A to Z Challenge 2016 · Darcy By Any Other Name · Elements of Romantic Comedy · How to write Romantic Comedy

Elements of Romantic Comedy: Questions (left unanswered)

Don’t, just don’t. Don’t tuck in every plot thread or solve every story problem, especially when it comes to secondary characters. Other writers have given in to this temptation, and their work would have been more powerful without it.

Photo: Marc Levin (Creative Commons Flickr)
Just because people “ask” does not mean you must answer. Photo: Marc Levin (Creative Commons Flickr)

Follow the writer’s maxim: Resist the Urge to Explain. Solve the primary dilemma for your lead couple, and then let the river of life roll on. Otherwise you’ll end up with no real plot arc, like a soap opera.

Writer Kristen Lamb put it this way:  “The Force was more interesting before it was EXPLAINED.”  Leave those unresolved mysteries alone.

Your undeveloped ‘white spaces’ could springboard another book–but only if the dilemma is truly compelling. (This has been my struggle with continuing the Mercy’s Embrace series. Oh, there is drama, but nothing pivotal.) And don’t get me started on the subject of prequels…

DBAON-thumbnailSo today’s excerpt is not an apt illustration, for I cannot give away what happens at the end. On the other hand, I must share something. So this is a snippet from Chapter 39 of Darcy By Any Other Name. After this scene, poor Kitty Bennet fades out of the story. Or rather, the pain and disappointment she experiences this night, when she struggles to keep a promise, is not resolved. We will see and hear her later, but the story focus swings back to Elizabeth and Darcy and Collins, leaving Kitty (and her sisters, mother, etc.) to find their own way. Fiction, like life, is hard like that.

Elizabeth struck out in what she hoped was the right direction. She had not gone far before rain began to fall. A flash of lightning lit the sky.

It was then that she saw the figure huddled on the lawn. Elizabeth threw caution aside. “Kitty!” she called. “Are you hurt?”

Kitty was gasping for breath. “She is not here, Lizzy,” she said. “I kept my promise and oh, she is not here.”

Elizabeth put her arms around her sister. “Come,” she said gently. “We must get out of the rain.” For it was raining steadily now, the drops hissing into the lawn. A roll of thunder shook the ground.

“I brought everything she asked for, even the money.” But the fight had gone out of Kitty. Another flash of lightning revealed the hat box and valise waiting forlornly near the Folly.

Elizabeth helped Kitty to her feet and together they stumbled toward an evergreen hedge. Too late she realized that it was holly. There would be more scratches here, but also shelter from the rain.

Tomorrow we’ll have R for Resonance. Thanks for reading!

Find out what the other A to Z bloggers are doing by clicking on this link. 

Laura Hile (1)

Excerpt is from Darcy By Any Other Name by Laura Hile, copyright 2016

3 thoughts on “Elements of Romantic Comedy: Questions (left unanswered)

  1. I got caught up in a novel the other day that went into every detail of everyone, everywhere. I was so bored that I deleted it after ten chapters. I am too old to put that much energy into people who aren’t real. And secondary to boot.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I told Christina on the Mercy’s Embrace FB page that I encountered this in Lucy Maud Montgomery’s later Anne of Green Gables sequels–the ones written due to popular demand. There were too many happy little resolutions for so many of the characters, and yes, it became dull instead of satisfying. The first, and (I think) the second, Anne books were not this way. I have been tempted to do the same, because I love ensemble pieces. But when the ending comes, the credits must roll.


Would you like to leave a comment?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.