For Week 3, let’s talk about world-building a little.
1. What are some common flaws you’ve noticed in how authors do world-building/describe setting?
Some authors want to set their contemporary romances in a generic city that doesn’t have any defining characteristics. I think this is a missed opportunity, as setting can add character to any story.
2. What are some ways the setting could affect/influence plot? If you’ve read a story where this happened, tell us a little about it.
In Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn, the characters are in NYC, and the heroine is a calligrapher who is doing an art project of taking pictures of old signage in historic neighborhoods. She loves living in the city, around all the older buildings with their history and their signs. The hero hates living in the city and wants to leave.
3. How can you help the author create a sense of deep perspective?
When describing the setting in any scene, rather than giving generic descriptions that any person would notice, focus on the details that would be important or noticeable to this POV character. I.e. a police officer would notice the locks on the doors, a firefighter would notice whether an exit was blocked, an interior designer would notice the dated wallpaper, etc. If the person is describing their own living space, they likely wouldn’t discuss general information, but instead would focus on something new or changed or broken. If an ex-boyfriend or roommate has taken their tv or music collection or favorite chair, that detail draws setting and POV together.
4. If an author is head-hopping, what are some things we can do to help build their awareness of what the problem is and how to fix it?
Try to flag the instance when the second POV in a scene comes into place, pointing out, for example, that MC doesn’t have a basis to know that other character believes or doesn’t believe what MC is saying, unless that character makes a face that MC interprets to mean something.
5. What can editors do when authors have trouble realistically conveying the perspective of the opposite sex?
Encourage them to read more books in the romance genre to see how other writers have addressed opposite sex POV. It’s not the same voice as many writers in other genres, such as thrillers and mysteries, as romance male leads are because of the genre requirements more introspective and in their heads, sharing their feelings and emotions more than most genres, but still in the language of a man.