A Milieu Romance?


Someone recently suggested that my novel, SWEET REVENGE, isn't really a story about revenge as much as it's a milieu romance. It took me some pondering, but eventually I came to the realization that she is right. But rather than calling it a "romance," I think it's more a love story. I think there's a distinct difference. To me, a young adult romance would fall under the "Sweet Valley High" genre. Kind of shallow, kiddish, with lots of jealousy and stuff like that.

SWEET REVENGE is not like that. Yes, there is jealousy, but it's deeper. There's a story beginning with tragedy. It has hatred, jealousy, and yes, revenge in its core. It's a love story between Mark Wilkerson and Genie Lombardi, a lot like Nicholas Sparks' A WALK TO REMEMBER. In the end, the mentally deranged villain creates another tragedy for Mark and Genie.

The milieu aspect comes in because of its setting. I originally chose to set this in the mid-1960s because that's the era I grew up in and could identify with. I've been told that a YA novel set in that time frame could be a tough sell. I could easily translate it to modern day. It would probably take me a couple of months to do that, but I don't want to do that. The Vietnam War is an integral part of the plot. It colors the characters' attitudes and motives.

With all this in mind, I've decided to revise my novel one more time. I'm going to minimize the revenge aspect and play up the love story aspect. Then, with the war as a background, and a new title, I still think it will sell.
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About Paul West

Paul West is a freelance writer and novelist. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Paul claims to be a "Prune Picker," though he now makes his home in Taylorsville, Utah.

You can follower him on Twitter: @PaulWWest

Published: Thursday, September 11, 2008

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