View Full Version : My Plot has holes. Big ones!

05-04-2010, 07:46 AM
Okay, so I've got my general story line down pat, but there are a few things I'm having problems tweaking. I was hoping I could get some feedback from all you lovely AW Writers!

Background info - Victorian setting, or slightly before - mid to late 1800s.

My heroine owns land. She's unable to sell it, as her grandfather has set it up that it can only be given as part of her dowry, until she reaches 30.

My hero wants that land. It was purchased from his rakehell father, and was originally part of the family estate. Now that the father has died and the hero is cashed up through his uncle's generosity, he wants to buy back the various bits of the estate that have been sold off.

Now here is where the problems begin.

My hero/heroine have 2 options -
A. the heroine is aware that the hero wants that land,
B. or she's not.

In option A, she could make a bargain with the hero - she'd agree to marry him if....

In option B, she's unaware. She knows someone wants to marry her for the land, but she has never met him. The Hero finds a way to meet her and help her, but this leads to them being found in a compromising position, so they have to get married - following which, she finds out he only wanted her for the land. He has to prove himself.

Now, as you can see - option B is more resolved, but I like the idea of her bargaining with him - a bargain which neither party actually have any intention of keeping whatsoever, but I cannot think of any reason that she would agree to a bargain!

I guess my questions are:

1. Which appeals to you more? which story sounds more enticing?
2. Can you think of any reason she would agree to bargain with him? I can't see what she'd get out of making a deal with him - he gets the land, what would she get?

I'm looking forward to hearing what you think!

05-04-2010, 08:23 AM
Well with option A the whole point of it IS what she'd get out of the bargain...would she agree to marry him only if he pays her what the land is worth after X amount of time?

I think both options have great potential...Obviously you already have some ideas for option B...and it seems more fleshed out. But really all you need for Option A is something that drives your female. What would she want out of such a bargain? I somehow doubt she'd be willing to make all of the sacrifice only to come out of it with nothing ;)

I guess my question is how well do you know your female? Once you know her well, you'd know how great things would go at the bargaining table...or just how she'd react to the "deception" in option B. If she's anything like my characters she'll TELL you what she wants by the time you've gotten to know her ;)

05-04-2010, 09:32 AM
thanks. What you've written is really helpful - I definitely think I need to resolve some of my questions about her.

I know how she would react to various situations, but I can't get a handle on what kind of things she would initiate herself, if that makes sense.

I'm also very conscious of not putting her in a situation whereby she looks like a fool - I want her to be intelligent, but a lot of the reasons she'd make a bargain with him would be foolish or an over-reaction since marriage was pretty much for life in the Victorian era

05-04-2010, 10:56 AM
Use both, put the bargaining after she finds out he wanted her for the land and is pissed off.

05-04-2010, 04:32 PM
You know, you just gave yourself another bargaining chip there.

Divorce wasn't totally uncommon in the Victorian Era. It depended on who was going for it...women with enough money could get a divorce, but otherwise it was mostly men who filed successfully (divorce was frowned upon...but it happened for sure, more than we realize). So make that part of the bargaining...he has to let them get divorced.

Just another idea ;)

05-04-2010, 05:12 PM
hmmm. I thought about that - either divorce of anullment, but then, she'd have no dowry, be pretty much unmarriageable, unable to get a job....

So unless he gives her a whole stack of money, there's not much in the way of social pluses for her.

Yarg, if only history could suit my story, LOL!

I thought anullment would work, but then, the definition is that the marriage never actually took place - so she would still own the property.

And then I thought, okay, well maybe she thinks they can just live separate lives - but then, he's an aristocrat, he needs an heir. She'd have to be an idiot to believe him even if he actually agreed to that.

I have all these plot points that I'm definite on, and so things have to lead towards the events I've planned.

SunandShadow, SadieCass, thanks for the ideas! Anything that gets the ideas flowing is awesome!

05-04-2010, 06:45 PM
Mineral rights on the property? I'm dimly remembering tin mining being big in that period in England - you'd have to research further. BUT....

She knows the ground is full of X, but doesn't have the skills, or the business acumen to go about mining it. She could bargain to marry him *if* he contracts into the marriage agreement she'd have 49% of the resulting mining company, funds to be under her own control.

PS, Divorce in england was insanely difficult until the Matrimonial Causes act of 1857. The year before there were like 3 or 4 divorces, in the three years after there were about a thousand. So if she's got money flowing in from the mining company, she'd be ok.

05-05-2010, 04:49 AM
Lorelie, I was thinking about that...(the divorce laws)

maybe if she suggested they marry until she turns 30, (might need to change that age to something younger, lol!) then they could get an annulment, and then she would own the property - which she would then sell to him?

I'm thinking that it's all highly unlikely they'd go to so much trouble. It's been ages since I read a book with this idea of 'bargaining' yourself into marriage, and I can't remember the reasons it was done...

Cathy C
05-05-2010, 05:42 AM
30 is waaaay too old for the time period . . . and that's your first plot hole, before you ever get to the scenarios. Likely she'd be DEAD by that age. The land would likely go to her at around 18, which would be nearly a spinster. So, if it's a dowry issue and she's over 18, it's a non-issue.

Let's think about this. I presume you'll want your heroine to be in her mid-20s, since that's in keeping with today's sensibilities. What would be a likely cause of her not being married yet so your plot can go into play? She could be "unmarriagable" such as sickly, but spunky or---and this is something I did in my own 1880's period romance---she could have very poor vision. A woman who couldn't see to set up a household or manage the staff would be nearly impossible to place with a suitor and glasses were difficult to come by. She could also be too "willful", not lady-like, or have no talent with the "womanly arts." If she couldn't sew or darn or embroider, she had little value in high society. That would interest a reader today.

Just a few thoughts. I sort of like the A scenario myself, but agree that it could be both. However, I wouldn't spend too much time on it or it'll get boring. At least open the book (or chapter) with scenario A already having failed. It would be very interesting to see her reading a letter or being informed by a messenger that her best laid plan was either found out or dismissed as ridiculous. That would be a great hook for the reader to know that she's both smart and clever--two traits readers really like.

Another thought could be a marriage of convenience, not for the land, but for something the HERO has that the heroine wants. He wants the land, but she wants . . . what? A way out of a horrid family life? A string of horses and she adores horses? He's a fabric importer and she can't live without silk? You see the idea?

Does this help any? :D

05-05-2010, 06:14 AM
Cathy - absolutely, it all helps. According to my research and what you've said, average age of death was 45-50 which seems shocking to me since we're only talking 100-120 odd years ago! I'll have to think about how to integrate all these great ideas into my story.

Thanks eveyone :)

05-05-2010, 06:39 AM
Check the date on the Married woman's property act - 1860 or 62, I think. It would make a difference since the property would remain hers after marriage.

If she married bringing the chunk of property before the act, she would have her lawyer helpher setup an allowance (the actual name of this - anyone?) which would provide for her and the children if any if husband died. Even if he's got a title, she won't get the goods if he dies, just a dower house for life. If she has a son, then she'd get to help 'over-see' the property until his majority.

05-05-2010, 10:13 AM
Thanks Stlight! I believe you're right.

I think I have resolved my little issue! I've figured out a way to work in the bargaining! High five!