In Defense of the “Unrealistic, Overdone” Storyline by Barbara Winkes (plus a FREE ebook!)

AND! The winner is…

Pat H!

Thanks for playing!

Look! Barbara Winkes is with us again! This time, she’s celebrating the release of Open Spaces. In fact, she’s giving away a free ebook copy to a lucky reader! Drop a comment in the space below and I’ll draw the winner on Friday, June 30. Good luck!

I have seen a few conversations regarding this subject. Everyone has storylines they’d like to see more—or less—of. I’m no exception, but I also think that there is enough room for everyone, and everything.

I am certain that no story is ever overdone.

Romance and happy endings—the scarier the world gets, the more we need them. Not because everyone wants their romantic conclusion exactly the same way it’s written in a novel. Happy endings, like other story elements, can be a metaphor, for overcoming obstacles, for finding a solution against the odds.

Then, there’s the coming out story. I can understand every reader (or viewer of TV and movies for that matter) who would like to move above, start with the characters at a place where they are already comfortable, perhaps in a long-term relationship, or single. But one doesn’t have to negate the other, and in my opinion, we need more of everything. Coming out stories, too, because they should be available to everyone for whom it’s not yet safe to be who they are.

Another storyline that often seems to be on the chopping block is the kind where characters start a relationship quickly.


I’ve done this with Lauren and Summer in my erotic romance Open Spaces, because this storyline fits them. Coming out is not the main issue. Previous relationships aren’t an issue. It is the story for this particular couple, and their lesson is not to let outside forces interfere with what they know to be true, what they want.

OScover.jpgAs the writer, you have to make these decisions too. Sometimes, what you feel is best for your imaginary friends—what they tell you is best—overlaps with trends, sales prospects and majority opinions. Sometimes it doesn’t. You will move forward one way or another.

It helps to be aware of the conversations in your community and genre in order to manage your expectations and plans for the future—and don’t worry, there is always room for surprise.

Passionate conversations are a part of our community. Not everybody is the same—hopes and dreams and real lives we’d like to see reflected in fiction, differ. The more variety there is on various levels, the better in my opinion, because even those “overdone and unrealistic” storylines can differ a great deal. They can hit the spot or even be somewhat irritating at the right (or in that case, wrong) moment, but usually they mean a writer followed one of the primary guidelines: Write what you want to read.

Opinions differ, and that’s a good thing, isn’t it? Happy reading!

Open Spaces is out now. Check it out!

A chance encounter and instant attraction: For one night, it doesn’t matter that Lauren and Summer lead different lives, with different obligations and dreams. The morning after and the following weeks leave them with many questions. Could there be a chance for something beyond the obvious connection and chemistry, and how much compromise is involved? Lauren and Summer must find the answers together, as they navigate this new relationship.


  1. Yes- diverse opinions are as important as diversity in any other aspect. If we all think the same, we go nowhere.


  2. Overdone story lines? They happen everywhere, in every genre, if you really think about it and if you care about such things. In Christopher Booker’s book, ‘The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories’ he outlined the 7 plot structures that form the basis of all stories every told or written. I’d challenge anyone to find a story that doesn’t follow one of those basic structures.

    You’ve given a couple of great examples from inside of lesfic and LGBT fiction but it’s the same everywhere. In 90% of all mystery stories ever written, somebody dies by the hand of another. In the others, some major crime is committed (and even that often involves a death though maybe not murder…maybe not). I write mystery most often because it’s what I like to read. Yes, I follow the tropes and conventions to give readers what they expect but, what they expect is a good yarn with lots of suspects, plenty of conflict and a resolution at the end. How I get them there is completely up to me and that’s the fun of it.


    • I agree, there are certain archetypes you find everywhere, and that’s not a bad thing. They are universal experiences, but we each add our style to it. Thanks for stopping by!


  3. I love a happy ending. In today’s world of work, deadlines, stress and problematic relationships, escaping with a good book is as essential as a good cup of coffee. And a cookie or two.


  4. As they say, “Nothing is new under the sun”, there are a lot of genres that follow a similar pattern but it’s up to the writer to give their story a unique spin or twist to make their books differ from all of the rest. One writer who writes mysteries may focus more on the outdoors and describing nature as well as the main character and another other writer may focus on the romance and mystery over the immediate surroundings, therefore it’s about a different perspective on the same thing.


  5. I am with you. What is the problem? Girl meets girl, falls in love (quickly or slowly); there are a number of issues such as coming out, bad pasts, being straight. It resolves itself in time for them to live happily ever after. We need more of these stories, each one with different characters, premise etc.

    Interesting you feel the need to defend them. I’ll get out my sword and get in your corner with you.


    • I appreciate that offer! 🙂
      And I swear, I don’t mind anyone’s opinion. It’s true that you can find some kinds of stories more often than others, but that doesn’t mean there should be less of anything–just more of the ones that are underrepresented right now. In real life, I made up my mind quickly, so when I hear that’s unrealistic, I just find that funny.


  6. I’m looking forward to checking out your new book. In my opinion I will welcome over used plots as long as the characters inhabiting the story are interesting and well fleshed out. As a reader I tend to gravitate towards certain plots and can enjoy them over and over as long as the characters lead credibility to the story. Thank you for writing and contributing to our community.


    • Thank you for your feedback! I agree, even if stories sound similar, the voices will be different–and I think we need as many stories as possible. We are still one of the smaller markets overall.


  7. Good blog Barbara. What’s wrong with quickly anyway? It can happen. I know because my “one night stand” stayed nearly 26 years – the rest of her life.


    • Thank you! It’s my experience, too, that when you’re certain, you don’t need a lot of time to make up your mind. It might be fate, or luck, in any case, it’s a reason to be grateful.


  8. Old story lines, new story lines, overdone story lines, as long as the story is well written and doesn’t end on a big downer (unless there is a sequel on the way), I’m all good with it.


    • I can promise it doesn’t end in any downer big or small! 🙂 For me, the characters carry the story in the first place–no matter how often it’s been told, interesting characters can make it new.


  9. I don’t think I really came out in the usual way. It was just assumed. And as for happy endings-that’s a must for me
    as the world is so f—ed up that we need the happiness any way we can get it. So with that being said count me in for the drawing please. Thanks for sharing your talent with us all.


    • Thank you for stopping by! I agree–I can appreciate a well written story without HEA, but when I get invested in the character, I prefer to have some payoff, have them arrive someplace good. Good luck! 🙂


  10. All stories need to be told. I never had to come out to nobody, it was obvious and I was an orphan, soooo!
    I love a good story well written, so please count me in!


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