The Query Process - experience mine first hand.
*Chants* I can do this, I can do this, I can do this.

Welcome to my personal space of hell. Usually I write about things I'm comfortable with. Things I'm good at. Tricks that help me. I rarely expose myself in this manner, but for the sake of your journey, I'm offering you a special insight to mine.

Here's the query I've been working with:

Blood. The sprays of red liquid across his kitchen floor is only there to haunt him. The seventeen year old arrogant womanizer, Bryce Bourbon, is forever changed after his parents were shot and killed before his helpless hands. Finding out their murderer was no human, instead a demon, Bryce becomes desperate for power.

He accepts his one-way ticket to the Abyss. Far from being home sweet home, the war academy for elemental-wielding assassins teaches him the one thing he continues to live his life for: Revenge. Obsessing over the new found powers, Bryce masters every element and chemical equation given. In the process, he learns he can conduct Aether, a power much like an atomic bomb, only one person has been fabled to manipulate: the devil.

After accidentally utilizing Aether, visions of murders, rape, child molestation, and religious manipulation overcome Bryce. Insanity corrupts him once he realizes these aren't just glimpses into the past, they are memories from his previous life as Lucifer. Plagued by the horrid sins he once committed, Bryce is determined to obliterate more than the imp that killed his parents; he yearns to slaughter every demon.

What he doesn't calculate is the web of fiends stretches beyond his imagination. They are political leaders and religious figures planted across the Earth, plotting World War III.
Stopping the vile beings from painting the world with blood isn't his only worry. Bryce must balance the destructive, unstable power of Aether. Using this magic brings him closer to who he was. He must resist the seduction of sin Aether forces him to crave before he becomes the evil he's fighting against.
First off, just looking at it, I can tell it's way too long. Here's my first edit with personal thoughts and feedback from others.

Blood. The sprays of red liquid across his kitchen floor is only there to haunt him. [Feedback told me this was too much cheesy imagery. Very rarely do I go against feedback, but this is how I write. This is a slight insight to how I write. After much thought, I decided to keep it.] The seventeen year old arrogant womanizer, Bryce Bourbon, is forever changed [Weak verb. He needs to be doing action, not having action done to him.] after his parents were shot and killed before his helpless hands. [Feedback said drop "before his helpless hands." I'm on the fence about it. I'll make a decision next edit.] Finding out their murderer was no human, instead a demon, Bryce becomes desperate for power. [Add: power strong enough to...]

He accepts [weak verb] his one-way ticket [cliche phrase] to the Abyss. Far from being home sweet home, [cliche phrase] the war academy for elemental-wielding assassins teaches him the one thing he continues to live his life for: Revenge. Obsessing over the new found powers, Bryce masters every element and chemical equation given. [Given is confusing. Change.] In the process, he learns he can conduct Aether, a power much like an atomic bomb, only one person has been fabled to manipulated: the devil.

After accidentally utilizing Aether, visions of murders, rape, child molestation, and religious manipulation
[Feedback showed people didn't like this too much. Think of something better.] overcome Bryce. Insanity corrupts him once he realizes these aren't just glimpses into the past, [Feedback suggests Bryce would assume they are hallucinations, which he does. I need to re-word.] they are memories from his previous life as Lucifer. Plagued by the horrid sins he once committed, Bryce is determined to obliterate more than the imp that killed his parents; he yearns to slaughter every demon.

What he doesn't calculate is the web of fiends stretches beyond his imagination. They are political leaders and religious figures planted across the Earth, plotting World War III. Stopping the vile beings from painting the world with blood isn't his only worry.
[Feedback suggests I stick to the two plots I have: revenge for parents and controlling aether. I also need to introduce the antag. After taking some time to think, I agree.]Bryce must balance the destructive, unstable power of Aether. Using this magic brings him closer to who he was. [You can tighten this up.] He must resist the seduction of sin Aether forces him to crave before he becomes the evil he's fighting against.

After doing that to myself, I'm suddenly overcome by the horrid memories of my English teacher's obsession. MUST MARK EVERYTHING IN RED. WITH UNDERLINES. AND CAPS. BECAUSE I'M YOUR TEACHER AND MY WORD IS LAW. (But I'm still going to give you an A!)

Remember. Breath. One sentence at a time. I've been edited and reworked about 5 of these, roughly four hours. My eyes are goosh (yes, I just made up a word). I'm not sure if I could spot good writing from bad at this particular moment, so I'm going to call it a night with this thing. Here's where I ended up. I'm debating if I should put it up for criticism or give it a day or two to see what I think later on. Hmmmm. Decisions.

Blood. The sprays of red liquid across his kitchen floor haunts the helpless seventeen year old, Bryce Bourbon. With his parents' dead, Bryce attempts to kill Becca, the sadistic demon who murdered his family, but fails.

Desperate for enough strength to knock the mocking grin off Becca's face, he abandons the comforts of New York to go to a hidden city in the Philippines, the Abyss. Despite Bryce's accident-prone nature, the war academy successfully trains him as an elemental-wielding assassin. With avid experimentation he learns he can conduct Aether, a power much like an atomic bomb, only one person has manipulated before: the devil.

After accidentally utilizing Aether, hallucinations overcome Bryce's mind. Mass genocide. Rape. Torture. The more he uses the wicked magic, the more these nightmares come. When he sees the devil's reflection, Bryce realizes the scenes weren't simple illusions -- they are memories. His memories.

Becca knew who the young boy was the second her eyes fell on him. Killing his parents should have been enough to suppress him, but when she realizes her old home, the Abyss, has enrolled the devil, Becca black mails his friends to turn on him – hoping one will get lucky enough to kill Bryce before he realizes who he is or the power he contains.

With his friends' betrayals and the constant threat behind his explosive power, Bryce must eliminate the treacherous imp before her plans to massacre humanity are carried out. There's one problem: he's becoming the very evil he's fighting against.

I just re-read it for the billionth time, and I have to say, I'm pretty damn happy with it. I was able to work a bit more voice into it than the info-dump-from-hell I had, while keeping the imagery. I think I like having Becca's view too. I'm a bit concerned about the vagueness in the beginning, but I clarify it in the next paragraph. Going to throw it up in Query Letter Hell and see what kind of response I get. Cross your fingers for me. I hope this damn thing works out.
Query - the how to
Get ready for the biggest post that I've ever written.

THE QUERY LETTER (dum.. dum.. dummmm)

Good God, I'm not even sure where to start. I guess I'll start with a bit of inspiration:

This shit sucks. It does. But you've gotta keep working on it. You've done all of the hard stuff. You've written your baby, and you want to get published. If you're anything like me, you want an agent, which means you'll have to focus on a damn good query. Guess what? You can do it.

The most helpful piece of advice is to leave your pride somewhere far, far away from your computer. It's easy to get defensive about your work, which leads to you dismissing some really, really stellar advice.

Why? Because your pride took a shot.

Don't be that person. Be thankful. Take all the advice you can. Depict and understand the advice given.

What do you need before you start your query:

  • A polished, completed manuscript.
  • A list of agent(s) you wish to contact for representation, and their specific submission procedure. Every agent is different.
  • Make sure you have your word count (if it's 72,101 words -- just say 72,000) and genre (don't do that confusing shit: High Fantasy Paranormal Romance...)
  • If you have a previously published book, you need to include the title/publisher/year.

The Query Format:

As per Agent Nathan Bransford (if you have any questions about queries that I failed to answer, this is the #1 place you want to look.)

Dear Blog Readers,

This is how you format an e-mailed query letter. Note that I did not begin with the recipient's address or my address or the date, as that is not customary for an e-mail. I also am not indenting because indenting and e-mails do not mix.

I am using block formatting. I double space between paragraphs but otherwise the query is single-spaced. It is written in a default font, it is left-justified, and the font is a normal size. If I have copied from a word processing program or past e-mail I am careful to make sure the fonts and sizes match. I haven't added pictures or tried to get fancy with anything because I want the agent to see that I'm confident in my words and don't need any gimmicks to make my query stand out.

Believe it or not, less than 25% of the e-queries I receive are properly formatted. While you won't get rejected if your query is incorrectly formatted, if you accomplish this simple task correctly you will convey an indispensable aura of professionalism. And remember: the amount of time you spend formatting, coloring, bolding, italicizing, and adding pictures to your query is inversely proportional to how professional it looks when you're finished.

Nathan Bransford (note that I didn't leave space for a signature since it's an e-mail)

My address
My phone number
My e-mail address
(optional: my website/blog)

Where the hell should you begin with a query?

Here's where shit gets sticky. Please note, queries are much like the English language: exceptions are everywhere.

If you're starting at step one, here's where I suggest you start.

  1. Protagonist - name/short description.
  2. What does your Protag want?
  3. What must your Protag do in order to accomplish this goal?
  4. What happens if your MC fails?
If that isn't your thing, Agent Bransford has a format of his own:

[protagonist name] is a [description of protagonist] living in [setting]. But when [complicating incident], [protagonist name] must [protagonist's quest] and [verb] [villain] in order to [protagonist's goal]
**Realize these are mere skeletons. You'll have to add some meat to those bones.

Okay, I've answered the questions. Now what?

Now you add to it. You want to be aware of a couple things while doing this:

  • Add voice.
  • Get rid of anythinggg vague. If it's slightly confusing, the agent will assume one thing and form their opinion on that one wrong assumption. Why? Because you were vague. It's just not worth the risk.
  • Try not to write flowery descriptions. I'm a sucker for imagery; so I have to remember to keep it short and to the point.
  • Write as well as you can.
  • Let's face it, when we hack our lovely piece of art into a couple short paragraphs, it's going to sound a bit cliche. "Oh, sounds like your average revenge plot." "Oh, sounds like the typical end-of-the-world plot." "Okay.. so boy-meets-girl... and how is this different from anything I've read?" Make sure you add the elements that make your story unique.
Here's the hunk of junk I've come up with. Next!

At this point, I'd go have a margarita. Extra shot of tequila. Or if you don't like margaritas, get a good night's rest. You'll probably ignore that bit of advice and go straight back to work. I did. And I'll tell you, obsessing over this... isn't the smartest thing. I wish I would've had that drink.

Anyway, the next step.

Remember, you're wanting to keep your query around 200-350 words. So you've done one of two things:
  1. Over written
  2. Under written
And no, your word count doesn't have everything to do with this. You could be right on the money at 280 words, and still need to edit.

So, scratch out the crap you don't need. (I suddenly wish I didn't save over my original start with my query..) Here's a quick example:

Every Pirate agent has supernatural powers.[I'd delete this sentence. 1.) I would assume there is something "special" about these agents if you're writing about them. 2.) It isn't about the plot/setting/character.] Some agents stop time, some exercise mind control, others manipulate objects with their thoughts. [Once again delete. I'd rather hear about the main character than a vague group of agents.] So, when the agency [I've seen agent/agency 3 times in 3 sentences. Start finding new words.] receives intel on a mystical ancient document rumored to contain the means for identifying, tracking, and [there have been a bit too much description in the paragraph, especially description in 3s. All the literary agent needs to know is that it enslaves.] enslaving people with these powers, Joe is tasked to retrieve it. [Yay! I see the main character finally!] He knows it’s a big deal. [Delete. It's obviously a big deal.] Terrorists could use the manuscript to brainwash an army of paranormal assassins into killing foreign dignitaries, or to identify and imprison innocents [Once again, description in 3s. You've got to mix up your writing.] with supernatural abilities – people like Joe’s mom. [Oh Oh! That's exciting. Plot twisttt.]
As you can see, it's a well written paragraph. BUT, it still needs to be edited through. Add what needs to be added. Cut what needs to be cut.

While in this editing stage, start making adjustments to your query.

  • Keep it between 200-350 words.
  • Write in 3rd person present tense.
  • Make sure you try to avoid using the same word as much as possible. For example, I talk about killing a lot. So, instead of using kill 200 times. I could say slaughter, murder, obliterate, erase, execute, annihilate, liquidate, massacre, slay. You get the point. The dictionary is big! Use it.
The Pitch

Pat yourself on the back. You're working your way there. For this part, I want you to set your query aside. Focus on this. One sentence to tell your entire story.

I wish I knew the secret to an amazing pitch. In fact, I wish someone was there to tell me exactly what angle would make the best pitch.

Since I am really, really weak in this field, I'll give you links to absolutely wonderful sources that can help you much better than I can.
Nathan's first.
Nathan's second.
Nathan's third (this guy is a saint, isn't he?)
Agent Kristin's first.
Kristin's second.
Kristin's third. (If you go to these links, scroll down towards the bottom of the blog, you'll see Pub Rants: Blog Pitch Workshop. There she has many, many examples that might help you.)

Are you bubbling with excitement yet?

If the answer is no, it means you're not ready to take it to the next step. I'd suggest to set your query aside for 2-3 days. Come back to it later with fresh eyes. If you don't feel better about it then, work from a different angle. Try writing it in first person instead of third. Try writing it with a brand new opening paragraph. Something. Mess around until you see what works for you. Don't. Give. Up.

If your answer is yes, good for you! You think that you have the next best thing. You've worked your ass off, and now you're ready to send it to your dream agents, who will all contact you the next day begging to represent you.


I suggest going to a website to get some feedback from experienced writers.

Write Water Cooler's Query Hell (you must have an account to enter.)

Please remember the first piece of advice when entering. Leave your pride at the door. Accept and analyze all pieces of advice. This is going to sting a bit after all your hard work. Unless you're brilliant. If that's the case, you should be writing this! >:[

After you've gotten that damn thing all shiny, you're finally ready to send it out. I really wish you the best of luck. =)

QUESTION: Are other questions which describe things such as your setting and your character's motivation completely irreverent? (In other words, leave most of the meat off the bone in order to keep the query as short as possible?)
ANSWER 1: A query should tell a story. Your setting and motivation should reflect the needs of the story you're trying to sell. For example, the fact that my protagonist is left-handed isn't normally a big deal. But if I mention that my protagonist is the first southpaw to go squirrel hunting, then being a lefty is a big deal. So setting and motivation matter only for the needs of the story. Another way of looking at this would be what does the setting or motivation matter to your character. If it matters to your character that the story is set in Maine, you mention it. If the same thing would have happened to your character regardless of whether they were in Maine or Mexico, then you probably shouldn't mention it.

ANSWER 2: It depends. If you are telling an agent something they could reasonably be expected to know, or work out, you don't need it in there. If you are telling the agent something which doesn't show them anything about the characters or which isn't mentioned again in the query, you probably don't need it in there either.

ANSWER 3: Not at all. But you have to decide what aspects of that to share that will give the query the best punch. It's all about making the reader/agent want to read the story. Queries read a lot like cover copy, but instead of glossing over the details (so you don't give them away) you give the details to show your story specifics. If your setting is important, use it.

QUESTION: When cutting your story into 300ish words, it's hard, and there are certainly elements you'll have to skip over. I've skipped over a ton of stuff which I would think of as a huge selling point. Is that normal?
ANSWER 1: Yes. You'll see the forest. You need to bring this down to a little twig. And you should be aiming at 200 words for the story, not 300. But if something is actually a selling point, then it should go in the query. The question is what makes you think it really is a selling point? So often what the writer thinks is important isn't. Writing a query needs to be done from a long distance view.

Yup. This is why we begin with the three questions. It's a simple way of working out what the storyline is at its most basic.
What I'm trying to do with mine (which is a LitFic character study whose MC doesn't want anything), is focus on a particular event which happens about a third into the novel. It's not the most important thing in the novel, it's not an original selling point, but it is a good moment to show the shift in relationship between the main chars. It sets up the MCs problem, again, at its most basic. My pedantic soul cries at the marginal innacuracies suggested by my Q, but...this is how Q's are written.
Work out a progression through your story and try writing the Q around it. What happens which you can use to explain things?

Totally. You're not trying to sell the whole book in the query. All you want is for the agent to get intrigued enough to ask to see more. If there's something in there that would really hook them, mention it, but don't feel you need everything. Usually, it's the set up of the book and why it's important. Your inciting event.

QUESTION: My character's personality feels completely left out of my query. Instead, it feels like I'm going to bitch smack someone with the info-dump stick, but if I don't, it'll just be way too confusing. Any suggestions?
ANSWER 1: Yeah. You figure out the one or two words that will nail your character as he or she matters to the query. You learn how to get to the point, instead of slowly meandering your way there. You'll discover that a picture isn't worth a thousand words, when you can show it in ten.

Show, don't tell, even in a Q. Try and get as much voice as you can into it. Have hankies ready to mop up the blood, sweat, tears and beverages you hurl at your screen.

Edit. Yeah, I know, great advice. But seriously, you can get your voice in there if you work at it. That was critical for my query, and I used phrases she used and pretending she was the one telling the query if that makes sense.

Queries that worked!

Attached are a couple links to queries that worked for published authors.

Janice Hardy.
Her agent's take on her query.
A big thread on it.
Nathan's good examples.

And for every great example, Query Shark can give you thousands of bad. Learn from their mistakes. Learn how agents think. And begin thinking like they do.

Urgh.. back... to work on mine. I'll give you examples of my journey on here. Best of luck with yours!

Remember. You can do it.

Inspiration from Agent Natalie Fischer's Blog:
Today, I stumbled across a great blog! It's the blog of agent Natalie M. Fischer. Before I share something that I found absolutely heart warming, let me share that she's having a contest! It's the first contest I've ever decided to enter. Why? Because it looks fun as all get out.

Here's more about the contest if you're interested. For the contest, you'll have to write the WORST QUERY IN THE WORLD.

Be warned, I'm a natural. >:D

Back to the reason I'm posting. Every now and then I come across a tid bit of inspiration. A couple posts down, Natalie shared this. Hope it makes you smile like it did me. =)

I’m going to tell you a little story about a boy named Theodore Geisel (shh, now don’t interrupt if you’ve heard this one). Theodore had written a picture book manuscript called THE HOUSE ON MULBURRY STREET. He shopped it around. He sent it to twenty-two editors and, after that twenty-second rejection, Theodore decided he would go home, shred his manuscript, and give up his dream.

On the way home, he ran into an old friend of his, who had become an editor. His editor friend convinced him to let him see his manuscript. The editor changed the name of the book to THE CAT IN THE HAT, and Dr. Seuss was born.

My mom gave me a print out of this story when I was twelve years old. I tacked it to my wall, next to my computer, and whenever I was in the midst of any sort of “Why do I suck at life, my writing sucks, I should just give up” breakdown, I would look at that printout – and try again.

There used to be a motto of, “you never know – you may be only 35 cents away from that acceptance.” Now, it’s more like, “you never know – you may be just one email away from ‘the call’” – which is totally even more worth it than 35 cents, by the way.

At the end of my senior year of college, I was convinced I wanted to go to grad school to get my PH.D. in English Literature. I spent months preparing, taking tests – and at the end of it all, I was rejected from every school. I was mortified, disheartened, an absolute wreck. I decided I would just “be lost for the rest of my life.” Being lost was ok, right? Lots of people are lost.

In the meantime, the more practical side of my brain tossed out an email to my old internship, asking them to keep me in mind for any openings. No matter what, I’d spent so many years with rejection (in my querying days, I got over 100 rejections, and still kept going) that I’d built up enough of a spine to not give up, no matter what I was mumbling over shots of tequila.

I could have painfully been making my way through THE CANTERBURY TALES – in old English – and writing papers to the light of the midnight oil at this exact same time this year. Instead, I’m rambling on online conferences, building careers, and reading client work to the soft glow of my Mac computer. I couldn’t be happier. I finally realized that the only reason I’d applied to grad school in the first place was because I was terrified of what to do next.

The universe works in mysterious ways. But it always turns out in the best way for YOU. It may not be what you want, or expect, but if you allow it to throw curveballs at you and don’t stomp off the field and demand them to be thrown straight (maybe a sports analogy wasn’t the best way for this princess unicorn to go…), trust me – you’ll be rewarded in the end.

Don’t believe me?

My client, Roseanne Thong, had her manuscript with her editor for six months. Not a peep. A letter arrived from a very lovely librarian, complimenting her last book with Chronicle. Two weeks later we had an offer.

Agent and writer Mandy Hubbard recently tweeted about how she sent out PRADA AND PREJUDICE to twenty publishers, before she completely re-wrote the book from scratch – and got two offers.

These amazing stories are out there because of perseverance. It takes guts to stick it out – but that’s exactly what you have to do if you want to succeed in this business. You are allowed to cry. You are allowed to rant and moan and bitch and scream "Why do I SUCK at LIFE?!"

Just don’t. Give. Up.

Who knows – you may be an email click away from the next story on my blog. ;)
People come to life in your book
Let's face it.

We've all got that one character (or two... or three) who have somehow found a way into our story!

People think it's wrong. Or we're not imaginative enough. Well, here's something for those people: you're wrong.

I always tried to avoid having a character represent somebody because, well, everyone told me you just don't do it. I'm a glutton for following terrible advice.

I saw this little bit of advice given to someone today, and it bothered me. First off, there's no wrong or right way to write a novel. It either works or it doesn't. And if it doesn't, there's bound to be more than one fuck up in it.

So, back to the topic.

As a human being, you're naturally attached to people or things. There are moments and qualities that are irreplaceable in your heart, and that passion comes out in your work. That is nothing to be ashamed of.

One of my favorite characters, Tony Martini, started off exactly how I planned, but as time went on and situations not in the outline occurred, I found out that Tony Martini is a shiny replica of my daddy.

Not everything about him is the same, but the way he cares for people. The way he gives advice. The way he never gives up. The way places all the stress he can on his shoulders so others don't have to worry. He's my father, and I didn't plan it that way!

If you've come across something similar to mine, you'll realize you can't change it. You'll try, but it'll feel like a void. Something will forever be missing with that character.

Now, after having a character evolve into someone I know, if someone asked me if I'd write a character based on someone/something I knew, heck yes I would. And I have!

The dragon in my story has changed dramatically. Let's face it. I love my dragon, and he's not going anywhere. BUT he has to grow with the story, and the way he was, cannot be the way he has to be.

When I first started (his name was Twilly, short for Twilight... but after the book Twilight, I decided I'd have to rename him), Twilly was more of a mentor. Bryce was a young, scared kid at the time, and he needed someone who was confident. Someone to guide him. Twilly was that person.

When I decided to change who Bryce was from top to bottom, well, that meant I had to change Twilly. Twilly could no longer be what I had originally intended him to be.

It was heartbreaking. Really. I sat around for hours thinking of how I was going to make this work. I wasn't getting rid of my dragon dammit!

Then, he came in. The he that I would base my dragon around. Tall, dark, handsome.... what the hell am I saying. He wasn't any of those.

Standing a whole 12 inches tall with nothing but black fluff -- a tail wagging, mouth breather intruded my story.


For those of you who do not know, Pookie is my baby. My little pomeranian.

The only dog in the world I loveeee to hate. He pisses on everything. Bites too much. Wakes me up at 2 am wanting to play. 3 am wanting to play. 4 am wanting to play. 5 am wanting to go outside... to play. He drools. His bark is like a girlish squeal.


That's Pookie. The only bad dog I've ever owned. And the only dog I've ever considered my precious wittle baby.

So, my mentoring, wise dragon suddenly became a fourteen foot Pookie.

I have never, ever had so much fun in my life. So, to answer your question: is it okay to write create a character based around a person?Yes, and you'll be surprised how much fun you'll have with it!
Yes, that's my Pookie-nator. He could only stay still for one photo -.-
What made me decide to write the genre I do?
I am a YA Urban Fantasy writer. That's a big title.

Why YA?
Hi, my name is Alli. I'm apart of the Harry Potter generation. When I first started writing, I wanted to do what KA Applegate and JK Rowling did for me: give me the love to read. I think between video games and TV, we need to give the younger generations a reason to love reading.

Do you realize the generations under me will never, ever twirl their finger in the telephone cord? They've never had a corded phone! They won't use VCRs. They'll laugh when they see superman dressing in a phone booth (Oh mi gawd, what is that?!) They won't remember the AOL sign on sound. Heck, even the "you've got mail" sound.

Anyway, back to the topic. My story evolved from my original intent. But, I've still got a reason to write for the YA crowd. I love quick paced books. I'm not saying I'm a sucker for a 1,000 page novel, but YA books tend to have excitement on every single page. I love feeling like a pinball in a pinball machine.

The endings in YA seem a bit more fairy-taleish. Out of the last fourteen adult novels I've read, none of the endings were satisfying. I'm not sure what it is anymore, but it's like so many writers try and add a shock value at the very end. MC just died. The world exploded. The lovers separated and saw each other walking down the side walk, the end. I really don't get it. You write this entire story, just to say GOTCHA! at the end?

I'll be honest, it's stupid to see a great novel ruined because you thought you'd fish out a tear from my eye. One of my biggest pet peeves is a writer trying to force emotion, when it just isn't there. Write better. Don't use cheap tricks.

As for why I decided to write Urban Fantasy... that one is easier to answer.

I read to escape from my everyday life. Don't get me wrong, I've got a wonderful life, but let's face it, I don't fight dragons. I don't ride off into the sunset with a knight in shining armor. I can't blow my alarm clock up with a fireball in the morning.

When I read, I want to connect to the character. The further the timezone is, the less I can relate. So having a character from this day in age that is able to escape their everyday mundane life to find adventure and story-book love -- that holds a wonderful magic to it. At least it does to me.

There are many styles out there to write. I didn't know mine when I first started, but I'll tell you one thing: when you give it a go, you'll know. Don't get discouraged!
25 types of romantic relationships
More on romance!

Won't you be happy when I get off this? I can't help it. I've somewhat got writer's block. Not that I can't write, but nothing I've written has been good enough for Bryce and Sami. Nothing! So, I write. Erase. Start all over. Research. Look. Think of something. Write. Erase.

It's not a fun marry-go-round. So, in case you ever find yourself in this situation, I'm going to try and get something together to help! I took this from this thread.

1. Love at First Sight
I guess this one describes the typical fairytale/standard romance. Think Disney, The Princess Bride, . Usually, the conflict seems to revolve around a quest or rescue mission. They fall in love fast, but some outside force is keeping them apart rather than tension within the couple.

2. “Oops!”
A strong-willed or career-minded character doesn’t intend to fall in love, and happens upon it by accident… with consequences that could destroy their dreams/career…undercover cop falls for a criminal, tabloid writer falls for subject of trashy interview, ect. (How of Lose a Man in 10 Days, Zoolander, Van Wilder movies)
Often, one character needs to choose between love and their career, or must find a creative way to obtain both!

3. Forbidden Love/"Romeo and Juliet"
This one seems to fall into paranormal romance, human/vampire (Bella and Mr. Sparkles) Sometimes its as simple as simple as a high school jock infatuated with a "nerd" character, or an office relationship, notable age difference, even step-siblings.

4. Love/Hate
The characters start off disliking each other, and we all know what that means!
Examples: Rhett Butler and Scarlet , Han Solo and Princess Leia

5. Childhood Friends
Characters have known each other since childhood. I think of Anne of Green Gables and Gilbert...(though it crosses into love/hate a bit :P
Sometimes the relationship is sweeter and involves a childhood promise. Many anime and romance manga comics feature childhood friends relationships.

6. Best Friends/ Friends First
The characters all ready know EVERYTHING about each other at the beginning of the story. However, something is keeping them from realizing their true feelings. Does anyone remember Dawson's Creek?

7. Rivals/ Protagonist vs. Antagonist
Sometimes this crosses into Love/Hate, sometimes not...I think of Xena and Ares from Xena: Warrior Princess, or if a protagonist character falls for the bad guy/girl.

8. Love Triangle
Pearl Harbor (bleh), Twilight (the whole Bella/Edward/Jacob deal). The main character has to choose between two suitors.

9. "Sorry, I'm Taken"
Usually, this one involves a couple that seems perfect for each other, but one of the subjects already has a nasty/ boyfriend or girlfriend or spouse they can't let go of...
Titanic comes to mind...

10. "In Disguise"
Shakespeare came up with it first (though he came up with most romance tropes, didnt he?) Think of "Twelfth Night" which inspired a variety of movies and books in which a girl character is in disguise as a boy,causing quite the confusion situation for the male love interest! I recommend a fantastic Asian drama called "Coffee Prince" for this one. The "disguise" situation could also happen for "undercover" characters like detectives, reporters, ect.

11. “Different Worlds”
Not necessarily forbidden, but this couple struggles with bridging the gap between their two worlds, sometimes causing friction when they don’t understand each other. The different "world" could be literal in fantasy and sci-fi, or could deal with "real world" issues such as class, race, religion, ect. I'm thinking of Pride and Prejudice, Ask the Dusk, or even funny movies like “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”.

12. “ Second time around”
Two lovers who already knew each other (and lost contact or broke up) prior to the beginning of the story, meet again and the sparks fly...

13. “Tragic Past”
I see this on so many crime shows/shows geared towards men. Two characters click well, but one character cannot get over the tragic past of losing a loved one, ect. Usually one of the subjects lost a lover or spouse who died years before meeting their love interest.

14. "Long Distance Relationship"
One character is captured, goes away to war, college, and the chemistry between them is shown through letters or phone calls, leaving readers in anticipation of their reunion. Sometimes they are tested by temptation or other forces trying to tear them apart...
This probably works well for army stories.

15. “The Unobtainable Love Interest/ 1-sided”
Usually, one character immediately knows who they want and why they want them...but the other character doesn't seem interested, or has a secret reason for not expressing their interest. I find this love trope common in YA-usually concerning popularity or self esteem issues. Peter Parker and Mary Jane come to mind.

16. “Lovers in Denial”
Borders on love/hate where the characters tease each other, but in a more respectful playful way. They are often good friends at some point in the story, and get in general conflicts and playful arguments but don’t dislike each other, and often have respect for each other. Usually, one or both characters have a pride issue that keeps them from
confessing their love, or they don’t want to ruin their friendship or work partnership. They’re in love, and everyone else in the story realizes it except for them.

I’d say June and Johnny Cash are real life examples, Lois Lane and Superman, Fox Mulder and Dana Scully from XFiles

17. “Passionate Lovers”
I see this in soap operas, dramas, and genre romance...revolves mostly around intense physical attraction/lust at first and sometimes develops into something more...

18. “Sweethearts Forever?”
Lovers that just click, seem sugary sweet, and almost too perfect for each other, usually one or both is/are hiding something…
Ashley Wilkes and Melanie from Gone With the Wind

19. "Opposites Attract"
Two different characters click and deal with each others differences at the same time… usually I see this expressed in YA-between an introvert character and extrovert character. If you've seen the musical, "Wicked", think of Elphaba and Fiyero.

20. "Similarities Attract"
Characters act very much alike, causing both tension and infatuation… Indiana Jones and Marion Ravenwood (passion for archeaology and similar tempers)

21. "Partners in Crime"
Two characters who work as a “bad guy” team…often do malicious things to those who get in their way, but are actually a loyal and devoted couple.
Think Bonnie and Clyde, or various soap opera teams and super villains.

22. “Dangerous Drama”
Passionate, twisted, intense..yet they always come back to each other... even though the couple needs therapy and the characters have done some pretty nasty things ranging from mind games to physical abuse (yikes!)yet there's something about these relationships that keeps viewers or readers waiting for more...
I see this in soap operas, TV dramas, and some YA (gossip girl) Usually involves betrayal, vengeance, dangerous characters, and life-threating situations...

23. “Arranged Marriage/Date”
Two characters are set-up and forced to be together by politics or family pressure, sometimes crossing into other love/hate, love at first sight...Did anyone see "The Fantastics" when the parents secretly set-up their children? ((Great musical!))

24. First Love
Usually a YA trope...the ups and downs of first love...the subjects need to figure out how to handle a relationship while trying to discover their own identities at the same time. I'm thinking of the classic 80's movie, "Say Anything".

25. Long-term lovers
The couple has already been together for awhile, sometimes married!
However, something other than another love interest (kids, adventure situation, family drama) either them closer together or causes tension
Mr. and Mrs. Smith

Now they could be several of these categories, but I think ScotchBonnet hit the nail on the head whenever she pointed these out.

As for Bryce and Sami? Forbidden lovers, Rivals (My favorite romances always had the antag and protag loving/hating each other!), and of course: Love at first sight!

How the hell am I going to get these two to work out?

Not fair!
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