I recently came to a disturbing realization: I think my hero and heroine are starring in different books. He's this sweet, sincere, bumbling, handsome but not very competent, reluctant duke who probably belongs in a Julia Quinn novel...very Colin Bridgerton. She's this cold, closed off, wounded, disgraced widow with a daughter who belongs in...I don't know, one of those romantic-suspensey historicals, where the heroine is so strong! and so beautiful! and resists the horrors of her life but must be saved by the hero from the ravenous villain! Maybe an early Mary Jo Putney.
What are they doing together? How did I not see this before? I suddenly understand why my tone has been ping-ponging between high jinks and quirks and pratfalls and morose brooding and breathy whispers and long silent stares. My protagonists are in an out-and-out war for the soul of The Wedding Widow!
I recently read a writers tip on Jenny Crusie's web page...making collages of images and items that call to mind your book -- whether they remind you of the characters, incidents, details, etc. -- as a way to get a better grip on what the book's really about, what should be emphasized and what should be minimized. I'm going to try this when I finally finish in a month or so.
Is it possible to turn this flaw into a strength? If I can combine these characters well into one uniform book, maybe I'll have something really good.
Or will I be stuck with a giant mess, like a chocolate pinapple upsidedown cake?