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  1. Nairda
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    Nairda New Member

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    Help with plot points in romance story

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Nairda, Mar 30, 2010.

    I've been reviewing a romance book my wife wrote, and I think I've been looking at it too long. I need some third-party feedback. I edit for a living, but I've never edited fiction before, so I'm not so good at dealing with plot holes. My focus has always been on spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

    OK, here goes ...

    Basic premise: Drummer in a famous band has a stalker. He falls for a woman who catered one of the band's shows. (She and her business partner/best friend are both lifelong friends of the singer's girlfriend.) They talk on the phone while he's on tour, they develop romantic feelings, he comes to see her after the tour, and they have a whirlwind fling. They both feel like they're falling in love, but being from different worlds, they don't think it would ever work.

    Singer and his girlfriend get married, and Drummer and Caterer attend the wedding together, along with Caterer's business partner. Wedding is held at Drummer's house. Drummer and Caterer declare their love for each other and vow to find a way to be together. But Drummer finds a threatening note the day of the wedding from his stalker, saying "I saw you with her. I thought we had something special. She took what's mine and I won't allow that."

    Drummer freaks out and sends Caterer and business partner back home the next day while Drummer stays behind to "take care of some business," not wanting Caterer to worry about Stalker. He thinks she'll be safe as long as they're apart. He gets the band's manager to hire an investigator to find Stalker.

    While they're apart, Caterer's bakery burns down, and her business partner is injured in the fire. Drummer flies to see her and takes the blame, assuming it was Stalker. She's livid that he didn't tell her about the note from Stalker and tells him she never wants to see him again.

    Caterer later finds out the fire was an accident -- faulty wiring. She feels terrible for jumping to conclusions but is convinced Drummer would never want to see her again, after the harsh things she said to him when she sent him away. Meanwhile, Drummer is confronted by Stalker, who turns out to be a (male!) associate of the manager. Stalker almost kills Drummer before the investigator walks in on the confrontation and kills Stalker first.

    Drummer goes to the hospital with a severe gunshot wound to the shoulder. Caterer sees this on the news, flies to the hospital to be by his side, and asks for his forgiveness for turning him away. They declare their love for each other and live happily ever after.

    Now, here's where I'm stuck.

    - The threatening note shows up hours before the wedding. If Drummer is that concerned for Caterer's safety, is it realistic to think he wouldn't say anything just so he didn't worry her? They're still giddy over each other during the wedding, they go dancing, they head off to his bedroom for a steamy sex scene ... and it's only afterward that he says he can't go back home with her the next day as he'd planned. I think he should at least be casting nervous glances over his shoulder during the wedding, or asking their manager to hire a plain-clothes cop to watch over the wedding.

    - Caterer is upset that Drummer didn't tell her about the potential threat to her life, but she doesn't seem to be worried at all about another attack from Stalker (remember, at first, for all she knows, Stalker burned down her bakery). She also never tells the police about Stalker, having already filed her report before she finds out Drummer's suspicion. I put myself in Caterer's shoes, and I think (1) I'd be furious at Drummer that I now have to look over my shoulder all the time, wondering what Stalker is going to do to me next; (2) I'd be on the phone with the police in a heartbeat, asking for protection; and (3) I would never want to see Drummer again, even if I did find out he'd been wounded in a shooting by Stalker and that Stalker was now dead.

    - Stalker turns out to be the limo driver who drove Caterer (and Caterer's business partner) to the airport after Drummer sent her home for her own safety. Wouldn't Stalker take advantage of that situation to "have an accident" with the Caterer?

    My wife's POV is that Caterer wouldn't be worried about Stalker, because if Stalker followed Drummer that closely, Stalker would know that Caterer and Drummer weren't together anymore and would therefore leave her alone. My wife also says Caterer would be too busy attending to her business partner's recovery to think about Stalker. (Caterer was sick and had gone home early the day of the bakery fire, and now she feels guilty for leaving her partner alone in the store.) My wife also says Caterer doesn't go to the police because that would damage the story's timeline: An arson investigation would drag out too long, and we need Caterer to find out the fire was an accident before Drummer gets shot, which happens about a week after they split up. As for Stalker being alone in the limo with Caterer, my wife thinks Stalker would have just been happy getting Caterer out of the way (i.e. on an airplane and miles away from Drummer).

    I know this is a lot to read, but there's really a sweet story in here, and my wife is very proud of what she's done. I just need some help figuring out if the plot points that bother me also bother anyone else, and if so, how to work through them.

    Thanks for your input.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Celebrities get crank threats all the time, so he has no reason to take it seriously or to worry Caterer needlessly. Why ruin the wedding over one more random nut with no life? Basically, he doesn't think the threat is real. Maybe something about the note makes him rethink it later, that maybe this isn't the usual emotionally-crippled fan.

    When the fire inspectors don't consider the fire suspicious, Caterer decides she was letting her imagination get to her, so she pushes her fears aside (that is also called whistling in the graveyard - it's human nature).

    Stalker may have something else in mind for caterer that precludes him from acting during the limo ride. Or maybe something got in the way of the opportunity, like a potential witness or a fear that he was being watched by the police at that time.

    These are just some possibilities without knowing the story details. You and your wife should be able to toss ideas back and forth and invent complications to plaster over such plot holes.
     
  3. Nairda
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    Nairda New Member

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    Thanks, those are some good ideas.

    The drummer would be worried about the threat, though, because he got notes from the stalker after every show on their tour (all 200 of them), and they slowly escalated from flattering and innocuous to more personal and, finally, vaguely threatening ("I love you and you will love me"). Drummer didn't do anything about it, because he figured once the tour ended, so would the notes. But when a note showed up threatening the love of his life, at his house, after the tour was over, he knew he had to do something about it.

    BTW, he knows they're all from the same stalker because all the notes arrive with a dozen red roses. When my wife started writing this book, she asked me, "Would anybody ever send flowers to a guy?" :)

    I've been tossing out ideas to her, and she's been very receptive to them. It's just that everything I come up with seems to put us back at a dead end. Or maybe not ... which is why I thought I'd come on here and look for some feedback.

    My first thought was to have Caterer overhear a conversation the day after the fire between her business partner and a cop, who says the fire doesn't look suspicious. That would keep her from running to the police with her concerns, although she might still be worried about what Stalker might do until the final fire marshal's report comes back. But then I got thinking that she wouldn't withhold crucial information from the authorities like that. She's a very earnest character, and I can't see her doing that.

    This is why I could never write fiction. I'd nitpick myself to death.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    So maybe he thinks he knows who the stalker is, or the police have picked up a suspect, so he thinks she is safe for the time being, and he'll tell her after the wedding and honeymoon.
     
  5. Nairda
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    Nairda New Member

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    ^^^ We just worked that one out, actually. Instead of having Drummer ask Manager for a plain-clothes cop for the wedding, Manager is going to ask if Drummer wants to bring in a cop, but Drummer says no: This place is locked down like a fortress and I know everyone here. Plus, they don't want to do anything that could turn the wedding into a media circus. Amazing what a few lines of dialogue can achieve ...
     

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