Romance and Writing What You Know

We’ve all had bad relationships. And most romance novels seem to be about romances that go bad, then redeem themselves. This is me speaking from the perspective of a person who is not primarily a romance reader, mind you.

So my question is, how does it interact? Like every writer, a romance author surely draws upon his or her own experience to craft stories, though probably not putting literal events from their own lives into the tale. But are there any romance writers who have rarely or never had bad relationships… or who are currently living a strong, loving, long-term relationship with good communication and no major hassles?

I suspect the answer is – both. I daresay both good and bad relationships teach us about relationships, and that’s what romance writing is largely about. Long may it wave.


Fear and Desire Audiobook!

Hey folks, Fear and Desire has been turned into an audiobook! That’s right, you can now hear this erotic tale read out loud.

The first chapter is up for free as a sample! Check it out!

Steampunk Tale

It took me a surprisingly long time to finish it, but the steampunk story I intend to offer to Lyrical is finally done. It’s a steampunk adventure, with pirates and romantic elements.

It’s going through my critique group now, and my own revision process, and will be offered to them soon! Stay tuned!

In Other News…

Two posts on the same day, whodathunkit? But I wanted to let you know that my local critique group has now got its own website!

It’s a face to face critique group, with the basic format of putting our work on a private online group, then critiquing and meeting in person to discuss, and also to work in one another’s company. We read and write fantasy, science fiction and any other type of fiction. And even if you just like to read and critique, you’re welcome to come! The rest of the information is on the website:

We aren’t all about the erotica, that’s for sure, but there are some who are willing to write and read it. So if you’re local to Denver and have been doing it in the closet (pun very much intended) give us a try if you need critiques and career support.

…Or No Love?

Can you think of a story or novel that is written for anyone over 12 that has no romantic element in it at all? Or a movie without a romantic plotline, whether major or minor? I can think of a very, very few. How strong an impulse in our species must love/romance/reproduction be, that we must put it in every single piece of fiction we produce?

Symbolized by a kiss, the happy resolution of the romantic plotline is deeply satisfying. In most of those movies and stories, there is a happy resolution, too. Rarely do we accept a romantic plotline that doesn’t end up with someone loving someone.

I also notice that it’s hardly ever realistic. What it takes to build a real relationship is hardly ever what they start with or finish with in the fiction. Look at songs, too. The overwhelming majority of what you hear on the radio is about love, good bad or indifferent. Very little of it’s realistic.

I wonder if one could get away with writing a story about good, solid romantic relationships that *were* realistic.

I wouldn’t be writing what I know, that’s for sure.

Word Count: 2217

Good Love

I will be the first to admit that you need conflict in a story, even in a love story. But why are there so few love stories where the relationship is good? There are other sorts of conflict, and a good, strong, enjoyable relationship can offer much in the way of character sympathy, humor and banter, reader approval, many other good things. Is it because writers as a class have a hard time having good relationships and we have to write what we know? (That’s a joke, folks.)

I have in mind a series of three movies. I’m not going to say which ones; those who have seen them may well figure out what I mean. But in the first two, one of the great things about the movies was the love affair between the two main characters. They had the usual rocky road to love in the first one, but it was clear they were headed there, and when it happened, it happened beautifully. Throughout the second movie, they were deeply in love, joyous with one another, sexy and happy. This did not make it a slow film at all: there was plenty of action, conflict, suspense and special effects. However, in the third movie the whole thing fell down. They changed the actress, for a start, and then pretended they hadn’t for the most part (big mistake. Huge.) and worse… they changed the relationship. Suddenly it was a story about a couple divided by the man’s lack of relationship to his son, which was soooo not true in the second movie (where the son was introduced). FAIL. Big, huge, hairy fail.

There’s nothing wrong with a good love story, whether in a romance or in any other fiction… but there’s also nothing wrong with good love.

Word Count: 2788

Fine Line

There’s a fine line between sexy and makes you giggle. If you write erotica, be careful of it! Once your reader is laughing when she’s supposed to be getting excited, the whole thing is off.

The easiest way to cross the line is to be too florid in your descriptions. If your heroine flushes with pleasure, that’s one thing. If the florid blood that surges in her desperate heart suddenly whooshes to the velvety surface of her skin, that’s another.

Another way to cross the line into unintentionally funny is to have independently moving body parts. The most typically quoted example is: his eyes traveled down her body and went back up to her face. Ew! Her eyes rolled, his hand moved across the room to grab the drink, etc etc.

Another way is to have confusing logistics. If your hero has one hand on her buttocks, another wound in her hair, and then somehow brushes a curl out of her eyes, your reader is going to start counting hands.

There are lots of other ways, but these are some of the obvious ones! Good luck in avoiding these pitfalls!

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