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Romantic Mansion

I've never much thought of myself as a romance writer, though of course my books are marketed to a romance-reading crowd because there are relationships and sex in them. I think for the most part it's a good enough fit, although once in a while I'll take a plot somewhere that sideswipes hardcore romance readers because they expect a book to do something a romance novel would do, rather than what a thriller, for instance, would do.

I think the crux of the matter is that pure romance-genre work must contain the main plot of "will they or won't they get together?" which, of course, they will...but the point of reading the book is to see how that get-together unfolds.

My books aren't usually about that. (There are some notable exceptions like Petit Morts, where the coming together of the new relationship is the whole point, or maybe Hemovore, where a disease kept the would-be lovers from touching.) But for the most part, I'm interested in the dynamic of how a relationship functions rather than contriving to keep two people apart as the sole source of tension.

And so, as I'm working on Magic Mansion, it occurs to me that the setup of the whole thing has a profoundly romance-genre-esque vibe, where John wants Ricardo and Ricardo wants John, but they've got to keep their hands to themselves because they're on a reality show and the cameras are rolling, and exposing their gay relationship to a prime-time crowd will be a sure way to get them booted out of a competition they each need to win.

One thing I've noticed about this setup is that it really does make for some delicious "I'm dying to be with you but I can't" tension. Another, though, is that the enforced separation is giving my characters some time to reflect that I wouldn't normally give them. This occurred to me as I had John wondering about what it might mean if Ricardo actually won the competition, and whether or not that would prevent them from being together once the show wrapped. I'm finding this reflection to be good fodder for the future culmination of the story, with all the conflicting purposes and desires, because I can only plan ahead so much. Since there's audience-participation voting involved, even I can't say exactly how things will end. I just need to make sure I've scattered enough strands to be able to braid them all into a satisfying conclusion.

Catch up on Magic Mansion here before the next installment comes out 11/15!


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 12th, 2011 12:37 pm (UTC)
You do realize that is one of the great joys of reading one of your stories Jordan? That you do take us on those thriller twists? That the story takes us in directions we are unaccustomed too? And that there usually is a gazillion strands to braid together at the end.

Thank you for that. (((Jordan)))

I am eagerly awaiting the next Magic Mansion installment.
Nov. 12th, 2011 03:49 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad to hear you're enjoying Magic Mansion! I'm cutting it close this month, as usual, even though I've been really disciplined about working on it. I guess the Petit Morts release just took a big chunk out of my month.
Nov. 12th, 2011 06:30 pm (UTC)
I imagine Petit Morts did and I imagine it was a fun time Jordan. I am enjoying Magic Mansion immensely. Looking forward to the NSFW bits ;-)
Nov. 12th, 2011 10:53 pm (UTC)
What Mountie said! :)

Jordan, since you were a day early last time, I'm sure no one would mind if you are a day or two late this month if you need more time to work on it.
Nov. 13th, 2011 11:47 am (UTC)
Oh, I forgot about that. Y'know, the 16th might actually work a lot better for me. We'll see how I do finishing the chapter!
Nov. 13th, 2011 01:53 pm (UTC)
An aside...why are you a toadstool on LJ but a pumpkin on FB? Weirdly enough, your sensibilities come through in both icons and I always "recognize" you.
Nov. 13th, 2011 09:24 pm (UTC)
I don't know, I've never really thought about it, I guess I should have the same profile pic for both! They were both holiday snaps that bring back good memories. When you say my sensibilities come through, does that mean you had an inkling I am not afraid to get my hands dirty i.e. I was lying flat on my tummy on the grass taking this photo? :-p
Nov. 13th, 2011 11:19 pm (UTC)
I hadn't realized you took both those photos. Now I love them even more!

I think the sensibility has something to do with the focus of an inanimate object in such a way that it has a distinct personality.
Nov. 14th, 2011 02:31 am (UTC)

Thank you for the compliment :) If I ever change the profile pic I'm going to be under pressure!

(Deleted comment)
Nov. 13th, 2011 11:53 am (UTC)
I think it's a matter of preference, and my personal preference in the parts of the story that interest me are the relationship dynamics. However, I know lots and lots of readers really do only want to know about the couple coming together despite adversity. If the get-together is the main trope of the story, I think it's hard to write it over and over without it becoming contrived. In romance-genre work, if you can say, "I don't see why they don't just sleep together," then no matter how evocative the setting, how witty the characters, it'll all just fall apart.

I love your ideas about the relationship stages and the couple coming to them in their own time, their own ways, not necessarily in synch.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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