Guest Post ~ Jenna Jaxon, "Only a Scandal Will Do" Blog Tour

Today FBL welcomes Jenna Jaxon, she is in the midst of a virtual blog tour promoting her latest book, Only a Scandal Will Do, click here for more on her tour schedule.



Keeping The Romance Fresh

Just like in real life, it takes work to keep romance fresh in novels.  Authors who write constantly are challenged to find ways to vary ideas, plots, and characters while still staying within the parameters of the romance genre or sub-genres.  Even though I’m still new to the business, with only three novellas and one full-length novel published, I’m working on several other projects and by now I’m having to work just a little bit harder to make sure my work doesn’t fall into the trap of repetition.  I’ve got to keep it fresh.

The first trick I’ve learned to keep my work unique is to be very careful in my plotting.  Plots are already an issue--most people will tell you that there are only about seven different plots in existence.  Therefore, it’s all in the way you use your plot points, your characters, your language that sets your work apart from others. 

If I stand back and look at the tropes used in writing romance, I find that I’ve had a tendency to use the “arranged marriage” trope a fair share of the time.  I’ve currently got three works either published or awaiting publication that use this conflict as the core of the book.  Are these books just three cookie-cutter versions of one plot device?  No.  I believe that people who have read these three works (and there are several who have read them all) would deny that they were similar at all.

So how did I use one trope and come up with three distinct, unique works?  Variety within the framework.  Each one of these books is set in a different time period:  Only Scandal Will Do is set in Georgian England; As Long As You’re Mine is set in Victorian England and America, and Time Enough to Love is set in medieval England and France.  Therefore, each book will have a different flavor, different settings, different descriptions, different social customs under which the characters must operate.

The characters in each of these books are all very different physically, emotionally, and mentally.  Scandal’s hero is a marquess with golden brown hair and dark eyes, an arrogant nobleman who is emotionally damaged.  The hero of As Long As You’re Mine has dark hair and eyes also, but is an American architect with strong family ties and a jealous nature. And Geoffrey, of Time Enough to Love, has dark hair and blue eyes, is a towering knight schooled in the sword and the joust who proves a gentle giant to his lady fair. The heroines vary even wider: copper hair with a feisty nature and a wicked shoulder cut; blond hair and gray eyes with a determined nature that won’t take no for an answer; black hair and crystal blue eyes, a gentle woman who overcomes adversity through a sweet personality and sharp intelligence.  Playing with combinations of heroes and heroines is an excellent way of keeping the romance between them crisp and the reader just a little off balance.

And a final trick to keeping your writing cutting edge is to continue to perfect your craft.  If you, the author, stop growing as a writer, your books will cease to grow along with you.  You can take formal writing classes at university, you can take any number of online classes on the craft, you can critique others work and have them critique yours, attend workshops at conferences.  The key is to work at your writing.  As you evolve as a writer, you will bring new insights to plot, setting, characters, dialogue.  Your work will remain fresh and vibrant because you push yourself to make it so.


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He has the woman of his dreams, but what price will he have to pay to win her heart?

Kidnapped and sold at auction in a London brothel, Lady Katarina Fitzwilliam squelches an undeniable attraction to the masked stranger who purchased her, pits her wits against him, and escapes him and the scandal that would ruin her life.

Unable to resist temptation in a London brothel, Duncan Ferrers, Marquess of Dalbury, purchases a fiery beauty. She claims she's a lady, but how can she be?

No lady of his acquaintance in polite society is anything like her. Then he discovers she is who she says, and that this latest romp has compromised her reputation. He knows how that is. One more scandal and he'll be cast out of London society, but he needs a wife who'll provide an heir to carry on his illustrious family's name. He seeks out Katarina, intending only to scotch the scandal, but instead finds his heart ensnared. He's betting their future he'll capture her heart, but does he have what it
takes to win the wager?




13 comments:

Christine Warner said... Best Blogger Tips

Wonderful post Jenna...and you definitely hit the nail on the head.

Even though it can be hard to find time to take classes and keep up on craft...it's a must do!

Congrats on your latest release!

Kristina Knight said... Best Blogger Tips

Great tips, Jenna, thanks for sharing. I take as many workshops as I can, and have even re-taken a couple that I found really helpful. Good luck with your books!

Jenna said... Best Blogger Tips

Thank you, Christine! Time is every writer's foe--so many words, so little time. But to keep us up to date and growing as a writer, we have to take time to learn more about the craft of writing.

Jenna said... Best Blogger Tips

@Kristina Knight

Thanks for coming by, Kristina. I've been remiss lately about workshops, relying mostly on the ones at my local chapter. I want to take a good online class on POV, if I can only find the time. :)

sharonwritesromance said... Best Blogger Tips

Great points! I think the characters make the plots different. Each person responds in different ways.

jenniferloweryauthor said... Best Blogger Tips

Great post, Jenna!! I think the author's voice makes each plot different. It can be done a hundred times, but not with this authors characters or voice. That's what makes it exciting and new for me :)

Jenna said... Best Blogger Tips

@sharonwritesromance

Exactly, Sharon. No two people think exactly alike, have the same voice, same reaction, etc. That's why there's so much room for romance writers! :) Thanks for coming by!

Jenna said... Best Blogger Tips

@jenniferloweryauthor

Thanks for coming by, Jennifer! Yes, everyone's different and I think reading different authors and different genres also gives you tools for keeping your own voice fresh.

Patricia Green said... Best Blogger Tips

Just like every individual, every character has to have a unique way of thinking about the world, approaching problems and working with others. I think your stories do a great job of illustrating these things because your characters are so well thought-out and have a rich back story. Nice post, Jenna!

Sheri Fredricks said... Best Blogger Tips

To be careful in your plotting does help in keeping things fresh.
Great post!

Karen Lopp said... Best Blogger Tips

Good tips Jenna, It's the little quirks that keep characters different and interesting.

Sara Walter Ellwood / Cera duBois said... Best Blogger Tips

Fantastic article, Jenna. I think the biggest thing a writer can do is always be striving to do better the next book.

Jenna said... Best Blogger Tips

Thank you, Kat for hosting me here today! I had a blast with your guests. I appreciate it so much. The winner of today's swag pack is Sheri Fredricks! Congratulations, Sheri! I'll contact you. :)

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Thanks for coming by, it means alot to me. Since you're here, I would love to hear from you, please leave a comment.