No Holding Back!

Okay, it’s official. Jackie is no longer holding back.

I know, I know, I was supposed to do this months ago. But I only really managed it in one chapter and that was my contest chapter. The rest of my mss, I’ve been dicking around with but not getting anywhere, questioning every action my characters took, every reaction. I told myself I wasn’t going to worry about the little editorial voices in my head but you know what? No prizes for guessing…. Yeah, I’ve been listening to them.

The CPs have had to give me a slap round the head (Robyn and Maisey do an excellent good cop/bad cop routine) and since then, I’ve made a momentous decision. Ish.

I can write sassy and flirty, and I do it well. But sassy and flirty do not a story make. You need conflict and character and that’s where I am having problems. Because I’m holding myself back. I’m trying to keep the light and flirty, but also have the intensity and angst that I love as well and it’s not working for me. I keep injecting inappropriate tension and angst everywhere because that’s what I REALLY want to write.

So, I’m giving up the light and flirty. I’m going all out on the angst. The intensity. The strong alphas. But I’m keeping my heroines stroppy. I’m doing Presents/Modern conflict and hero with a Riva heroine. I have no idea whether it’ll work or not but already the Chessman – which Maisey had already told me was Presents – is benefitting. My hero (who was more Presents than Riva anyway, as I think Janet commented once) is no longer going to do stuff just to make him more sympathetic. If it’s not in his character, then he ain’t doing it. Like flirting. He doesn’t flirt. He doesn’t seduce. He has no light and flirty button. Neither does my heroine. She’s hot-headed and stroppy and straight up. So Jackie must stop trying to make her light and flirty too.

And the next time I find myself questioning every action, every reaction, I need to ask myself this question – am I holding back? And if so, why?

Anyone else guilty of holding back??

16 thoughts on “No Holding Back!”

  1. *shifty eyes* Why would you look over here? I can’t imagine.

    Seriously. My conflict in my head is always quite dramatic. On the page when I read it back, it’s often just a little weak, a bit rushed. I have really been focusing on slowing down and not hurrying through the good stuff. Sometimes just the smallest changes can lend so much more power to the emotion in a scene.

  2. Jax! I never did light and flirty..ahem..until about a month ago!

    As you know, mine were targetted for noc bites and they need dark. Dark was my thing… or so I thought.. until.. :sob: until one heroine proved me otherwise. She demanded I write her..and in first POV. It’s a novella.. where she doesn’t want to meet the hero until chap 2, end. And know what? She is like the rat who bells the cat (She tied the hero up! Oops)…

    Now I have 2 voices in my head…I think my craziness as escalated..while you’re coming to grips with it! But let’s say, onward and upward!

    I am chanting with you : No holding Back!

  3. Julia – *does not look at Julia* hehe. Good for you on focussing on the good stuff. I have been known to shy away from the important conflict stuff, mostly because I wanted to ‘save’ it for later. I make myself ask the hard questions now. Does make for a better story!
    And you’re right, sometimes the changes don’t even need to be that big.

    Ju – Lol! Not meaning to laugh but you know what I mean. Why do these characters do this to us?? Anyway, your heroine sounds awesome – give her her head I say!
    And as for me not doing light and flirty, well, I have another story idea that is a bit more like that so never say never eh? πŸ™‚

  4. πŸ˜‰ I’m the good cop right? Oh, no one will believe that…

    Cheers to you, Jackie! I’m always here to slap you around.

    (my security phrase is piness. I thought that was worth mentioning.)

  5. I’m going to have to call in here and comment because I think youve revealed something really important in your post, Jackie. And that is that you’re not just holding back, you’re over-defining, and you’re over-defining is creating the holding back.
    What am I talking about ?

    Well – these lines really:

    >>But I’m keeping my heroines stroppy. I’m doing Presents/Modern conflict and hero with a Riva heroine.

    Huh? I can’t really believe you’d actually think this way. Where are the rules that say only a RIVA heroine can be stroppy? Where’s the efinition of a ‘RIVA heroine’ – or a Presents one for that matter? How many times do the phrases It’s All in The Execution ‘ and ‘There are no rules’ have to be repeated?

    A heroine is a heroine – in Presents or RIVa of Romance or wnatever you like – they are women, of all ages, all types, all nationalities, temperaments, characters . . . And any one line can have each and every type of heroine according to how the author creates her, the way her charactre is built, who her hero is and the way she reacts to that hero.
    If you think of a story, a hero, a heroine only in terms of the line you think they belong to – a Presents hero, a Riva Heroine – a Cherish conflict . . . you are outting restraints on yourself, narrowing your golaposts, restricting your imagination, holding yourself back in every way possible.

    Please just think of your charactres as that – characters who are what they are. I’ve often said, and I’ll hold to it now, that the things about Presents is not the characters but the conflicts – those intense, angsty, powerful ‘alpha’ emotional conflicts that can develop between any sort of hero, any sort of heroine. And if your heroine is hot-headed and stroppy and straight up then she’ll take her place alongside so many other hot-headed and straight-up Presents heroines through the years. There’s plenty of rooom for all.

    So – I agree – don’t hold yourself back, particularly not in this way.

    Good Luck


  6. This interesting b/c I hate conflict and angst! I’m always trying to put more in and it’s not a good fit for me. Everyone is different. πŸ˜‰
    I’m in a “writing for fun while I figure out what to do next” and my hero has a very dark past, but the story is fluff, fluff, fluff. It’s kind of a fun combination for me.

  7. Lacey – it is a wonderful plan, isn’t it? AT least that’s the theory. πŸ™‚

    Kate – thanks so much for your comments! No, don’t worry, I wasn’t over-defining. And no, I don’t actually think in terms of ‘Riva’ heroines or ‘Presents’ heroines. I was being a bit cavalier in my terminology is all. And the bit about liking stroppy heroines was a reminder to myself that I toned down my present heroine’s stroppiness, rather than as a blanket comment about Presents heroines in general. I was trying to force her into the flirty box but she’s not. Because you’re so right, characters have to be who they are, not want you want to make them. πŸ™‚

    Jill – you go girl! Yes, you have to write what you enjoy huh? And if that’s lighter stuff then go for it!

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