I was reading excerpts from books last night from one publishing company’s site. They publish mostly romance, and though this is not my favorite genre, it is what my first book, Miracles, is classified as.
The “back cover blurbs” were exciting; different plots that aren’t your standard, run-of-the-mill romance story. But when I got to the excerpt, I was let down. A few books stood out, but most caused my eyes to blur with boredom.
The ones that stood out to me had dynamic characters, ones that you could connect with even in the few sentences the excerpt contained. Maybe I gravitated toward these books because I am a character writer. I focus on my characters, their emotions, their actions. I spend a great deal of time with them before I even begin writing the novel.
As dynamic as characters need to be, the plot has to be just as compelling. It is the thing that grabs the editor/agent when they read your query. As I scan the examples of published works from scores of book sites, I wonder how much my focus on sculpting dynamic characters are wanted. No matter how endearing the characters are, without a tantalizing, original and compelling plot, the readers, editors and agents will just keep walking by.
As I finish up the final touches on Miracles, preparing it for publishing, I fear I have failed in this area. My characters are dynamic; it took a lot of work, but I finally molded Kristina into the character I wanted. Nathan is not just cute and charming, but he has depth, compassion, and strength.
But, when a reader surveys my excerpt, will they be just as bored? Will they smile at the characters, but just keep passing by? Did I work enough on the plot; did it propel the reader through the pages of my book? Only time will tell.