Tag Archives: tips

Romance, It's a Scary Thing

It’s almost time for me to try to once again flex my own, very underused, romance writing muscle again. As such now seems as good a time as any to remember what I’ve learned over the years about what not to do when writing a romantic scene.

Brevityis the Soul of Passion

Not literally! It’s just that when it comes to the language you’re using to describe the action, get right in there and don’t be afraid to call a spade a spade.

For example don’t take a concept like “orgasm” realize it’s sometimes called a “small death” and then inflate it to “the tiny killing moment.” You’ve gone from concise to so verbose the point is lost along the way.

Everyone Loves a Tease

You want to ramp up tension and desire from as early of a point in your novel as possible – and then you want to hold off on your scene as long as you think you can get away with – until it all comes together with explosive force. By the time your characters come together to bump uglies your readers should be a nervous wreck of displaced desire.

Avoid Cliches

This one is always on a writer’s mind and as such you’ll probably already have a feel for what is and what is not yet a cliche. Don’t be so dogged in your search to avoid cliches that you think you have to invent a new way to describe something (like a kiss, a fuck, or a leather clad rubber duck) that’s pretty common but do avoid using something over again that’s already been used so often it’s synonymous in your mind with a bad joke. Definitely avoid anything like “his throbbing member,” just do.

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NaNoWriMo Is Almost Over!

How are you my sprinting little writers? Are you on track to make your 50k words for NaNoWriMo? Have you (gasp) finished already?

There’s only a few days left in the month and these are going to be the hardest. The holidays are now in full swing and you’re really starting to feel the pressure, from the goal, from the holidays, from family and friends, and of course from the ever present day job that you’ve got to juggle with everything else.

It’s distracting, heart wrenching at times and at this point in the marathon writing session that is NaNoWriMo you’re probably starting to feel every bit as exhausted as if you’d actually been running all month long. The good news is the goal line is in sight! This is the point where runners pull out their last bit of reserves, or dig past the place where they think they’ve already run out of resources.

Yup it’s time to sprint those last few yards.

Put your all into it, find that extra minute and just plow through those last few pages like your life depends on it. You can do it! And when you reach the finish line and that surge of accomplishment washes over you, you’ll know in every fiber of your writers heart that the effort was worth it.

Good luck NaNoWriMo’ers, I’ll see you at the finish line!

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Sympathy For The Devil

Everyone loves the hero, including the writer. We spend so much time in the heads of our leads that they’re like family to us. We know our hero’s favorite foods, that time that they skinned their knee when they were six, all their little loves and hates. All those little bits might not make it into the book – but they do help us to flesh out our protagonist in a way that makes them seem to leap off the page breathing and ready to slay dragons.

On the other hand our antagonist, the villain, only exists to stick their foot out at the right time and trip up our hero. It’s easy enough to tell yourself and your reader that the reason that the villain is such a douche is simply because they’re evil – except that breaks the cardinal rule to show and not tell. That’s why it helps, while you’re gathering together you’re notes for your new book, to ask the same questions of your villain that you ask of your hero.

The questions can be bane or profound, it’s more important to ask them and record the answers, than what the original question was. The answers will help to frame the villain less as just evil and more as a person with hopes, desires and goals that are no less valid than the hero’s though they are at complete odds with the hero’s. Which leads to a richer more textured book – something both writers and readers will appreciate.

An example of this wonderful little tool at work? When I asked one of my villains, who was their first love, I not only discovered their wife – a woman my villain loved with such all consuming passion it would have destroyed them both if she hadn’t been a wonderful person herself – but to revelations about how he was raised. He was born heir to a very rich old family, raised by a series of tutors and minders, never given open affection nor given any long term companions to foster even the tiniest of relationships with. He’s intelligent, wealthy, ruthless and relentlessly fierce with his affections which leads him to more and more desperate, even insane acts as first his beloved wife dies and then his son becomes fatally ill.

None of that is likely to make it into the book but it does color the way I’ll write this character, making him more human and, hopefully, more interesting. Give it a try on you’re next writing project, ask your villain a few pointed questions and see if they don’t rise to the challenge of showing you their human side. So don’t be afraid to ask you’re bad boys and girls some heavy questions!

You can read more writing tips and general blather from Y.K. Greene at Blargle Splect.

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