If you’re here wanting a dose of Brittney, then pop back to Google again – ain’t no Brittney on this blog. However, if you’re here with romance writing in mind and feeling like you keep making the same mistakes over and over again then join the club ’cause that’s exactly where I am now.
My soldier story, for which I have abandoned the other WIPs, is giving me gip. The first inkling I had that perhaps things were not all quiet on the Western Front was when I was brainstorming a couple of ideas to throw my hero and heroine together, one of the crit group wondered what was wrong with the lead characters thinking each other was hot and hooking up. And I thought, ‘yeah, what’s wrong with that?’, at the same time as thinking about complex reasons for my heroine to contact the hero again. Groan.
I guess I should be glad my instincts were right – something wasn’t working but I couldn’t figure out what the problem was. And then after a chat with Dr Jax who is the canary in the coal mine when it comes to me overcomplicating stuff, I figured out that – yep, you guessed it – I was overcomplicating stuff. Making them too self aware. AGAIN!! Argh!!!
Fact is they don’t need complicated reasons to hook up with each other. Okay, so they don’t want a relationship, they don’t want to fall in love, but falling in love and relationships are not the first thing they think of when they meet. All they’re thinking is ‘hey, you’re hot, I want to see you again’. It doesn’t matter if there aren’t concrete reasons for them to do so, as long as the characters can justify it to themselves. The reader knows the real reason – they’re attracted to each other. So my heroine Niamh doesn’t need heaps of external conflict in order to get her to ask the hero to be her date, all she needs is to be able to justify it to herself. She may not want to acknowledge the real reason, that she’s attracted to him and wants to spend time with him, but she can tell herself she’s asking him because she hates going alone to these things. Or that his presence will stop someone hitting on her or whatever. As long as her justifications are within keeping of her character, then that’s all you need.
Sigh. I don’t know why I keep doing this. I guess my problem is that subconsciously I’m thinking that being attracted to someone is waaaay too simple a reason and so I have to add all these other reasons in there. In the same way I overcomplicate my conflict because I think that falling in love is too simplistic a way to solve all their problems. Thing is, it doesn’t solve everything. But this is category and for the characters, in that moment in time, it does solve the the conflict that you’ve given them. There simply isn’t the word space to explore other tangents or strands to the conflict.
Ah well, at least I’ve sorted it out now before I’ve written more than two chapters. Anyone else have mistakes they keep making? I hope I’m not the only one!