Adding Conflict in Romance

 

The author is a romance writer, but the advice she gives works in any genre. In addition to examples, she explains how to resolve conflict in a believable way while still having the characters work for their happy ending.

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The Romance Stigma

When someone discovers I’m a writer, I find myself  bracing for the inevitable question.

“What do you write?”

If you haven’t realized this by now, I write romance. Is this a bad thing? No, I certainly don’t think so. But I get the feeling sometimes people frown upon my choice of writing stories that slide neatly into the romance genre.

Romance itself isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. I’m aware of this. I don’t judge those who prefer literary, non-fiction, fantasy, or horror, so why all the negativity toward my preference for romance.

“Oh, it’s unrealistic.”

“You must be so lonely you need to read romance to make up for not having a boyfriend.”

“You like reading all that smut.”

Seriously, we’re going to go down that road?

First of all, I’m happily married. Reading romance does NOT give me a delusional image of what a relationship should be like. It does NOT make me wish for something outside of my marriage. It doesn’t make me love my husband less, in fact, it makes me love my husband MORE.

As an avid reader of romance, I’ve become aware of several things.

1. Communication is the very cornerstone of a healthy relationship.

How many times have I read a romance where the only thing stopping the heroine and hero from finally achieving their goals is communication. I’ll give you a hint. It’s a lot.

Reading romance also gives you insight into things you’d never think to search for in your own relationship, things you should discuss openly with your spouse or partner. There is nothing wrong with being open about your dreams and desires, especially when it’s with someone you are sharing your life, body, and future. It may be the push you need to unleash the sensual self within.

2. Sex is NOT a bad thing, and we shouldn’t be ashamed of it.

Whether it’s sweet inspirational romance or hot and steamy erotica, chemistry and sex play a huge role in the story. The same is true with reality and our own personal love stories. So often are we shamed for our enjoyment of sex with the person we love that we find ourselves not enjoying the intimacy that binds us as a couple.

As a writer of what I consider mainstream romance, I often have people call what I write porn or smut. Many of them have never even picked up a romance novel, let alone read one. All they see is that “clincher cover” (you know EXACTLY what cover I’m talking about) and suddenly I’m indulging in my lustful fantasies.

Honestly…most of the books I read only have a love scene if it pushes the story forward. That’s how I write, and that’s what I prefer to read. Does reading romance turn me on? Yes, it does.

I love the idea of love. I’m obsessed with the concept of romance. I’m addicted to sexual tension and the chemistry that pulls two people together. I find it fascinating and beautiful. I am unashamed of my passion for romance novels, both in writing them and reading them. Love and sex are wonderful things, and there should be no shame in exploring them in prose.

I may never write literary prose or the next great American novel. But I don’t care.

I write romance because I adore it, and because the world could always use a little more LOVE.

Feel free to leave your comments below…Thanks for stopping by.

@–/— Kirsten

A Shadow’s Kiss Book Tour

Hi Everyone.

I will be doing a book tour for the release of my medieval romance novel, A Shadow’s Kiss. Click HERE to pre order a copy.

Here is the link to the tour page. Fire and Ice Book Tours

I’ve pasted the dates the the blog links here for easy access, if you are curious.

 a-shadows-kiss-tour-banner

Master Schedule:

7/7 Fantastic Indie Author’s Interview

7/8 Romantic Chanteuse

Stop 2 Peace Love Writing

7/9 Book Skater

7/10 Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews

7/11 Kay Lalone

7/14 Romance Novel Giveaways (Guest Post)

7/15 Coffee Books and Art (Guest Post)

7/16 Book Nerd Toledo (Review)

7/17 Rage, Sex, & Teddy Bears (Review)

7/18

7/21 The Cat’s Pajamas Book Haven (Review)

Thanks for your support and encouragement.  You can also log into my giveaway, starting on Monday, July 7th.  Click HERE: for the Rafflecopter Giveaway.

❤ Kirsten

The Cardinal Sin of Romance

murder-1

I love my fellow writers on this site. They offer me support and encouragement when I need it the most. Every one of them has read my work and offered invaluable feedback.  But I must say, both Michelle and Amanda are quite…selective in their reading. Neither of them favor the romance genre. I truly believe that neither of them would have ever read a romance in their lives had I not requested their assistance in beta reading/editing my work.

I love them dearly, but I get the feeling that romance disgusts them on a fundamental level. They’ve asked me to kill my characters. But that would NOT a romance make. They take the phrase “kill your darlings” literally. I merely torture mine, then ensure they at least have a happy ending for the moment. I don’t think I can even write anything but romance. It’s not in my blood to spill blood.

Michelle and Amanda tease me incessantly about my inability to commit MC (main character) murder. I cannot do it. Well, at least I haven’t yet. I may at some point in my career, but today is not that day and tomorrow isn’t looking good either.

By definition, romance must have a HEA (happily ever after) or a HFN (happily for now). You cannot kill the MC or multiple MCs and still have the story remain a romance by definition. It may have romantic elements, but it’s not by trade definition a romance.

Some of the best stories have elements of romance in them but the MCs die.

Romeo and Juliet ~ NOT a romance.

Terminator ~ NOT a romance.

Titanic ~ NOT a romance.

See where I’m going with this…the stories themselves have romance elements, but they are obviously not the main plot. Although Romeo and Juliet could be contested otherwise…but it’s obvious love is NOT enough…especially when you have a sadistic writer. Yes, I’m looking directly at you guys (you know who you are).

Serial murderers you are, the lot of you. I swear sometimes I think you do it just for fun. Okay, so I know you don’t just do it for shits and giggles. But the thought of killing off one of my main characters gives me feels deep down to my bones. I…*sniffles*…I can’t do it.

But I’m going to take my own advice and put myself out there, try something I’ve never done before in my own writing, slip outside my comfort zone and test the limits of my strength as a writer.

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~ Kirsten ❤

 

 

The Dance of Words and Euphemism in Intimate Scenes

After the exciting post from last week, I decided continue along the same vein as promised.

There’s a delicate art to writing a moving and effective love scene. It’s like a dance  between action and emotion. Every word is a choreographed move. Combined together, they create a graceful partnership to the music of the moment. This is how all writing is honestly, but I’m focusing predominantly on the intimate scenes.

Romance is more than just sex. It’s the emotional journey of the characters as they find their soul mate. That’s what sets romance apart from all the other genres.  It focuses on the relational conflict as well as whatever internal and external conflict arises in the story. So the love scenes (if included) are important to the story.

Using the wrong words in a love scene can instantly pull the reader from the story, make them disconnect completely, or even worse cringe in distaste. Unless that was what you were going for as the emotional tone of the scene, I suggest choosing your words carefully. We’ve all run across those words…the euphemisms that make us laugh out loud, cringe, or just gross out.

Let me be clear up front. I do not think euphemisms are bad. I’m not bashing authors who use these terms. In fact, I use some of them myself. This article is about choosing words carefully when writing an intimate scene.

I asked my fellow authors at Breathless Press to give me a hand and come up with some of their “pet peeve” words or euphemisms used in romance. They came up with some amazing words and phrases…and had a good laugh in the process. The things writer’s talk about, right? *grins*

Here are some Adjectives proposed that triggered some readers:

A woman’s arousal:  sopping, creamy, oozing, moist.

A man’s arousal: throbbing.

Breasts: globular.

 

Euphemisms for body parts that are either overused or irritated readers:

“nether” anything

manhood

pelvis

taint

turgid coumn

secret place

flesh wand

instrument of pleasure

dick

prick

phallus

cream

juices

mushroom tip

flowers and petals when referring to ladies parts

Also, all medical terms when used in a love scene. I’m reading an intimate moment, not studying a medical journal. While we’re on the topic for a moment…do not merely describe the act, “Insert Tab A into Slot B”. If you’re doing that, then you might want to consider leaving the scene out because you’re not touching on the emotional reasons for the scene to exist in the first place.

Moving on…Verbs:

“coating her womb”

“banging into her cervix” ~ OUCH!

when a woman’s womb “contracts with arousal”

plowing the field

tweaked her nipples

plumbed the depths

spurted

 

Once again, I’m not saying any of these things are WRONG to use. I’m saying be careful of the words you choose when you write your love scenes, does it fit the scene, the mood, the tone, the moment, etc. Don’t take it personally if your betas or your editors tell you to change a word or phrase in the scene because it “pulls them out of the moment”. (Oh, ehehehe, forgive the pun.)

I purposely left out the obvious euphemisms that you shouldn’t use. Nothing says sexy like “purple headed yogurt slinger” or “muff”. But there is a word that came up a few times in my time as a writer that I want to address in and of itself.

Cunt. Yes, I realize it may be a vulgar term to some of you. While I don’t use it often, it does have it’s time and place in writing if used correctly.

It seemed to be the overwhelming majority agreed that when cunt is used in dialog it’s more efficient than when it’s used in prose during a love scene.

For example, my friend Jen is writing a series where the hero, Crispin, is quite cocky, overconfident, and uses what he calls “his wicked whispers”. He uses the word cunt in his whispers to get a rise out of the heroine. It’s his version of “dirty talk” and it’s quite effective. It’s used for shock value…admit it, it works.

Choosing the right words in a scene can make or break it. I hope this provides you with some ideas and inspiration as you move forward with your own writing projects.

Feel free to leave questions or comments.

Thanks.

~ Kirsten ❤