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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tuesday Spotlight: Arianna Skye

Arianna’s Top 5 things a romance must have (besides romance, because that’s a given).

5. Interesting and believable characters. Characters with complicated and complex pasts really pique my interest. I am a total sucker for the tortured hero too! It’s great seeing the man break out of their shell and face their fears.

It’s also important that the hero and heroine act in character. There’s nothing more jarring than a character doing something completely out of character without any rhyme or reason. Another character issue that seriously irks me is the hero or heroine doing something so incredibly dumb that I don’t care whether they live or die.

4. A well developed and plotted world. The best books in my honest opinion are the ones where the author did his/her research or designed an engaging and interesting world. Some people say that contemporaries don’t need world building, but that’s a bunch of baloney. The world of a doctor is going to be totally different than the world a Chef is used to. Just like the world of a stay at home mom is going to different from the Wall Street day trader.

Historicals, even if set in a steampunk or fantasy world should have period appropriate dialogue and situations. There is only so much artistic license one can take. But it’s steampunk! No one is going to care about the historical details, right? WRONG! I’m a pretty lenient reader. I will let a few incorrect details slip. Other readers are not so forgiving. If you’re writing a historical piece, even if it’s set in an alternate fantasy world, you need to do your research.

3. Engaging and believable dialogue. Strong and snappy dialogue really work for me as a reader. Long passages of dialogue, especially if it servers no purpose, really bore me. Add an extra yawn if it’s stilted. The best way I’ve found to make sure the dialogue reads naturally is to read it out loud to myself. Try it. You’ll be surprised what you hear.

2. Strong Sexual Tension. The best books are the one where the sparks between the hero and heroine practically leap off the page. What kind of story would there be if the hero and the heroine instantly fall in love and have no conflict? Might as well start the book with “THE END” instead of “CHAPTER ONE”.

1. A Happily Ever After! I passionately dislike love stories that end in tragedy or the hero and heroine never stay together. If an author does this, I will throw the book against the wall, stomp on it and toss it in a fire. (By golly, I hope I’m not reading it on my Nook)


Temple Hogan said...

You made some wonderful points. Thanks for sharing. Temple Hogan, VIRGIN PIRATE, HER PIRATE LOVER, Resplendence and DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS at Ellora's Cave

Arianna Skye said...

Thank you for stopping by Temple! And I'd love to hear what everyone else feels a romance should have. I'm up for a friendly discussion.

I know one thing a romance should have... oral surgery. I just got back from the dentist and am having a helluva time trying to drink my morning coffee :-)

WS Gager said...

Great Blog Arianna. It really gives you something to think about and make sure you have. Having great characters is esstential whether romance or mysteries like I write.
W.S. Gager

Lisabet Sarai said...

Hi, Arianna,

Just popped in to say hi!

I agree with you about characters who do stupid things. That destroys the identification in just an instant. (After all, identification means that you think you are similar in some way to a character. And obviously YOU'RE not stupid!)


Virginia C said...

Wow, Arianna! You have reinforced everything that I believe is important for great storytelling. Thank you!

Fully-developed characters and a well-crafted, detailed story line are absolute essentials!

Lorrie said...

What is not to disagree with in your list? I agree with all you wrote. All essentials in a good romance. And like you, I want a happy ending or I'll scratch the author off my list of future books to buy.
Thanks for a great post.

Arianna Skye said...

Wow I was clearly under the influence of novacaine when I wrote that last comment. I meant to say one thing a romance SHOULD NOT have. LOL. My mouth is now back to fully functional :)

Wendy, yes every genre of fiction should have strong and believable characters.

Lisabet, thanks! My recent experience with characters doing dumb things is the heroine who gets a note from the villain to meet him at night in a secluded spot. Come on now. Call the police at least.

Virginia! Another person who believes in good strong characters. Why, I think characterization wins!

Lorrie, there is a certain author I won't touch with a ten foot pole because of this. I want a happy ending, darn it! I have enough sadness in my life already. LOL

Thanks everyone for stopping by and weighing in.


Amy said...

Yep, I agree with all those things. I need an HEA for sure and I love the sexual tension more than the sex ... which is odd coming from me who writes erotic. LOL!

Arianna Skye said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Arianna Skye said...

Amy, I am in total agreement with you. I just started reading an ER (and probably won't finish it) because the characters just had sex for the sake of having sex. No sexual tension at all. I was seriously disappointed. Sexual tension can be just as erotic--if not more--than the actual act.

Kelly A. Harmon said...

Hi Arianna!

Maybe it goes without saying...but I like a romance with a really, good story. I'll skip the sex scenes in order to find out what happens next.

Tortured heroes are always a plus, I agree.

If I'm wringing out the hanky at the (happy) ending, I consider it a keeper.

LeslieJane said...

Love your list. Especially agree with the world building and HEA

As you state, even contempories need good world building. Hate reading about something I know, and they get it all wrong. And I love to learn about other "worlds" through the stories I read.

And I definitely do not consider it a Romance unless it has a HEA. One of the main likes of the Romances is that I know it will have the happy ending. I want those heros and heroines to find and keep, their true love.

Julie Robinson said...

I like your perspective on world building. how true it is. As far as the sex for sex's sake story, we ARE reading and writing ROMANCE, right?!