Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Tips on Writing a Realistic Romantic Plot by Catherine Bybee

Before I go into tips on writing a realistic romantic plot, let me start by telling my readers… and fellow writers… that life is much more interesting than fiction. Realism in fiction is relative to the characters in the book.

If an author is writing a vampire novel, the readers go into the book with the knowledge that the vampire is going to have to drink blood to survive. Obviously, in ‘real’ life this isn’t realistic. Is drinking blood to survive a real event? No…but for a vampire character in fiction…it’s expected.

Now let’s jump to contemporary novels. If I tell my readers that a woman is willing to marry a man for a year for a couple of million dollars, my reader will ask ‘why?’ What happened to my heroine that makes her sell herself out like that? They might even ask if this happens in real life. Notice that the same reader will often take the blood-drinking vampire as ‘realistic’ without a bat of the eye.

In contemporary romance, the author has to work five times harder to convince the readers that the situation in the pages is possible. What some of my readers are very aware of, while other aren’t, I’m a retired ER RN. I have honestly seen things in life that I NEVER thought were possible. I often laugh when a reader will write me and tell me that the situation in my book isn’t possible. Ah, yeah…dear reader, it is…

As a writer, I make it a goal to make every decision my characters make…every twist and turn in a book, probable. Certainly there are going to be times in a story where a reader might have to look the other way… but again, Bybee being honest here… I’ve seen much stranger things in life than I put in my books.

Like I said in the beginning of this blog, it starts with the characters. In order for any plot to be believable the reader has to have a firm grip on the characters in the pages. Who are they, what make them tick. A rich man won’t think twice about giving a twenty dollar tip to a taxi driver, while a struggling student will pinch the dollar bills before giving them away.

It’s when your character acts out of character that the reader will toss the book aside and deem it unrealistic.

So when you’re plotting, or writing by the seat of your pants, make sure your characters stay in character and the plot will follow.

For me, the key to a believable romance is in my characters.

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About the Author: 

New York Times & USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bybee was raised in Washington State, but after graduating high school, she moved to Southern California in hopes of becoming a movie star. After growing bored with waiting tables, she returned to school and became a registered nurse, spending most of her career in urban emergency rooms. She now writes full-time and has penned novels Wife by Wednesday, Married by Monday, and Not Quite Dating. Bybee lives with her husband and two teenage sons in Southern California.

Visit Catherine on her webiste WWW.CATHERINEBYBEE.COM, on her blog, CATHERINEBYBEE.BLOGSPOT.COM, or follow her on  twitter at TWITTER.COM/CATHERINEBYBEE

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