Two years ago...
Ideas are cheap, or so I thought. That is, until I tried to come up with an idea for a specific market and found the experience similar to trying to force a jigsaw puzzle piece into a slot that it just doesn't belong in. As I've discovered, aiming for a market and then coming up with the idea is a whole different thought process. It takes a discipline my poor mind rebels against at every turn.
The market I'm talking about
And then there's the "doubts" and the "don'ts." The doubts are writing what I don't know; sheiks and exotic, foreign locales coming to mind. And I'm still nervous when it comes to steamy, knock your socks off love scenes. I'm getting better, but it doesn't come easy. And the "don'ts." My ideas have a lot of "don'ts" for a Presents. Don't let the plot overtake the relationship. Don't let the secondary characters take over, and, of course, don't insert paranormal or suspense elements.
With all these doubts and don'ts, where is the appeal?
Simply that I love to read Presents novels! I gobble them up and, while it's a 50/50 gamble to find one memorable story, it's pure emotional escapism. The hero is an alpha male, through and through, and the heroine has a certain vulnerability. In many ways, it's a Cinderella story. So, out of pure stubbornness perhaps, I'm tempted to dive into this world, but I have no "idea" of the story. I figure it wouldn't hurt to brain storm, and I jot down all I can think of that makes a Presents novel. Maybe an idea will come...
I tell myself, let's look at this objectively. I need a rich, powerful alpha hero. He's typically older than the heroine, say, mid to late thirties to her early to mid twenties. She's often his secretary or a friend to his sister. Hmm, some previous connection and below his station. Again, it's a bit of a Cinderella theme. I'm drawn to that.
I can do that. What else? Oh, often she gets pregnant after a one night stand with the sexy hero. And often she is a virgin or inexperienced. Hmm. That seems a bit implausible these days, but okay, the authors do seem to come up with some creative ways to get around these things. So, it's still a bit of the compromising situation that is found in my love of historicals, but in a modern setting. Another draw.
But where's the idea? Hmm. They have to be thrown together somehow. Maybe he's a neighbor. Maybe she inherited the house next door. I jot down just the two of them stranded in a storm. In a big, scary Victorian mansion with no power. With a ghost.
Stop. Obviously, I'm getting off track. (Added thought: But it's obviously my track. I think my muse was trying to tell me something here.)
At every attempt, I run into the same problem. Now I've got her on the run. Abusive husband? Did she witness a crime? Suspense is creeping in, which is another market. Oh boy, this is not going as planned. (Or is it?)
I'd love to hear if you've had a similar challenge. Is there a genre you love to read but can't seem to mold a story to write? New question: Have you found the story you want to write coming through and find it's a different market than what you started writing for?