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Celebrate Romance
Discussion Groups

On the bottom of this page you will find an explanation of how the discussion groups take place. First this year's topics:

TSTL Heroines: TSTL is an acronym that started online and stands for Too Stupid To Live. Harsh, perhaps, but she's someone we've seen in movies and books for umpteen years. Thos character goes alone into dark alleys after being warned of danger, explores dark basements when hearing strange noises, rides a particular stallion after being warned it's "got the devil in him". Or, if we're talking personality, this character allows things to happen to her, to be manipulated by the evil stepmother, spoiled sister, or evil uncle.

This heroine may just be courageous, has experience in dealing with villains and horses, or is kind and sharing. But in the final analysis, she may still be TSTL. So where do you draw the line? When is she adventurous vs foolhardy, spunky vs just-out-to-prove-something, good vs spineless?

Editing: One consistent discussion topic online perceived gaps in editing. How does the editing process work, anyway? How many times is one manuscript handled, and by whom? Who makes corrections on usage, grammar, misspelling, sentence structure? Why aren't some errors caught, or if they are, why do they still show up in the final product?

One example of a gap is not catching "a repeated action". In one paragraph a character is said to "stand up from the sofa" and, maybe, engage in some dialogue. In the next paragraph, this character is "rising from the sofa" [again] and, maybe, exiting the room in a huff. Some readers are pulled out of the story at this point, and spending time in rereading the first paragraph to see if maybe they missed the part where the character sat back down again. Other examples of missed editing items also exist. Is there a more foolproof way of catching these?

Plot devices that drive you crazy: This was a popular topic at an earlier CR; revisiting it gives our newbies a chance to share their insights. Certain plot devices, some as old as time, need to be retired, or so many readers think. A good example is the Big Misunderstanding. Hero thinks she's got no morals because she's friendly to all the ranch hands, so he treats her like dirt. The heroine (in the next book) thinks he's two-timing her because she spies him hugging some other lady, so she jilts him and starts running around with his best friend. In both cases, the grief could have been avoided with communication and, oh yes, trust. Right?

What other forms of the BM make you nuts? What other types of plot devices lead to wallbangers?

Additional panel (at 4:15, after start of Book Trade, in adjoining room):

Romantica, or erotic romances, is an increasingly visible subgenre of Romance. Detractors say it veers too far from a story's romantic elements, and verges on soft pornography with a skimpy relationship story. Others view it as a relationship story as per the definition of a Romance, just with more explicit physical elements. What do you think -- when does it cross the line from a being a romance with heated love scenes to not being quite recognizable as a romance?

How the discussion groups work (not applicable to "Additional Panel", which will be stationery):

Authors will concentrate on their chosen topic (sign-up instructions at bottom), and will move from one reader group to the next.

Readers will stay in one designated room or area; because the authors "bring their topic with them", readers will have the opportunity to express their opinions on all three topics during the afternoon.

Discussions are given 55 minutes on the schedule; authors should then allot five minutes as "traveling time" to the next group. Introductions are certainly encouraged at the start of each session, with the topic discussion to begin immediately afterward.

The panel leader will be responsible for keeping time, and keeping the discussion on topic.

Author sign-ups:
First three topics: Choose a topic from those listed (does not include the "Additional Panel"). Also choose an alternate topic; I will need this in case the panel for your first choice is already full. A lead person for each panel is also needed, if you are interested.

Email me with your two choices (and lead desirability, if desired). Panels (and leads) will either be announced in a later newsletter, or will be on a list at CR2003.

Additional panel: This is open to everyone, and will be held in one room. Lead will be announced.

Note: As far as preparing for panels, nothing formal needs to be done, or written. Simply have in mind questions you might want to direct to the readers. Remember, these are not workshops but rather discussion groups, meant for the exchange of ideas.

Authors: Email cr@lanset.com with topic choices.