On internet message boards and at writers’ conferences, one hears all sorts of bizarre do’s and don’ts about novel writing.
I’m very glad I didn’t know about any of these before writing the first Pink book, since that book, The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, broke several of those so-called rules. It was set in France, not England; the hero was blond (apparently that was a faux pas?); and the hero and heroine didn’t even meet until four or five chapters into the book.
These days, I know about these “rules”, but I still find them more interesting to break than to observe– for example, Turnip. The rule was that only alpha heroes sell. Turnip isn’t an alpha. He’s not even a beta. As my little sister is fond of saying, Turnip is a gamma hero. But people seem to like him just the same, despite his lack of all the obvious alpha attributes.
Which brings us to now. The Passion of the Purple Plumeria (70,000 words down, fifty thousand left to go!) is definitely another rule breaking book. Two points leap most obviously to mind. 1) My hero and heroine are older than the normal run of Regency misses and rakes. My heroine is 45. My hero is 54. This doesn’t seem to be slowing either of them down. (I was trying to think of other heroes and heroines who are out of their twenties, particularly in historical novels, but other than one Jo Beverly short story, I’m drawing a blank. Susan Elizabeth Phillips does a lovely job with middle-aged couples, but they’re always an auxiliary romance, not the main focus, and those are contemporaries.)
2) My hero is a redhead. Sounds silly even to bring that up, doesn’t it? But, apparently, that Is Not Done. Red is not among the approved hair colors for heroes. (I’m very glad no one has told Jamie from Outlander about that. It would be a shame to see him have to run out for some hair coloring for men.)
Fortunately, no one seems to have told either Miss Gwen or Colonel Reid that they’re supposed to be anything but what they are. If they did, Miss Gwen would probably go after them with her parasol.
Which are your favorite novels that break the rules?