Romances, so many types but what makes them work?

cinque-terreWorking on my re-write for Unexpected Obsession has conjured up some questions particularly when it comes to the ‘romantic scenes.” It surprised me how much I was noticing whilst I made changes. Love stories are so much more than boy meets girl. For the narrative to keep our attention the author has to put in the time and have a plan. What exactly did I want from my characters emotionally?  What exactly will their physical relationship show? Will it reflect the feelings the way it should?  Last blog I touched on the fact that adding sex to the scene for the sake of it didn’t work.  There has to be more.  I agree but agreeing and doing are two separate things.  Reading while I do my re-writing certainly brings that home.  Let’s face it, everything we do, has its degree of difficulty.

Edwina Shaw in her article entitled Writing the body: beyond the five senses says that when “we write about our characters experiencing emotions, we need to find a way to inhabit their bodies to make their emotional responses feel real.” Edwina says whilst writing a crime scene she threw herself around the room weeping and carrying on in a way that a character in fear for their life might do. It sounds a bit bizarre but it makes sense, doesn’t it? I wish it didn’t.  The truth is that feeling, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching is necessary to make us feel part of the action, to have us become involved.  We may not need all of those things at one time but we need them as readers to be able to relate to what we as writers create.

Thinking about scenes I was reminded of something my youngest daughter said quite a few months ago.  I quote: “Mum, this is all imagination and not real life?” At the time I laughed.  I thought it hilarious that she went all “daughterly moral” on me.  Now I wonder if it meant I had been believable, or perhaps not so believable.  I guess I have to wait to find out.  And no, I am not going to answer that question in this blog or any other.  Experience and imagination blend together for that touch of realism but it doesn’t mean you have to have every single experience firsthand.  As writers though we have to continually bear in mind the importance of creating that emotional and physical reality because the visceral experience is what connects the reader to the work in front of them.

I decided to give my audience a chance to comment by sharing the following teaser.  Choosing this served a dual purpose for me.  I have used the dreaded double negative, and I have done it twice.  It should bode for some interesting discussion, at least I hope so. I was also hoping in this scene to create a connection to the deeper thoughts of my female lead, and a little insight into Nico.  Please feel free to comment.  I could use the help as this is a hard road full of pitfalls and holes. No, they are not the same thing.  Pitfalls happen because we don’t think enough so we stumble; holes because we think too much and dig out too much dirt.  If you think the sentence you just read doesn’t make sense then write to me.  Write to me anyway.



Her arms had moved to rest on the dresser. They helped hold her upright when her legs lost that ability at the sheer decadence of his pleasure in her.  It gave him maximum access causing her insides to tighten around him and turn his breathing to a raggedness that pleased her no end.  It also drew her into a lust driven dimension, one she knew was so much more than either one of them had bargained for.  She couldn’t, not look, at their reflection. She couldn’t, not watch him, even through deliberate narrowed eyelids to thwart his arrogance a little.

  The other thing coming up often, as I sit at my desk, is the word genre.  I mean I thought I was writing a romance. I am but what kind?  It might seem a strange statement but actually, it is very pertinent.  Every book has a category and this category, allows the reader a smoother access to their needs.  Once upon a time this would have seemed easy but these days, trust me it isn’t.  Marie Lavender wrote a very interesting blog in March giving us a seemingly never-ending list, proving these days, we have romance genres coming out of our ears.  Let’s see, we have contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, science-fiction, multi-cultural, new adult, and young adult to mention a few. Heaven help us if we leave out the HEA, better known as the happy ever after although these days, happy for now, is acceptable.

For the emerging writing this is quite daunting without considering the sub-genres gathering force as we speak to find the courage to meet on the battle-field of cross-genring.  I know it’s not a real word but give me a break, I am making a point.  Historical romances can have vampires just as the contemporary romance can time-travel.  As Marie says, ‘rules will always exist, but in the sense of romance, the sky is the limit.”  It actually leaves us, the romantics of this world, in a very good place.  After all variety can be a wonderful thing.

For now, you will have to put up with my foray into Contemporary Romance as I find my feet.  I’m sure a sub-genre exists in there, somewhere.  Perhaps a multi-cultural bent.  He is Italian and our girl is born and raised in Australia giving her a different edge on lots of things. Maybe I can worry about it when I get the re-writes done.

Ci sentiamo alla prossima,


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  1. Pingback: Romances, so many types but what makes them work? – Barbara Strickland

  2. Well, personally I like the double negatives, they add impact. But I think you need to take out the first comma in each of those sentences.
    Re-writing again? Are you like me – getting jittery about publishing?

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