Monday, June 11, 2007

Author musings....

I think we’ll chat about something serious for a few minutes. You know me, once in awhile I like to contemplate the written word, what it means, and how it affects people. The past few months have been a real education for me in some ways, as I’ve discovered there’s always a dark side to the way people perceive motives that often begin purely and are genuinely born of love and inspiration and admiration. As artists we draw on everything that touches us, be it music, images, emotions, words overheard entirely by accident from strangers; these are all things that stir the imagination and begin building a story. Life itself is filled with the tools writers use to craft their tales. Every song, every look, every scent. It’s all part of what brings words to life when they’re put in the correct order for a reader to absorb and live.

In romance writing, you take your readers on a journey that is very clearly defined from the first page. This is a story of two people who will go through the same journey every heart that loves goes through. What will make it a unique and pleasurable trip for the people reading their story is how we present it, and how well we present it as writers. Boy meets girl – girl meets boy, however you want to look at it, that must be where it all begins. These people HAVE to be real, first to the writer, then to the reader, of course.

Personally, I often find it easy to cast a creation in my mind before I begin to write, and let than image show me where to start. For the most part who I begin with in my head is seldom who I end up with on the page. No matter how strong the face is, the person, and their unique heart, becomes an entirely different entity as the story unfolds. My current projects have strong, solid images as inspiration, but already both these heroes are emerging as very different men than the ones who gave them their faces in my mind. So, when that happens, is the new person on the page at all connected to the image that brought him into existence? What do you think? In my heart, I always see the original face, but the person who has come into being is also very special and totally apart from his/her image.

It probably won’t surprise anyone who’s read a romance to discover that very often, the author falls in love with the hero/heroine along the way, too. I often love my hero, and wish I was more like my heroine. There is always one trait of mine in every heroine, though I try consciously not to make her me. I think we need to have an anchor that ties us to our characters so we can understand them and bring them to you, the reader, as whole people. A minor trait, be it hair colour, or a personality quirk, that’s the thing that gives a writer the starting point to build a well-rounded and empathetic character. If you can’t relate to the people, how can you care about them and their happiness.

So what makes an unpleasant, unappealing hero or heroine, do you think? I’d love to hear some thoughts on that subject, so please let me know? At the same time, feel free to tell me what traits you like best in your favourite heroes and heroines, too, of course.

Also, as a final thought to consider, I’d like to offer a challenge to you. I am writing a very special novel at the moment, and if you’d like to be part of it, this is how it will work. I’m looking for a sensual, romantic scene to be used in the book. If you have a romantic “scenario” in your mind that you would like to read in a published novel, tell me about it. If I use your scene in my final draft, with your permission, it will be included in the manuscript that I submit. You will receive credit for your contribution, as well as a signed ACR (Advance Reader Copy) once the book is prepared for press. Sound like something you might like to get in on? Leave comment here, or email me, and I promise I will get back to you ASAP, okay?


  1. from Kelly Wallace

    Hi Denyse!

    Great blog! And, for my two cents...which I'm sure you knew was coming. hehehe...

    What I dislike in characters are ones that are very stereotypical. The Alpha-male and/or female. The spoiled and bratty, or weak and easily startled female. The guy with muscles coming out of his ears and a constant erection, and the blond with legs up to her neck and boobs that don't allow her to fit properly through the doorway.

    It's perfectly fine to start a story off with a character being very weak or just a huge jerk, but I like to see them change and grow. I want them to be human in the end, warts and all!

    If the story starts out with a wealthy hero who has it all together, and is snooty and controlling, I find nothing appealing about that. I want to see his heart crushed, I want to see him flattened by the woman he can't help but love. I want to see him laugh and cry and need a helping hand. Characters who are Rambo material or Cinderalla are boring as all-out. I want to see real emotions in all of their messy glory!


  2. Hiya,

    Kinda agree with Kelly. I used to read a lot of Mills and Boon (yeah yeah I know!!), and what always used to irritate me was the totally flawless (physically at least) hero and heroine.
    Is there really no room for 'real' people in this type of story? While I understand physical attraction is part of a romatic encounter, what about all the rest of us that don't have that classic hourglass figure, or flawless skin, or rippling muscles (the men at any rate!!!) Are we all doomed? I truly hope not.
    Men are like women; they still want the same things from a relationship. A hero who has just as many hang-ups as the heroine and still goes through all the highs and lows that falling in love inevitably has.
    Any encounter can catch you off guard - the thing that ALWAYS gets me is total attention from a bloke. Focussed just on me. Can be anywhere - a supermarket, pub, restaurant. Anythng.



Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.