This week on the Romance Writers Weekly Blog, Clair Brett asks:
What do you find most difficult about writing what you write? It could have to do with certain scenes, plotting, dialogue, whatever trips you up. How do you approach those things?
If you joined me from Leslie Hachtel, welcome!
There are few writers that would disagree with Dorothy Parker’s famous quote: “I hate writing, I love having written.”
For me, this might be overstating things slightly. I don’t hate writing, although some days I’d rather go to the dentist. The thing is, not writing makes me fidgety and restless. So having written something is better than not writing anything.
I am most comfortable writing dialogue. I think that comes partly from creating television and radio commercials for three decades. Those advertisements are written for the ear—to be said out loud, not merely read silently. It’s the same for natural sounding dialogue—it should read like a transcription of someone’s words (without the uhms, ahs, and stutters, of course).
Because I write romance, the ending of my stories is never in doubt—there will be a happy ending. Any tension and conflict comes in how that happy ending is achieved. Rational human beings have a problem, talk things out, and come to a compromise. This does not make for a riveting romance. There have to be troubles and problems along the way, not just between the two main characters but in the world around them as well.
My biggest problem is letting my characters solve things too easily. Since I like my hero and heroine, I tend to want to fix things for them, when really I should be their worst enemy. This issue usually crops up in what many writers call “the saggy middle.” Setting up the conflict in the first third of the story is fun. Solving the conflict in the last third is satisfying. But what keeps the conflict going in the middle third? The proof is in that pudding—unless the conflict is solid and realistic and organic, the middle falls apart.
That’s where I’m at with my current work-in-progress. My hero and heroine are in their late forties, and both are gun shy about relationships. Since neither of them are idiots, it only makes sense for them to talk things out. If they do that, though, the book is over far too quickly, and with far too little drama. Luckily, they are on a quest together, so I can use that to throw obstacles in their path. I just have to make sure they don’t clamber over those obstacles too easily.
I'm off to think of a new torture for my characters. Be sure to hop over to Jenna Da Sie to find out what she has trouble with. After all, misery loves company LOL!