Writing Romance

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“We’ve spent a lot of time together.” I was playing with his hand when I said this, unable to look into his eyes, too afraid of what I might see. I continued, “Tell me a secret.” Finally I looked up. As he smiled, he brought his hand to cup my face.

“Whenever I think of myself, I think of you. I find myself planning my days around you.”

Phew. Romance. The stuff women dream of! Not all women but certainly a large percentage of them, myself included. I’m one of those women that believes in reading romance novels. I love a good love story! I don’t think it makes me silly at all. I mean, I’m in the military. If I can’t at least look girly, I should be able to experience it at the hands of a great novel.

Ever wonder what goes into a steamy romance? I can’t really tell you because I don’t write steamy romance. But there’s romance in my books. And if you’ve liked my Facebook page, you’ll see some of it is a little heavy. No sex. I believe my characters deserve their privacy. But there’s some excitement for everyone. If I’m going to discuss the things I think of when writing Edric and Liza’s story, you’re going to have to read this with an open mind, knowing I’m no expert and I have no degrees nor have I taken any classes in writing. I’m just telling you, as a writer, what works for me.

Be honest. Too many times I read romances where the hero and heroine are just too much. They’re either too great or too awful. When writing Liza, I knew she’d never loved before, so she was going to be naïve as well as eager. Because she hadn’t been tainted by heartbreak, she was completely open to the experience (thanks for showing me that, Rosemi). Meanwhile, when writing Edric, I knew he never expected to find love. He was a tough guy. But I also knew that, because of his history, he was only too eager to be happy after living a life of misery. Both of them are eager and expectant. And while you fall in love right along with them, you also know that relationships aren’t perfect forever… 😉 Go with your characters. If you give them the voice, they’ll show you the way. Stay true to them.

Men don’t always have to be tough… In fact, too many times that stereotype completely screws up the storyline. Yes, Edric is…well, Edric. But he doesn’t have to play King Kong with Liza. I know when men get around a woman they love and respect, they have a softness for her. We like that. Keep doing that.

…And women don’t always have to be weak. OK. This one isn’t too bad if you let her grow into her strength. A woman does not have to rely on a man for her strength. Their strength should be equal because they are partners. Right? Meh. Maybe.

Love is blind. But not stupid. You ever get that heroine who acts like a complete FOOL because she’s “in love”? I’m talking, doing things illegal or immoral. Why?? I don’t understand. In my opinion, that isn’t real love. That’s desperate infatuation. While not everyone is perfect and people have personal issues, if someone loves you (healthily), they’re going to want to keep you safe. So…you see how this doesn’t make sense to me?

There isn’t always a happily ever after… Sad, I know. And I won’t be saying if Mystic Waters has a happy ending or not. Besides, there’ll be more than one book so that wouldn’t matter anyway! What matters is following the path your characters give you. I know most people hate when books end on a sad note. Look at the grief Veronica Roth got for Insurgent! I heard she’s even received death threats! But, even though I hated the ending as well, I admire her sticking to it. Because she stuck to her character’s true nature. To what Tris would’ve wanted. I know people will threaten your life. But hire security and continue writing because life isn’t all sunshine and happy days!

…But every love should have a lesson. Maybe it’s the first love that teaches you to guard your heart. Maybe it’s your ex boyfriend you caught cheating on you. Or your husband left you for a younger woman. In books, every love has a lesson. At the very least, it creates a stigma that makes it harder for another man to penetrate the barriers now surrounding her heart. Things do not happen in books just because. Everything has a lesson and/or meaning. Including love.

If you bring your readers along for the journey, they’ll fall in love right along with your characters. I know this because in writing this story, I fell in love. And when I come across a great love story, I fall just as desperately as the protagonist. Bring me along for the ride. I want to experience the first meeting, the first laugh, the first kiss…I want it all. Because if you make it believable enough, you’ve done your job as an author. You’ve evoked emotion, simply using words. And isn’t that just magical?

These are the things I keep in mind, the things I believe in, when writing. I’d promise to discuss writing magic or world building next but the next blog post belongs to Rosemi! That’s right. My first guest post will be on Monday by my agent, Rosemi. I also have an interview lined up Wednesday as well as an excerpt of his new book, so stay tuned for that! Great things happening over here! March is a great month and I can’t wait to see what 2014 brings us!

While writing, I tried playing one of those most romantic songs I had and ended up with Christina Perri’s A Thousand Years. Also, the excerpt above is from my book. I had to add that into this post belatedly. I hadn’t realized I didn’t mention it above.

All my love,
Cynth

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