Writing Tips + Romance
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The plot of Beach Read finds January Andrews reeling from the one-two punch of her father’s sudden death and the appearance at his funeral of a woman who was his lover. Evidently her mother knew about this long-term relationship, but January did not. Indeed, she felt her parents had a perfect marriage and as a novelist, she made happily-ever-after her trademark.
Her father’s death – plus this alteration to her world view – find her in no mood to write. Hello writer’s block. As it turns out, though, she has some business to attend to which will keep her busy until she can write again. Her dad and the woman with whom he was involved owned a cabin in Michigan that becomes January’s upon his death. And so, she goes to Michigan to clean out the house and sell it.
In an odd coincidence, the man living in the cabin next door is a person she knows! He is a fellow author who she knew and had a huge crush on in college, Gus Everette. He is an acclaimed literary fiction writer now. Though she has more books in print than he does, as a romance writer, she feels inferior to him. But guess what? He has writer’s block too. As the book progresses, we learn about the virtual knock out punches he has suffered recently – and in his lifetime – that impact his writing now.
As January and Gus become reacquainted, they make a pact that hopefully will help them get back to their writing. He will write a rom-com and she will write a book that is more somber and does not include happily-ever-after. To do this, each will give the other lessons in their genre.
Of course, spending all this time together causes more than just their creativity to heat up. And thus, the book turns into a romance novel. Darn! As a writer myself, I wanted lessons on how to write novels. Instead, I got a lot of steamy love scenes – too much for my taste. I also got too much of “the daisy game” as January flipped back and forth between “he loves me” and “he loves me not.” That girl had no confidence in her writing or in her lovability, which further frustrated me.
But stay tuned! I ended up liking the book. Here’s why…
At the end of the book-on-tape, there is a five-minute Reader’s Guide called, Behind the Book. In it, the author tells us that when a friend asks the book’s story, she says, “It’s about a disillusioned romance author and a literary fiction writer who make a deal to swap genres for the summer.” Meanwhile, when a fellow-writer asks the question, her response is altogether different. In that case, what she says is this: “It’s about writer’s block.” She then spells out how January was able to get out of her writers block and that was exactly the sort of thing I wanted to learn from this book. Bottom line: I recommend the book – but don’t forget to read the end notes!
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