Sunday, October 12, 2014

making the characters feel real


 Writing a romance has its own challenges if you want the relationship to feel believable. Well, the truth of it is a romance is both fairy tale and reality. It should feel like it could happen all the time it's a mythology that carries the reader to a higher plateau than their usual routine-- they hope because romances have danger or angst as part of their repertoire. In real life, we prefer easier paths-- well most of us do. We though can vicariously experience other worlds and ways through what we choose to read.

Making the romance believable is something constantly on my mind as I write this new story where I have two characters with independent goals. Realizing they love each other is not the end of their struggle. Next comes-- how the heck is this going to work out? 

For every book I have written and by now there have been 15 published (one of those has 3 separate romances within it), I am always presented with the challenge of the general plot swirling around these characters-- but most of all this couple and how they have come to want each other. The stages of romantic love are important to keep in view. The images on a board help me do that.

In a genre romance with a mandatory happily ever after, the reader knows it will work out. Any talk of cliff hangers is just a question of 'how' it will work out, not if. A good writer will make that seem believable even as it could also seem it'd have gone the other way.

With this current work in progress, I have images on my bulletin board to remind me what to keep behind my words. I bought images from Period Images, printed off some, and set them in my backdrops. For this new couple, only one of the images I bought will end up the cover. It is this one, and the emotions I see in it are his conflict, torn between the world he has lived for over ten years, much of it involving wars, and now this woman in his arms, who sees his doubts and has her own conflicts to overcome.


The others are for my writing and will be in trailers-- probably. I put them on my bulletin board to keep in mind the stages of a romance, the joy, the passion, and the concern.


Along with the couple, in this series, there will be four romances-- the first one began in 1852. This is the Stevens family and keeping that family always in my mind makes for a better story, I think. Relationships are not just about the couple but the community in which they have grown up, live, fight, and love.

Besides the people, the other important character, for me in any story, is the landscape (top image) in which the story is set. So it also is pinned to my board to keep me always remembering what they see, smell and feel when they look around their world.

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