You’re Not the Boss of Me! by Nancy Fraser

Jan 6, 2014 by

You’re Not the Boss of Me!

 I can remember hearing the phrase “you’re not the boss of me” often when I was growing up – usually uttered by my cousins while I was babysitting. Years later, married with children of my own, our younger son could often be heard arguing with his older brother and literally yelling that same, time-worn phrase. Even my beautiful granddaughters have been guilty of denying their older brother’s place as “the boss of them”.

So here I sit, diligently crafting my current work in progress, relishing the peace and quiet of my office solitude when, all of a sudden, my heroine screams, “You’re not the boss of me. I’m not going to do that! I want to do this and so does my hero!”

Why won’t these crazy voices in my head just stay where I put them? Why must they demand to do something totally at odds with what I’ve plotted out? I don’t know too many writers who can say they stuck to their synopsis to the letter. As a matter of fact, I don’t know anyone who can say that. If sticking to a synopsis or chapter outline were possible, everyone would be able to finish their latest book in record time.

Unfortunately, as writers, we’re often slaves to the whims of our characters. I want a quiet interlude; they demand hot and steamy! I want them to be polite; they choose to be vocal about what’s bothering them. It’s truly a struggle of wills.

How do writers get their characters to behave? That all depends on how disciplined we want the book to be. Do we want to stick to the outline without deviation? If so, we need to crack down on our heroine’s penchant for speaking her mind. Do we want to be adventurous? Then, we need to loosen the lead and let our characters have their way occasionally. Yet, how much is too much leeway? It’s a fine line between the story the author envisioned and the one that seems to be sliding onto that blank computer screen.

A good rule of thumb: if the change is going to affect the plot so drastically that the ending, or even the next chapter, will have to be thrown out the author might want to re-think the hero or heroine’s motives for hijacking the story.

I remember critiquing a synopsis for a friend years ago. The story was tight, and she’d even created a chapter outline to keep her focused. A few months later, she asked if I’d line edit the manuscript. How could I refuse? I’d been intrigued by her synopsis.

The story she sent me had little to do with what she’d put in the synopsis.Yet, the finished product was a joy to read and required very little editing. After I was done, I called her and asked, “What happened to the scene where your hero has to break up with his long-standing girlfriend? Where was the scene with the heroine’s dying mother?”

The author’s response: “I tried to go there, but my character’s kept putting their foot on the brakes.”

Sometimes a hijacked story can become the book of your heart. Other times, it becomes a virtual dust bunny on your hard drive with nowhere to go but the trash bin. As authors, we have to be the babysitter, the over-tired mother, or the doting grandmother and rein our book-children in. Without our gentle and loving guidance, who knows where the heck they’ll end up!

One can only hope they’ll land on their feet or, even better, at the top of the NYT Bestseller list!

While the final outcome is the responsibility of the author, the success is dependent on both the author and the reader. Without the readers, the fans of romantic fiction, we can only go so far. The next time you pick up a book, download an e-book, or borrow from your library, take a minute to consider just how hard the author must have worked to keep her book-children in line. Please enjoy what you read and let your favorite authors know how much you appreciate their work. It may just give us the impetus to take one of the virtual dust bunnies off the hard drive and turn it into an award-winning book!

About the Book:

When a case of mistaken identity puts Cade Tucker in the wrong place at the right time, he can’t believe his luck. Drawn to the beautiful Julia McCormack, he flirts his way into her bed, and they welcome the New Year together.

Though they agreed their time together was no-strings-attached sex only, Julia’s having a hard time letting go of the best sex she ever had. She dives into work at her corporate law firm, hoping to get her mind off the man who rocked her world. But then Julia finds out the senior partner has appointed a new attorney to work with her on her biggest case, and her co-counsel will be Cade Tucker. Her plans to make partner are in serious jeopardy when she and Cade disagree on the best legal strategy for their case, but what will happen when they can no longer fight their desire, and the company’s strict non-fraternization policy threatens both of their jobs? 

Title: Pushing the Limits
Author: Nancy Fraser
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: 99 pages
Release Date: December 30, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-62266-438-2
Imprint: Flirt

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