Friday, May 27, 2011

Confessions of an Acquiring Editor - Part Two

Cate Chase is back (yay!) sharing some really good information about what keeps her reading, and what makes her, as an acquiring editor, fall in love with your story.

I asked Elaina if I could come back a second time and share more lurid details about doing acquisitions, and here I am. When I was writing the first blog, I came up with a dozen things I didn’t have time or room to share. They fled with my first night in our new bed. We went memory foam, and it’s like sleeping on air. Sad to say, a good bit more sleeping has been going on in my bedroom since it came.

This is a good thing, or a bad thing, depending on how you look at it. Frankly, I counted on a backache once or twice a week from extra work time in the middle of the night when no one was awake. My hubby was working his way through the HBO series available on HBO GO when he couldn’t sleep. But now, he is sorely behind on Treme or Big Love, or whichever show he’s currently into. I’m working my way back through Sex and the City in my spare time, which is definitely less because of the eight hours of straight sleep .

Enough wandering through my head. I promised to share what keeps me reading today.

1. I was reading an MS the other day. The author gave me a fleshed out, wonderfully flawed heroine, which I adore. Then, she upped the ante with a hero with his own character flaws and a full-fledged life. They didn’t need each other. Even better, including the other into their lives would be a messy, angst ridden journey. While they might not have needed one another, they couldn’t manage to stay away from each other, either. They had a strong, indelible connection; one I’d like for my own relationship. I read to the end, cheering them on.

2. I’m not just talking about sexual attraction, either, although, that matters in a romance. The pull must be there, sure, but, well, here’s what I’m trying to get to. When I met my DH, I learned he liked York peppermint patties, mint chocolate ice cream and yes, the clincher for me, pork rinds. If he could eat pork rinds and peppermint patties with me, I was hooked. First comes attraction, second comes connection, and third things in common. As your couple work through the conflicts they face, I’m a sucker for that growing list of things they both enjoy.

3. In the back of my mind, I know romances guarantee me a happy ending. That’s why I read them. But a writer who can inject both personal and situational conflict real and devastating enough to make me worry sucks me right in and keeps me there. I was a nail biter. My favorite romances make me want to take up the habit all over again. Good, strong conflict, both from inner and outer sources give a romance a certain intense spark.

4. Last, let men be men. During the generation between mine and my offspring metrosexual became a term to describe men. To tell you where I stand on metrosexuals as book heroes, I offer you the Brad Paisley song, “I’m Still a Guy”, which really makes me smile. I don’t need the hero to be Dominic Dominant, but manly is good. Manly is wonderful. He can even have nicely trimmed nails and be a snazzy dresser. But when he looks better than the heroine, or the heroine’s friends wonder if Jodie is a male or female, I’m done.

Here’s what it boils down to for me. I read for escape. We all do, on some level. We all have enough angst and conflict running rampant in our lives; not the kind that can be solved in three hundred pages. So, while an author should strive for real, wonderful is okay, too! Let me fall in love. Let me smile when they both like vinegar and sea salt potato chips dipped in vanilla ice cream. Make me sigh when they first realize the person standing in front of them might be the one person they can’t live without. And let me fall in love all over again when they do.

-- Cate

Thank you so much, Cate!!!



  1. Oh this was perfect! Loved it...especially like the man being man part, because I too have spawned a metro-sexual and It confuses me LOL!

  2. LOL, Monique! My Romantic Comedy has spawned a Beta-Male... I thought I was doomed, but Cate see's something in that hero that even I don't. She's made sure that story gets written, despite my hero's not so manly ways. *grin*

  3. I've read a lot of stories with heroes and heroines who shouldn't work and they work the best. So I'm writing one now. We'll see how it goes. Maybe Cate will acquire it. ;-)

  4. I love that push and pull of two people who shouldn't be together, it is THE best. :-D

  5. Great summary of what a story needs. I'll be keeping this in mind with my next...I really haven't got the 'pork rinds' in mine. Darn.

  6. That's okay, Cari. I don't do the 'pork rinds' with my characters either, LOL! They're too busy trying not to die, or fretting over their attraction/lives to wonder what they have in common with their opposite. *grin* It would be nice though, I agree, to help them take a moment and find that connection.