Friday, May 30, 2008

Watch great movies, great TV and read great books.

I followed Maureen’s link to Karin Tabke’s blog and found a great question there.
Can you learn to be a good writer?

There are some great answers on the blog, and in short most people feel that yes, you can. I completely agree. With practice, writing, getting critiques and really listening to the criticism, we can learn to write well.

The other aspect is reading and watching great storytellers.

So, yep, in case you needed it, I am completely giving everyone permission to spend time in front of the TV, to go to movies and read great books.

I think, like osmosis, it sinks in, permeates our subconscious and teaches us what works and what doesn’t. Especially, if like us drunk writers, you talk it to death after the fact.

We have spent hours dissecting the greatness of Friday Night Lights, and Battlestar. Some of it really useful, some of it rambles after too many pints.

Molly listed her books for the summer, and I don’t have much to add to those, but I’m adding some movies and TV shows to my list.

Looking forward to the new Indiana Jones, even if just for nostalgia. The new batman, cause I deeply loved the first.
I’m going to spend the summer watching the Tudors, Mad Men, and possibly Torchwood. Christine and Amy have converted me through their blogs.

Not sure what else, but I’m hoping to learn lots. And enjoy in the process.
Another reason why I love writing.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Great talk on the Biz

Okay, so this is going to be the absolute laziest post I've ever done. Even lazier than the guest blogs, because those actually involve a few e-mails back and forth with people.

But I'm swamped with contest entries for my local RWA chapter's contest and trying desperately to finish a ms I told my agent she'd have by the end of May... So, I thought I'd bring the attention of all the drunk writer readers out there to a great discussion on the publishing business currently happening on Karin Tabke's blog.

I haven't had time to read it all myself, but she's had Allison Brennan commenting on the ins and outs of getting on the NYT list, etc.

Great stuff.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Shopping List

Toys R Us is taking back everyone's poisonous plastic baby bottles and giving store credit in return. It doesn't matter if the bottles were bought at Toys R Us or if they're used - bring them in and you'll get some Toys R Us cash to spend. We ended up with sixty bucks. Yesterday we decided to make an event of it - we haven't bought our son much of anything by way of toys (we have generous parents) so we decided if we went $40 over the 60 - we're laughing. Well, we went $80 over and we were still laughing. But, let it be said - Mick's favorite things are the eight dollar matchbox cars and husband's favorite thing is the remote control dinosaur.

Lesson learned: you can take your kid to the toy store -- not your husband.

Anyway - in keeping with this sudden we must be rich attitude - I decided to go on line and get myself a bunch of books. It's summer - vacations are coming up and I need some good reading. Here is what I got:

Untouchable by Stephanie Doyle - this is a part of the Athena Force series and while I haven't read the series (and probably should - it's very Marjorie M. Liu-ish) I read everything Stephanie Doyle writes. Stephanie was given the job of writing a heroine with poisonous skin - awesome.

The New Elizabeth Hoyt historical -- Her last series was incredible. Looking forward to how she handles herself now that she's a big star.

Silent in The Sanctuary -- Silent In The Grave was one of my favorite books last year. A fantastic blend of historical mystery with a truly tense and intriguing romantic subplot. A great heroine.

The New JR Ward - June 3rd is coming soon!

Driving Sideways - because who doesn't need more sicklit in thier lives.

Irresistible by Susan Mallery -- Susan is one of the few writers out there doing straight up contemporary romance and this book landed on the NYT list. She's a heavy hitter in category romance and I figure it's time to see how people are breaking out of category without serial killers or vampires. Looking forward to this book!

Delicious by Sherry Thomas - Maureen, who does not usually rave about romance novels, will not shut up about this book. It's like Battlestar all over again.

The backlist of the Six Degrees of Sexy girls - Amy Ruttan, Christine D'Abo and Wylie Kinson. Three of the nicest, most supportive writers ever. I look forward to their hot e-books and not just because my life is devoid of heat these days -- well, actually, that is a big chunk of the reason.

Chabon's Yiddish Policemen book, Alice Hoffman's Angel book - that is seriously lighting the world on fire and a little Dr. Suess for the boy. My son, not my husband.

What am I missing? What does my summer reading list need to be complete?

Friday, May 23, 2008


Been a really fun week entertainment wise. American Idol wrapped up with a really great winner, probably my favourite performer on the show since Kelly Clarkson.
House ended with two stunning episodes. Best episodes since the season 1 ending. Amazing, especially because I’d reached a point with House that it felt boring, and I’d felt they’d tapped out everything they could with the character.
And then they go and delve deeper. (spoilers ahead) Threatening House with his friendship with Wilson, brilliant. Without that friendship, what is he, but an addicted, middle age, lonely man.
And that they made Cutthroat Bitch the perfect woman for Wilson, and showed us brilliantly through the process of buying a mattress.
When House does character driven development, they do it better than almost anyone else on TV.
Also realized this week, that as writers, we need to focus on what we do well, but we can’t ignore what we struggle with. I was reminded as I read the latest book from an author I normally love. The book feels really paint by numbers. What she does well, is all there, but what she fails at, she really fails at in this book.
I think as writers there comes a point where we have to push through and really improve our weaknesses. Maybe that’s the push that can take some authors from midlist to bestseller.
It certainly reminded me that I really have to work on character driven story developments, rather than my usual, kill off a character, to drive the plot.
Now, if only I could find some motivation, I’d get right on that..
But first I’m going to listen to David Cook’s/Chris Cornell’s version of Billie Jean.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Guest Blog by Jess Riley

Today, I'm thrilled to host a guest blog by Jess Riley, whose debut novel, DRIVING SIDEWAYS, just hit the shelves. Isn't it a cute cover? Jess blogs every week over at The Debutante Ball, and on her own blog.

Take it away, Jess!


When Maureen graciously invited me to (okay, I probably shamelessly threw myself at her) guest-blog on Drunk Writer Talk, I nearly broke an ankle jumping at the chance. Drunk writers? Dishing about writing, publishing, and the vast differences between the two? Oh, few things could appeal to me more…

I was reading Maureen’s May 7 post (Writers Helping Writers) and have to add that I’ve been truly humbled by the generosity and support I’ve experienced from the writing community, and from friends and family. Watching my first novel being sent out into the world after 30 months in the publishing chute is quite surreal—it still doesn’t feel like it’s happening, actually. My emotions are all over the map. It has been a godsend to be able to share the journey with other writers going through the same experience.

I’ve had a few interviews so far, and I’ve explained the book to many people, and there’s always that point after they see the bare feet on the cover when you can see the bingo balls lining up in their minds and then? We have the winning question! “So how do you feel about writing chicklit?”

Frankly, I want to reclaim the word ‘chick.’ Like I want to reclaim the words ‘liberal,’ ‘feminist,’ and ‘styrofoam.’ Chicklit carries connotations of fluff and superficial pursuits. And though it helped me ‘Get my Stiletto in the Door,’ the very word also is persona non grata in the publishing world. Officially, NOBODY is writing chicklit anymore. (Or its life partner, ‘ladlit.’ Or ‘dicklit,’ if you’re feeling cheeky.)

Only many of us still are. It’s like we went underground. We’re all at a giant speakeasy, only instead of booze, you go for the chicklit. And well, maybe there’s still booze.

In certain circles, yes, I’m a chick. I like shoes, but I don’t like diamonds. I love to eat, I was once a little boy crazy, but I also subscribe to Mother Jones and once worked in a prison AND a cheese factory. (Guess which I liked more?)

To me, ‘chicklit’ is simply a catchy if somewhat maligned handle to convey that I wrote a story in which a young woman comes of age … while coming to terms with her own terminal illness, the suicide of her father, the absence of her mother, a strained relationship with her brother, and daily reminders that she is too sick to be as young as her friends. (I know, I know…it’s a barrel of laughs, really! Sicklit, is more like it. But actually, that makes me think of Chuck Palahniuk. And he may be a genre unto himself.)

Bottom line? You tell the story you want to tell, the way you want to tell it, and if someone likes it enough to pay you so they can share it with more readers, and if those readers like it, too? Well, you can’t ask for much more than that.

Other than maybe that pony you didn’t get in the second grade.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Where the Hell is that Pendulum?

A friend of mine asked to borrow some books the other day. This friend has two young kids and she just wants something to read in the five minutes at night before she passes out cold. She belonged to a book club and just found the selections too much and too depressing at this point in her life. Which I totally agree with - considering I can't watch the news without bursting into tears, the last thing I need is the five minutes before I pass out at night to be filled with angst. Book club - I'll see you in a few years.

So, anyway, I said no problem to my friend and consulted my bookshelf. Now, I've been reading historical and paranormal romance -- not her bag. I've got some great Elizabeth Berg books and of course the incomparable Alice Hoffman. So, I grabbed those. But I knew that she called me because she wanted top shelf romance. I am, after all, a romance writer. And I realized there is a giant hole in the genre right now. Single-title, contemporary romance. Romance/women's fiction. Juicy, meaty, fun and satisfying. No vampires, no spymasters, no raunchy sex. There's Jenny, SEP and of course, Nora. But Jenny is writing romantic suspense that I'm not loving and SEP writes maybe a book a year. And, frankly, I haven't enjoyed a Nora book in a long time. Even one of my favorite "chick-lit" authors - Eileen Rendahl is coming out with romantic suspense. (But I loaned my friend Do Me, Do My Roots.)

I know I need to check out Susan Mallery, but Debbie Macomber doesn't do it for me, and who else is out there right now - lighting things up?

The pendulum has swung so so far to subgenre books that it's a waste-land in the other direction. Which, frankly has got to mean any moment now the pendulum will start it's long slow creep back to hearth/home contemporary style. I hope so, anyway. I really do.

And not just because I have this great idea for a book....

Friday, May 16, 2008

Celebrity Overload

Sorry about the late post. Two sick kids and a lack of sleep have made me really ineffective today.
Been trying to narrow down blog topics, but the one that keeps coming back to mind is the current obsession with celebrities.
Maybe it’s always been there, but it’s really only hit my radar in the past five years. And it seems to have hit a frenzy lately.

What does this have to do with writing?

Celebrity gossip is the only reading a lot of people do anymore. And I’d say most of the gossip is fictional, or arranged. A washed up pop singer releases an album and gets married/engaged within a week of the album’s release, giving her a lot of media exposure which helps sell albums. An actress is promoting a new movie, around the same time she starts to date a hot actor. Nicely convenient.
Why do people care?

Because it gives them a fantasy. Impossibly good looking people leading glamourous lives, wearing beautiful clothes in exotic destinations. Sounds like the tag line for Harlequin Presents.

We even have the ‘good’ celebrities and the ‘bad’ celebrities. The good being the mother’s who manage to lose the baby weight in three days, campaign for underpriviledged kids, all while ensuring they look perfect out in public, while holding their adorable moppets.
What’s never mentioned is the four nannies, several maids, cooks and personal trainers behind the scenes.

Then you have the ‘bad’ celebrities, the ones who get caught DUI, sleep around, and somehow decided that underwear was bad. What is never brought up is how much of this behaviour is done to get attention.

Celebrity magazines give us heroes and villains, all dressed up with glossy pictures of beautiful people.

We writers don’t have the advantage of glossy pictures, but we can make our heroes three dimensional and more real. We can find ways to give our readers escapism, but still ground our stories in some sort of reality.

And maybe soon this celebrity obsession will pass. Because I’m so sick of hearing about Brittany, Paris, Nicole, and almost everyone else.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Active Characters

I can't believe I'm going to blog about Survivor, today. But I am. And how does this classic reality TV show relate to writing?

Well, on pondering the outcome of the finale on Sunday night, I decided it was a perfect example of why we popular fiction authors write proactive protagonists.

For those of you not addicted to this show, (that I swore I would NEVER watch when I first heard the premise, but find more addictive than crack -- not that I've tried crack, just saying), the final two contestants were Amanda and Pavarti. Two very pretty girls who'd both been contestants on previous seasons and were part of the original "favorites" tribe.

I read a few blogs about the outcome and I think it's fair to say that most fans of the show expected Amanda to win. The final winner is based on a vote of the last 8 people voted off the show before them, and so it's expected that the players who have done the most backstabbing will lose, because the "jury" is raw from just being turfed off and often want revenge. That's the way this show normally goes -- the most liked player generally wins at the end -- and so the contestant who gets the power to choose who to take to that final vote with them, typically takes someone the others don't like, and that's what Amanda did in picking Pavarti. Pavarti had flirted with a bunch of the jury members -- men and women -- she'd lied to just about everyone, and she'd staged a coup against one of the most popular and powerful players, Ozzie, who was so angry he wouldn't even let her talk that night.

Now Amanda, in my mind, was no angel in the game. In her "confessional" interviews, (when it's just her and the camera), I thought it was pretty clear that she had a strategy and was pretty smart about the game and pretty smart about who to trust and who not to trust and how to keep people trusting her. She was good at the game.

BUT... In the final tribal council she made a huge mistake. She decided to play the innocence card. She sat there with her big brown eyes wide open and told people how trustworthy she'd been. How she'd been lucky to be in the right alliance. How she'd only lied to people she believed had lied to her. How she'd been really loyal to the people she'd given her word to.

While Pavarti took the opposite tack. She owned up to all her devious actions and, in fact, took more credit for the powerful "women's alliance" forming than I thought she deserved. I know we only see what the producers/editors want us to see, but it seemed to me that Cirie and Amanda were both pretty big players in orchestrating the amazing blindsides these girls pulled off. But Pavarti took the credit/blame. Even as everyone they'd tricked was spitting venom at her, she just sat there, didn't get defensive, and said, "Yes, I did it. I fooled and tricked you all."

And it worked. In spite of everyone saying how much they hated her, the majority of them voted for her to win the million.

Why? I think it was at least in part because Amanda cast herself as the passive character. The one who sits back and lets things happen to her. This let Pavarti take clear hold of the active role. The one who makes things happen.

And the cast, the jury, the people voting, didn't see what we'd seen at home. They hadn't heard Amanda scheming behind their backs as we had. They hadn't seen her taking action. (Except maybe with Erik, but that was so funny, no one except Erik would hold it against her.) So, they believed that Amanda had been passive most of the game and gliding along on the Pavarti ride. And they went with the woman of action.

And I took that as a good lesson for why readers like active characters.

See? It ties in.

Post Script (that I could probably fit in above if I weren't too lazy to do some editing, but I really must get back to my manuscript...)

This outcome was also a lesson about not letting your protagonist cry. I think Amanda's tears, that many took as false the night she chose Pavarti over Cirie, really worked against her. Fresh from seeing her acting job in tricking Erik, many questioned the sincerity of her tears, plus they made her seem weak. Now, I'm a big crier myself, but readers don't generally like their main characters to cry. Just saying.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Things To Do When The Writing Is Not Working....

So, as I mentioned, my current WIP has been the bane of my existence for the last few months. Nothing about this book was easy and I took a big chunk of time off in the middle of things to work out my aggression and try and get back on track and as I was working things out - I took some special notice of what I was doing and I thought I'd share it here.

First of all, I think for newer writers who perhaps have not finished a manuscript or have finished one that took them years to complete -- DO NOT STOP. DO NOT START THE NEXT BOOK. This becomes addictive - whenever the book gets hard (and it will, they always do, no matter what) it's simply too easy to drop it and start on the book that sounds so fresh and exciting in your head. You've got to push through - pushing through is the singular biggest learning experience in a writer's self-education. Nothing, I repeat, nothing is more important.

That said, I think if you've been around the block with your muse a few times. You've got some finished work making the rounds with editors and agents. You've finished books and you know you will finish the current problematic WIP -- I really think the best thing to do is Stop. Stop pushing through. It's time to think and do some unraveling. Go for some walks, do some reading outside the genre (or some fantastic reading inside the genre), talk with friends. Get out of your own head.

For me, I know with this current WIP my problem was plot and not enough of it. So, I had to stop writing these scenes that were going nowhere and doing nothing (all written while I thought I had to push through) and scrap about 75 pages and go back and plot. For those of you who are pantsers and you hit the wall -- try plotting -- not a lot just to get you past the hump.

If you've got plenty of plot, take some time to look at your characters. I find a lot of times when things get rough it's because I need my characters to change and grow and I have not set it up properly, so that beautiful moment of self-realization falls flat and I end up writing a bunch of boring scenes, when what I should have done is gone back to the first three chapters and feed in all those questions that I want my reader asking.

I also find myself running out of conflict. And when this was a real problem for me a few books ago -- I had this terrible love/hate relationship with chapters 4 and 5. I realize now, it's because I didn't have that plot point that made the external conflict tie to the internal conflict. That end of the first act jaw-dropper. IE - in A MAN WORTH KEEPING - Delia calls her ex husband to tell him to leave them alone. My hero hears this and chooses because of all that internal conflict not to get involved. His internal gets all tied up in her external -- keeps things moving.

If all this fails you can do what Sinead does which is murder someone. Or, do what I do -- throw in a kid. Or what we should all try and do is be more like Maureen who figures this stuff out a head of time.

Hope this helps and PLEASE what are some of your tricks?

Friday, May 09, 2008

When do you give up on a series?

Two series I was completely addicted to – the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich, and the Anita Blake series by Laurell K. Hamilton. By series, I mean books with the same lead protagonists.

One is a sort of humorous contemporary with strong romantic elements and the other is a dark, violent, paranormal with strong romantic elements.
The elements these two series had in common were they were fast paced, and had amazing sexual chemistry, and funny enough, two strong male protagonists that the heroine had to choose between.

And, to me, they both went off the rails. For me, with the Stephanie Plum series, it was book eight, and for the Anita Blake series, book eleven. And both authors have released more in the series since, which have become bestsellers, so the general public disagrees with me. Hell, I have a good friend, who is still addicted.

But I felt with the Plum series the books just got repetitive and the Blake series, went in a direction I just didn’t buy. But to give Laurell K. Hamilton her due, at least she tried to move the characterization forward.

And hey, if a publisher was throwing buckets of money at me, I’m not sure I wouldn’t continue to write a series, even if I had run out of ideas.

For me, I’ll always compare each book to the best in the series, which means all the books that come after are disappointing to me.

Sucky for the author, but there you have it.

Otherwise I’m looking for inspiration. Wasn’t thrilled with the last episode of Battlestar and nothing else on TV right now has really hooked me in. And yes, Molly, I know I should be watching Lost again.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Writers helping writers

I read a blog post a few weeks ago that was summarizing a book called "Some Writers Deserve to Starve: Harsh Realities About Publishing" or something to that effect. Now, I haven't read the book, but it sounds like the basic thesis is that if you're not informed about the industry, then you deserve to starve.

Okay, kinda harsh, but I guess I agree. (But really, no one deserves to starve. Catchy title, though.)

I read through part of the summary on the blog and it sounds like has the structure of revealing various TRUTHS about publishing. I was skimming along, nodding my head, and then I crashed to a halt on one. The TRUTH was "writers rarely help other writers". All I can say to this is the author of this non-fiction book is either a person no one wants to help, or she's hanging with the wrong writers.

My experience in the five or so years I've been seriously pursuing a career as a writer has been quite the opposite. I’ve been blown away, from day one, at the amount of information, support and assistance other writers are willing to share.

Now, I suppose it depends on what kind of help someone expects.

If some newbie approaches a very successful and busy author with the first draft of their first ever manuscript, asks them to read it and is offended when said author will not a) read it, b) rewrite it, c) call her agent and insist said agent reps it, or d) call her publisher and threaten to move houses unless said publisher publishes this newbie's work... Well, if that's the kind of "help" people expect, then yes, I suppose that TRUTH is correct.

No writer is likely to offer that kind of help. But that’s not unique to writers. I mean, no one is willing to help people who expect everything to be handed to them on a silver platter. On the other hand, if someone has done their homework and has a specific and appropriate question or request for help, most writers are pretty nice people. If they can, they’ll help.

Sharing insights about the craft and industry. Encouraging writers to keep trying to get better. Encouraging writers to be persistent and do their homework and continue to submit and write better stories even in the face of rejection. I've found that kind of help and support abundant out in published author land. Such a gift.

And I think we trying-for-our-first-contract writers need to have some tact and apply good judgment in terms of how/when to ask for help. I've been lucky enough to have had help offered to me by several published authors who I've met, or who have read my work in contests or via critiques I won or purchased in auctions. I got a couple of referrals to great agents that way -- one of those referrals led to representation. But I didn't walk up to a published author I barely knew and say, "Hey, I'm a writer, too. Can you refer me to your agent?" No. I found an appropriate way to get my work in front of them and then they offered to help. Big difference.

Now, I do think there are times when it's appropriate to ask for help, too. I watched a good friend of mine, whose first book comes out this summer, as she went through the process of obtaining cover quotes for her debut. But this is appropriate. The way it's done. And again, watching her go through this process, the generosity of some very prominent authors was astounding. Not that it's just generosity. Her book is amazing. And it is good publicity for the quote-offering author... But still... Taking the time to read a debut novel and come up with a quote. Generous. That's all I'm saying.

Perhaps that's what it boils down to. If you follow the etiquette of the industry--pretty much common sense. If you aren't obnoxiously pushy. AND if you work hard to ensure that your product is the best you can create. THEN kindness and generosity will fall from the sky.

And someday you'll be in a position to pay it forward.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

If You Haven't Done It Yet - Do It Now. Read Marjorie M. Liu and Joanna Bourne

I am really late to the dance on Liu - she's been building her Dirk and Steele Series for a few years and is, by now, a hugely-deserved, best-selling author. I crashed into the series with The Last Twilight, a shape-shifter human romance, that reads partly like an action-adventure, travel book and a comic book - with steamy love scenes tossed in.

There are a couple of things that AMAZE me about this woman's writing. Her depth of research is astounding and better yet, her use of that research is deft and subtle. No big chunks of info dump. No bulky, crappy 'you know Bob' dialogue. Nothing boring. Ever. If she didn't live in Africa -- I am stunned, really stunned. Too often great research results in bad books - Liu has not committed that sin.

In that same vein, she uses simple, careful, subtle world building. No long paragraphs about rules, or super powers. Nothing is told - it's all shown. Characters that can read minds -- guess what -- they just read minds. Characters that turn into cheetahs - she shows them morphing into cheetahs. People who can't die - that's right -- the bullets get pushed right back out of their skulls. There's no third chapter -- 'here's what we can do' scene. It's freaking amazing. She shows us everything - nothing is told. Her characters are just who they are - she makes a point of introducing them in scenes that reveal their core core nature. He's a cheetah running the streets of San Francisco and she's in a bar in Africa somewhere, arm-wrestling a soldier. That's good showing.

NO CLICHES. I think this was my biggest realization/amazement. Powerful, original writing. That was, for the most part, cliche free. And wow. You just don't read that in romance -- I know I'm not writing it. But I'm going to start trying harder, that's for sure.

Now, Joanna Bourne. The Spymaster's Lady is her recent debut and lucky lucky me, my agent is her agent as well and she got me an ARC of My Lord and Spymaster. I felt like a star! For those of you who might not know - these are top top shelf historical. Lots of action, lots of intrigue. No damsels in distress in these books, that's for sure. Well, they are actually, but they don't act like it. She breaks every historical convention about what a heroine should and shouldn't do and then goes to work on the men. So, for those of you longing for a historical with bite and miles away from any ballroom - here you go.

Again, her research is impeccable and subtle. Her settings, her plots and her characters are original. She is cliche-free too. Her writing - the bones of it -- beautiful. Time and time again she made me green with envy over some tiny turn of phrase, that was so perfect.

But it's her characters that shine. They burst on the page, fully formed, fully human, fully alive. We don't get backstory dumps, they just act in tune with their backgrounds and past.

Liu and Bourne have truly inspired me to push past my first ideas. Make hard decisions in my editing process, trust my reader, banish easy cliches. Work Harder. A few weeks ago I said that to succeed in this business you have to try and write better than the best romance you've ever read -- well, these two just upped the bar.

Friday, May 02, 2008

It Depends

Someone posted a question to one of the writer’s lists I’m on, actually, the only one right now. When should the hero and heroine meet? A bunch of people popped in with an answer and the first four answers were, immediately, definitely before the end of the first chapter. One answeree went on to say, she’d put down a book where the hero and heroine hadn’t met before the end of Chapter Three.

I’m pretty silent on this list, and remained that way, but in my head, I was waiting for someone to pop in with It Depends.

The answer to almost all writing related, general question is, for me, almost always, It Depends.

Finally, one, really successful and very smart author piped in with ‘it depends on the kind of book you’re writing’ answer.

Five years ago, I would have read the first answers and taken them as gospel. Three years ago, I would have piped in with the ‘immediately’ answer.

Now, well, the title of this blog answers the question. But really, the answer is whatever serves the story. And a lot of it comes down to the inciting incident.

Where does the story begin?

A short romance, would probably begin with the hero and heroine meeting and one, if not both, their worlds being thrown into chaos.
A paranormal romance, romantic suspense, even historical might have several plots running through the book. The hero and heroine might not meet till chapter six and if the book is written well, those six chapters would still be riveting and completely satisfying. It all depends on where the central plot begins.

If I pick up a book and the beginning is riveting, then I don’t care when the hero and heroine meet, as long as they do at some point.

Maybe the next time someone posts a question, I’ll pop in with a ‘It Depends’, probably the most frustrating answer to a question there is and the only these days that makes sense to me..
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