Thursday, March 1, 2012

Good in Bed -- I Mean -- Book

link to original here
Today, in lieu of my usual 300 Thursday, I'm updating how the noveling is going.

My self-imposed deadline has come. March 1, and per Neil Gaiman’s advice (and probably many other authors too?) I’m putting my first draft into a proverbial lock box for two weeks. Check out my First Draft – Deb stats page for details on what that blue, vernix-covered baby looks like.  

Meanwhile, I ran into a problem while finishing it: 


I love Love. Romance? Foreplay? Tender glances from across a room? Steamy dialogue, heavy with insinuation? Guh. Love it. I especially respect the kind of writing that can make my chest literally hurt – have you felt this? Read this kind of writing?

My five top books using love as a hook are:

1. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen (of course?)
2. The Jaran, by Kate Elliott
3. Archangel, by Sharon Shinn
4. The Hunger Games Trilogy (can I do that?), by Suzanne Collins
5. Crossed, by Allyson Condie

I want to be able to create such love. But in the amount of time I gave myself to finish my first draft I wasn’t brave enough to write an intimate (not sex – I’m definitely not brave enough to write that *hats off to romance writers*) scene with the delicacy that I wanted, so I just left it out for now.

So how do the Great Writers do it? Make our hearts hurt and our tear ducts spill over? There’s definitely a magic method, here, I just haven’t quite put my finger on it. I know it has to do with characters, with building up of events, with how the romantic interaction plays into the over-all story. 

link to original here
And I understand, as a reader, that if we come to a head too early in the story we’ll lose interest, put the book aside, and just go to bed feeling somewhat unsatisfied.   

No, no, the author has to string us along, little bits of interaction here and there, until we can’t take it any longer and we just have to feel that sweet, exhilarating connection – whatever that may look like for various writers – and somehow the Greats know where and how in the story to do that. We close those books with a satisfied sigh, a smile, and look around for that metaphorical cigarette.

I get this as a reader, but as a writer I'm still shaking my head and wondering, how much is too much? Is it even realistic for my characters to be having that intimate of an encounter this soon in the over-all plot (I’ve outlined two more books with these characters before the whole thing wraps up)? Will readers lose interest in the next two books?

Not that love is the only hook I’m using, so hopefully readers will be invested in other aspects of the story too. 

Ah well. Is it obvious I don’t have the magic formula yet? What are the answers?

I flop my hands around frustrated and chittering, “I don’t know,” a blush flushing my cheeks, my neck, “I really don’t know…”

So. Do you know? And what are some of your favorite love-hook books? I need to go check them out; collect a few more ideas.

Total pages logged as of today: Visit my First Draft -- Deb Stats page to find out

Moment of Magic today:

It snowed on the night I first started this blogging/noveling thing, back when it was just a fun, choose-your-own-adventure idea to get me going on this other story that had been tumbling (and is still tumbling, albeit in the back with the door shut on its loud attempts at getting attention) around in my head.

It snowed again tonight, and the flakes fell big and heavy, so that it looks like a winter wonderland postcard once more. Alpha, Beta, and I are definitely heading out to make some tracks in it tomorrow. For now it's beautiful and soft and makes me hum ridiculous Christmas songs in my head. 



  1. Pride and Prejudice is my end-all be-all as well. Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth are my favorite fictional couple of all-time. I am not big on romance necessarily, but I always felt that Jane Austen pulled it off so brilliantly because she had loved and lost and never really loved again. Her romances always had that air of true longing that in my mind made them absolutely excellent. In my mind, a really great example of love in a book is also Harry and Ginny from the Harry Potter series. Initially I was against the pairing, but in the scene of *the death* in the 6th book when no one can console Harry or get him to move and all Ginny has to do is take his hand and he "instantly obeys its pressure" was one of the more moving scenes of the entire series. There are more examples of great love stories within literature, but I can't think of them right now. I am too flushed with the thoughts of Mr. Darcy :)

    1. Aaahaha! I love that you can't think of them...Mr. Darcy...Love that you always make me laugh.

      These were great thoughts. Thanks for sharing little details of what you think makes a good scene, good couple, good writing, and why. This is exactly what I was looking for.

  2. I have to agree that the Harry and Ginny pairing was very well played by JK Rowling. I wonder if I should admit that Twilight series made my heart ache and kept me hooked for the whole series, so go for it and keep us hanging for another two books. Anticipation is the key, just leave enough time to show us the happy ending. I get so infurated with stories that keep you hanging for a whole series and then end it with the key characters first kiss (or equivalent)!

    PS if you ever find out where the fine line is drawn between just enough and too much, let the rest of us know ;-)

    1. Really great thoughts, Sleepy Joe. I hadn't really included the piece in my head about leaving enough time to show the happy ending. But I think you're really right about that.

      And yes, of course I'll let the rest of you know where the fine line is, if I ever figure it you'll just have to keep reading to see if I do :D


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