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Ghosts in romance (1 Viewer)

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indianroads

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Although relationships show up in all of my books, I've never written a novel that centers on romance - and have only read one romance novel out of curiosity.

The concept I'm working with now, for a novel tentatively titled the Last Ride has more romance in it than I've done before. Note: I embarrass easily, so definitely no erotica or sex stuff.

The story starts with a man (MC) learning that he will soon die. He then decides to take one last ride on his motorcycle across the country. He had a good career, but his marriage was pretty much a disaster. As he rides, he'll recall a relationship he had just as he graduated from university. He wanted to pursue a relationship with her, and called after he moved to a different city and was told that she had died. He'll visit the town where they met and fell in love in the last few chapters - and I'm thinking of introducing a twist.

He meets a woman on the road (with her own bike) and they ride together. She's on her way to visit a friend's grave in the same town MC is going. The minor twist is that she is the ghost of the woman he fell in love with - and the tighter twist is that he died died at the hospital, and the ride never happened at all.

So - how often do ghosts show up in romance novels? Also, any comments regarding the plot are welcome, but that's not really what I'm asking about.
 

TheMightyAz

Staff member
Mentor
I honestly have nothing to add as far as the romance is concerned. I do however have a slight problem with the idea the ride never took place. As a reader I'd be disappointed. I'd much prefer if the ride did take place and she's a ghost, only to find out later, he's also a ghost. That gives me the same vibe without disappointment, and a potential story beyond the last page.
 

KeganThompson

Staff member
Board Moderator
I haven't read any ghost romance books...yet (but I just got back into reading) but they are out there. Just like they are out there with movies. They appear probably more than what you are thinking. If that answers your question.
 

VRanger

Staff member
Administrator
My wife reports seeing a few "ghost romances", not a lot. It's certain got a Sixth Sense vibe to it, and now you've provided the ultimate spoiler for any of us! {shakes finger}

I think it's a cool idea. Do you want to do it novel length, or maybe novella? It sounds like the sort of surprise conclusion I'd expect to see in a short work. Definitely thinking outside the "box". Go ahead and groan.
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
My wife reports seeing a few "ghost romances", not a lot. It's certain got a Sixth Sense vibe to it, and now you've provided the ultimate spoiler for any of us! {shakes finger}

I think it's a cool idea. Do you want to do it novel length, or maybe novella? It sounds like the sort of surprise conclusion I'd expect to see in a short work. Definitely thinking outside the "box". Go ahead and groan.
Good info everyone - and thank you!
Several of my books include elements of spiritualism - hey... I grew up around beatniks and hippies, so that stuff was in my head from an early age. It will definitely be a novel - there's too much I want to explore about love and the choices we make.
Thanks everyone!
 

JBF

Staff member
Global Moderator
I dig the plot. Somewhat ambivalent on the never happened/all just a dream twist, but carefully handled it's probably workable.

Not being a great consumer of rom-lit, the closest thing that comes to mind is probably The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. Never read the book, but the movie wasn't too bad. Probably not what you're after, though.
 

Olly Buckle

Mentor
Patron
Love the premise, though as someone said that is the ultimate spoiler. There was an excellent movie of the early 90's called 'Truly,madly, deeply', worth a watch, I expect you can find it on netflicks, made enough impression that the missus and I still use the phrase sometimes.
 

Matchu

Senior Member
The expression predates the film - which is a very moving film.

...

I think any of us can write, or try to write, a tender and loving story. Meeting a woman on a motorbike doesn't straitjacket the story, pigeonhole our story into some supermarket, happy-ending genre - you are not joining the legion of stinky paperbacks: 'His own personal copy stuffed down the headboard brought a great shame to the family/a bump in his eulogy with this kink, y'know, for kissing...'

Being 'sensitive' about such things is fine, I suppose, but I'd want that sensitivity reflected in the prose for it to be a successful read. I'd like to feel that awkward character rather than suffer some chap's efforts to bluff his way through a series of his tunnel euphemisms/the woman suffering a waterfall...actually I'd probably enjoy both versions.

Being combative I say I don't accept the excuse. If I have to try then why cannot he, or you, try to write about feelings and sex and old bodies...etc...etc

:)
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
Actually I want a HEA ending to what would be an otherwise depressing story, so may use the multiple universes concept that new timelines and universes are spawned with every choice we make.
I have more work to do on the plot though.
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
Love this idea...phooey that you gave up the ending! :)

However, I don't see this as a ghost romance....let me explain. When I read your synopsis, the first thing that came to mind was a blockbuster romance. You see for most of the book (movie) the audience does not know they are ghosts. So you just play it like a normal romance. But the audience is suspicious that he heads off on his motor-cycle to escape his marriage and enjoy what is left of his life, and just happens to meet the woman of his dreams. (For more conservative audiences, he should have signed divorce papers before he left.) But the trick will be to build the disbelief without giving it away. And then at the end the audience is rewarded for their skepticism.

But the premise for the romance, if I may, is that we all want to imagine what life would have been like if we had shared it with the one that got away. And then at the end feel better about our own lives because you confirm that going back in time is not possible or worthwhile...do you know what I mean?
 

JBF

Staff member
Global Moderator
But the audience is suspicious that he heads off on his motor-cycle to escape his marriage and enjoy what is left of his life, and just happens to meet the woman of his dreams. (For more conservative audiences, he should have signed divorce papers before he left.)

I got the sense the marriage in question was pretty well over and done when the plot begins.

Admittedly, I could be wrong.
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
I got the sense the marriage in question was pretty well over and done when the plot begins.

Admittedly, I could be wrong.
Yes 100%...I got the same sense. I'm just saying there are a lot of female readers who eat up romance, but believe that the romantic lead should not be legally married to someone else, regardless of the state of the marriage. Anyway, that wasn't the major point I was trying to make. So now I kind of regret having put it there.
 
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Matchu

Senior Member
Yes, walking out on the ‘old dear’ won’t work, long-suffering motorbikes plastered across her lounge etc.

She probably requires her own book/movie.

Also she’s chief proof-reader.
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
Yes 100%...I got the same sense. I'm just saying there are a lot of female readers who eat up romance, but believe that the romantic lead should not be legally married to someone else, regardless of the state of the marriage. Anyway, that wasn't the major point I was trying to make. So now I kind of regret having put it there.
His wife has actually moved out of their house and is either living on her own or with someone else.
The pieces of the plot are still drifting together - but I think the story has bones and will be a challenge to write. The trick will be to have his body move forward in time but the memories he experiences while riding will move him backward.
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
Don’t you simply write the exhilarating road trip love story with a turn to page 220 and the cut to our guy sitting on a drip. Job done. Possibly very attractive senior nurse with her motorbike tattoo.
😂 Umm no.
I tried writing this story five years ago - but wasn't up to the task; back then my plotting skills were poor (almost non-existent) and my writing wasn't good enough. How you describe it, is kinda how that first attempt went, and after four chapters in, I knew it was rubbish, and archived it. I think that MAYBE I'm up to the challenge now - I hope.
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
His wife has actually moved out of their house and is either living on her own or with someone else.
Perfect!
The pieces of the plot are still drifting together - but I think the story has bones and will be a challenge to write. The trick will be to have his body move forward in time but the memories he experiences while riding will move him backward.
Sounds like a fun one to write. Let yourself fall deeply introspective. That's the best part of writing for me.
 

Olly Buckle

Mentor
Patron
So maybe she moved on when he died and re-married, but he can't quite sort that in his brain because he is not thinking of himself as a ghost. If you wrote that premise right you could put all sorts of subtle clues in there without spelling it out for the reader until he and the new ghost partner are riding of into the happy forever on machines that never need a service or get a puncture :).
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
So maybe she moved on when he died and re-married, but he can't quite sort that in his brain because he is not thinking of himself as a ghost. If you wrote that premise right you could put all sorts of subtle clues in there without spelling it out for the reader until he and the new ghost partner are riding of into the happy forever on machines that never need a service or get a puncture :).
That’s what I’m going for.
Or they both died when they first met, and their lives as they remember then was nothing but a dream.
 
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