Making Love out of Nothing

Beginning with a blank page, the challenge of the romance writer is to make love out of nothing.  And if you write contemporary romance, it’s even tougher. Your characters are modern women, sometimes cynical and jaded by disappointing experiences with love, unlike the more traditional romance novel where the women are virgins, or relatively inexperienced. The idea that women such of those would fall easily and passionately in love isn’t so hard to believe. But sadly, I don’t write about those women. My heroines have lived a little bit and think they understand something about how the world works, and about men, and sex and love.

How do you make a woman like that convincingly fall in love on the page? 

That’s where I focus when I write. I generally don’t spend much time on the chase, because I think the conflict in modern romance is not often in whether the guy gets the girl (or vice versa)  but in whether or not they can make sexual conquest (a term I hate, incidentally, since women have long passed the pretense of needing to be convinced they’ll enjoy sex) evolve into something much deeper. Some writers make the love happen with lots of sex. Others do it by just telling you it happened.

How many times have you read a novel where the characters say they love each other but you can’t make yourself believe it? Where the author tells you they have passion for each other, but it doesn’t feel authentic? That’s the biggest struggle: making a believable connection leap off the pages without saying it too often and evoking a feeling without telling you too often that it’s there. I could probably write a book a month if I didn’t struggle with this aspect of storytelling as much as I do – getting plot and situations and descriptions of places down on a page doesn’t take me too long. But occasionally, I read over what I’ve written and that’s all I have – descriptions without emotion, efficient “telling” but not much else.

In Secret, my new book, out sometime this year, the plotline has finally come to me and much of it is already written. I know and understand the journey that the characters are taking. And I know something about the people they are. What I’m still working on is making the love out of nothing. Why one person falls in love with another is one of the great mysteries of life, so putting that into words is tough to do. So my question to you is this: when you think about your favorite romance novels of all time wasn’t that a big part of it? That the author was great at making love out of nothing?

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Woman-Centered Fiction Writer, commenting on books, culture and the human condition.

2 thoughts on “Making Love out of Nothing

  1. Hey Lady 😉
    I can give you what reading romance novels means to me. Its my escape from reality/my life. Reading romance novels for my is entertainment. I never go into a romance novel searching for “something”, I have the normal fav authors like Adrienne Byrd, Niobia Bryant, Maureen Smith; to name a few. I never gave thought if the author was great at making love out of nothing. As long as the material flowed well I was satisfied. I already knew in the begining that it was going to be a happy ending. Like I said I dont go into a book searching; so I was good. For the past 2 years now, I have purchased books from authors I have never heard of. Im so happy I did. Take your book Unsuitable Men for instance; first book of yours I read, I didnt go into the book searching for something BUT while reading and after reading, you had me thinking abt misceallaneous things. Some authors “climaxes” are silly; so juvenile and petty. Like anyone can overcome that. Your climax in Unsuitable men-your characters really go through some ..ish, and if they did or didnt overcome, the reader could understand why. I loved how Unsuitable Men ended. She put it ALL out there. To me that was a prime example of making love out of nothing. For that matter all three of your books are prime examples of making love out of nothing.

    Sooo Secret is coming out b/f the year is out???

    1. Hi KayLynne
      Thanks for your feedback. And yes, come hell or high water I’ve committed to having Secret out before the end of the year. Looking forward to hearing what you think!

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