest. Meaning, for me, old-fashioned is better. Said rich billionaire is used to getting everything he wants, when he wants it, and is intrigued by the middle class designer who seems out of reach. As in, maybe she's interested and even a little flirtatious, but she'd have to do a complete re-do of him (rake) to make him appealing to her!

So I guess what I'm saying is the action ingredients are already there, perhaps they just need some re-ordering to build up the suspense. The pursuit of love is all the action a romance really needs (for me). Although a fearful avalanche and search and rescue holds the makings for intimacy too! Not knocking that idea either.


message 21: by Erin (last edited Jan 26, 2017 07:22AM) (new)

Erin Daniels | 120 comments Annie wrote: "Hiya, Miss Erin!!

*waves happily*

As a reader, I tend to skim-read backstory cuz I get bored and I'm more about tension between characters. Now, this isn't to say tension necessarily means action..."


Thank you, Madame A - I'm so jazzed now!


message 22: by Erin (new)

Erin Daniels | 120 comments Ember wrote: "I don't know if I completely agree with not having a lot of backstory in some cases a lot of backstory is helpful. I used flashbacks to tell backstory in my book but at the same time that back stor..."

Sweet Jesu!! *opene trash icon, clicks restore*
That's actually brilliant!


message 23: by Erin (new)

Erin Daniels | 120 comments You guys make me irrationally happy :/


message 24: by Erin (new)

Erin Daniels | 120 comments Amie wrote: "I actually enjoy romances where the pursuit is wrapped around attaining the love interest. Meaning, for me, old-fashioned is better. Said rich billionaire is used to getting everything he wants, wh..."

Love this!


message 25: by Erin (new)

Erin Daniels | 120 comments Amanda wrote: "Some really great suggestions by Bree! It sounds like you have a great direction to go now. Good luck writing:)"

I'm so much more centered now! I'm going to go vacuum for awhile ha ha! Otherwise I'll race to the computer and everyone's ideas will be bouncing around my excited brain and it won't be pretty! Once everything settles, a natural direction will emerge from sll of tnis flippin awesome advice.


message 26: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Siegrist (amandasiegrist) Erin Lee Daniels wrote: "Amanda wrote: "Some really great suggestions by Bree! It sounds like you have a great direction to go now. Good luck writing:)"

I'm so much more centered now! I'm going to go vacuum for awhile ha ..."


If you need a little more centering, my house needs to be vacuumed too. *wink*

Good luck!


message 27: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Sharpe (abigailsharpe) | 118 comments Go Erin go!!!


message 28: by Erin (new)

Erin Daniels | 120 comments Abigail wrote: "Go Erin go!!!"

*epic fistbump*


message 29: by Erin (new)

Erin Daniels | 120 comments Amanda wrote: "Erin Lee Daniels wrote: "Amanda wrote: "Some really great suggestions by Bree! It sounds like you have a great direction to go now. Good luck writing:)"

I'm so much more centered now! I'm going to..."


Okay but I don't do windows ;)


message 30: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Siegrist (amandasiegrist) ...but my windows are really dirty. My dog loves to press his nose to them all the time. Hahaha (っ◔◡◔)っ ♥


message 31: by Erin (new)

Erin Daniels | 120 comments Amanda wrote: "...but my windows are really dirty. My dog loves to press his nose to them all the time. Hahaha (っ◔◡◔)っ ♥"

Sorry, dude. But I'll totally dogsit!! *squeals*


message 32: by Annie, The Mistress (new)

Annie Arcane (anniearcane) | 2365 comments Mod
@Miss Erin: I'm with ya on the dog-sitting haha! And thanks for the title upgrade to Madame. I dig it ^_~


message 33: by Erin (new)

Erin Daniels | 120 comments Annie wrote: "@Miss Erin: I'm with ya on the dog-sitting haha! And thanks for the title upgrade to Madame. I dig it ^_~"

It's all love, Madame A. Being basic is so 2016 ;)


message 34: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Siegrist (amandasiegrist) Erin Lee Daniels wrote: "Amanda wrote: "...but my windows are really dirty. My dog loves to press his nose to them all the time. Hahaha (っ◔◡◔)っ ♥"

Sorry, dude. But I'll totally dogsit!! *squeals*"


hahaha. Awesome offer. I guess I'll take it over clean windows because that's a lot more fun:)


message 35: by Erin (new)

Erin Daniels | 120 comments Amanda wrote: "Erin Lee Daniels wrote: "Amanda wrote: "...but my windows are really dirty. My dog loves to press his nose to them all the time. Hahaha (っ◔◡◔)っ ♥"

Sorry, dude. But I'll totally dogsit!! *squeals*"..."


Deal!


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