This Time I’m Doing It Backwards

A backwards clock.
© Can Stock Photo / ajt

While I may not be a formula writer, there are still certain rules for basic plot structure which all fiction writers must follow. A protagonist is trying to achieve a certain goal. An antagonist gets in their way. This creates the conflict that drives the story. The conflict builds to a climax, followed by a conclusion. This is the tonal scale for a novel writer, regardless of the genre. In my genre, contemporary romance, the expected conclusion is for the couple to end up married, or engaged, or to end the story in such a way that readers can expect them to make a commitment at a later time .

My first three contemporary romance novels, The Reunion, The Deception, and The Journey, all ended with the lead characters getting married, or, in the case of The Journey, getting remarried. However, I’ve deviated off course in my latest contemporary romance novel, The Betrayal. This time I did it in reverse.

The Betrayal is the story of a married woman who discovers, in a rather bizarre way, that her husband is cheating on her. Therefore, my protagonist is trying to get herself unmarried. Along the way, she’ll find her true love, but this time the ending is different. Emily, the leading lady, is once again single, and while she and the leading man truly are in love with one another, neither one is ready to make a commitment. The ending leaves the other characters, and the reader, speculating that they will probably marry someday.

I took this path with because I think it’s more like real-life. Divorced people often are gun shy about remarriage. I also think readers like variety. I know I do as a writer, and having all my characters go up the aisle at the end of each novel gets redundant over time. 

Look for The Betrayal to be released later this summer.

Marina Martindale

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