Sunday, April 11, 2010

Is it Over?

There is a rumor afloat on various agent blogs that the love affair with supernatural romance may be ending. Is it possible? Are we moving away from the teenage girl and the vampire, werewolf, demon, angel, fey, ghost– I'm running out of critters here, and so are a lot of writers who make up their own whatevers. That quiet young man in the back of the class, with the unusual features and really interesting manner of dress, who in a moment of crisis saves the heroine or her little brother and thus begins the Great Romantic Adventure.

Hard to imagine anyone growing tired of reading that over and over, isn't it? Well, apparently the appeal is beginning to dim for many agents. Now if readers still clamor for these stories editors will keep buying them, and agents will have to keep looking for them. But folks, they are growing weary. The same-old-same-old? Isn't going to work much longer. I know I've been atop this particular hobby horse before, but I keep reading not-good query letters on review sites, and I want to offer another instance of what goes wrong for would be twinkly-vampire-romance authors.

Query: Heroine of Supernatural Romance Novel is much sought-after by two different supernatural young men. Yes, two! Oh, has that happened before? Moving on... Something Terrible happens to Our Heroine. Some third supernatural party harms her. Our Heroine, presumably recovering from her injuries, stays home while Superswains One and Two go out to track down the bad guy and wreak revenge.

Problem? Our Heroine stays home. Not okay. Protip for the day: whatever happens in your book, write your query letter in such a way that your main character, Our Heroine, is not only active throughout, but is driving the story.

I once had a class at UCLA from Jodie Foster's former producing partner. She had a rule: if your main character could get on a bus and head off to Mexico at any point during the story, you do not have a story.

Our Heroine might as well have gone to Cabo to recuperate while her erstwhile supernatural boyfriends ran the plot. That is not the way to attract the attention of a reader, or of an agent suffering from a bad case of vampire poisoning.


JustineDell said...

Hmmm...I hope so? ;-)


Lorelei Armstrong said...

Now is the time to figure out what replaces the supernatural romance!