Friday, April 26, 2013

On Writing Romance...

Writing romance takes a special type of progression. We've all heard stories described as: boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy finds girl and happily-ever-after ensues. It is in a sense a three act play with turning points that leads to the next act.

Act one, you set the stage, introduce your characters, their setting, their problem. You sit back and allow the characters to grapple with the problem,devise all the reasons they can't be together. They'll use society, personal flaws - ie. thou protest too much, and all around it just ain't happening. Which brings us to how to move from Act 1 to Act 2.

To march or finagle your couple to the altar, you employ the use of the well developed secondary characters. Your secondary character is your everyman. The person that acts as the conscious of your hero/heroine. They are the force that moves your characters from walling in all the reason they can't be together with a swift kick in the pants, pointing out the flaws, and establishing the reasons why they must try.

I mean, think of all the great secondary characters we've come to know and love. John Wayne and Gabby Hayes, Harry Potter and Ron Weasley, Felix Unger and Oscar Madison, Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. I'm sure you all can name a few more.

So when you create your secondary make sure they can stand up to the heroine/hero and push, shove, accidentally trick them into following their heart. For we know, the path to true love doesn't run smoothly.

Here's an example from a work in progress. Heroine can't have hero because their families have been feuding for years. But as you'll see the secondary pushes them forward.

“So, you’re going over to the Jenning’s place?”

Jason didn’t answer. The seven steps it took to move to his mount’s side and place the saddle upon it’s back gave him time to think before he answered. “Phone call might be easiest,” he remarked hooking the stirrup over the horn to reach for the girth. “But turning up, face to face, shows a lot of goodwill.”

“Hu hu.” The acknowledgement dripped in doubt.

Ignoring his foreman, he threaded the leather through the ring and tightened it. Beneath the brim of his hat, the shadows gave enough cover to allow a guarded glance at the cowboy standing at his horses head. Dropping the stirrup, he laid a hand across the seat and confronted him. “If you’ve got a problem, Chip, say it.”

Chip ran his hand down the front of the gelding’s nose. “Look, we all know there’s bad blood. I just want you to use a bit of caution. The Bar M doesn’t need any altercations with the Flying J. Max can be just as big of a hot head as old man Jennings.”

“I’m well aware,” Jason growled and walked over to the corral post to untie his horse. He drew the split reins around the horse’s neck and stepping to the left, planted his boot in the stirrup, bringing his leg over the saddle.

“This wouldn’t have anything to do with Jennings’ daughter?”

Jason gritted his teeth and his jaw muscle twitched. “Don’t you have cattle to tend to?”

“Nothing that can’t wait. Why don’t you let a few of the boys ride along with you? Kind of keep the numbers even.”

Fuming, Jason placed an arm on the saddle horn and leaned down. He didn’t want his message to be mistaken. “I don’t need a chaperone. This is just a friendly call to let Maz know what’s going on. You comprende?”

“Yeah, sure. I gotcha, boss.”

Happy Writing ....


  1. Writers and readers often fall in love with secondary characters. Why else are there so many sequels? Thanks the post and insight. Best of luck with your book. Enjoyed the excerpt

  2. Thanks. R.E.
    I agree. Sometimes secondary characters are easy to write. You might have to rein them in so they don't overtake the hero and heroine. Of course, if they do - you know you have a great sequel coming up.

    Thanks for stopping by.