Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Dead Husbands and Other Romantic Plot Devices

I mentioned briefly (maybe more than once, in more than one forum) that I use alot of dead husbands in my writing.  I have four semi-outlined and/or embryonic WIPs, and I started three of them with a widowed heroine.  What's up with that?  On one hand, it could be that I can get pretty fed up with my own hubby, and this is a not so subliminal message about a need for couple's therapy.  On the other hand, it may be that I am too conservative to have a divorced heroine, or (gasp) one who's had a child out of wedlock.  Because, God help me, I have alot of children, too.  On the third hand, I think it's easy to have unresolved issues with dead people, and there is nothing more compelling than a character with issues. 

Anyway, I've managed to trade one dead husband in for a comatose brother, and put the husband in jail (because I can't get rid of the cute kid, and besides, the convict ex-husband provides alot of good issue material), and another dead husband might just become a dead father.  I think I'll keep the third one, because he was a real dipwad, and he deserves to be dead. 

My hero, Suzanne Brockmann, has taken some similar situations and rewritten them, which I find really cool, because, well, she's my hero and she does a good job.  She's got the alcoholic actor (Hearthrob, and Robin Chadwick in the Troubleshooters series), the guy who thinks he's too old (The Admiral's Bride, and Max and Gina in TS).  Of course, seems to know what she's doing, and has written more than one story in between her similar situations. 

What kinds of things does everyone else find themselves repeating?  Themes?  Characters?  Circumstance? 

By the way, I don't often wish my husband dead.  I have gone the whole, "what if?" a time or two, where I realize that I don't know the password to our online banking account, and have no idea where the key to the safe deposit box is.  So I'll be following those paranoid fantasies along for the dipwad dead husband story.   


  1. Dysfunctional families. I'm not going to touch that one. Mommy issues. Also not going to touch that one.

  2. I write Regencies and I have a weakness for the forced engagement plot. This year I had a Regency bad boy character in my NaNo story and he was so much fun to write that I can see me littering future stories with more bad boys.

    Maybe you can mix things up with an ex-boyfriend who was a jerk instead of the dead husband who was a jerk. Just a suggestion.

  3. everybody has a core story that somehow manages to show up in our writing whether we like it or not and I think you just found yours.