Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Ask O: Falling in Love with Romance

Happy Wednesday, my writing friends,

A few weeks ago I had the great honor to sit on a panel with other romance novelists at the NorthwestChristian Writers’ Association’s annual conference, Writer’s Renewal. Such fun to talk about the different nuances and elements involved in good Christian romance.

So, I thought I’d take a few weeks to share some of the questions we discussed (and some we didn’t have time for) with my Wednesday peeps (that’s you!).

How did you get started writing Christian romance?

Funny…I didn’t set out to write romance. I wasn’t passionate about it, and I rarely read a “romance” (although I always loved a romantic thread). I had bigger, broader ideas—an epic historical tickled my fancy, with multiple points of view and interweaving plotlines.

I think we authors often long to start our writing careers by penning that "Great American Novel." We want to be Steinbeck or George Elliot or Bodie Thoene or Jack Cavanaugh. As I struggled to craft my big hunkin’ ideas, I realized I wasn’t ready to intermingle so many POV characters and story arcs.

So I decided to simplify. A boy. A girl. Each with an external and internal conflict to overcome in order to ultimately embrace love. That I could handle.

Along the way, I found out romance is super fun! I fell in love with it, actually, and hope to happily camp out here for a while.

Why do you enjoy writing romance?

First, within every good romance novel lies a big obstacle. For us to care, something must block the hero and heroine from getting together. As the author, I get to mess up their lives, force them apart, throw in roadblocks! Fun!

Second, good romance novels require attraction between the hero and heroine. It’s a puzzle to create two characters who “go” together. What does George lack that Mary fills? What makes them seem opposite (to create conflict), yet actually tugs them closer (so they can be together)? Figuring this out also raises my fun level.

And, finally, of course, the shmushy-gushy, lovey-dovey stuff. The kissing, loving words, gentle tracing of his fingertips over her lips…

Yeah, that’s fun too. (Tee hee hee!)

Haven’t tried writing romance? Give it a try. And tune it next week for part two. We’ll discuss the question: What are the key elements of a successful romance novel?

God bless and happy writing!