Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Keep it Simple

My biggest problem when it comes to writing is the plot.  Not that I can’t think of one, but it becomes so complex.  Subplots leak in. Secondary characters bring their own devilment.  Space aliens invade.  Everything but the kitchen sink finds a spot in the WIP.  I have to stop myself and remember that I’m writing a romance.  The core of my story is the hero and heroine.  The rest is just window dressing.  

I think the reason I fall into the over-plotting trap is because developing good characters with solid conflicts and motivation is hard work.  It is much easier to understand how the heroine feels when a Martian is about to gobble up her beloved hero.  It is tougher to understand how she feels when he’s a jerk but she likes him anyway.  Getting to the heart of the matter when your characters’ conflicts are based on their own personalities is hard, but it is the cream filling of your romance.

In my head, I let the complex play out and I find how dissatisfying I find it.  As the plot gets more and more ridiculous, I notice how lost my characters become.  So once I’ve seen how totally out in left field I went, I start over.  Keeping my attention on the characters at all times, I look for plot points that are going to showcase character development.

Lots of plot is okay.  I certainly didn’t read Tom Clancy for the depth of his characterizations.  But romance is a genre whose lifeblood is the love between a couple.   It is a rather simple equation.  “Keep It Simple, Stupid” is now my mantra.


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