duller nicer, more conventional persona, Autumn, has discovered the ITV/ Mills and Boon Racy Reads contest. She really really REALLY wanted to enter. Then she found out what they want is erotica. The next Fifty Shades.
That’s a problem.
Not only has she never read Fifty Shades, she is most definitely not racy. Not the teensiest bit. Her stories are sweet, warmly emotional, small town, family based, all about finding home and love. Her heroines can be crafters, who include their craft patterns in the book; or cooks, who share their recipes. Kids and dogs usually turn up somewhere too.
*Tries to imagine erotic romance involving kids and dogs that isn’t horribly, creepily perverse and fails*
So you can see why she passed the job over to me. What she’s handed me is one of her old stories from a few years back when she first got into romance writing again, a first draft written as a Book in a Week (a slight cheat, it was 45k in 10 days). The story is a mess, and she knows it.
The hero is all wrong. He’s a playboy who doesn’t want to grow up and take responsibility. That’s going to change. The heroine is way too sweet and naive. That’s won’t need to change too much. She’s also self-pitying, whiny, and unadventurous. That’s definitely got to change! Not only are the characters all wrong, the plot is a disaster area too. So many things chucked into the story in the name of conflict. It’s like a soup where the cook threw in curry powder then italian herbs then some mexican chilli then some thai spice, oh and why not some cinnamon too?
I have a problem now too. Not only have I not read Fifty Shades either, I have one week to make something racy and readable out of the hot mess Autumn handed me!
She had an idea how to fix the hero, make him grown up, responsible, heroic. I’m going to push him even further, into dark, brooding, controlling. Not quite sure about the heroine yet. I don’t want her weak, yet she initially gives in to his domination.
Hell, I have no idea how to write “the next Fifty Shades”! I have no idea how to write the next anything someone else wrote. All I know is how to write the next Sienna Lachlan. I like the challenge Autumn’s given me though. I can have fun playing with this idea. I can go deep and dark and see just what lurks in my fantasies.
I probably won’t use much directly out of Autumn’s story. Her voice is so different to mine. It’s a starting point I can run with though. There’s a few episodes I can see I could use. Oh, I am going to enjoy this!