From the Editor's Desk
True story (condensed): At a seminar where authors were sharing how they started their stories, one author said, “My book starts with the H/H in bed, and everything is lovey-dovey.” *Buzzer noise* After making the buzzer noise, the presenter said, “They should be fighting. Really tearing into each other.” The author looked startled. Presenter: “Always best to have the characters do the unexpected, especially when being in bed all lovey-dovey seems so romantic. Everyone writes that. Stand out. Shake things up.” The next day, the author approached the presenter in the breakfast buffet line and said, “Thank you. You really made me think. I was up all night rewriting.”
Even in Regency stories, you can write an insurrection of emotions with a few well-chosen savageries.
When characters fight, they’re not guarded. Or, if they are, having them behave aberrantly, or saying things they’d never say, expresses a world of feelings. Frequently, when people fight they say the things they’ve been holding on to, or things they can’t believe they revealed. Sometimes, they say things they can’t take back, and what they’ve said may be the last straw.
No matter how you craft the argument(s) – the fierier the character, the more likely they’ll fight often – your job is to throw as many emotions out there as you can. Create a maelstrom so mighty the characters and the readers feel as if they’re drowning in feeling.
People who love each other fight for their love. People who don’t know they love each other fight to find that love. People who have stopped loving each other fight over the loss and assign blame. In the spectrum of emotion, there’s ten thousand shades of anger, bitterness, regret, yearning, frustration, hope, and desire. Don’t be afraid to mine those feelings. Even characters – especially characters who are invested in maintaining their cool, lose it. When they do, it’s a wonderful chapter to read. We’ve been waiting for the tipping point, knowing all along there’d be that one thing that pushes the character over the edge. How the other MC reacts is equally juicy.
Angry sex, make-up sex, goodbye sex...that’s a lot of veins in need of tapping.
Readers want to cry ugly over your characters. Readers want to get pissed-off at a character’s stupidity and willful blindness. Readers want to come away from your books feeling dizzy from the rollercoaster of emotions they’ve had to endure to get to the HEA you made them wait for until the last few pages of the last chapter.
Ah, c’mon. That was playful.