Dancing With Sin: NA Forbidden Romance

Dancing With Sin

Intended audience: 18-25
Genre: Romance
Length: Hopefully under 90k. Fingers crossed.

Logline: Alice Monroe, a broken-hearted woman fights off a budding affair with her older sister’s fiancé in order to preserve what’s left of her heart and her relationship with her sister.

Summary:

Summary

Alice Monroe is a professional dancer whose life implodes when her boyfriend of five years, Jonah, leaves her for another woman. Her heart stained with betrayal, Alice leaves her home and moves in with her recently engaged older sister, Monica.

Her first night there, Alice meets Ethan Black, her sister’s fiancé. With Monica working late nights, Alice and Ethan get closer as friends until Alice realizes she’s attracted to him.

Alice attempts to put space between her and Ethan, and goes for a night out with Monica. During the night, Alice learns that a false pregnancy is the reason behind the quick engagement between her sister and Ethan. Thankfully, Alice’s old dance partner, Gabe, arrives to rehearse for their upcoming dance competition and distract Alice from her inappropriate attraction to Ethan. During Gabe’s visit, Alice learns that her Ex and his new girlfriend will also be competing.

Monica leaves for a week on a work trip, leaving Alice and Ethan alone together. Over that week, their interactions heat up and Ethan begins to open up to Alice.

With the tension between her and Ethan escalating, Alice takes it upon herself to remove herself from the situation and signs a lease on a new apartment. Ethan is furious when he learns but before he can react, Monica arrives home from her trip and with the news that she’s chosen a wedding date. New Year’s Eve- three months away.

One day Ethan shows up at Alice’s apartment and the pair argue until eventually, they lose the battle between themselves and share a kiss. Alice throws Ethan out and says it will never happen again.

Alice, wracked with guilt, travels with Ethan and Monica to their parents for Thanksgiving. During the trip, Monica and Ethan break off the engagement but Alice still refuses to be with him and hurt her sister. Once back home, Alice learns that her Ex is in town and he’s engaged to the woman he cheated on her with.

Hurt by the news, Ethan finds Alice to comfort her and after months of fighting it, the couple spends the night together. The dance competition is the next day. There, Alice confronts Jonah and she and Gabe win first place. Alice and Ethan celebrate in an embrace that outs the pair’s connection as Monica witnesses them.

Monica is beside herself and Alice takes her pain out on Ethan, demanding he leave her alone. A call from Monica days later urges Alice to come to the hospital. Ethan has been in a drunken driving accident. Loaded down with so much guilt, Alice takes up a job offer in another state and runs from her problems like always.

A month later Monica calls Alice and the sisters make up. Monica informs her that Ethan quit his job and moved near Alice weeks ago. Alice runs to find Ethan- running to face her issues- and apologizes for leaving and confesses that she’s terrified to love him as much as she does. The pair share in a do-over ‘first kiss’ and begin their happily ever after.

Notes:

  • Mental and emotional abuse are going to be a big theme in this book, giving a look into how not all abusive relationships are solely physical.

  • Alices ex will be a constant character throughout, acting as her roadblock to bettering herself by always reminding her that she wasn’t good enough for him. Until, of course, she confronts him and gets the justice from their break up that she needs to move on from it.

  • I’m apprehensive about this novel because it’s just a dramatic, forbidden romance. Usually, I have thriller/mystery subplot’s in my books but this one is strictly a story about a woman’s journey through heartbreak, self-discovery, and all that good stuff. I’m worried it’s not enough. Like, there needs to be another side-plot to keep the stakes high even though the internal stakes are already tremendous.

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:kissing_heart::heart::heart_eyes::kissing_heart::heart::heart_eyes::kissing_heart::heart::heart_eyes::kissing_heart::heart::heart_eyes:

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Yay! You did it girl!!

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There’s plenty of drama going on in this plot, but not a lot of character to go with it. The major plot you’re looking for should answer some of these:

Who is Alice as a person? What does she lack? what is she strong at? What does she need to gain? What has she lost? What will she lose?

Why is Alice attracted to Ethan anyways? And how does he tie in to her personal development? Is he everything she wants to be? Does he have something she needs to learn? Does he bring out the worst in her to confront?

Why is Ethan attracted to Alice? He’s about to marry her sister because he thinks she’s pregnant, probably. Other than that, why were they together? Why is it falling apart?

The answers to those questions, particularly Alice’s arc, is what’s going to be the interesting plot driving this. It doesn’t need sub-plots or additions, it already has more than enough drama. Who someone is and what they learn about themselves is more than enough, so long as the plot understands who that person is and bends around their journey.

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Thanks for answering! A lot of these questions I have answered offline in a document actually so I know the answers, I just didn’t know how to fit them into the summary or wasn’t sure if they were significant enough to go into the summary.

Alice is a person who lost a lot of herself throughout her last relationship and is trying to find that person again. She lacks confidence, the ability to be selfish when she should choose herself over others, the lacks the faith in herself to make smart judgement calls when it pertains to love. She lacks trust in herself and in romantic love.

Which is a big reason why she also fights her and Ethan’s connection so much. She doesn’t trust romantic love but she trusts her sister and their bond and doesn’t want to ruin one of the only good relationships she has left. Alice wants Ethan and her sister’s relationship to work out, and pushes them together no matter how much it hurts her to do. To Alice, her sisters happiness is more important than hers.

Alice is driven and determined, and she’s compassionate and selfless- even to a fault. She needs to gain who she used to be- her confidence/self-assurance/pride- and although she doesn’t know it, she needs to gain an understanding that not she is not defected when it comes to romantic love. She thinks that she is the problem and that the only solution is to stay safe and not even try and live in any way that could end in disappointment. (Italicized because it’s super important to her character lol)

Alice needs to take herself back from her ex. Her ex still has so much power of her, even though they’re broken up. Alice lost all herself in her last relationship and over the course of the book, she will lose her self-respect, her dignity, her older sister for a period of time, and the man she loves.

One of the things I’m toying with in this book is the notion of Soulmates and finding yours, and not being able to have them. That is what Alice and Ethan are. Ethan has that effortless confidence about him that draws Alice in because she missed when she used to be that way. She sees him struggling in the relationship with her sister and she relates to him through that struggle. She sees someone so strong on the outside but who is crumbling inside and that draws her to him, wanting to help.

Ethan will help Alice by forcing her to choose herself and her happiness, by pushing her out of her comfort zones. His love for her will make her face her fears of falling in love again and choose her happiness for the first time in years. He will help bring back that woman she was by loving her just as she is.

A big motivator for Alice keeping Ethan at arms length is that she refuses to help Ethan cheat on her sister and be like the woman that helped her ex cheat on her. Though, Ethan will bring out the worst in Alice when he tests her limits for how far she will let their relationship go, forcing her to realize that she’s no better than the woman her ex cheated on her with.

Also forcing her to realize that all of this hate she has for this woman that her ex cheated on her with is misplaced, and Alice will be forced to consider that woman as an equal to her.

Alice is tender and thoughtful and good in every way that Ethan wishes he was. Alice supports his dreams of becoming a photographer while her sister urges him to keep his current job for security, even though he doesn’t enjoy it. Alice listens and comforts him, makes him feel like he’s worth something whereas Alice’s sister barely gives him the time of day over her job. Alice’s sister has no problem telling Ethan that he is second to her work.

As far as the pregnancy, as it states in the summary, it was a false positive so Ethan knows she is not pregnant anymore but he has already proposed. Ethan can’t exactly take it back and they stay engaged, assuming that they were going to get to this point eventually. Alice’s sister is particularly happy to be engaged because she for a long time thought that she wouldn’t be able to find a man to marry her due to her commitment to her job.

Ethan and Alice’s sister are not compatible long-term. Short-term, yes, which is why they were together in the first place but moving in together proves to be a downfall for them both. Ethan needs someone sweet and compassionate who will make him feel like he’s not just second best while Alice’s sister is independent, self-assured, and driven, devoting all of her time to working her way up at her job.

Gah, that was a long response. Sorry :see_no_evil:

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These answers are what need to be in the summary and, more than anything, form the emotional core. A woman lacking in confidence she once had finding a man who has it all and being blocked by his situation is intriguing, and seeing how she grows to be more confident and he learns to be more caring is the dynamic and interplay going on, buoyed by some dramatic set pieces

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Okay, so add in more of an emotional core to the summary than a play by play of events that gets us from A-Z?

I’m looking at the summary now and am not quite sure which events can be taken out (I’d gladly take some suggestions lol) but I guess that’s the fun challenge of it all. :sweat_smile:

Yes, but don’t strip down. Build up from 0. Write down the emotional core, then just the three biggest events, then add in the medium events, then the smalls if you have space left.

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Noted and will do!

Thanks, oh wise one.

Attempt two, four months later! Tried to focus a lot more on the emotions of the main character Alice throughout and less on events.

Summary

Alice Monroe is a professional dancer whose life implodes when her boyfriend, Jonah, leaves her for another woman. Her heart stained with betrayal, Alice leaves her home and moves in with her recently engaged sister, Monica.

Her first night there, Alice meets Ethan Black, her sister’s fiancé. With Monica working late nights, Alice and Ethan become close and soon enough, Alice finds herself with feelings for a man she can never have.

Ashamed with herself, Alice puts space between her and Ethan and is thankful when Gabe- her dance partner-arrives to rehearse for their upcoming dance competition and distract Alice. During Gabe’s visit, Alice learns that her Ex and his new girlfriend will also be competing.

Alice’s determination to keep away from Ethan is put to the test when Monica leaves them alone for a week on a work trip. During that time alone, tensions escalate and it becomes obvious to Alice that it’s not just her that’s falling for the connection between them.

Desperate to not fall prey to love again, Alice removes herself from the situation and resigns to move out. Ethan is furious when he learns but before he can react, Monica arrives home from her trip and with the news that she’s chosen a wedding date- three months away.

The news of the upcoming wedding pushes Ethan to be more vocal about his hesitations while Alice is all the more intent on keeping them together. She refuses to be responsible for the heartbreak of her own sister. Even still, everything Alice fears comes to a head when the connection between her and Ethan becomes stronger than her resilience, and the pair share in a kiss.

Alice can barely keep it together knowing that she’s fallen in love again with a man she can never have, even after Ethan tells Alice he’s breaking off the engagement. Alice is beside herself knowing she’s become the other woman, something she promised she would never be.

The wedding is called off and just in time for Alice’s dance competition. There, Alice confronts Jonah and she and Gabe win first place. Alice and Ethan celebrate in an embrace that outs the pair’s relationship as Monica witnesses them.

The three have a very public argument that leaves Monica swearing to never forgive them and Alice demanding Ethan leave her alone for good. Loaded down with so much guilt, Alice takes up a job offer in another state. Months pass with no word from Monica or Ethan until one day she gets a call from Monica and the sisters start to heal. Monica helps Alice realize that she cannot keep living ‘safe’ and that sometimes it’s okay to be selfish.

Weeks later, Alice sees Ethan at an art gallery and runs after him, apologizing for leaving and confesses that she’s terrified to love him as much as she does. Ethan pulls her in for a do-over first kiss, having never wanted anything more than to love her and have her love him back freely.

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Hmm I don’t know if this fully answers all of my prior questions but it comes more than close enough for me. This notion of her being safe and guarded is more intriguing and clear. Personally I’d love to better understand the role Gabe takes on during this. He largely appears to be a prop who appears from time to time to be a dance partner, but I’m curious if those are the scenes where Alice discusses her feelings more deeply, if he becomes a second option romance that also causes conflict or if he will largely just remain a prop.

That doesn’t really need an answer in the summary, more a commentary on what I think would be a more appealing/interesting sub plot or character dynamic, you can do with it what you want.

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Phew

Thank God. lol

Gabe has what I would call a principle role in the story. It’s not main but it’s important to Alice’s story. I hate to think of him as a prop for Alice, but maybe he is? When he shows up early in the book, it’s clear that he’s her home away from home in a sense. Alice is free to be herself around him more so than anyone in the book. He’s been her best friend for years and a lot of her BIG decisions about Ethan come from conversations with Gabe. Whether it be him making her face hard facts or helping give her confidence to run after Ethan.

Gabe is a happily married gay man though so acting as a secondary love interest isn’t quite plausible. (Even though I do love my harrowing unrequited love triangles) And yes, I know. Now Gabe falls into the category of a cliche gay best friend but he’s literally based off of one my gay best friends who lives in New York lol His role is integral to Alice’s self-discovery and journey and he has a through-line throughout the entire story. Does that still make him a prop?

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No, if he serves a function as confidant then that is more than prop, it just isn’t clear in that summary but if you’re confident it will appear in the story itself then it wouldn’t matter.

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