Thursday, August 28, 2008


Over at one of the yahoo groups I belong to, some of the people were talking about plot. Specifically, the fact that some authors use the same plot over and over again.

Does this happen a lot?

Sure it does. But some readers actually like knowing what kind of book their going to get from an author. They've made their careers on a basic plot. It's the characters that keep the readers coming back.

Most authors try to mix up their plot lines to create something new every time. It's not always easy. And sometimes an author will set up "rules" (such as in my Tapestries series) and you have to work around them. That means that there are certain things you can and cannot do. Of course, as an author, you can always change some of the rules or find away around them. *g* That's part of the fun.

I think there are room for both kinds of books out there. There are several authors I could name that have been writing for several decades who have made their careers on one single plot. Does that stop readers from buying the books? No! Becuase readers are more concerned with the characters and how they get through their problem to reach their happily-ever-after.

What do you think?


Kathy said...

When I first starting reading romance novels, way back when, I got everything I could from my local library. I was, and still am, a voracious reader. One author in particular who I won't name quickly bored me. Her stories were always exactly the same. Same careers, same locations, and exactly the same conflict over and over again. The only thing that changed were the characters names.

She has been writing for more years than I could count, and people seem to buy her stories over and over again. I have no problems with similar themes. I ADORE your Tapestry series. But when the only thing that changes about a story is the name of the characters, I just can't brintg myself to part with my money.

But other people seem to like that they know exactly what is going to happen in her stories. They know the conflict that will be faced, and they already know how that conflict will be resolved. More power to them, but I like an element of surprise where the only thing you are sure of is the couple will find their happily ever after, but you just don't know how they'll reach it.

Anny Cook said...

I like a mix. I really try to have a "new" plot because after all, life is different for all of us. I too remember a romance author that wrote for YEARS with the same story over and over and over... And like kathy, I moved on to other books.

Yes, certain things will remain the same in a romance...HEA, series rules, etc. But within those boundaries, there is plenty of room for variety.

Good blog!

N.J.Walters said...

I think we all know authors whose story hasn't changed in years. Sometimes that's a good thing, other times you just want something new.

And I'm so glad you enjoy the Tapestries series, Kathy. The next book in that series, Threads of Destiny is really different from the others...but in a good way. :-)

N.J.Walters said...

Exactly, Anny. No two people have the same life and the same applies to characters.

After all, they say there are only a handful of plots when you get down to it. It's the characters and their individual stories that makes the difference.

Kathy said...

I can hardly wait. Any idea when it will be out yet?:-)

N.J.Walters said...

I don't have a release date yet, Kathy. But I'm hoping it will be the next book that is released with EC. I'll announce a release date as soon as I get one.

*crossing fingers and hoping it's soon*

Anonymous said...

Me thinks me been here before. *scratches head* LOL
I think I might even have started the conversation. It's always great to get you opinion on a subject NJ, you're always so insightful and you never fail to make perfect sense. No wonder I love your books.

N.J.Walters said...

Thank you for the lovely compliment, Rhian. Yes, you did start this discussion over at the Playground. I figured since it was such a lively topic of conversation that it would make an interesting blog topic. :-)

Nicole Austin said...

Great topic, NJ! The problem is when that same old plot gets too predictable and well...boring. If the author can change it up enough to keep the new stories fresh, I'm all for it.