Wednesday, 11 July 2012

How to become a millionaire novelist, Part 1: The Love Triangle

I'm writing a series of posts on my blog on how to make millions by writing novels. Note with minimal effort and intelligence, because this satire shows you need not work your mind so hard to become obscenely rich. Hence I will not quote extensively from George Eliot, Anthony Trollope and other more cerebral authors. In this hypothesis we will assume most readers are of negligible intelligence and taste. Our target audience will be female, because they make up a substantial number of readers, and the whole point of this article is how to suck as much money from gullible people as possible, not how to please masculine readers.  Enjoy! :)

Rule number one: always put in a love story. It is easy to write and if you're inexperienced why there are so many examples in the market.   Most readers do not care for political satire or industrial riots. Avoid writing the relationships of already married people for best results. There is nothing less romantic than an unhappy quarrelling old married couple. The whole point of a love story in today's fiction is the uncertainty of it all, the thrill of youth, the raging hormones of a teenage protagonist ...

An example would be Twilight and Fifty Shades. By the way never forget to put in a love triangle. Readers love complicated plots, so long as it doesn't involve politics and existential crises. The love triangle must always consist of 2 men and one woman, not vice versa, because readers of romance are usually female. It's important you pander to their fantasies of being loved by 2 different men at the same time. Traditionally the girl would be all out for the popular jock/alpha male and the nerd/less attractive male worships her from afar. Only for her to realise the man she loved was a jerk and she gets together with the nerd. This formula is now out of fashion. The new love triangle features not one, but TWO sexually desirable men. One of them is intelligent, rich, white and successful (Edward Cullen, Christian Grey) and the other is Native-American or Hispanic (Jacob Black, Jose Whatshisname) - I suppose because they're supposed to be "exotic" - working- or lower-middle class, but charming and masculine. The former is of course the one the heroine ends up with. All the main characters are young and still at high school or college, because they are supposed to be physically desirable and ardent as well as simple to understand. The guy the heroine is in love with is supposed to be aloof and sought by all straight females, unlike the other guy who is talkative and charming and more normal.

Why not, you may ask, two intelligent aloof men, both above the heroine? Well, women readers want it both ways. Everyone wants to marry a wealthy, educated man because it raises your social status and everyone will be so jealous of you. On the other hand some of these men can be rather aloof and have a troubled past, and they would be over-courteous to the raging-hormone female. What women do fantasise about is a swarthy muscular youth who can force his rude, untamed passions upon them ... whereas the gentlemanly suitor would refrain out of respect.

The two men will be fighting constantly for the heroine and be willing to die for her. She may have a hard time choosing but will see the advantage of a heavy purse and choose the wealthy suitor.

Regarding the dynamics of the relationship: the whole point is to tease and tantalise the reader into fancying the pants off the wealthy suitor. He will only be obsessed with her and her only, and the relationship will either be chaste or monogamous. Other men will be immediately struck off the equation because it is clear they are truly destined for each other, despite the fact he is an over-stalking domineering boyfriend with no heed for her wishes.  Readers like to know who to champion for. It's the certainty of the relationship's success that is compelling. So no inconveniently starving Marxist artists in the garret, no struggling scholar.

For a funnier version, see Draco and Vampire in Tara Gilesbie's My Immortal. Draco is a sensitive soul, Vampire less so (but being handsome, with red eyes and black spiky hair) and being even more promiscuous. But it is Draco who is Enoby's real boyfriend, since he was her first. Yes, the first boyfriend will win in the end. Even though Bella does fancy Jacob afterwards she gets back with Edward, her first.

Do not by any means spare any description, especially in superlative phrases, of the hero.

In my hypothetical story example, let us consider 25-year-old Christopher Blue, vampire, Harvard graduate, art collector and billionaire. He obtained first-class honours at university, listens to Bach, and speaks Latin and ancient Greek. He has exciting bronze-coloured  hair and cold blue eyes. His build reminds one of Thor and Zeus and all the Greek Gods worth mentioning. He runs a chiselled hand through his marbled hair, showing highlights of  gold, auburn, copper and various other striking metals to the audience. Until he met Aphrodisia Iron, he had no notion of love, his idea of affection consisting of tempering the bottoms of wide-eyed brunettes with a mop of twigs. He has a troubled childhood, since DNA tests have proven he is the illegitimate son of Hitler (never mind the fact Hitler died in 1945, novelists are never accurate). He was adopted by a kindly doctor and his wife, who gave him a cushioned life that never cured him of his deep depression and misery. Unfortunately he was bitten by a vampire, making him even more emo than he was. His hobby is devouring the blood of young pale-skinned brunettes and leaving them to die.  Though he longs to drink the blood of innocent Aphrodisia he cannot bring himself to do it without her consent, instead making her sign a contract to enable him to do so. He never brings himself to the sucking really and contents himself with reading the poetry of Byron. Until Aphrodisia came into his life, he never indulged in ordinary intercourse, preferring more kinky alternatives too steamy to be mentioned. He probably resembles Lord Byron as well. After he was betrayed by a woman (his incestuous half-sister) he could never fall in love again till Aphrodisia entered his life. He is distant, aloof and incapable of forming meaningful friendships with any woman except Aphy. In the end he acquires an academy catered for wannabe sadomasochists, which is a booming industry thanks to a certain series of novels by E.L. James.

On the other hand we have Juan Tenorio, an athletic smooth-talking, impetuous werewolf oozing with charm. He woos women by grappling them, unlike the more restrained Christopher Blue. He has little notion for High Art, but he is more open, friendly and likeable than CB. Women don't go all out for him the same way as he isn't rich or educated. Still, he's very popular and has many female buddies.  He is in love with Aphrodisia, thinking she is wonderful, refined and above him.  He kickboxes, wrestles, goes scuba diving, etc. Still he remains loyal to Aphrodisia, hoping she'll change her mind due to physical attraction.  Has an unfortunate propensity for wandering around everywhere without his shirt and trousers. For some strange reason he doesn't fancy the women who want him.

2 comments:

  1. lol. I just cringe that both of those popular novels (which I've never read nor plan on doing so) are set within Washington state! Has either author even lived here?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nope. Stephanie Meyer is from Utah I think and E.L. James is British. Apparently EL James puts in British slang like "I'll ring you" which is totally anachronistic in the US.

      Delete