The Official Website of Author L.A. Mitchell

Category: romance writing


Every Man or No Man?

26th January

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walkers-486583_1280The longer I move in romance circles – reading, writing, studying, editing, coaching – the more apparent the phenomenon of every man vs. no man. I suppose this could apply to other genres, as well, but it seems prevalent in our romance heroes.

I finished ghostwriting a romantic novella last week. In it, the hero falls nicely into the brooding/tortured/loner archetype, but every single aspect of this guy is something fresh, something I haven’t read before. Every cliché I thought of, I twisted. I had some freedom with this. It’s a NA take on a modern Gothic. He’s eccentric and complex, as layered as Dante’s Inferno. He hangs the clothes in his cottage on antlers and keeps a yellow matchbox car on his mantle and leaves his house in both a Santa suit and a birthday suit. When a plot twist gives him exactly what he professes to want, he does the exact opposite. The number of actual men who might fit his mold in real life could probably only fit in my backyard. And maybe not even then. He is a “no man,” like no other man.

Simultaneously, I edited a contemporary romantic suspense from a long-standing client. Her hero is everything a romance reader wants: weak-knees kind of handsome, smart, protective, altruistic, rich, great in the love department…did I mention handsome? He rakes his hand though his dreamy hair when he’s upset. He pins the heroine up against walls (in a good way), listens when she has a problem and gets all up in his alpha when she’s in danger. Yet, we don’t witness idiosyncrasies like putting socks on that don’t match or how he walks one block out of his way to avoid a certain storefront or is obsessed with JFK history or that when he picks up a magazine, he leafs through it back to front. At some point in the story, the reader seamlessly superimposes her ideal man on him. He is “every man.”

The thing that baffles me?

They both work. Absolutely and unequivocally, work.

As writers, we’ve always heard that the golden ticket of characterization is uniqueness. But the power of a writer to gift-wrap a hero that will appeal to the greatest number of readers is not only brilliant, but savvy marketing.

Do romance readers want to fall in love with one particular guy or the particular guy they want?


Valentine Prophesy: Love At Cabela’s

14th February

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The Google Brotherhood of All-Up-In-My-Blog is now popping up a Google-Related toolbar at the bottom. Fascinating. Google picks up keywords from the website and suggests other sites or videos with related content. Wouldn’t it be great if it helped with author marketability? Oh, wait…that would be too helpful. For now, I’m getting six pictures of Bill Murray in varying poses of disheveled career-dom and links to bob-mitchell videos that highlight the fulfillment of the end-of-world prophesy. Not quite the demographic I’m writing for, but this is all a work-in-progress, is it not?

Speaking of blogs, I just broke one of the (supposed) cardinal rules of blogging: No more than three lines of text before a paragraph break. Man, are you guys in trouble. This rule would have cramped Faulkner. It cramps me. I have faith in Vortexers that their attention span is longer than my attention span while watching the Grammy’s.

Gotta cut this short today so I can do my part to get on the Valentine-gerbil wheel. You may think that since I sailed from Romancelandia, I am no longer a romantic. Not true. I am just into the quiet, the meaningful, the non-materialistic, the unpredictable, the messy, wonderful everyday parts of love. Here are links backs to two of my favorite valentine Vortex Lists and more, if you’re so inclined:

Everything I Need to Know About A Woman’s Heart, I Learned from a Romance Novel

But I Live in Gnaw Bone, Indiana! How Romance is Possible Anywhere. Even Cabela’s.

Next up: My new favorite movie is probably one you’ve never heard of. Looooove it.


On Swamp Ass and Etsy Items of Win

9th August

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I meant to get this post up yesterday, but I was battling this:

in a downtown parking garage, a special kind of hell in the worst heat ever recorded locally. After that, the only creative thoughts one can rub together are If my foot lands askew of my flip-flop, will it be third-degree burns? and Would it mean certain-death to sprint to air-conditioning?

Cliffhanger Books is requesting submissions for paranormal romance shorts. Why the mention here? Aren’t we on Thriller Island now? I found this line of the submission call interesting: While paranormal romance authors are generally female, we want story submissions from talented male writers as well. And, if I remember correctly, some Vortexers are paranomal authors of the XY variety who have mentioned writing a bit of hoo-ha into their screams. Deadline: Halloween 2011. FMI.

From Epic Fail’s WIN side:

Speaking of time travel…let’s go Etsy shopping!

I’m also fairly certain I’m going to start collecting vintage keys.
There’s a story in that one.
Have a great day, everyone!