I finally finished the rewrites that my agent asked for. One of my critique friends asked to see them before I send them to Lauren, so they’re not on their way yet, but they’re done. And that feels GOOD!
Things I learned about writing a romance:
Everything has to affect the budding relationship between “guy who met girl.” I tried to cheat. Yes, I admit it, and I thought I could get away with it. I didn’t feel comfortable hinging everything on the push-pull of the romance, so I added a mystery subplot that played into the hero’s business and let the heroine bail him out here and there. It didn’t work. As my agent and my writer friends who KNOW romance explained, the story has to be driven by the “I’m attracted to you, but….” struggles of romance. The relationship has to drive every part of the story. Adding the mystery was a misstep. A fixable misstep, but one I’d do better to avoid next time. Each genre has rules. You can bend them, but you’d better know what you’re doing if you intend to break them.
Characters can’t be stereotypes if they matter at all in the story. They have to have depth, or why care about them? And if you push the envelope and break the stereotype too much, the consequences need to ripple through the story. For instance, I tossed in a surprise about Ian’s fiancee’. I thought it added a nice out-of-the-ordinary punch. The surprise went over great, but I got nailed for not dealing with the consequences all the way through to their eventual outcome. So think cause and effect from beginning to end. Why did it happen? What brought it on? And how did affect everyone involved?
I wrote my story from single POV. The first romance novel I studied to get a feel for the genre did that, so I did, too. Then I read Catherine Bybee, and she alternated scenes between the heroine’s POV and the hero’s. That might have made things simpler for me. With the guy’s POV, readers can get closer to him and know his reasoning when he’s a jerk (even though in his mind, he’s not). It’s a tough call, but since I wrote this first novel in single POV, I’ll write the next one that way, too. If I ever start a new romance series, though, I might play around with his and her POVs. It punches up the tension and makes both characters more sympathetic. We don’t have to rely on the heroine guessing what her romantic interest is up to. He can tell us. POV is something to consider when you start a novel. Is single better than multiple? Which would work better?
Small details can make a big difference in a romance. When I write urban fantasy, the conflict is on a grand scale. Life and death weigh in the balance. In romance, emotions drive the story. A misunderstanding can derail an entire relationship. Working on the dance of “he said,” “she said” was good for me. It reminded me that it’s fun to let your characters tell lies. Usually, in urban fantasy, the good guys and the bad guys face off against each other. But in real life, people sidle out of responsibilities, they distort the truth, and they tilt events to their own advantage. And sometimes, they out and out lie. It was refreshing to work with motivations driven by emotions and needs instead of good versus bad. (I like that, too, though:) Anyway, the romance, for now, is done. Tomorrow, I start doing plot points for my third Wolf’s Bane novel. It’s back to gargoyles, witches, and werewolves again. I’m liking the balance–dealing with mortals and their emotions for one book (romances) and then switching to battles and monsters for the next. Pretty fun!
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12 thoughts on “Writing: grateful sigh:)”
Down to the last few chapters on the re-read and it’s as fun this time as the last. Love the characters and the fixes. Only have 2 notes so far. Will read the ending today so it’s ready by Scribes.
Thanks for the rush job, Mary Lou. I appreciate it.
You know, I’ve read a few books on how to craft romances, and this single post said it better than any of them. Great job, Judith, explaining that delicate thread that must exist between the love interests!
(And just a Sue note, I like alternating chapters between the povs Is it strange that my male characters are always more sympathetic???)
You did a great job of bringing both of your characters to life in Summoned!
Great post, Judy! Glad to hear you survived this round of edits, and sounds like the romance writing was a great learning tool as well. I’ve written in single POV and his/hers, and honestly? I almost enjoy writing the him’s more–you’re right, gives us that insight into why they’re acting like a jerk (or reacting to a silly woman being, well, silly). I look forward to reading more about your amazing new romance soon!
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Flirting With Fire is all single POV, and I’m enjoying that…a lot. There are advantages to each way. This way, we always wonder if Liz is interpreting Torrun’s actions/conversations correctly. Adds some wiggle room:)
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Exactly. That’s why I started out w/ 1st single POV – you can only see what Liz is seeing (and Jessica in the first book, and now Marissa in book 3), and often she’s not seeing the whole picture. Works great for romantic suspense. 😉 So glad you’re enjoying Flirting With Fire!
I struggled to write romance and so switched my genre. You have explained it perfectly here. Maybe I would be writing them still had I read this. Hope your agent loves it!
Thanks, I hope Lauren loves it too:) I wouldn’t have been able to write romance a few years ago. I couldn’t go from mysteries to romance. It was too big of a switch, going from plot driven stories to character driven. Writing urban fantasy made it easier. I think sometimes you have to “sidle” into the right time and experiences first. Someday, romance might tempt you again.
Karen, I’m enjoying Flirting With Fire a lot. Love Liz’s personality. It’s not easy being “nice.”
I enjoyed this last post so much that I read it again.
Thanks. That means a lot to me:)