Round Robin

Most novels have an easily understood point to make to the reader, do your stories ever have more subtle or intuitive themes?

This month’s question contains an assumption – Novels have an easily understood point.

I’m not 100% sure that they do. Occasionally you’ll read a novel where the author constantly reminds you of the hero or heroine’s reason for being unlovable/depressed/hyper and very irritating they are. My preferred read is one where it slowly becomes clear that the hero or heoine struggled through a difficult or inadequate childhood or relationship or period of employment.

In my early work there were one or two characters whose inadequate childhood consisted of being given too much. Having no boundaries can be as difficult to surmount as having too many, I think.

Daisy in Daisy’s Dilemma is one such. She wants to marry John Brent and when he falls into her hands discovers, actually, that would be a great mistake. It’s the discovering she’d be in the wrong that makes Daisy’s story.

Coming up to date, my most recently published novel is contemporary and it deals with less flighty issues – bankruptcy, alcoholism and a life’s passion (for cooking). Here, I would agree I’m making use of subtlety and intuition. Why did Rosalie fall under Steve’s spell? She discovers why when she sees how he brings savvy businesswoman, Agnes, into line, too.

I think when you’re writing romance the reader might expect either a happy ever after or a happy enough for now – and I don’t disappoint on that score. The journey, however, does contain those more subtle and intuitive themes. Mariah (of Mariah’s Marriage now available in some libraries) has a strong social consceince and fights to save her apparent enemy from domestic abuse by her brother. It’s the below the surface themes that add colour and depth to characters.

My fellow authors, below, also have thoughts on this subject and you may like to read theirs.


Connie Vines

Judith Copek
Diane Bator
Fiona McGier

Dr. Bob Rich

Victoria Chatham
Helena Fairfax
Rhobin L Courtright


14 thoughts on “Round Robin

  1. Excellent point that when a writer bashed you over the head with a theme, the heavy handed lecture can put the reader off. Also true that the more subtle lessons are the ones that add flavor and depth to the story.


  2. Our stories would be pretty boring if all that happened was that character A meets character B, they fall in love, get married, and live HEA. The subtle themes are the actual reality bits, that make the characters come to life, and make the readers care about them. That’s the true story.


  3. Hi Anne, I like how you say that readers expect a happy ending with a romance. We know basically what’s going to happen, and yes, it’s the journey that’s the fascinating thing and that keeps us turning the pages, and the themes that add depth. I enjoyed this topic, and reading everyone’s take on it.


  4. I like your point about not bashing your reader over the head with a much-beleagured point. I have just read a book that did exactly that. Had I not personally known the author and promised to read I would have given up after the first fifteen to twenty pages.


  5. Totally agree that most readers prefer a more subtle approach and don’t like to be bashed over the head with a theme. Theme should be woven into the story just enough to make it apparent over time, not blatant.
    Sorry so late to comment. Issues with my blogging software. Cheers!


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