Monday, April 02, 2007

The Humps & Hurdles Of Writing Romance

In my writing experience, I’ve found that it’s easiest for me to keep things straight by breaking a book down into segments. Something about seperating it into chunks makes the process seem a little less daunting than looking at it as a whole.

The first chapter is usually the main characters introduction chapter. It’s the easiest, because I’m still exploring who and what I generally want to happen throughout the rest of the novel. I can write whatever I want in that chapter without a lot of backlash later on from my pesky, opinionated characters.

After the first chapter, I break things down into scenes. One scene per chapter for each character. The scenes are broken down into subcategories like action, intimate, or character building scenes. All I have to figure out is who sees what, if you will. Which character’s point of view observation is more important for me to share than the other.

At this point, each character is forming in my mind. What their personalities are like, who they are and want they want to happen by the end of the book. The bumpy road that takes then there remains a mystery even to me as a write it. I like to fly by the seat of my pants and see where they’ll take me, and not the other way around. It’s more fun for me that way. *g*

The easiest to write, for me, are the action and intimate scenes. Those flow really well. Probably because I have a naturally dirty mind that wants to make it’s permanent home in the gutter. The hardest are the slow scenes, the ones I refer to as character building. It’s very easy for me to get lost in the action, the conquest of romance, and forget that each person needs to be shown in their own element for the reader to get a feel for who that person is outside of their quest to win love. Pacing in romance is important and I have to walk a tight rope to make sure the whole manuscript isn’t just action, sex, and inner monologues.

Does anyone else use a ‘formula’ to write their novels? Either way, what do you find to be the most difficult scenes to write or read?


veinglory said...

I break down into sections but not with such specific goals. For a start I generally only use one point of view :) -- I tend to just chop up the plot and think, 'this will be the chapter where... whatever happens, happens.

Merry said...

I try and do one-sentence descriptions of what happens in a particular chapter to begin with and then if needs-be flesh it out a bit. But often I'll have the one sentence and then just pants it (with varying degrees of success)!

Anne D said...

I write a long synopsis, then just pants it from there. I tried the chapter by chapter route, and I'm still rewriting that sucker a year later because that so did not work for me.

I let the writing tell me where to stop or start a chapter. I have no clue if that's good or bad, hell I have no idea whats good or bad writing process - I just sat down and wrote one day.

Anonymous said...

I have a bad habit of skipping around when I write. I've been known to have the ending written before I have the beginning and the filler scenes that connect it all are usually the last to get done. I'v had others ask how I can write like that and my response is 'I just can.'

IM Cupnjava said...

I write linearly. Very, very, tediously, linearly. I wish I could jump around, but thinking about doing that makes my head hurt. I start with the first line and work through it till “The End.” I tend to edit, embellish and flesh out linearly too. If I have an idea for a future scene that is positively burning to be written, I do my best to hold it in my head. The moment I type it out and satisfy that itch, the manuscript dies. I don’t know why.

I take that back, I’ve written ahead once and by the time I got to the scene, nearly everything about it was inappropriate.

Erica Ridley said...

I don't use a formula per se, but I do consciously make sure I'm giving my hero and heroine enough screen time. I had a story once where the villain totally overtook the whole book. Now, I refuse to let my villain have POV more often than, say, 1 in every 5-10 scenes.

The other thing I do (or, rather, not do) is I don't break my story into chapters until it's done. This forces me to have nice hook-y endings (I hope) on all my scenes. Plus, if I need to add/delete scenes or move them around later, I don't have to worry about Chapter 11 only having 2 pages and Chapter 27 having 75. Much easier. =)