Thursday, March 27, 2014

Dynamic Beginnings

I'm so excited to be participating my first Spanking Round Table Discussion. Thank you, Lucy Appleby for hosting this week's discussion! We have a great group of authors and bloggers today. Please feel free to take off your pants, make yourself comfortable, and see what everyone has to say. 

Today the topic is Spanking Romance; The importance of dynamic first chapters, opening paragraphs, and narrative. 

What I have to say I believe stands true for all books, delicious spanking romance very much included. I'll be coming at this from the readers stand point, since, well know. I'm a reader. 

I believe books are like sex and we readers want to be wooed.

There are a lot of fish in the sea.

The cover. The blurb. That's all bait to get us readers in the door. It's just a pick up line. Once we have the sample, we need to feel the chemistry.  If a story doesn't show signs of having a pulse and a personality within the first few paragraphs, what's keeping that reader from deleting that sample and moving on? We readers will know if we feel that chemistry within the first few paragraphs. If the reader is hooked to the first few paragraphs the kissing and heavy petting begins. But only if we find something compelling enough to see what the writer has in store for us.

Is the book quirky and off beat? Am I laughing? Was it the best of times? Was it the worst of times? Is my pulse pounding in terror? My heart breaking in sorrow?

What's the pull?

Whatever it is, make sure that's the first impression I get. If the book is going to be funny, make sure it's doubly so starting off.  

Grab me, reel me in with those first few paragraphs.Get me involved, make me intrigued. Then set the pace, but keep me on the hook. Whether it's going to be fast and hard or a slow seduction, I'm now opening myself to the possibilities. Keep me on the line. This you do with the narrative.

The narrative gives us a clear picture of what's going on, where the story is coming from. Those first chapters set the pace to how things are going to play out. The narrative sets the tone and gets us, the reader, involved. We're meeting the characters. What's our first impression? I believe this is especially important in Spanking Romance because the writer must create a spanking friendly setting or a punishable heroine that is also likable. When I read, historical romance, When A Lady Misbehaves by Michelle Marcos, I 1.wished it were a spanking fiction, and 2. adored the lying, punishable heroine. She's a bad girl and I loved her from the very first page. I loved her enough to remember her seven years after reading the book!

On the other side of that, if a heroine is too affable, too sweet sunshine and roses, the hero is in danger of looking like a nit picky asshole. When reading a spanking fiction I always ask myself, is this a man I want to be spanked by? Those first meetings with the characters are important.

Through the narrative we find out if we want to know the characters better. We find out if we want to read their story.

Every book is a blind date. I sometimes have low expectations when opening a sample. Honest. Everyone has that friend that tells you there's a book you just have to check out. Online recommends are everywhere. Every e-site out there has a recommend list.
We're recommending blah because you bought blah blah. 
I'm always wondering what I'm going to find. I'm always wondering if I will like the characters. Will I be a spectator or will I find the characters relate-able? Emotions are expressed. Voices are raised. Feeling can and should be invoked through the narrative. Concern, humor, fear, arousal, longing. All the things that can trip our triggers.

And we want our triggers tripped.


Sometimes I will find the plot contrived, but if I love the characters and the telling of the story I'm more likely to forgive the things in the story I didn't like.

We are in the age of instant gratification and constant stimuli. We need an appealingly dynamic beginning. If those first few chapters aren't persuasive enough, we readers are going to walk out the door and never look back. Those first few chapters are our foreplay. Give us a reason to take off our pants.  

Hell, make us want to rip off our pants and fling them across the room. Make us want to bend over the side of a couch and take it like a good girl. Make us want to explore things we never knew we craved.

Figuratively speaking of course. Unless the story is going to be hot and dirty. In which case the pants ripping and flinging stands. 

Once the pants are off, we're committed to seeing things through. We'll be panting for more. We wont just want to buy the book, we'll need to buy the book. We'll need to know how things play out. We'll be dying to know if all that build up meets our expectations or leaves us disappointed.

We'll be invested in the outcome of the story.

Not only that, we'll see potential in the author. We'll remember that special something that drew us to that author in the first place. I once read a book, by a spanking romance writer, that was full of potential. I bought it because of that potential. The book ended up being just okay, but I gave that author another shot, because of that special something. I've now bought, and greatly enjoyed, quite a few of her books. All because of how easily I was drawn into that first book that I didn't even really like.

That is the ultimate reason right there. A dynamic beginning shows an author's special something. <-- I guess I could have summed it up with that.

Woo us, win us. Keep us coming back for more.

And remember. A lot of awkwardness in the middle can be forgiven if things start out good and finish great. Leaving your reader positive and happy in the end, goes a long way. But that's a discussion for another day.

Please join the discussion and see what everyone has to say!


  1. This is such a well-written, well-thought-out post. Very helpful to me. "Every book is blind date." Never thought of it quite that way, but you're absolutely right. I have so much to learn and practice if I'm to stay in this thing. Thank you for this post!

    1. I've always thought GR, Amz, and ARe recommend lists seemed a lot like the eharmony, portion of book sites! I'm glad you enjoyed my post and got something helpful from it! Write on!

  2. I love all the wooing quotes! And I agree with Sheri, I like getting a reader's perspective on what you want to read.
    It's good to know you will forgive a story if the beginning are end are good. I think I am the same. If I love the characters and it has a good ending, I will forgive lots of things! Great insight :)
    Thanks for joining us and I hope to see you again at the Round Table!

  3. I love that you invited us to take off our pants and get comfortable. That was great :) I love that you saw potential in an author and gave her another try. We're not perfect coming into this and I'm not sure we ever really get there but that's really good to know.

    Yes on getting us hooked but then keeping us on that hook is key - it's fiction and things move faster in fiction than in real life and I know for myself, if a story has me, I'm willing to forgive some things or suspend my own disbelief because they've got me invested in the book and I want to know the outcome. This was a good post - really good to hear from the reader. Especially when invited to take our pants off first. :)

    1. Reading is so much like dating!! Of course I'm going to give an author another shot. :) Just because the first date didn't go so well, doesn't mean their wasn't something special there. Now, I've had some first dates where I knew I didn't want to see that author ever again, but if there's a spark, what harm is it to try one more date. And if the second date goes poorly... Well, there're other readers in the sea for that author. We weren't meant to be. :D

      I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Please remember when reading my blog, pants are never required!!

  4. Thanks Aubrey, that's fantastic. "Every book is a blind date." I love that - we either keep reading and go the whole hog, or we ditch it and go look for something better.

    Ahem... I think I might leave my pants off for a little longer :)

  5. You are a beautiful writer. Thank you so much for joining spanking round table today-- that was such an eloquent post and I agree with it all!

  6. I very much enjoyed your post. I'm taking a romance writing class and plan on sharing your post with the instructor. The topic (though not the genre... which is solely mine in the class LOL) we have discussed before.
    Thank you for an excellent post. One I will be sure to save and look at in the future. :)

    1. Always love to hear my post is getting shared (for positive reasons). :) Good luck with your romance writing!

  7. God I love this post. You said it all right here. Woo us & make us want to take off our pants. Perfect!