Monday, January 25, 2016

D is for author Christina Dodd

Ana muses on multi-dubbed author Christina Dodd

I'm reading a historical romance by Christina Dodd right now. Almost finished it last night. It's a sensual regency with a hero out for revenge, a downtrodden virginal heroine who meets the hero under false pretenses, loses her heart (and wins his) and then elevates herself by fighting to keep him.
Very cliche plot, yet it's a very good read. 

In a 2010 article in RWA Journal, Ms. Dodd argues that the plot of every romance story is a cliche. That writers should think of them as myths--universal stories that people (esp. women) never tire of hearing. That we should not worry so much about finding new plots. We just need to tell mythical stories with a fresh voice. Our voices, unique and individual.

Readers will never tire of the same old story, as long as it is well-told. 

This is great news, as a persistent voice inside of me worries that when I finish my WiP, there will be no need for my story. 

14 comments:

  1. I wouldn't say every romance plot is a cliché. I think there are tropes that they all tend to follow. But to say they are clichés to me says they aren't worth reading.

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  2. I agree with Jen. While there are certain basic essentials in a romance (like the 'happy' ending), it's the writer's job to create a plot that isn't just a rehash of every other plot. We can't simply rely on our 'voice', but need to create characters, locations, backgrounds, events, and plots twists that are unique to our story, and not clichéd.

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  3. My thoughts entirely, Paula. I would hate to think of my characters or plots as cliches. there's such a lot of work goes in in making them different.

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  4. Ana, your post made me thing about sophomore English when we learned about the basic universal story lines in literature. Man vs. man, man vs. nature, etc.

    Supposedly, all stories are just a version of these themes, told in (hopefully) unique ways by individual authors, who add their own personal voice and views to make them fresh.

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    Replies
    1. Debra, this was exactly Christina Dodd's point (to which I did not do adequate justice.)
      She cites the billionaire story, the secret baby story, the get-back-together with the first love story, the seduction of the virginal heroine who then tames the Highlander: all these have been done before and can keep being done because readers like to hear these fantasies (myths) again and again. All they ask is for aa fresh way, which can happen with every new writer, because every new writer has a unique voice (once the core skills of plot arc, grammar, character descriptions, etc.) are in hand.

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