I've been writing a romance novel for a few years now, and recently moved back to the States to get serious about publication. It's the best move I could have made for my writing career as I've joined some writing groups (shameless plug for Colorado Romance Writers - CRW-RWA.ning.com ) and met some great writers who have really helped me make my story so much better (I'm looking at you Tuesday Typing Titans). The time I've spent this year critiquing and honing my craft have been eye-opening and totally worth the time spent being unemployed and living in my sister's basement.
The book I read last night scared me a little bit, and not because it was horror.
The story has a similar plot line to my own and some of the same problems I had until I did some major revisions. I'm so glad now that I didn't self-pub or start sending query letters out six months ago when I really wanted to. But I was patient and allowed my critique group to rip my WIP up and spit it out (thank you Evil Erin). Because it's made me a better writer and my work better written.
Title: Text Order Bride
(and for a self pub, this has a pretty great cover)
Author: Kristen Osbourne
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: approx 26 pages
Amanda, a school teacher from Texas, moves to Wisconsin to marry Jason, a dairy farmer, sight unseen in this modern twist on arranged marriage.
It's not that I didn't buy the plot of this book. I did. This could totally happen in our day and age. Some unmarried, overlooked woman desperate for love agrees to meet and be courted by (and later marry) a just-now-looking-to start-a-family bachelor, via modern technology. Yeah, I'm in.
It's just that the story needs some more work. There is so much more room for some great character and plot development.
Gimme some of the build up to the wedding day. Show me some of the texts, facebook messages, emails and phone calls. Let me see Jason courting Mandy. While you're there, show me how and why these two have gotten to the point they are ready for a kind of arranged marriage with emotions and background.
Then throw in some conflict!
This is actually my biggest problem with the story. Everything was pretty hunky dory for everyone the whole way through. Yeah, Mandy had some issues with self esteem and Jason was thwarted in his randiness, but I want so much more.
What I'm really saying here is this story has great potential with some the benefit of a great critique group (and by great, I mean really honest and open about what needs to be done to make the story better, but in a supportive way) and lots and lots of re-writing.
So, call me Kristen, let's talk.
Glad I didn't have to pay for this book (although the writing life lessons I've learned from it are priceless).
Don't one-click this one now, but check back in a few years.
I'm giving this one two stars.