Friday, 16 November 2012

How I try to keep the fire alive for my readers...

My husband and I have been married 14 years (and 19 years together). People often comment on our relationship because we’re still very close, still laugh a lot and still hold hands in public BUT nothing’s perfect, right?

We have our fair share of problems too – fair share of differences that I swear will NEVER be resolved no matter how long we are together. So what keeps the fire alive? To my mind, if we agreed on everything, wanted to live in each other’s pockets and only had one opinion on everything concerned with our children, our relationship would be far from authentic. I am always determined to live authentically. It’s SO important to me!

This thing is, am I the only romance author who uses our differences to spark some energy into a scene between my hero and heroine? Is it only me who vents some of my frustration over a recent disagreement by having my hero and heroine face some of the issues hubby and I might be dealing with? I think not. Come on, own up…who of you authors out there does it too? ;)

The thing is, what is it that keeps us devoted romance authors coming back for more? It has to be the realism of our stories that matter most to our readers. Keeping it real between the hero and heroine as well as the secondary characters is paramount. The question is, how do we achieve that?

For me, the answer lies in the basic planning that I do at the very start of each book. Admittedly, as I write more and more stories, my planning is become less and less as I evolve into more of a ‘pantser’, BUT I genuinely believe I am gaining a sense of what works and what doesn’t.

So how do I plan my stories? Simple. I get the idea, whether that be a character voicing a problem, or a setting I know is perfect or even an issue I take umbrage with. Once I have that simmering away nicely in my mind, I sit down and force out character sketches for my hero and heroine. This always brings up their goals, motivations and conflicts. Always. If you really BECOME your characters as you answer your character sketch questions, it will work. Promise!

Next, I write a two to three page synopsis. Of course, this changes as I write the story itself – TIP: If you want to try my method, alter your synopsis as you write your story and then you’ll have a fully functional synopsis ready to submit to a publisher by the time you write The End.

Writing is fun – enjoy it! Live with your characters, breathe your characters, think about your characters and they’ll tell you want they want to say, do and most importantly, who they HAVE to love! J

What do you think? Do you work in an entirely different way? I’d love to hear from you!

Rachel x

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