The Vagaries of Writing

>> Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I do not write like many other writers. Many people are advocates for the write-every-day-no-matter-what method and more power to them. I can't do that. It's not laziness on my part, though, of course, I am lazy. I literally cannot write like that because my brain works differently than normal people. While I go through my day to day reading and workin' and blogging and reading blogs, and otakuing, and watching kids and stuff, my subconscious takes everything I'm exposed to and plays with it, tweaks it, fillets it, combining it with work I started but that petered out or was going in the wrong direction, and ideas I've had that I haven't quite figured out what to do with.

Then, most likely when I'm desperately busy with something, it will push out the new story and say, "Write this, write this now" and I'll be filling every free minute (and not so free minute) with writing and crafting and putting down dialog and refining a few details my subconscious left so my conscious mind wouldn't feel useless. The good news is that it will come out (based on the last four works) pretty clean, with perhaps a little rearranging and a bit of polishing but really not requiring a serious overhaul. And, as I write it, I'll love it like I'm my own fan, tickled at my own jokes and falling in love with this or that character. It's sadly narcissistic but there you have it.

It's, in fact, very gratifying to write that way...except, in between these sessions where I'm all but hemorrhaging fiction, I have nothing to write and feel a bit useless. This is compounded by the realization that my subconscious is clearly working on something but, and this is the kicker, I have no idea what it might be. It could be something I started that needs to be finished. It could be the next sequel in my Bete novel series. It could be my husband's novel he's been wanting me to finish for some bloody time now (though that's partially his fault - we've written nearly 200,000 words on it, but we have to keep starting over as his idea grows up). It could be a couple of the ideas I've been kicking around that I think have promise.

Or it could be something completely different, something I hadn't even thought of. So that all the work I have languishing will continue to languish as I gush over something completely unexpected (which happened last time). Pity really. I like much of the stuff that's languishing, but I'm afraid to tackle it without my subconscious (which does the GREAT writing) in case it gets all uppity and refuses to help at all. Which it is prone to do. Sigh.

It could just be that my subconscious wants me to start actively marketing the work it's already done. Which is actually a good idea.

Sigh again.


Sensual Romance Part 2

>> Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Here, I'm just going to talk about guidelines I use when incorporating sensuality+romance in my books. These are things I bear in mind when I write it as well as features/aspects I like when I read a book. Use them only if it works for your own work: there are no hard and fast rules here.

Use all the senses. I've said this repeatedly but it's the one thing I see happen over and over again. Taste, smell, touch, sound and sight can all be used, but also physical reactions, how the individual(s) involved (depending on POV) are actually feeling, how they're reacting, sounds and movements they make. That's another thing...

Don't make it too static. Have the characters gasp and tremble and stroke and move, sweat and slide. Sensuality is to titillate the senses and get a reaction. If your character isn't reacting, your reader likely isn't either.

Get emotionally involved. Physical reactions, including lust, are all well and good but it's not romance unless you have something else as well. That doesn't mean that the emotions have to be in every scene (or even every sensual scene), but if you never tie the sensuality with the romance, the romance will likely fall flat and or the sensuality can seem impersonal. Or both.

Sex does not equal romance. Lust is often associated with romance for good reason and losing control has it's own appeal; however, romance (by my definition) requires a pointed interest in the other person's happiness, which means restraint of that lust or curbing one's own passion can be far more romantic than losing control entirely, particularly if one's partner is not in the same place yet. Or in love at all for that matter. Sexual/romantic tension, in fact, can be quite effective in involving the reader (one could make an argument that sexual/romantic tension is the primary draw for the Twilight series, but I digress). My point is you don't have to jump into sex over and over again in order to get the most from your sensuality+romance.

Leaven your use of sensuality+romance. Just like sensuality (non-romantic) lost it's punch if you use it all the time, same goes for the romantic kind. If your characters are spending every other page mooning, touching, breathing each other's air, etc, those scenes where you really want to draw the reader in or really move the relationship forward can be leeched of their impact. A healthy relationship is more than physical interaction. A successful romance is ideally between individuals that are both contributing to the relationship, people who can talk and interact and work together effectively. Hopefully, there's more going on in the book than just billing and cooing.

You don't have to describe everything. I know, I know, I talked about movement and senses, etc. But there are things that can be implied and, in general, every little movement and/or sexual act does not have to be described in detail. What you want is the reader involved. Once you've pulled them in, chances are they can fill in the blanks themselves. Let them. Part of the charm of books is that your imagination fills in between the lines, so sometimes less is best. Use your best judgement.

Mix it up. Don't make all the scenes sound the same. Using a formula for a romantically sensual scenes is a sure way to dilute them. In real life, people may be creatures of habit, but inflicting that kind of reality on a reader is a good way to send a reader looking elsewhere for entertainment.

Hmm. You know, I think I might just be done with this topic.



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