I attended an agent/editor panel at Nationals where one of the agents said she’d request a particular manuscript because it had a Special Ops hero even though there were issues with the query letter. She said it just goes to show you how subjective some of this stuff is. Makes sense, agents and editors are readers too.
So I was trying to think of storylines and situations I particularly like as a reader.
1) Geek comes into his/her own
Hello 80s! John Cusack, hold up that stereo in the rain and cue the musical montage.
I just finished Under His Spell, a Harlequin Blaze by Kathy Lyons. I just can’t tell you how satisfying it was to see the hero Jimmy Ray, the quintessential shy geek, meet his old high school crush again as an ultra-ripped, successful, yet still endearingly vulnerable grown man. The book was pure fantasy. Late night sundaes at the greasy spoon. Finding out the guy next door is now a hottie and he’s been in love with you all this time. *sigh*
2) Teacher finds love
I just adore it when the heroine has to grade a stack of papers or stay late to work on school stuff. It is hard dating while teaching. Practically impossible.
I recently read Kristan Higgins’ Too Good to be True and loved how the history geek of a school teacher with the hair that won’t behave finds love. I used to marvel at the women who still looked good after a day of work, because at the end of a day, my suit was wrinkled, my hair was a mess, and I probably had dry-erase marker smudges on my face. It’s awfully nice to find a guy who can still look at you and find you attractive after a day in the teaching trenches. On top of that, this is one of the few books where I kept on busting out laughing. My husband had to ask me if I was okay.
For me, these are very real situations and characters with concerns and insecurities that don’t have to be larger than life and over-dramatic to make me care. Not all conflicts are life and death and not all goals have to revolve around saving the world.
And fine. Since I was both a high school nerd and a science teacher, they’re Mary Sue-type situations for me. *sticks tongue out*
What scenarios really speak to you and why?