March’s Writing Theme: Breaks

Though we’re only three months into the year, it’s the time we all take a break, relax, and have a bit of fun. For some of you Spring Break it coming up and you’re readying yourself for a much needed R&R.

So, for this month we are going to talk about what we are doing for Spring Break. Are you going somewhere? Going with someone? Having a staycation? Are you getting more hours in at work? Or working on a project for school?  What are you doing for spring break?

Breaks

Example: As much as I would love to travel for spring break, to a place nice and sunny, we are not. We’ve decided to spend some time with family and visit my sister and her kids. Hopefully, if we are lucky, we can take advantage of her pool. If not, then there’s always games and movies. What’s better than relaxing and hanging out, laughing and hanging fun? 

February’s Writing Theme: Love

So, yep, we’re going to go there. For this month, because it’s the month where most are struck by cupid and are focused on their loves. We are doing the same here. For this, month’s writing theme, tell me why you love someone in your life right now.

I chose that because there are a lot of us out there that don’t have someone for Valentine’s Day and if any of you are like me, you don’t celebrate it. My husband and I decided early in our relationship not to celebrate Valentine’s day because we celebrated our dating anniversary which was a week away. We didn’t see a reason to celebrate our love twice.

So, for this month, give me what makes you love your significant other, your parents, siblings, or even your pet.

Love

Example: I love my husband because though he works, he finds time to spend with me and our two children. When we are struggling, he’ll do whatever is necessary to make things right even if that means finding a second job, working extra hours, or whatever. One of the things I love about him is he’ll still find the time to surprise me with the little things. I love, love, love hot chocolate and he’ll go to my favorite gas station to get it for me no matter how cold it is. 

Writing Romantic Scenes/Relationships

It’s the month of love and within writing there could be a lot or a little. What do you need for Romantic Scenes and relationships? What do you need to know to make it flow within your story and build as your characters grow? Well, that’s what we are here to discuss today.

Romantic Scenes:

Sunset Romance

Know your characters

Your characters are the ones taking this amazing journey you’ve set out for them. They go down each path you set them on, but if they don’t continue to be themselves (as you’ve written them), your readers will lose interest and at the very least become confused that there may be another character where your main ones should be.

Within romantic scenes, keep with your character’s… well, character throughout. If they wouldn’t respond or act a certain way during a romantic scene, then don’t put it in. Keep their attitudes, ways of thinking, quirks if you wish; in the scene, but keep them true to them. Let your characters decide their level of intimacy as they move throughout your story and trust me, they will if you release the reigns!

Dive deep into your characters to know how they would act, what they would say in certain situations and what they would do at any given moment. Stick with your characters and show us what they are like as your story progresses. There are many ways to get to know your characters better… conduct an interview with them, write out characteristics about them, create a short story (for your eyes only, of course) telling about your character, everything about your character.

Keep Plot in mind

In order to write romantic scenes, it’s important to keep the plot of the story in mind. Does the romantic scene drive the plot? If it doesn’t, it may not be worth putting it in. Is there another important reason for adding it? Well, then, by all means. Just make sure it’s furthering your character’s journey in some way, either physically, emotionally, or both.

Keep the storyline moving as you write your scenes. You don’t want your readers stopping to think about why that was even put in there in the first place. Remember, your readers are going to enjoy the scene, but only if it serves it’s purpose.

Avoid ‘Purple Prose’ and Cliches

Have you ever read a story where they move around what they are trying to say; using so many forms of the word to make it sound ‘pretty’ or less clinical? This is where avoiding all those flowery words during love/romantic comes in. If your characters have specific words for ‘things’, then use them, but you as a writer don’t need to. Say what you intend to say, don’t sugar coat it. We all know what you’re trying to say anyway.

If you’re really against using specific words, then try the art of suggestion. Sometimes, the use of suggestion can be more potent than saying it out right. Give it a try, I bet you’ll find a lot of readers love it because they use their own imaginations for the suggested actions.

Know Your Audience

If you want to know what your readers enjoy, start reading what your readers read to learn what they like. Stay within the genre you plan to write as you read, there is no sense in reading a regency romance when your is strictly sci-fi.

Use Your Setting, Theme & Background

Setting

Setting

Where is your romantic scene taking place? What objects, buildings, and/or creatures are around you… er, them within the scene? Use these things to provide a sense of being in the scene. Use the scenes of smell, touch, sight, taste and hearing to provide a vivid picture of the experience. Who doesn’t love to know that there is a piece of straw digging straight into the back of a character while being taken in the loft of a barn? Well, you get what I mean. 😉 Show us, the readers, what your characters see, what they hear, what they smell, etc during the scene.

Theme

What is your story really about? Try to weave your theme within your love scene to create a personal touch. There is no better way to communicate with your readers the theme of your story then to have your characters experience, or be just as passionate for what your theme is about.

Background

What do they do for a living? What hobbies do they love to do? Are their words within those areas that could be used during your love scene? I’m sure if you thought about it, you could think of terms artists, mechanics, writers even; use. Have them use some of those within the scene to not only make your characters more interesting, but the scene itself.

Avoid Cliches

We’ve all read those books that seem to show the same damsel in distress waiting for her knight in shining armor or the damsel whose been abused and her knight shows her how to live again. There are so many out there, it’s sometimes hard to come up with something new.

If you insist on using one, turn it to focus on a different aspect. Perhaps the knight was the one needing saving from the dragon or the male character is the one who needs to be shown love again after a terrible abusive experience. Think of how you can make the cliche more interesting and go with that.

Stay Within Your Comfort Zone

You as an author need to write what you are comfortable with, but also keep with the characters. If they would do something that maybe you’re not completely uncomfortable with, then leave it in or get advice from your reader/writer groups. If it ruins the story then remove it.

You need to be comfortable with your writing in order to bring your readers that fantastic story, the adventurous journey, and the awesome love scenes.

Character Relationships:

Relationships

Write Love Scenes, Not Sex Scenes

Now, this may shock you, but I’m gonna tell you something that you may not believe, but it’s completely true. Here goes… The romance in a romance novel isn’t about the sex, it’s about the relationship between your characters.

Yes, I know, it’s hard to believe, but yes the romantic scenes in your novel should be about the relationship of the main characters (or secondary characters depending) and moving that relationship forward in some way whether for the good or the bad.

Remember above where I mentioned using hobby terms within your scenes? Well, you can use them here and if it’s appropriate, add some humor too. Depending on how the scene goes, you could do a lot and just with the sexual actions.

Create Tension

Sexual Tension comes in stages and forms throughout the relationship of your characters. Let’s explore some here.

First Meeting And After

Your characters are usually attracted to each other in some way shape of form from the moment they meet, from that first touch, or first sight.

Here are somethings to think about when they first meet and throughout their relationship:

  • How do they react to each other while in the same room?
  • How/what are they thinking when they are not in the same room?
  • How do they react after the first touch? First Kiss? Public displays of affection?
  • How do they react moments after sex?
  • The morning after?
  • How/what are they thinking of the other afterwords?

Opposing Forces

What opposing forces are at work between your characters and what are your characters doing to defeat that opposing force?

Is that opposing force work related and they are going after the same position? Do they have different views on the use of a building they are proposing? Perhaps they have different views on something one is passionate about or does one feel that getting into a relationship at this point would ruin something they are striving for.

Whatever it is, create a force that is keeping your characters apart whether that’s a physical force or emotional force. Then have them move, taking turns to discover the right course of action to overcome the force.

Neither character wants the negative reaction to their opposing force, nor do they want to risk harming the relationship they know is blooming, but attraction keeps them moving forward down the rocky path.

Contrasts

These contrasts like some opposing forces could be from others as well as from themselves.

Areas of their lives where they disagree could put tension between your two characters. Religion, how to handle a specific situation, or another reason for them to disagree.

Another contrast could be within themselves, their thoughts that could contradict or argue over whether something was good to do or not. When characters interact or when they are speaking to themselves you’ll read the thoughts and opinions those that are irrational, inconsistent and unreasonable. Not to mention those thoughts that contradict each other. Each character has their own emotional struggle, characteristics, and contradictions moving further toward or away from the same path.

Conflicts

Conflicts can be anything from opposing forces, to contrasts, to emotional or physical obstacles.

Here is where you want to raise the stakes, so to speak. Create even more tension between your characters by bringing in emotion or a physical obstacle to overcome or do both!

As they say do something bad, then do something worse, then do something that will make your character wish they were never born. The greater the risk the more their emotions will come into play.

Suspense/Anticipation

Suspense should raise as your readers wonder if and when your characters will get together. Use those small moments together to create anticipation for their next meeting. You could even end a scene with a character thinking it’s the wrong moment to bet together.

Having those small moments will build up suspense, emotions, and the desire within your characters to see their journey to the end, so give your readers plenty of suspense and anticipation.

Use Your Own Memories and Experiences

Funny Romances

When writing romantic relationships, your own memories and experiences can come into play. You can literally set the stage for the scene to get an idea of actual sights, sounds, feels, and more. Go ahead, have fun!

Doing this can give your scene a sense of reality that it may have been missing before.

Another things you can use from experience is dialogue. If your significant other, or yourself say certain things during those moments, use them. If your characters start saying outrageous and outlandish things during the scene, it won’t seem real and your readers will know that.

Use the Five Senses

As I mentioned earlier, your senses should come into play not only in romantic scenes, but also within the relationship itself.

Each small touch, word, or sight of the other will heighten their experience. Have your characters constantly be aware of what the other is doing. Whether is the slight touch of their fingers, a whispered word, or the sight of one without their shirt. Each experience uses as sense and it should be there to tell the story.

Be sure that although we are focusing on the physical, you also remember the emotional. How are they feeling, what going on in their mind as those things are happening.

Every small detail can come in handy. Obsessions, actions, dialogue. It all plays a role and helps to give the reader the full experience of the scene.

Reveal Stages of Relationship

Every relationship has stages in which they progress. It’s a good idea during each romantic scene and within the relationship itself to discretely show the progression of the relationship.

To do that, you can visit my post on Love from last week to find pointers, but reveal stages like flirting, romantic love or even familial love if your characters relationship goes that far. You can reveal something to advance an element of the plot or reveal small emotions of one character or another.

 

Love

It’s February and you know what that means… it’s the month of love. So, our inspirational word for this week is, you guessed it, Love.

And to keep with tradition, let’s look at this word ~

Dictionary

  • a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person
  • a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection as for a parent or child
  • sexual passion or desire
  • more listed Here

Wiki

  • Strong affection towards others
  • a person who is the object of romantic feelings; a darling, sweetheart, or beloved
  • a term of friendly address, regardless of feelings
  • more listed Here

There are so many more that I didn’t want to take up half this post with definitions. On to the rest of this post!

The thoughts and opinions within this post are those of the author and no one else. 

Types of Love

As with most things, we divide love into categories. You may think that’s silly, but there are different ways we as humans love, and show love. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Interpersonal

Interpersonal love refers to love expressed between humans. This type of love is expressed by family members, friends, and couples.

Romantic Love

This is sexual or passionate love between couples. Some think of Cupid and their love arrows when romantic love is mentioned, but this is much deeper and more emotional than that.

Couples Love

The feeling of deep affection for your partner is something felt so far within, you can’t breath and your chest hurts just thinking about them. There really isn’t much more to say on this. If you haven’t experienced this, just wait, you will!

Ok, so it’s not quite can’t breath/chest pain type, but you get what I mean. There is nothing more profound than the love you feel for your partner, except perhaps the love you have for your family…

Love of Family

Like romantic love this is a deep affection for those within your family; what parents feel for their children and vice versa.

Family Love

The love I have for my children is like no other. I would do anything for them. Well, I won’t do their homework for them… or their chores for them… or, well, you get the picture. I love my children, but they need to learn to do things on their own. None-the-less, the love I have for my children is right up there with the love I share with my husband.

I understand that some have a hard time with this one. Someone got hurt and the grudges have lasted months or even years. The thing is, there is nothing more important than family and though you have your differences, I’m sure deep down that love is still there. I hope those who are in this situation reconcile because there is nothing more important than family and though there have been issues, they are the ones that will be there for you no matter what.

Friendly/Platonic Love

I bet you all have those friends that you love spending time with, that will be there when you’re having a rough day or will make you laugh when all you want to do is curl up and cry.

Friendly Relationships

Though you don’t have passionate love for them, there is still a deep affection for them that can’t be replaced. This companionship is a form of trust and dependability formed by mutual understanding of what a friend is and what that entails. You care as they do and your interests may or may not resemble each others. Those things you agree on are what makes you fantastic friends.

Love of Self

This is the love you have for yourself. Some may think that you don’t have any love for yourself. You don’t like the way you look, you feel you have to wear makeup every day to cover up what you consider blemishes or you feel you can’t do anything right. There is always going to be something about ourselves that we are not going to like, right?

Self Love

Well, you may not ‘like’ yourself, but I bet you do love yourself. You have so many things going for you. I bet if you wrote down a list of pros and cons, you would come up with a long list of pros that would outweigh the cons. Don’t get me wrong, there are always going to be things I can’t stand about myself. I’m a little overweight, I could probably use some makeup and I’m a redhead, so I can have a temper, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love myself.

You have to make a choice to love what you have or change it. I’ve learned to love who I am. I may try to change some things, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love my previous self. How do you move forward if you don’t learn from the previous person you once were? Move forward and create a better, healthier, more lovable you. Write down the things you want to achieve and go after them. You’ll be glad you did.

Impersonal

Universal Love

Here you will find the love of all things nature, the love for strangers and the love of God. Now you may think that loving strangers is strange, but you don’t really know them, so how do you know if you love them or not. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that it’s natural for us to love everything. It’s a reaction of the first meeting that give you a judgment of whether you’ll continue to love, like, or dislike those that you meet.

Love of Nature

Now, nature is another story. When I hear people say they hate nature, it kind of makes me laugh. If we didn’t have everything that nature entailed, we wouldn’t be alive. Plants and animals are what we as humans use to live on a daily basis, not just for food, but for clothing, furniture and even down to the things we use daily like pencils and paper. Yes, there are other materials we can use for some of those, but what about air, shelter and the basic things you feel you need to have to live. You may not like it, but you should love what it does for you.

Uncommitted Love

This one could be included into other categories as additions, but it seemed appropriate to keep it to its own category. In this group, you have those moments before romantic love where within the relationship there is teasing, flirting, and seducing. Like courting, it is the journey of conquest and could include the motto of ‘no strings attached’.

Flirting, Dancing, Love

It’s that playful time before commitment, where you’re learning each other and would be considered the best part of the relationship between two people. It’s where you are feeling each other out to see if something long term could be possible and what could be more fun than that?

Love of Work

Work, Duty

Within this category you have a practical love that’s founded on reason or duty, fulled by one’s long-term interest. This is what you will do to make things work within any kind of relationship, whether it’s a work relationship, personal relationship, or mild acquaintance. Do you feel that you need to make a good impression? Do you worry about how others perceive you as a person? What drives you to make that first, second or even third good impression? The reason or duty you have to yourself or those around you or even to a company you work for may drive you to create a relationship that is beneficial to all those involved.

Final Thoughts

Which stage/category are you in right now? What do you believe is the right course of action within that category? Sometimes you just need a reminder of where you are and who you want to be. Trust yourself and the things you do. You’ll find you can love anyone, including yourself if you only look deep.

January’s Writing Theme: New Year, New Plans

It’s a new year and like most you may be making plans for the year or the next few weeks or months. Let’s make 2019 great and hold each other accountable. List something you are trying to accomplish this year below so we can encourage you on your journey!

Example: Some of the things I have planned for this year are… to relaunch my paranormal romance series. (All seven books are written) I also have some fun and creative things planned that I will keep as a surprise. I’m already working on one and you’re going to love it!! 

So what is one thing you have planned for 2019?

Overcome

Boy has this word been a big part of me and my business the last few months. Many things to overcome, obstacles to face and defeat, life to battle and conquer. But first, let’s take a look at this fantastic word and what it means…

What is ‘Overcome’?

snail-1447233_640

Dictionary

  • Succeed in dealing with a problem or difficulty
  • Defeat an opponent; to prevail
  • (Of an emotion) Overpower or overwhelm

WIKI

  • To surmount; to prevail over, to get the better of
  • To overwhelm with emotion
  • To come or pass over, to spread over
  • To over flow, to surcharge
So according to those Overcome is to succeed or prevail over a difficult problem, obstacle, or emotion.

Overcome is such a powerful word and is used in many ways:

You see it on posters, pamphlets, spoken and more. Overcome is a fabulous word with man uses as well as, for many of us, has a speacial meaning.

To Encourage

Communicative

hands-2805248_640 Many people use the word overcome as an encouragement when going through hard times, struggles, abuse or any other obstacle they are facing. The way they go about it may differ, but everyone has overcome some sort of obstacle in their lives, whether large or small. Not one obstacle is more prominent or difficult than any other. It depends on who’s looking at it in order for them to defeat it. While people may find themselves in a similar situation, the outcome or the way they overcame thier obstacle is all theirs.

Personal

help-3049553_640 We encourage and motivate not only others, but ourselves to overcome daily obstacles. A fight we had with our spouse, getting the children to school on time, a flat tire, or worse. There are days when life seems like everything we do is against us, while other days nothing could go wrong. And then thre are those days where it begins one way and ends the other. I know I’ve experienced that and my day ended on the bad side.

To Inspire

slogans-801774_640.jpg We as a race, gain inspiration from hearing, seeing and experiencing the defeat of our own personal monsters, as well as those of others. When we hear of others or even think back on what we’ve done within the last year, month or even week, we can inspire ourselves to move forward. Hey, if we’ve already defeated some of those monsters, why wouldn’t we be able to defeat new ones?

To Tell Stories

As an author, I know my first series as well as my stand alone pertain to overcoming something from the character’s past whether that’s people who harmed them, the darkness that surrounded them, or relatives that feel they were the reason for their loss. books-1141910_640 We tell stories to relay information, to hand down moral values, and so much more. Stories are what people can escape to, relate to, and gain inspiration, encouragement, and motivation from. Characters face obstacles we may or may not ever face, but they are always able to push through, forge ahead, and overcome their battles. Of course, thier lives are at the discretion of the author who created them, but we are not. We have the choice to let those small (or large) things bring us down or to become a knight, a dragon, or a wizard and overcome the battles life have thrown at us.

How to Overcome

There are many ways you can overcome whatever obstacles you are facing. You just need to find what is right for you and find a way to make that happen. Here are some examples… meditation-1350599_640
  • Seclusion ~  Sometime being alone can do wonders for the mind and body. When you can think on the problem and only the problem without all the other things in life vying for you attention you may be able to overcome the obstacle.
  • Deep Breaths/Meditation ~ As with seclusion, meditating or even taking a few calming breaths can rejuvenate your mind to look at the situation more clearly.
  • Run at it Full Force ~ With other obstacles and problems, you may need to face them head on to get them taken care of so you can focus on other things.
  • Speak with Another ~ Talking out your struggles with another may help find a solution faster, two (or more) heads are better than one!
  • Take a Break ~ Sometimes it’s best to take some time for yourself. Regroup, relax, and come back to the problem later. If you walk away from the issue for a bit (if you can do that) it may clear your head. When you return to the problem, you’ll look at it with fresh eyes, ready to battle once more.
  • Find the Purpose of the problem ~ When you understand exactly what the problem is and why the problem exists, you can discover the solution to resolve the problem.

I am Overcoming…

Life has been good and bad for me. The beginning of the year was fabulous until I hit late February when things began to fall apart. My husband was working all hours, homeschooling was a struggle, traveling down to watch my sisters kids for weeks on and off, and trying to keep up with all of my writing goals were not making it. I was so far off, I had to completely revamp my schedule and push some projects off until next year to be able to handle what was important to me and the goals I wanted to accomplish this year. The point is, sometimes life with throw a wrench, a boulder, heck even a house or skyscraper into your plans, but it’s up to you how to handle the situation. Overcome the obstacles or allow them to bury you so deep you can’t climb out. What will or are you overcoming at this point in your life? I would love to hear your story and give you some encouragement as you defeat your monsters no matter how small.  SaveSave