Friday, January 18, 2008

Making Headway and Happily Ever Afters...

Yesterday I wrote just over 4,000 words, bringing my word count total up over 22K. That's more than I have written in a day so far this month with my current WIP. It felt good to jump over the 100th page mark as well. I suppose I just let go, relaxed and let it flow because it didn't really dawn on me until last night that I'd really written so much. I feel like I jumped over some invisible hurdle yesterday that was holding me back.

I knew I had slacked off because I hadn't been feeling that push or determination about getting my butt in the chair every day. I would catch myself checking blogs and emails instead of writing. But yesterday, I found some focus. I concentrated on my characters. I let them begin to lead the way.

Mind you, I still feel as though I have to give them a little push now and then to get them motivated in the right direction, but they're working with me. Which is better than feeling as though my characters are acting like rebellious teenagers who purposely do the opposite, just to spite the powers that be. They're being "good" kids...*knock on wood*

Of course, I don't think it hurts when I can "see" my characters in my mind. I don't really make a collage or anything like that, but I have started "casting" actors & actresses into the roles of my heroes and heroines, because once I have an idea what my characters look like, the story plays out more like a movie in my head. I've only just started doing this with my more recent works, but I'm finding it does make it easier to envision them as real people, living real lives.

Right now my hero and heroine are coming into awareness of each other, but there's a black moment coming soon that could set this budding relationship asunder. But of course! As strange as it might sound, I'm looking forward to the *new* conflict that will arise. I love romance, but I don't want to make this relationship easy. Easy is boring. I've got to make them work for it. Easy is the reason "happy" couples are written out of soap opera story lines.

If there's no conflict, no reason to fight for their love, then their story is basically over. If they have the HEA, there's conclusion and generally the writers close the door on that couple. A soap opera is basically a huge romance novel with a LOT of heroes and heroines blended together.

There are a few staple couples, the matriarchs and patriarchs of the families, but there always have to be some couples who are always in the midst of conflict. Fighting for the love they desire, the love they need. Once they find their way to each other, marry, settle down and have kids- they've got their HEA and they get categorized as a "normal" couple.

There are no obstacles in the way, so unless one of them is diagnosed with some incurable disease, that story line really has no where else to go. BUT, if the other person finds some obscure antidote in a jungle or on a tropical island and they go off on an adventure to find it, risking life and limb for the life of the one they love..that's continuity. There's something to fight for! Something to hope for! And a possible future worth saving!

Or you have the "put the child in peril" storyline- if a young child of a "happy" couple is kidnapped, then of course there's adventure to be had and more story to tell....especially if the couple is estranged and searching for their child will give them a bond that will bring them back to each other.

There are also love triangles, temptations and "unintentional affairs," Oh My! That, of course is on top of personal issues for characters like amnesia, rape, pregnancy, mental illness and skeletons in the closet. And then we have those oh-so-evil villians who manipulate, connive and do everything in their power to destroy "happy" couples...most the time for reasons unknown to the viewers. Soap operas have a way of making "small town life" big and busy....always with something going on somewhere, five days a week.

That's what keeps soap fans tuning in.

And well, when you write romance, you scale it down a bit. You have one couple and basically one storyline per novel,(though you might include a few small side stories that CAN sprout out into other novels for secondary characters) but you still need a lot of the same elements they use for soaps. You need attraction and love, character development, conflict and resolution.

I love writing romance for the same reasons I watch my soap opera. I cry with the characters, I cheer for their successes, I hurt when they hurt or lose someone they love and when they have their happily ever after, well I'm happy too. When a couple on my favorite soap are written out because they get their HEA, its not much different than finishing a good romance novel. I'm sad to see them go, but I still get a sense of satifaction knowing that "all's right with the world" where they're concerned.

And now that I've rambled on and on I'll leave you with this---

Have a great Friday and relax and enjoy the weekend with those you love. Surround yourself with the people who make YOUR happily ever after what it is.


squiresj said...

Everyone needs to know someone read their blog. You take all the time to write and hope someone reads it. SO I wanted to let you know I dropped by because I found you on another author's website. I enjoyed your blog very much. God Bless.

Taryn Raye said...

Thank you! I appreciate that. :D