Sunday, August 29, 2010

Why Contemporary?

Last month before I went to the RWA National Conference, I wrote a fast draft of a contemporary romance. This isn't a paranormal or a fantasy. No one has magic powers. There are no hidden spells to be sprung and no sorcerers or mad shapeshifters to defeat. It's just a pure, contemporary romance between two people in some unusual circumstances. The hero is a little larger than life and the heroine is plucky, determined and a whole individual.

So Why a Contemporary?

I've been asked this question a lot lately. I have been spending this weekend wrapping up the edits so that it's fully polished and while I've made some changes as I've been editing, the basic heart of the story is intact. I found myself falling in love with my hero and his heroine: Max and Anya, all over again. So as Jayne Ann Krentz reminded us, what is the heart of the story? What is the meat of it?


Stories that appeal to me are stories about strong characters. It doesn't matter if they are vampires, werewolves, billionaires or police officers. I want to know the people, their hopes, their dreams, their flaws and their needs. It's those needs I think that talk to me when I am reading or writing a story – needs aren't as easy for some people to define or to identify. In fact, it's easy to say we don't always know what we need and when we find the person or thing that fulfills those unspoken needs – it can be explosive good fun to write and to read.

Developing the Contemporary

The contemporary focuses on real people, people who live today. They struggle with real things. Now, it may not be making the mortgage payment. It could be making sure they stay out of jail or putting back an artifact they stole. Sometimes they are loaded with money. But they live in our world. They have hopes and fears. Fears can arrest a person. They can arrest their development, hold them back from happiness and even get them into more trouble by trying to avoid them.

I wrote a contemporary because I fell in love with Max and Anya. I fell in love with the idea of their story and when I wrote it, I fell in love with the journey and when I was editing, I fell in love with them all over again. They aren't perfect, but they are perfect for me.

So what about contemporary romances attracts you?

1 comment:

  1. Great topic, Heather.

    I love contemporaries because I can identify with the characters' worlds better. Oh, I love worlds with werewolves and magic, but part of me knows they're imaginary. But give me a story set in a small town like the one I grew up in, or a normal regular character having to deal with problems I've faced, and that connection zings for me.

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