Contemporary Romance Writer: Why There are No Aliens in My Novel
There are no aliens in Wish You Were Here, my debut novel.
This fact greatly disappoints my husband. Whenever I hit an I-don’t-know-what-to-write-next moment, my husband always suggested aliens. And I always, always overrode his suggestion with a polite “I don’t think so.” Or a flat-out “Not gonna’ happen.”
I’m all for surprising my readers. My Preferred Reader — a close friend who will be identified from here on out as only PR — told me I did just that with one particular scene in Wish You Were Here. But I assure you, there were no aliens in that scene–registered or otherwise. Or llamas, for that matter.
Now, if my book were set in Area 51 rather than in Colorado, then I’d be OK with bringing on the aliens. Who knows? Maybe an alien would be the villain — or possibly in a surprise twist, a hero or heroine. (My husband just offered a new word for a contemporary romance novel with an alien as heroine: a hero-it.)
I learned a lot during the three years I wrote and rewrote and rewrote my first novel. (Yes, you read that correctly: I wrote Wish You Were Here over three years. Remember I was the nonfiction writer learning to walk on the Dark Side of the writing road.)
One of the things I learned: A novel’s action has to be plausible. And, let’s face it, aliens suddenly showing up mid-story in a contemporary romance novel would be, at the very least, unlikely. At the most, it would be lousy writing.
In Your Words: How do you feel when aliens crop up in the middle of a romance novel? Obviously, if you’re reading paranormal romance, you’re probably OK with that. But how do react when a romance takes a completely implausible turn? Do you keep reading? Or is that “the end,” no matter how many pages you have left to read?