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Friday, March 21, 2008
1:00 AM | Posted by MsHellion | | Edit Post
Romance starts with the spark of attraction, it doesn’t necessarily have to be physical, but in most situations, physical chemistry pulls two individuals together. Lust can be the first connection between lovers, but other attributes cause a lasting bond between individuals. Some of the strongest relationships I’ve witnessed between two individuals had nothing to do with physical appearance, but everything to do with internal connection.
As writers, we develop heroes and heroines, and most of the time they are attractive, desirable individuals. We surround them with a major conflict that continually drives them further apart, but we weave enough physical and emotional attraction onto the equation to keep the heat turned up, and the lust turned on.
Have you ever read a book or watched a movie in which the attraction between the hero and heroine just didn’t work?
I read an article on Yahoo naming the most mismatched movie couples of all time. I had to give the number one choice a definite thumbs up. It was Nick Nolte and Julia Roberts in I Love Trouble. Personally, Nick Nolte has never been on my top ten list of the sexiest actors alive. He is a great actor, but I saw this movie and I have to agree, the pairing between him and Julia just didn’t work. The love scenes between them were awkward at best. Another honorable mention was Harrison Ford and Anne Heche in Six Days, Seven Nights. I admit I didn’t see the movie, but at the time, Anne was dating Ellen Degeneres. It’s hard to believe Anne was into Harrison with Ellen waiting at home every night. Even with the best acting skills in the world, it’s a daunting task to fake physical chemistry.
Most of the books I’ve read over the years had very well written heroes and heroines that were perfect matches. Have you ever stopped reading a book because you just couldn’t picture the hero and heroine together in your mind? *cue Hellion Scandal in Spring rant*
I know everyone tires of my examples of the Stephanie Plum series, but Joe and Stephanie come to mind. They have physical attraction going for them and on a certain level, they love one another, but Ranger is the elephant in the middle of the room. He’s always going to be in the picture, and even if he doesn’t appear to be relationship material, I think he’s the rabbit in the hat. It makes sense to end the series with Ranger and Stephanie together. It’s not predictable, and it brings the series full circle in my opinion.
Just as Janet created Ranger and Stephanie to compliment one another we strive to do the same. It’s pertinent to show a sizzling physical attraction between two characters, but the difficult part is weaving in subtle likenesses that the couple share. It can be anything from a love of sports, to the thrill of chasing a cold-blooded killer. The initial attraction brings them together, but emotional ties have to be established in order to make them a believable match.
This week I read Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas. In the beginning of this novel Liberty Jones meets Hardy Cates when they are teenagers. They came from the wrong side of the tracks, and Lisa paints a heartfelt attraction between them. Her description of Liberty’s anguish when Hardy leaves town for greener pastures is heart wrenching. At this point in the book I believe Hardy will be brought back for the HEA. After an unexpected second black moment Liberty leaves town too. Enter stage left an older man, which I thought was the focus of the book. The title Sugar Daddy conjures the image of an older rich man seeking a younger woman for companionship. I was disenchanted to say the least, I was in love with Hardy and pulling strong for a reunion. Then along comes Sugar Daddy’s son, Gage. He seemed attractive but pompous. I thought, she’ll never make me believe they belong together. Liberty starts a relationship with Gage, Lisa weaves magic with words like the master she is, and by the time Hardy shows up, I’m thinking Hardy who?
Not since Plum have I read a book that the characters made such an impact on me. I’m counting the days until the release of Blue Eyed Devil, which is the story of Hardy Cates, and includes some of the same characters from Sugar Daddy. Lisa Kleypas usually manages to enthrall me every time, but this time she blew me away. I bought Sugar Daddy over three weeks ago, and glanced at it a million times in my TBR pile. I hesitated to read it, because I love Lisa’s historical writing voice. It wasn’t that I doubted she could write contemporary romance, I just wasn’t ready for that change in her voice. Oh, how wrong I was to wait, this book is a treasure.
This week in Pamela Clare’s blog, she touched on the subject of changing voices from writing historical to contemporary romance. I have always bowed at the feet of historical romance writers. The voice they maintain in their writing is beyond my ability, but to be able to change between voices and write both flawlessly is astounding to me. This week I read a book by a beloved author who bridged the transition flawlessly, and was an inspiration to me in the process.
Have you ever read a book that inspired you to be the best writer you can possibly be? I have, and in the process, I learned that I’m focusing too much on plot and not enough on characterization. You can’t lose with believable well-written characters. The key of the plot in a romance is conflict, followed with a beautifully executed resolution.
I have the characters, and plot, now I need to get motivated and execute it.
Do you believe the plot or the characters make a book memorable? Have you ever read a book or saw a movie in which the hero and heroine didn’t match? Have you read a book recently that inspired you to be a better writer?