I know I have been a bit remiss with the Author Share posts lately. Sorry. 🙂
But when Patricia Green agreed to explain formula writing to me, I had to jump on this!
Please comment below. I would love to hear your experience, either from the writing or reading side. 🙂
Ok, let’s talk about Formula Writing.
Katherine Deane: Thanks for joining me today, Patricia. I have heard a few publishers and authors mention this term before. What is formula writing?
Patricia Green: “Formula” is about taking tried-and-true tropes and gluing them together with certain plots, in order to fulfill reader expectations. Tropes are often-recurring scenarios pertaining to specific types of genre fiction. Spanking romance has certain tropes, romance in general has certain tropes (see here: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/RomanceNovelTropes and here: http://allthetropes.wikia.com/wiki/Category:Romance_Novel_Tropes for lists), westerns have tropes, as do mysteries, and suspense/thriller stories.
Katherine Deane: Can you give an example of what this could look like in spanking fiction?
Patricia Green: Applied to spanking romance, you take one of the tropes given above, and add a bratty heroine, a dominant guy who isn’t afraid to assert his authority by spanking, and you’re ready to rock ‘n roll.
Katherine Deane: Why does formula writing work?
Patricia Green: Formula writing works because it meets reader expectations. Whether a reader realizes it or not, when she picks up a book in a specific genre, she’s expecting certain things to happen. Here’s a good list of what ought to happen in a romance novel: http://howtowriteshop.loridevoti.com/2012/07/five-scenes-every-romance-novel-needs/ If your intention is to hook a regular romance reader (of any subgenre, including spanking romance), you want to use a plot that basically goes like this:
- The meeting
- The conflict
- The attraction which overwhelms the conflict
- Conflicting emotions which leads to a dark moment
- Resolution and HEA
Katherine Deane: That explains why my editors and publisher sometimes give me suggestions that differ from my original plan. (Like a very dark scene they suggested I tone down a bit. Best suggestion ever. I think my readers would have been very emotionally drained if I had not edited that scene.)
Katherine Deane: When does it NOT work?
Patricia Green: If you’re writing literary fiction, you have no formula. It’s a free-for-all, and once again, that meets reader expectations. If you’re writing any kind of genre fiction, though, writing to formula will get you more publisher interest, more positive reader reviews, and a greater likelihood of success. That is not to say that you cannot be a maverick, but to do so means you are taking a chance that readers will be disappointed. Writing contrary to formula is a risky business.
Katherine Deane: Is all spanking romance formulaic?
Patricia Green: We’d all like to think that we’re writing something new and different, something no one has ever done before. And, in terms of our heroes and heroines and their adventures, we might very well be presenting something unique. However, if you want to fall into any genre fiction category (which is the majority of fiction, these days), you will be using the formula for that genre. That’s what readers are looking for, and what you, as an author need to provide. There are so many tropes, so many things you can do with a formulaic plot, however, that you don’t need to feel constrained. Your hero and heroine are unique, with unique methods of dealing with their conflicts and emotions. That’s what makes your work special and what captures the attention of avid readers – readers who often don’t even realize they are hooked on formula.
Katherine Deane: I can attest, from the reader side, Patricia. I like the stability usually, and don’t like to be surprised. However, there are the occasional stories that push me, emotionally. And I have enjoyed them. But I might not have read them if I had just looked at the tags. (I can totally see an Author Share about tagging coming soon! )
Thanks so much for sharing with us.
Patricia Green’s latest book is Rescued by the Spy. It’s a f/M/f sci fi spy adventure, with a whole lot of sexy parts. (I actually was confused by the acronym, because I usually read M/f. Here’s how Patricia explained it for me)
f/M/f (note the capitalized M in there) means two submissive females and one dominant male, but the females do not engage each other sexually (the reason they are bookends to the M)
I loved this book! It definitely pushed my comfort zone boundaries a bit, but I am so glad I read it. It was amazing, and oh, so sexy!
You can buy it on Amazon (click on the Amazon link)
Patricia’s blog link – http://patriciagreenbooks.com/
Thanks again to Patricia Green for sharing her experience with us.
And check out her new book (it will knock your socks off!)
Thanks for stopping by.
Note- I am trying to plan out some cool “Author Share” Posts for 2015. What are some topics you would like to hear more about? Here are some I am thinking about:
– series writing
– making a bad guy into a good guy (sequel writing)
– sequel writing
– chat with a publisher