We're romance writers.
But how exactly do you write, falling in love?
But how exactly do you write, falling in love?
One theory would be to recapture those feelings of the first time you fell in love and simply put them on paper. So stop for a moment and take a mental stroll back to when you were in jr. high, or high school.
Was it your sixth grade crush? Whose picture was on your wall as a teenager? What about those first infatuations that made you melt like chocolate on a warm summer day when you simply gazed at their photo?
A long time ago I was introduced to Linda Howard's 12 Steps of Intimacy. Since this is G-Rated blog we'll only list the first 9. They present one method of showing the romantic arc systematically in your manuscript. What do you think?
1. Eye to Body
2. Eye to Eye
3. Verbal Contact
4. Hand to Hand
5. Arm to Shoulder
6. Arm to Waist
7. Mouth to Mouth
8. Hand to Head
9. Hand to Body
To help my own writing-because this is a problem area for me- I've begun to develop my own Falling in Love Arc.
These steps are a work in progress and so, Friends of Seekerville, I'd appreciate your input.
1. Awareness. This involves the introduction of one or more of these senses: smell, sight, and hearing.
2. Heightened Awareness. Includes the first three senses and add to it touch.
3. Emotional Discovery. The characters journey of emotional discovery begins as they reveal their character to each other. This may be through observation, and interaction and ideally through story conflict.
4. The First Kiss. All the senses collide: smell, sight, hearing, touch and taste. (This step may be repeated to include more emotionally compelling kiss scenes as determined by the story.)
5. Emotional Commitment. The startling realization that they are emotionally committed to another person (whether they like it or not). This is truly the moment of falling in love.
6. Emotional Setback. With realization often comes denial and or fear and an emotional setback before final acceptance.
7. Acceptance. The declaration of I Love You. Often first self admission then verbal admission.
One of my favorite examples of The Romantic Arc is from the Australian TV series, McLeod's Daughter's. The characters Tess and Nick. Of course their arc has six seasons to develop.
Now for some romantic passages that highlight these steps. In theory I should be able to find all the steps in every book I open. But for fun, we'll mix it up.
She straightened a throw blanket along the back of the sofa, trying to slow the beating of her heart. Something had happened in the moment when he'd taken a step toward her. Something had passed between his eyes and hers and had set her pulse stammering. -Her Lone Cowboy, Harlequin Romance, Donna Alward.
He watched her lips form the words. Felt them whisper across his skin. Heat rose in the space between them. -A Princess For Christmas, Harlequin Romance, Shirley Jump.
The evidence was everywhere. Nolan had stayed a while.
And obviously he'd intended her to know it. Her dishes were washed and drying in the drain. A camouflage-detailed Bible lay open in the book of Psalms beside her.-A Soldier's Reunion, Steeple Hill Love Inspired, Cheryl Wyatt.
The First Kiss (Or Any other Kiss):
He cherished her with his lips for long moments. He had never dared hope for so much. Or rather he'd hoped, but he'd never dared believe. -Wildflower Bride, Barbour Publishing, Mary Connealy.
And because we like kissing around here...another example.
When she saw those lips moving toward her own, she didn't move away. He placed his lips on hers, softly at first, as though asking permission. Samantha, reacting to instinct and need and to something even more basic, opened her mouth slightly under his, and he pressed even closer. Had her life depended on it, she couldn't have moved her lips away from his warm sweet mouth... -Sweet Liar, Pocket Books, Jude Deveraux.
A new reality punched him in the gut. One that he wasn't ready for.
He might be nuts about Cassidy too.
The idea shook him more than a five-alarm fire in a fifty-story building. -The Baby Bond, Steeple Hill Love Inspired, Linda Goodnight.
He should run screaming. Back away as far as possible. He didn't need a woman toting an emotional load. He didn't need a relationship with a woman who had an ongoing love affair with trendsetting looks and spiked heels.-Winter's End, Steeple Hill Love Inspired, Ruth Logan Herne.
He'd be a fool to fall for her. She was a forever kind of woman, and his idea of forever was a three-day weekend. Getting Rid of Bradley, MIRA, Jennifer Crusie.
Coming home had changed everything, because Lacey had showed him the difference between loving a girl and loving a woman.-The Cowboy Next Door, Steeple Hill Love Inspired, Brenda Minton.
Her eyes sought his. "I've always loved you."
"I knew that. I was only waiting for you to know it, too." -Cowboy Comes Home, Harlequin Super Romance, Carrie Alexander.
Your turn to share, comment and critique. One commenter today will receive the Seeker book of your choice. In print and available on Amazon.com only. Winner announced in the Weekend Edition.