Fiction Writing and Other Oddities

Friday, August 26, 2011

Guest Author: Jacki Vick

Today we have guest author Jacki Vick with us. She write humorous mysteries that always give me a smile and a sense of satisfaction to see justice done in the end.

Two’s Company, Three’s a Crowd

The hubby and I will soon celebrate our twenty-first wedding anniversary. I still remember our first date--the awkward introduction followed later by the even more awkward goodnight at the door. Does he like me? Will he kiss me? Is he the one?

After twenty-one years, it’s natural to miss the excitement and anticipation of dating, and that’s what romance novels are for!

However, I’ve noticed a disturbing trend. Multiple love interests. “Is he the one?” becomes “Is he or that other guy the one?” I’m not bashing the books. These authors are good at their craft, but I wonder if they couldn’t use some reader tips?

Janet Evanovich’s long-standing love triangle was fun at first. Stephanie Plum didn’t know either Joe Morelli or Ranger, and at the discovery phase of a relationship, readers will allow for the heroine’s divided attentions. After sixteen books, Stephanie’s starting to come across as a tramp. Even Ms. Evanovich seems to recognize this, as book seventeen promises to make her heroine choose.

Joanna Fluke’s Hannah Swenson steers clear of trampy because she doesn’t sleep with either Mike or Norman. Still, I wonder how these men put up with her inability to choose between them. Even I want to scream, “Make up your mind!”

The one scenario that really put me off (I won’t name names) was when the married protagonist kept falling for handsome strangers. Adding a second man to the mix is not the way to marital bliss.

Choices are good. I sometimes debate between sweet and salty snacks, but a possible life-partner deserves more consideration than Cheetos versus Nestle’s Crunch.

Then why do trios work in Elizabeth Peter’s Amelia Peabody series? Amelia is married to larger-than-life archeologist Radcliff Emerson. During their travels in the East, a mysterious Master Criminal butts heads with the couple, and he falls for Amelia in a big way.

There’s a difference between Amelia and those other gals. When the Master Criminal kisses her, she loses her breath. Electricity crackles in the air. Yet even from her swoon, her superior brain is working out how to get back to her true love, Emerson. She never doubts. She doesn’t dally. The equation is still 1 + 1 = Love.

Humor helps. When the Master Criminal demands she strip off her clothes and put on a harem outfit, she leaves on her sturdy undergarments. The Master Criminal’s longing satisfies our romantic imagination without sacrificing Amelia’s integrity. And we laugh.
Is it old-fashioned to hold out for “Boy Falls for Girl, Boy Loses Girl, Boy Wins Girl Back?” I don’t think so. Romance authors and readers have stood by this formula for years. There might be another interested guy in the story, but he’s never a serious contender.

Is two the ideal number in a romance? Is three company or a crowd? Take a stand and let me know what you think!


Jacqueline Vick writes humorous mysteries and short fiction. An article for “Fido Friendly Magazine” led her to create Frankie Chandler, a reluctant pet psychic. Her short story, “Pekingese Premonition”, is available on Smashwords and Kindle.

Web site:
Pekingese Premonition on Smashwords: 
Pekingese Premonition on Kindle:

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Thank you Jackie! For me, three is always a crowd, but I'm sure everyone has an opinion and I hope they will share them!


Kathy Bennett said...

Hi Jackie!

I think one of the last lines in your post is my choice..."There might be another interested guy in the story, but he's never a serious contender."

Another possible beau can add external and internal conflict to a story, but if there's a 'main' man - the reader should always know HE will be 'the one.'

Jacqueline Vick said...

Thank you so much for having me on Fiction Writing and Other Oddities, Amy! I've received a few comments by email, which I've responded to. Maybe people are too shy to post their opinions! ;)

Jacqueline Vick said...

Kathy, I completely agree with you. A little tension can spice up the main relationship, as long as it doesn't cross the line and destroy it. (Unless that's the author's intention.)

We all know what we'd put up with from our own boyfriend/spouse!