There are a couple of things that suck about being a romance writer. Writing highly charged emotional scenes is one of them (I sweat blood sometimes, hoping the right emotion comes across.) Trying to break into the commercial market is another. It means that I have to write for the market, or I can kiss any chance of being published goodbye.
I've sent "Lunch" out to a dozen or so agents, no one had asked for a partial. The ABNA reviewers told me straight out "not enough hook."
Somewhere I read "always start the story in the middle of a gun fight." I see a lot of stories that start with a flash back, a car crash, a fight, or a dead body. "Lunch" starts with Lindsey looking for her cell phone. (Wince)
What's a wannabe writer going to do, besides dig deep and come up with a hook?
I dug deep, asking the question: What was the underlying incident that set the events off? What is the one thing that every major character has in common?
The terrorist attack on the Pentagon is what really set Lindsey off. Until that day she was busy working her way up the corporate ladder in an insurance company call center. The stock market crash wiped her parents out. Her widowed sister hasn't been the same.
That one event brought them all together.
Damn, I hate having to use that. But it worked. There are still calls for a Chapter One rewrite, so I will have to go back, one more time, and take a stab at it. But for the most part, it will stay basically the same.
Meanwhile, "Let's Do Lunch" is sitting in the top 20 of the Authonomy.com Romance chart.
(Sell out anyone?)