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How to write a late ’70s/early ’80s trashy novel

December 10, 2009

A la Scruples, Master of the Game, Butterfly, etc.

1) Begin in the present with an event that seems momentous

2) Flashback to the gorgeous, perfect, rich main character’s terrible childhood and/or her parents’ childhoods

3) Introduce secondary characters

4) Flashback to their childhoods

5) Slowly bring things to the present by giving every character exactly what they want

6) For a little variety, throw in something that seems like it might be a block, but illustrate how your perfectly wonderful characters easily sidestep such trivialities

7) Add at least one murder, for spice

8 ) Take a moment to condescend to the readers about such things they could never possibly understand, like how an industry works; they’re only sitting home on a couch eating bonbons, after all

9) Eventually, FINALLY get to the present, where the “huge event” turns out not to be half as big as the reader expected

Throw in a sex scene every few pages after the main character hits the age of around 14, and there you have it!

Seriously, the world’s ideas about “romance” must really have different from today’s if Scruples is “The ultimate romance!”, as the back cover promises.  What’s funny is how many people on Goodreads are like “This is how I learned what a glory hole was!”


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