Monday, September 10, 2012

Coming up with "fresh" stuff...

Two months ago, I started my 49th book. As you can imagine, by book 49, it's a little difficult to come up with something you've never written before. As a category romance author, I have to stick with hooks. Not just the things I'm known for writing, babies and kids, but I also have to add a billionaire, or marriage of convenience, close proximity, nanny or something that adds to the experience our readers are looking for.

And because I am giving readers the expected child/baby, as well as a well loved hook, I then have to spice up the story with something special.

In book 49, I'd decided cupcakes were the way to go because who doesn't love a good cupcake? But, seriously, can a woman support herself and three kids selling cupcakes in a small town? I didn't think so.

I turned to my trusty list of 20...

I wrote: What are twenty cool, interesting jobs I haven't yet explored in a story that could enhance the story somehow? But on second thought, I changed the question a bit. I said...

If I could be anything right now, what would I want to be?

Because my niece was in the throes of planning her wedding, the idea of becoming a wedding cake baker jumped out at me. (At about #13 on the list! LOL) And when I began investigating the you bake a cake, how you decorate, how you make those great flowers and edible decorations...even how you deliver a cake...I found videos on YouTube.

The videos made it very easy to get a good handle on the job so I could subtly insinuate the "cake baking" stuff into the story. The research on cake delivery actually provided journey steps (or plot points) for the story. I didn't just drop her occupation into the story. I used it to make the book fresh and interesting.

Not boring! LOL I didn't info dump. I didn't force readers to endure entire segments about her job that were dropped in with no rhyme or reason. I incorporated her cake baking into the plot. And, of course, made the hero a lover of cake. LOL

I took an online workshop last month that dealt with figuring out your career and who you are/want to be as a writer, given by the great Mary O'Gara. At one point, she said, write a list of 5 jobs you wish you could try in your lifetime. When we had done that she said, "Now figure out ways to incorporate these into a story...because researching them will be fun, using them as part of plot will be fun because they are things that already interest you..." And I jumped up and down like Horshak on WELCOME BACK KOTTER. I said, I did that! I did that! I just did that!

I told the class Mary was correct. The research was fun, invigorating. Using the career as PART OF THE PLOT was a challenge. A fun challenge. And in the end, I had a book that was fresh and interesting.

So...The next time you're beginning a book, do as Mary suggested. Come up with a list of five careers you'd like to try and virtually try them in a book. LOL Or do as I did and come up with a list of 20 careers for your hero or heroine which are fresh, interesting, different, that might freshen up your story a bit. Or at least enliven it with unique scenes and a fresh perspective! And then research it until you can actually make it part of the plot.

You'll make yourself happy, but you'll also come up with a fresher story!

Happy Monday!


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