Monday, August 30, 2010
How do you feel about things being predictable?
Personally, I kind of like it.
For instance, I love the fact that when I play Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run on the radio, both my kids will start dancing and singing. I love that every fall, as the high school football season starts, my husband starts grinning like a little kid. I love that if I order the Lemon Supreme Cake from Coffee Works I will take the first bite, actually close my eyes and say out loud, “this is awesome”.
Yeah, I kind of like predictability. If I put the song on and they just sat there it would be a major let down. If I ordered the cake and it sucked I'd be bummed.
Just like if I pick up a romance novel and its... not a romance novel. At least according to my definition.
Which is why I'm okay with some predictability in my writing. Now I don't mean that I want to write the same book over and over. But I know something about every book before I put even the first word on the page--I know where the story is going to go. Not to the extent that I will plot every twist and turn of a book (heaven forbid! ;)) but I certainly know where it’s going to end up. And where my stories end will always be the same—no matter the characters, no matter their back story, no matter the ups and downs I put them through—my stories will always be happily ever afters.
Which is why I love romances and look for very specific elements in the books I read. I realize that there is some debate over what the definition of a romance should be. But I know what it is for me. And I know how it feels if the book or author doesn’t deliver that for me. I’ve had authors I love fail to deliver. I’ve had books marketed as romances that don’t meet my definition. I’ve chosen books based on the blurb and the excerpt only to want to yell “false advertising!”. Those are really disappointing moments. Right up there with sucky lemon cake.
I love the happily ever after between the two (or three :)) lead characters.
I love knowing that the sexual tension is eventually going to lead to a hot love scene. Or two. Or three.
I love knowing that the hero will—eventually— do anything to make the heroine happy.
I love knowing that the heroine will–eventually—overcome her flaws and be a better person in the end.
I love when true love is proven to exist. Yet again.
My husband makes fun of me. Even my teenage daughter. “So this is the part where the hero realizes that the heroine didn’t really mean it and they kiss and make up…” Yeah, so what? I like it.
Recently a reader posted a comment about one of my books that got me thinking about this. Without going into detail, she basically wanted a different resolution. Well, the thing is, the resolution she suggested could have certainly worked. Her words were "more poignant". Yep, it would have been that.
But that resolution wasn't me. That’s not the kind of book I write. And I’m okay with readers learning that, knowing that, even counting on that.
So how do you feel about your books (writers or readers)? Do you love being surprised? Or do you count on your favorite author to deliver a book that you know will make you laugh, or lift you up, or teach you something or… whatever it is for you?
Posted by Erin Nicholas at 5:00 AM