Plot Devices I Secretly Love

plot device spock

Coming out in favor of a book is tricky. Nothing creates judgment faster than admitting what you like to read.

In the past year or so I became a READER again. Over 100 books later, I have some insight that I’m not necessarily proud of. I am a sucker for certain plot devices. I see them coming and am a little embarrassed for about a minute. Then I just enjoy the ride. Some authors commit to them in different ways, but at the end of the day, they boil down as such.

Formulas in writing have a bad reputation, but I think it’s good to know what you like and to seek books out based on those preferences. This is supposed to be fun, people. And, if not fun, at least enlightening about what makes you tick.

The Unintended Pregnancy

My children were planned. REALLY planned. I’m a planner by nature and am not a fan of ambiguity in my life. Of course, the universe has seen fit to force me to figure out how to roll with such things regardless of my plans, so I suppose we’re about even.

When a character in a book deals with an unintended pregnancy, I have been known to squeal. When the man steps up to be the woman’s partner and father of the baby?  Swoon. If the man isn’t even the biological father?  I may weep for a while. When the pregnant woman chooses not to tell the father and he comes to find out later and reunites with the mother despite the angst?  I may need professional help.

Authors who rock this device well and often include Liz Crowe and Annabel Joseph. I won’t include titles because I don’t want to ruin anything for you.

Poor Little Rich Girl

Self-esteem isn’t something you can give to people. You have to cultivate it for yourself…there is no fairy godmother with glittery dust to help that along. Characters often have high opinions of themselves, but NO self-esteem. So, if a character is a spoiled brat, they usually need to cultivate some self-esteem by doing HARD work. We, the readers, get to sit back and gloat a little bit while secretly wishing to have a similar experience (without having to really do all that hard work).

The best example of this I’ve seen lately is in Vain by Fisher Amelie. This book has perhaps the best blurb I’ve read in a while (a “blurb” being the preview of a book so you know if it’s something you want to read).

If you’re looking for a story about a good, humble girl, who’s been hurt by someone she thought she could trust, only to find out she’s not as vulnerable as she thought she was and discovers an empowering side of herself that falls in love with the guy who helps her find that self, blah, blah, blah…then you’re gonna’ hate my story.

Because mine is not the story you read every time you bend back the cover of the latest trend novel. It’s not the “I can do anything, now that I’ve found you/I’m misunderstood but one day you’ll find me irresistible because of it” tale. Why? Because, if I was being honest with you, I’m a complete witch. There’s nothing redeeming about me. I’m a friend using, drug abusing, sex addict from Los Angeles. I’m every girlfriend’s worst nightmare and every boy’s fantasy.

I’m Sophie Price…And this is the story about how I went from the world’s most envied girl to the girl no one wanted around and why I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

Sophie’s journey is totally worth taking. She, just like you knew all along, is truly beautiful.

Wrong Side of the Tracks Makes Good

After growing up on one too many John Hughes movies (wait…is there such a thing?), I rooted for Andie in “Pretty in Pink” and Bender in “The Breakfast Club”. My recently reviewed Unteachable by Leah Raeder is the newest inductee into this category. Maise is REALLY unlikeable sometimes, but she wins you over when she finally comes to terms with who she is (oooh…a subplot category! I digress…).

The longtime classic of this category for me is Summer Sisters by Judy Blume. Victoria is my favorite “smart girls from crappy circumstances that get ahead” character EVER. If you’ve never read it, what are you waiting for?  It’s JUDY BLUME. You’re welcome.

Hot For Teacher

The best books in this category best work with consenting adults (read: the student in question is 18) who happen to be teacher and student. It should be illicit, not icky. The forbidden romance between the two always makes for great plot development if done correctly. Will they get caught?  Who will catch them?  How will they overcome?  Will they make it?

My favorite titles with this plot device include Gabriel’s Inferno and Gabriel’s Rapture by Sylvain Reynard, Unteachable by Leah Raeder (twice mentioned in one post – huzzah!), Losing It by Cora Carmack, and a particular title by Colleen Hoover that will remain nameless, lest I spoil it for you. Just read all her books.

Marriage of Necessity Turns to Love Story

Why marry for love when you can marry for money (that you desperately need for some good deed or to inherit a business or to satisfy a dying mother’s last wish)? There are many versions of this plot device, but NOBODY is doing it more successfully lately than Jennifer Probst with her Marriage to a Billionaire series. So far there the series includes:

  1. The Marriage Bargain
  2. The Marriage Trap
  3. The Marriage Mistake
  4. The Marriage Merger

The series follows the same characters, adding new siblings or friends and new marriages with each title. You go along on trips to Italy and Las Vegas and even get to discuss the merits of the Mets vs. the Yankees. There’s something here for everyone. Alpha males. Meddling siblings and mamas. Love spells. Stubbornness. SOOO much stubbornness. These are fun, hot reads. I have been begging for the galley for the 4th book for a week now, but no dice. Sigh…

There are so MANY plot devices to geek out about. These are some of my favorites. What about you?  Leave a comment and we’ll all discuss what makes us tick. No shame!

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