Saturday, August 6, 2011

Curing Love at the Willamette Writers Conference

Day Two of the Willamette Writers Conference in Portland, OR

Robert Dugoni
New York Times Best-Selling Author

Today I took a workshop given by Robert Dugoni, in which he explained the crucial concept of the implicit promise. What I think he was saying is that if you are writing a murder mystery, there is an implicit expectation that the murder will be solved.

"In a thriller novel, there is the promise that the bad guy will be stopped. And in a romance novel, that the yearning of the woman will be...what is the word I want...cured...something like cured." He snapped his fingers a couple of times and glanced around the room helplessly.

"Fulfilled?" someone offered.

"Yes, that is it, fulfilled," he said on a sigh of relief.

"Cured," I snorted, "tsk tsk"

Unfortunately I sat in the very front of the room and Mr. Dugoni heard me. Being the best selling author that he is, he didn't take it as heckling. No, he took it as a writing prompt.

His mouth curved into a heart-stopping smile. "Yes, love is a disease," he quipped. "It is sick. You romance writers are writing about sickness. Sickness, I tell you, that must be cured by the end of the book."

The workshop was excellent, I learned a lot, and Robert Dugoni managed to hold us all spellbound for an hour and a half. And perhaps he is right. Perhaps love is a disease. But is there a cure? Or can we only treat the symptoms?


  1. I would like the symptoms treated over and over again in a long stream of never ending books. Yes, please do not find the cure to women's fiction.

  2. They say it can take years, and many, before a disease can be brought under control. Go Romance Writers!

  3. Well, not so sure about love, but I think writing is a disease. No cure, but one can soothe it by getting ideas down on paper. I guess love and writing are both irrepressible yearnings?

  4. Pam,

    So, it is writers who are sick. SICK.

    Yes, I could go along with that. :)


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