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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Complex, Plot or Not? by Sutton Fox

Hello, I’m Sutton Fox. I write contemporary romance, and I’m published by Lyrical Press.
Before I get started, I’d like to say a big ‘Thank-You’ to You Gotta Read Guest for letting me hog their blog today. It’s great fun to go ‘round and see what everyone’s up to.

I’ve come across a few statements lately which got me thinking. The statements are:
‘I’ve tried to read her novels, but don’t care for them. There’s too much going on.’ And,
‘This was something of a demanding read. Lots of things going on.’

Right up front, one of these was said about one of my books, and one was said about another author’s. Which I love, but for the sake of this post, shall remain nameless.

In case you’re wondering, I’m not offended by the comment because, it’s honest, and I don’t believe it was in any way malicious.

As a reader, I love a complex plot. One where there the focus of the story is on the main relationship between the hero and the heroine, but also a certain amount of time is spent on developing subplots. And I mean strong subplots. The kind which spawn series, because the secondary characters are so strong they deserve to have their own stories told in another book. Or several. These are the kind of stories which grow into big fat books. Did I tell you I love big fat books? Oh, not in so many words, but you got the idea? Okay.

As a writer, I’m challenged by all the threads which must be woven together. The main characters must face up to their test of fate, yet the secondary characters can add depth and suspend disbelief, by facing their own trial of sorts. There is a balance which must be struck between the two, or three. And it’s totally subjective. Some people will love it, and some won’t.

The way I see it, my life is full of people. And one way or another, they effect my life. I believe the same thing applies to my characters. They don’t exist in a vacuum. There are things which touch their lives as well. Although, maybe it’s like getting to know your neighbor, some people want to know them well, and some are happy with a smile and wave across the fence.

By the same token, my good friend, Jane, absolutely loves the short romances. She has a subscription, and gets her books by mail. She refuses to read anything else, claiming she wants to only read about two people at a time. Her enjoyment stems from the focus being kept where it should be, on the main characters. There are no distractions from the essential plot. I’ve been to her house, seen the stacks of books. She means it.

Which do you prefer? A complex plot, or not? And does it affect your writing, or book buying?
We’d love to hear your opinion.

Thanks again,


Piper Denna said...

Make that 2 big fat book lovers! I adore them, too.

As for the plot, the more twisted and tangled, the better for me, so long as we stick with our main characters' story and how the other plots affect them.

And for the record, your books are JUST RIGHT.

Crystal Kauffman said...

It isn't so much the complex plot I find hard to follow, it's when there's too much to remember and it's not friendly information. Complex can be good, and I love it when it all comes together in the end. Usually it's the sci-fi or futuristics that are so complex, and what I don't like are strange names that are hard to read, that I couldn't pronounce if I tried to say them out loud.

Sutton Fox said...

Thanks, Piper. I believe it's because I have a terrific group of CP's. They aren't afraid to tell me to kick the story up a notch. Glad you could stop by.

Sutton Fox said...

I agree, Crystal. A difficult to pronounce name will jerk me out of the story right away. Especially if the author doesn't give any type of pronunciation clues. Grrr. If the storyline is very complex, it makes for better reading if the names are uncomplicated. Thanks for taking the time to stop by!

Maya said...

I confess to loving both. A short thin book for a quick fix and a big fat one when I want the escapism to last longer. I've just finished two fat books in a row, Anna Campbell's Tempt The Devil and Julie Leto's Kiss Of The Phantom. Now I'm back to a skinny, LOL. I love your books and don't agree that there's too much going on!


Nerine Dorman said...

Oh, the more the merrier. Bring on George RR Martin, Jacqueline Carey... Real life IS complicated and I like my fantasy worlds not to have the clean, fuzzy edges in so many standard genre fiction offerings.

Sutton Fox said...

Maya! Thank you for the kind words. It's nice sometimes to read a skinny. Good point, it's rather like having dessert. And I'm a huge fan of dessert. Really great of you to stop by. Thanks!

Sutton Fox said...

Well said, Nerine. I particularly love finding out how another author's characters work out situations. Often times I'm surprised. Which is part of the fun. Thank you posting. I really appreciate it.

MAGGI said...

I like to read a complex plot with plenty of twists that keeps me guessing. Even in a historical, I like a bit of intrigue. And that's what I write. But I have noticed some readers prefer the focus squarely on the developing relationship. Maggi

Sutton Fox said...

For certain, Maggi. It's like both sides of a coin. Well written intrigue will keep me turning pages late into the night. Thanks so much for stopping by.

Jasmine Black said...

I like both. But a good set of secondary characters will make me want to read their own story. So if an author can pull off a good first book with great secondary characters, they have themself a sale on book two. I'll wait for the book to come out and grab it at first chance. For me, if I like a story from an author but there are no sequeal, I may or may not buy the next book. It makes their next book for me a harder sell.

I like both thick and thin. But I guess I like to have the thin books on my Sony ereader. Something I can read in a couple of days. (I'm a slow reader)

Felicity Kates said...

The thicker the better for me! I like books with plots that make me think and characters so well rounded they seem like old friends by the time the story is done. If I can't put it down and I'm sad to say goodbye by the time I reach the end, then I'm happy. "Thin" books just don't do it for me. Your books are great!

Cathy M said...

Hi Misty, just popped in from the Raven Vampire group to say hi. I tend to read stories with complex plots, in longer lengths, with the main focus still the h/h romance. I'm with Felicity, the best stories are the one's you can't bear to end.