8.31.2005

Snarklings versus the Snarkometer, #38


The feed store had always been one of Dani O'Hara's favorite hangouts. She loved the rich mixture of aromas coming from sacks of sweet mash and the fine leather tack lining the walls of the dilapidated old building. There was always coffee and free donuts if you got there early enough. Rays of sunlight that managed to pierce the grimy store front windows played in the fine dust that drifted around the fragrant interior.


blah blah blah. This is all pointless description. It has nothing to do with what follows.


She wasn't trying to hear the conversation of the men gathered near the coffee pot. But, she heard something that made her let go of the fancy bridle she had been looking at.


Your story starts here.


She gulped and immediately choked on her bite of donut. The men were discussing a subject she had majored in for a life time. Diego Varga.

"You remember Diego don't you Dani?"The owner of the establishment was grinning at her.

"The names familiar,"she mumbled over a choking gasp.


"of the establishment" is a stilted way of saying "of the feedstore"
and "mumbled over a choking gasp"? she could swallow her tongue too...really you only need mumble, or choke or gasp...certainly not all three.


Remember him? She couldn't remember not knowing Diego. He was the guy that had taught her to jump a horse over a fence, how to roll a cigarette, not to mention her first cuss word. Most of all, he was the guy that had taught her to love him.

No one had seemed to notice her wolfing down a second donut or the hard time she had swallowing that last bite. It wasn't the first time they'd seen her embarrass herself. She pretended to not hear when the owner of the store spoke to her loud enough for all to hear.

"Say, Dani. I saw Diego go in the bank a few minutes ago. If you hurry, you can catch up with him"

His comment brought a round of chuckles from his companions. Every one for five counties around knew she had adored Diego from the first moment her blue eyes had focused on his fabulous face. The teasing she had undergone was fun once, but now, it was embarrassing. These friendly and caring men couldn't begin to know how deeply Diego had hurt her when she was a wide-eyed seven-teen year old.


Romance is the biggest selling category of books bar none. Romance readers gobble up books at a rate that makes Miss Snark's abacus heart flutter.

Everyone talks about about romance novels like they're a piece of cake to dash off. Miss Snark scoffs at that. Romance is incredibly difficult to write well because you have to balance innocence and reality, plot with character, and most of all, you have to create people we like and want to hang out with.

This one just doesn't work for me because we see Dani acted upon, rather than taking action. Fragile flowers of submission heroines went the way of the dodo bird. Romance heroines today are cowgirls for sure, but they're not just standing in a feed store being teased, they're giving as good as they get. Give this girl some moxie!!

This is a pass.

7 comments:

Jerrdren said...

Miss Snark, don't know if you know this or not but this is the beginning of the story...why read on if Dani is already perfect and has no growing to do as a person.

Miss Snark said...

You can have moxie and not be perfect. They're not the same thing at all.

Anonymous said...

Don't see the character as particularly passive here - just caught off guard.She's handled teasing before. It's the trite description.

Christa M. Miller said...

But there are better ways to show her caught off guard, OR passive, or whatever.

For instance - she wants to respond to the teasing, but she can never think of a good comeback.

Or she responds, but it's stupid, either because of the subject (Diego) or because she can't do comebacks.

Or the comeback is good, but she still feels ridiculous, like they got the better of her anyway.

Don't make the mistake of creating someone so unlike you that you can't get into her skin. Don't be afraid to mine yourself, your friends, and your loved ones. It can be done without being obvious. :)

BTW - if these men are so friendly and caring, I bet at least one of them has guessed at her hurt...

Lynn Raye Harris said...

Thanks, Miss Snark, for poking holes in the theory that dashing off a romance is easy. I see this attitude way too often from fellow writers who don't write romance. Romance has its share of trash (like any other genre, though romance gets picked on more), but when it's done well, it can be moving and fabulous.

Risedust said...

That is so strange..I did not get a feeling of "cowgirl" at all and Dani seemed more polite than stupid. I'll bet the author had worked the ropes for years and this was one of her early efforts. Everyone knows virgin cowgirls are left in the barn lot with poop on their boots and nothing but a horse to rub down. Too bad this book wouldn't sell. I wanted to see more of the 'down on the farm' story of Dani and as yet unseen, Diego. Love his name, by the way.

Anonymous said...

I love this author's descriptions. They put me right there in the scene. The tension was impressive too. I was definitely looking forward to meeting Diego.