Thursday, May 31, 2012

Please welcome Lorna Seilstad-And The Five Love Languages

Making Your Reader Fall in Love with Your Hero

If you spend any time reading about characterization, you’ll soon read about making sure your characters are memorable, believable, and three-dimensional. All those things are important, but if you’re writing a romance, you’d also better make sure your hero is...

LOVABLE.

                I’m not talking the cuddly, teddy bear type. I’m talking about making your hero someone with whom your reader can fall in love right along with the heroine. Everyone loves reading that first kiss in a story. We love writing it, too, but you can deepen the romantic relationship so much further than just a kiss.  We can actually write things in our story which will make it easy for your reader to fall in love with your hero.

                According to Gary Chapman’s book, The 5 Love Languages, there are five ways we communicate and receive love. You may have read the book. If so, good for you!

The five love languages are: quality time, receiving gifts, words of affirmation, physical touch, and acts of service. Everyone uses these five basic love languages to give and receive love, but usually two are dominant. These are our primary love languages, and we tend to love others like we liked to be loved.

                Do you know what your primary love language is? The best way I know to quickly determine this is to ask yourself what you’d like your spouse or significant other to do for you when you’re sick. Hold your hand? Physical touch. Bring you flowers? Receiving gifts. Bring you a glass of pop? Acts of service. Tell you you’re still beautiful? Words of affirmation. Leave you alone? Quality time. (It’s a gift of time.)

                If our significant other wants us to feel loved, then they must speak our primary languages. However, when it comes to our stories, our readers may have any one of the five as their dominant love language. In order to make every one of our readers fall in love with the hero, we must have him speak all five languages more than once before the heroine realizes she’s fallen in love. Then, we have to add more of these experiences to deepen the love between the two characters.  

                So how do we work the five love languages into our stories. Let’s look at each of them.
Quality Time. This might include making eye contact, meaningful conversation, undivided attention, shared activities or sacrificed time.

Click to Buy on Amazon
In The Ride of Her Life, Nick, the hero, washes the dishes with Lilly, takes her and her son to the zoo, and they have long talks. He has to take out of his schedule to do these things, which makes it even more meaningful.

Receiving Gifts. This might include a surprise or a meaningful gift. The idea is it says I love you enough to get you this.

In The Ride of Her Life, Nick is a roller coaster designer and Lilly’s son is fascinated with the one he’s building. Lilly doesn’t want her six-year-old son to ride it, so Nick painstakingly makes a toy wooden roller coaster for the boy. Here’s an excerpt.

Levi squealed when he saw the replica of Lake Manawa’s Velvet Roller Coaster. “It’s my own roller coaster?”

“It sure is, and you can give your bugs a ride anytime you want.” Nick slipped his arm around Lilly’s waist.

“It’s amazing, Nick.” Lilly leaned in closer to get a better view. The tiny trestles, all mounted on one larger board, matched that of the large coaster perfectly, and even the cars had been painted with the same red paint with yellow curlicue designs. “You must have been working on this for weeks.”

He grinned. “Some of the boys helped. Especially Sean.”

“Can I take it back to the diner?” Levi let the first car go at the top of the lift hill and watched it follow the track, up and down, to the end.

“You better. I can’t keep it here or Sean might sneak in and start playing with it—again.”

Levi grabbed Nick’s legs, squeezing so hard Nick held on to Lilly’s shoulder to keep from toppling. “Easy there, Levi.”

“This is the bestest present ever.”

Lilly caught Nick’s gaze and smiled, hoping he could see the smile in her heart as well. Being people who believed toys were unnecessary, the Harts had refused to indulge their grandson’s fancies except for a few items like the wooden blocks. How many times had she watched her son eye the toys in the department store and wished she could purchase him one?

She laid her hand on Nick’s arm. “Thank you hardly seems adequate.”

He winked at her. “Then you can thank me personally—later.”

Click to Buy on Amazon
Words of Affection. This includes any sincere words which build the other person up. It might include compliments, notes and cards, encouragement, hearing “I love you” and the reasons behind it.

In  Making Waves. Trip, the hero, tells Marguerite, “I love you, Marguerite Westing. I love how you make me laugh. I love your determination, and I love your spirit. I love how you make waves wherever you go.” How can you not love a man who says something like that?

Physical Touch. I think you’re probably aware of this one already, but it might include a neck or backrub, a hug on a hard day, a spontaneous kiss, or the hero draping his arm around the heroine in the movie theater. We use this one a lot while showing the blossoming love, so look for some unique ways to show it whenever possible.

Physical touch is especially fun to add in an unexpected way like in this is an excerpt from A Great Catch. In it, Carter, the hero, is teaching Emily how to shoot at a shooting gallery.

When she didn’t move, he turned her. “Emily, you need to spread your, uh, stance and stand more like a man.”

She shifted her feet wider apart. “This isn’t very ladylike, Carter.”

“But it will help you hit the little squirrels.”

She flinched.

“Let me guess. You like squirrels.”

“And bunnies.”

He chuckled. “Now, put the butt of the gun against your right shoulder.”

“Like this?”

“Sort of.” He stepped behind her and raised the gun to the correct position, his large hands covering her own.

Her back pressed against his chest, and she felt every breath he took. Emily’s stomach warmed and lurched all at once. Never before had she been this close to a man.

“Relax,” he whispered in her ear.

She jerked and fired a shot in the air. The bullet pinged off the ceiling, and the rebound threw her against Carter.

He caught her and turned her around to face him. “Emily, what are you doing?”

“I—I—”

Mr. Hawkins roared with laughter. “I think a better question is what were you doing?”

Click to Buy on Amazon
Acts of Service. An act of service is anything that eases another’s burden or responsibilities. A hero might make the heroine dinner, change the oil in her car, or fix her leaky roof.

In Making Waves, the hero, Trip, bails the heroine’s father out of jail. In A Great Catch, Carter quiets a heckler while Emily is speaking at a suffrage rally, and in The Ride of Her Life, there’s a kitchen fire where Lilly works. Nick comes over early in the morning and cleans up the charred pans so she doesn’t have to do it and paints the smoke-stained ceiling. All of these are examples of how I used acts of service to give both the heroine and the reader a reason to love the hero.

I want every reader to find my hero not only dashing and kissable, but lovable by making sure ALL of the five love languages appear often. My personal goal is to use each love language five times in each book. Some, like physical touch, happen much more than that. I also try double check and make sure there more than one example of each love language BEFORE the heroine realizes she’s in love. If it’s not there, I know there will be readers who find the romance unrealistic or forced.

Lorna's launch party for Making Waves with
Mary Connealy and Judy Miller there to celebrate with her.
So, what do you think your primary love language is? When you think about the most memorable heroes you’ve encountered in books, did they do something that matches your primary love language? Please share your insights with us. Leave a comment to be entered for a chance to win a copy of The Ride of Her Life.

123 comments:

Miriam said...

Hi, Lorna!
Great insights and I never thought of using Gary Chapman's book as a resource for writing. Loved it!

Julie Hilton Steele said...

Ah, lovely books and the Love language. Great post.

My husband likes to perform acts of service and thinks those speak. Because, of course, that is what means to the most to him.

I have to say I am really a mix and it depends on the circumstance.

Thanks again for a post that makes me think about my characters and how they interact.

Peace, Julie

Jan Christiansen said...

I grew up with men who expected to be waited on hand and foot, so it's weird. Although I don't like waiting on other people (acts of service), I love it when someone waits on me.

The guys I fall in love with in books are usually strong, decisive and just a bit agressive. Not sure what love language that is, but it sure speaks to me!

Thanks for the great post!

Helen Gray said...

I think acts of service touch me the most. And my hubby is good at them.

Tomorrow is our anniversary, so he'll be taking me to dinner out of town.

Helen

Helen Gray said...

Oops! I forgot the coffee.

Okay, now the pot's set.

Tina Radcliffe said...

oooohhhhh!!! I have so been waiting for this post!!!!

Thank you and welcome back, Lorna.


Love the photo too!!!

And your cover rocks!!

Tina Radcliffe said...

Happy Anniversary, Helen.

Carol Moncado said...

Mama! Glad you're here!!!!

I wrote a story once that revolved around the 5 love languages - at least partially and how the h/h related to each other [or didn't...]

My top two are words of affirmation and physical touch. DH's is acts of service [something waaaaaaaaaay down on my list of favorite things to do :/ - mostly in the form of a clean house... /sigh/].

My all time favorite hero [just read it again this weekend] is Tom Linscott in Mary's Sharpshooter in Petticoats. /waffy sigh/

And if you haven't read Lorna's books yet, you should!!!

Back to writing a bit before bed...

Happy anniversary Helen!

Miriam said...

Happy Anniversary, Helen & Mr Gray!

Mary Cline said...

I have been looking forward to this post. It will add another dimension to my writing.

Do all readers have to fall in love with all heroes? Isn't it good enough to see him trying to figure out the heroine's love language? If I knew a real guy who demonstrated them all I think it would look like he was trying too hard. He would come off fake to me.

Not to sound like I am arguing, more, just wondering.

I really enjoyed this it will be very helpful.
My main love language is quality time, I love somebody who will sit down and talk to me. Reading Seekerville comes close to that.

Melissa Jagears said...

Helen, is your anniversary the first? So is mine! Happy anniversary to us!

Melissa Jagears said...

My love language is acts of service and hubby's is words of affirmation.

And of course I hate saying lovey dovey things and am the worst encourager in the world and he hates the thought that he has to do stupid unromantic things in order for me to really feel the things he says.

Yeah, we're pretty much incompatible love language wise. But at least we know why we get frustrated with each other.

I do believe the heroes that are more like me are on the top of my list--aloof, cold, socially awkward men who work behind the scenes to pull every string for their ladies. Mr. Darcy comes to mind. That's his love language, I think, acts of service.

And the hero I'm writing right now is an acts of service guy. I kinda like him. :P

But I agree with Mary Cline, if he did everything equally, I'm not sure I'd believe him; he should have a dominant one, but throwing in one really well written example of each love language for the hero to perform will give each lady reader one sigh worthy moment.

And then to watch him learn her love language and then go out of his comfort zone to show her he loves her with her love language would make a good romantic arc.

Virginia said...

Okay, these excerpts were so good, I went and downloaded on the Kindle (for PC) before I even commented. I need to read these!

The shooting gallery one made me laugh out loud!

One book was only 2.99 on Kindle... Crazy!

Wellll, probably time together is what I look for, but my husband tends toward service. Which makes us have conversations like this:

Me: Can you come in and have dinner?
Him: But you said you needed me to fix this door.
Me: Yes, but I also need you to come in and have dinner.
Him: So, you WANT me to come in, but you need the door fixed. *confused face*

Etc. :D

Lindi said...

Lorna--I love Lake Manawa! What a fun series. I have never read the 5 love languages--but have heard about it a lot. Will have to check it out. Thanks for sharing your insights on how it helps with your writing.

Sally said...

Thanks for the great post! I never thought about all this when reading a romance, or editing. It makes so much sense! My love language is quality time. I love the heroes who will just be there with the heroine, whether talking, sitting, or going somewhere she wants to go.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

I did a primary love language test 18 months ago.

I might have failed. Is Bossy a category? Because it should be.

Having said that, I love that I write FICTION, so I can make folks behave the way I want them to, Lorna!!!

This is a great way of deepening characterization. Of strengthening or wreaking havoc with a relationship between your hero and heroine. Great advice here, chickie!

Ausjenny said...

Hi Lorna interesting post. the book I just finished mentioned this in the book and said one people mention that one of the others love langauge was touch.

I think I like the act of service. When sick I dont have significant others as I live alone but having someone come and take me to the shops or doing something to help is what I appreciate. Someone coming and chopping some wood for me or having someone pay for my chimney to be cleaned. means more than anything. I am not a touchy person. Never have been I would find it hard in a place where hugging was the normal thing to do.

Rose said...

Hmmm...interesting post, Lorna.

I'm going to have to read that book!

I think 'acts of service' is my love language but I should investigate that further.

See you on Saturday.

Missy Tippens said...

Lorna, I'm so glad you're with us today! And what a great post!! I love the Five Love Languages principals but never thought to use it in my books.

Thank you! This makes perfect sense as a way to show love growing. Yay! I'm reading through my whole book today so this was perfect timing. :)

Stephanie Queen Ludwig said...

Good morning Seekerville!

Super post, Lorna, and one that makes me think. I think my love language is "all of the above" in a lot of ways, but I do love me some acts of service and words of affirmation.

I love that you're incorporating all of the five love languages into your story to speak to all our readers. I was just thinking that in my story, my heroine's main love language is Quality Time, because she's feeling ignored and neglected at home. The hero spending time with her makes her feel special and loved in a way she hasn't felt in a long time.

Love your series and look forward to seeing you this weekend. Rose, I'll get to meet you too!

Missy Tippens said...

Happy anniversary, Helen!!

Missy Tippens said...

Mary (Cline), your question gave me an idea. You could use this method to help with conflict. What if the one thing the heroine needed most was a hero who would speak words of love? But this hero can't. That could make some great conflict until, at the end, he is finally able to do so. Could make for a powerful climax.

Missy Tippens said...

And Melissa, too!! Happy Anniversary! I guess it's the time for all those May/June weddings. :)

Mine is later in June.

Emily C. Reynolds said...

Great post, and not something I've consciously considered with my fictional characters. Thanks for breaking the 'languages' down with examples. I think 'acts of service' and 'physical touch' are my favorites, but I have to think more on it.

Thanks for the giveaway. Sign me up for sure! And best wishes on the success of your book. :D

Lorna said...

Good morning, everyone! Since Lilly in my newest release is such a good cook, I thought I'd bring some cinnamon rolls for breakfast, and they smell delicious.

Miriam, it's funny that all the non-fiction books I read now seem to impact my writing. Hmmm. I wonder how that happened?

Hi Julie, I think we're all a mix at times and I think some people are probably more a mix than others.

Morning, Jan, You pegged what makes us tend toward one love language over another. I think it's often something we feel we missed in childhood.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

I brought food... Quick summer food... sausage and eggs and bagels.

Dive in.

I'm hungry.

So, I think it's usually a blend to sound real, isn't it? Mary Cline made a good point, we have to balance their love language with accurately assessed CLUELESSNESS which seems to propagate on the Y chromosome.

I do love befuddled men. Jimmy Stewart comes to mind.

Adorable. But manly when necessary.

And that stutter....!!!!! Where's the LOVE BUTTON????

Kav said...

Hey Lorna, amazing who you bump into in bloggerland!!! What a great post. And interesting how so many people list acts of service as their top choice.

Also has me wondering what would happen if the hero had one dominant love language and the heroine had another -- would they get their signals crossed and not realize one was really interested in the other?

Like if the heroine was touchy/feely and the hero wasn't. Would he find her clingy? Annoying? And if the hero was a serving kind of guy, would the heroine think he was just nice but not really into her because he never said so or showed any physical attraction? I bet an author could have fun with that!

Oh and I'd add a sixth love language...ahem...how a hero relates to animals. What? Doesn't every woman on this earth what a dog-lovin' man? Pffft..they should. :-) Don't enter me in the draw 'cause you know I've read your book and loved it!!!!!

Lorna said...

Helen! Happy Anniversary!How many years? Your husband sounds like a smart man.

Good morning, Tina! Thanks, Seekers, for having me back. Revells' art department rocks when it comes to covers. They never cease to amaze me.

Hi Carol, your hubby likes a clean house as the way for you to show you love him? As my mother-in-love would say, "Uff da!" Will he settle for you bringing him a glass of ice tea?

Lorna said...

Melissa, Happy Anniversary to you and your hubby, too!

And you pegged something that I think really works with heroes and that's figuring out what their dominant characteristic is. The strong silent type is often an acts of service kind of guy.

You and Mary are both right about overdoing it, too. You don't want so much they aren't real, but a couple of examples of each in a 100,000 word novel gives the reader something to connect to. If you write shorter ones, you won't have space to add as many.

Lorna said...

Hi Virginia! Thank you for downloading my books! I love your example. It's so true and that is the kind of thing you can use in conflict in your story.

Lindi, good morning! I'll miss Lake Manawa, too--at least in books. I can visit it anytime since it's only about ten minutes away. :)

Lorna said...

Sally, I think editing is a great time to check on whether you have all the love languages. Like I said, since we're showing, we almost always have acts of service and touch.

Ruth, I'm sure BOSSY is a love language. If not, they should add it. It says, "I care enough about you to tell you what to do so you don't ruin your life," right?

Deepening characterization is a good way to look at this, I believe. I think it makes our characters more three dimensional.

Lorna said...

Good morning, Jenny! That's interesting you just heard this mentioned in the book you were reading. My primary love languages are words and touch, so I'll have to remember not to hug you too much if we get to meet. :)

Rose, I'm excited about our road trip Saturday. Can't wait to see you.

Jamie Adams said...

First off I want to tell you I loved Making Waves. I read the book when it first came out and still whenever I see a picture of the cover scenes from the story flash in my memory.

I'd never heard of the five love languages. Good thing I like to edit because I'm going to go back over my wip and make sure all five are used.

To me actions speak louder than words.

Lorna said...

Missy, I'm reading through my whole book today, too. The first book in a new series is due tomorrow.

You are so right about this being a way to up the conflict, too. I didn't want to make a mile long post, but the absence of a love language can make a great story. If a heroine's love language is time and the hero is a busy rancher, she's going to feel unloved. If he realizes why it's so important to her and makes time for her by the end of the book, the reader ends up going "ahhhhh." The possibilities are endless.

Jeanne T said...

Lorna, I loved this post! I have incorporated some of the love languages in my women's fiction book, but you really opened up my doors. One thing I did was figure out my hero and heroine's love languages before the story began. This helped create conflict between this married couple. :)

My primary love language is words of affirmation/affection. My husband and I learned early on in our relationship what each of our love languages are. It's helped in our relationship. :)

Lorna said...

Hi Stephanie! That's a great example of how to use this information, too. It fits well into a character's G-M-C.

See you Saturday!

Lorna said...

And you all are right. We need a generous dash of CLUELESSNESS in any novel if we want the hero to be realistic. :)

Good morning, Kav! And yes, that's a great way to use this to up the conflict! I'm sure how a man relates to his dog fits in this somehow, but I haven't figured that out yet. It'll probably be the next 5 Love Language book. They have it for Teens, Kids, and Apologizing now. Why not pets?

Lorna said...

Jeanne, great idea! Knowing the H/H primary love language from the start is a key part of developing their personalities.

Janet Dean said...

Welcome to Seekerville, Lorna! Great post!!! My love language is quality time. Though all five are appreciated. I've had heroes wash dishes, rub tired feet, make repairs--all acts of service, often tied with quality time. Oddly my heroes give few if any gifts, except maybe flowers. Will have to think on that one.

Your covers and excerpts are terrific! Love the fiesty look in your heroines' eyes.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Happy Anniversary, Helen and Melissa!!!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Good point, Missy. I'd say all the love languages could cause conflict when the hero and heroine have connection issues. Great stuff, Lorna!

Janet

Lorna said...

Emily, thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you liked the examples. I always need those to nail a point home.

Valerie Comer said...

Lorna, I've long been a fan of The 5 Love Languages and have added love language to my character worksheets to help me bring conflict (and resolution) between the characters, but I never thought to add all five so all the readers would fall in love, too.

Now I know why I enjoyed your first two books so much! Please put me in the draw.

Myra Johnson said...

No, Ruthy, "bossy" is NOT a love language.

Great post, Lorna! I've read the book on love languages, and I wish I were better about making conscious choices, both in real life and in my stories. DH's love language is definitely acts of service, but mine is quality time, with words of affirmation running a close second.

So DH is always DOING things for me, when I wish he'd just BE with me and maybe carry on a meaningful conversation (meaning something besides what we need from the grocery store or the yard chores that need to be done).

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Lorna, Welcome to Seekerville and thanks for such a great post. Don't we all love to love a perfect hero?

Wonderful tips.

Have a fun day.

Valerie Comer said...

I forgot to mention. My own love language is acts of service. "If you really loved me you would fix the squeaky door/rototill the garden/pick up your clothes."

Hubby's is words of encouragement with a healthy dose of gifts. Sadly I don't value gifts (partly the cheapskate in me coming out) so it's a problem when he keeps bringing them!

I've sometimes thought that whatever our love language is, is something that's difficult for our significant other to provide. We NEED all five, but we CRAVE what we don't get.

Myra Johnson said...

Excuse me, Ruthy. I defer to Lorna.

But if "bossy" is YOUR love language, then does that mean YOU feel loved when you are being bossed around???

Think about it . . .

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, LORNA, reading these excerpts makes me want to reread all of your books all over again, girlfriend!! LOVE your work!!

I would have to say my love languages are, in the following order: physical touch, words of affirmation, acts of service. Which is a good thing because my hubby is SO good at all three, so I am blessed. But he did have to "teach" me the physical touch one because he is very affectionate and I actually was not (did NOT come from an affectionate family!!). So when he would always hold my hand in the car (and continues to do so to this day), I'd think -- what the heck, buddy, give me some breathing room! Now I'm worse than him! :)

JAN SAID: "The guys I fall in love with in books are usually strong, decisive and just a bit agressive. Not sure what love language that is, but it sure speaks to me!"

LOL, Jan -- we are two peas in a pod, girlfriend, and I like to call that love language "cave man" because I do love those all-male types. :)

Hugs,
Julie

Cheryl St.John said...

I have been using this since your HWG workshop, Lorna!

xoxo
smooches!

Cara Lynn James said...

Happy Anniversary Melissa and Helen!

Lorna, I have the Love Languages book, but I haven't gotten around to reading it yet. I'm going to take it to the beach with me today. So I'll be doing something productive while I'm being lazy!

Sherri Shackelford said...

Lorna, love, Love, LOVE this! Thank you :)

Lorna said...

Valerie, I like the idea of adding the 5 love languages to your character worksheek. I'm so glad you enjoyed Making Waves and A Great Catch!

Good morning, Myra! I had to chuckle at your example. Isn't that the way things are? My hubby is constantly doing things for me and I just want him to stop and give me a hug.

Lorna said...

Hi Sandra,thanks for the welcome. The perfect hero? Just the thought makes me swoon.

Oh, and Valerie made a good point. Perhaps we CRAVE what we don't get--like a vitamin deficency.

Lorna said...

Julie!Thank you! It's interesting you learned to value a different primary love language. I've long thought our primary love language can change from time to time (perhaps based on what we don't get or on what we've learned to perceive as love). Too deep for this early in the morning. :)

Cheryl,so glad you were at the HWG workshop that day. It made it so much easier to speak. Hugs!

Lorna said...

Cara, hope you enjoy the book and find some great ways to use it in your writing!

Mary Connealy said...

I think this is about the smartest lesson we've ever had on Seekerville. This is just so great. Making the reader fall in love with the hero by making him speak in ALL FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES and thus speaking in the Readers love language.
And I'm doing it, Lorna. Just ... like you said ... it's already in most books, the little gifts, the compliments, the physical touch, the acts of service, they're all there, but I'm trying to be just a bit more AWARE of them and including them.

Excellent post.
and it's a sort of standing joke (in a kind way) at our house to my girls, 'your dad fixing your car is his way of saying 'I love you.'
But then you read about the Five Love Languages and realize it's really true. That is his way. Acts of service, making sure they're as safe on the road as he can manage.

Such a great post. You need to patent this somehow. People are going to steal it.

Melissa Jagears said...

Same here Valerie! "If you love me you'd have put that door in already!!!" And gifts just don't work UNLESS they are in essence an act of service, being that he bought the door frame and door that belong in my hole in the wall. lol

He likes to tell the story to his male coworkers that he ordered me a bouquet once for our anniversary, when I found the receipt, I made him cancel the order and the florist said, "Well, that's never happened before."

Hate flowers. Hate spending money.

Mary Connealy said...

CAROL, you like Tom Linscott, huh? Thanks. :)
I'm trying to think what love language he speaks in. What love language includes yanking her gun out of her hand, throwing the heroine over his shoulder and threatening to kidnap her children?

Uh....hmmm
Words? Cuz he was talking about marrying her when he did it. Over her yelling.

Acts of service? Because she needed someone to rescue her, even though she didn't admit it.

Lorna said...

Sherri, thank you! You're such a sweetheart. Miss you.

Good morning, Mary! Don't you think being AWARE of these is the key. Otherwise, we throw things out there and hope they stick in our reader's minds.

And about the car fixing. There's a country song about how a dad shows he loves you. I cry everytime I hear it because it fits my own father so perfectly. Good grief, I'm getting teary thinking about it now.

See you this weekend! Can't wait.

Lorna said...

Oh, I have to tell you all what my acts of service husband gave me for my birthday. Because I write in a very cold basement, he decided to put in a new door between the house and garage. Not exactly the traditional gift, but I knew he was saying he loved me.

Maybe that's the flip side--when a character can learn to appreciate how the hero is showing his love.

Carol Moncado said...

Mary -

I think it's Ruthy's bossy love language...

Just a guess though ;).

Jan Christiansen said...

Julie - So, that's the proper name for my kind of man - cave man - I like it!

So, did you always fall for the bad boys, too and then wonder why they treated you like dirt?

Fortunately I married a guy who's just the opposite. Mild mannered, devoted and will do anything I want. We've been married 35 years, but honestly, I sometimes wish a little cave man would come out in him!

Jan Christiansen said...

Mary & Carol - no wonder I liked Tom Linscott so much...He's a cave man!

Hmmmm - I loved the Taming of the Shrew, too.

What does that say about me????

Marissa said...

I think my love language is words of affirmation, but I'm not really sure. When I think back to my favorite heros, they always have said something to tweak my heartstrings.

I can't wait to read this book!!!

marissamehresman(at)aol(dot)com

Helen Gray said...

Melissa:

My anniversary is May 31.

Lorna:

48 years

How in the world did I get to be this old bird!!!!!!!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Great topic, Lorna! I was thinking in my head whether I included all these in the book I'm editing right now. Great checklist. I think my primary languages are quality time and physical touch. I've never thought about what my heroines' primary love languages might be. You could really take this concept and run with it in a story.

Great post!!!

Mary Connealy said...

So if my husband's love language is 'acts of service' then that means I'm supposed to serve him?
That wouldn't be like......dusting would it?
Which might explain the conflict in our home for 35 years.

And also, I think my main love language is Quality Time. That may not be right but getting quality time from my husband is so huge because he is so busy. And in the busy seasons, planting and harvesting, when I barely see him--and when I do see him he's exhausted and starving and cranky--it gets a little tense at our house.
But I've always blamed that on him. Perhaps not, huh? Maybe he's just not speaking my love language for an extended period and I sulk.

All this thinking is wrenching my cerebral cortex. I may need a brain chiropractor.

Mary Connealy said...

SALLY the quality time thing, if you have your hero give the heroine quality time and make a point of saying he is sacrificing to do it. When he should be doing something else, that raises the stakes.

I love this concept.
I also love that it doesn't have to be BIG stuff. Like, he picks a wildflower while they're on a walk and then says something sweet to her. That's three love languages right there. Time, words and gifts. So it's not HARD to do this, but we just need to make sure we do all five so we touch the heart of each reader in her language.

Mary Connealy said...

The SIXTH love language.
Bossy.

LOL

Dawn Ford said...

Lorna,
I love this lesson! I have talked to my critique partners about it, and even though most of them write children's or middle grade books, there's still a place for the love languages. I am much more aware of it now and hope it makes my hero swoon-worthy.
Hugs!

Mary Connealy said...

MISSY and KAV this is a great point about talking different love languages to each other.
So the hero could see fixing the heroine's car as an act of love but she, who prefers quality time could see him out there fixing her car as a way to avoid spending time with her.
Or if she prefers words of affirmation but he's not good with words and instead wants to walk her dog or fix her faucet...CONFLICT

Susan Anne Mason said...

Lorna,

This post is so great! Made me sigh with the romance of it all!

Without realizing it, I have incorporated a lot of these love languages in my latest wip. Will have to see if I have all five.

Happy Anniversary Helen! Good day (my birthday - sshhh). We had our anniversary last week. May is a busy month in our house!

Cheers,
Sue
sbmason at sympatico dot ca

Vince said...

Hi Lorna:

Languages are good for communicating love but languages can be used to lie and manipulate others.

The essence of real love is expressed best in John 15:13

“Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

Sacrifice is the essence of love.

Additionally, the worthiness ‘to be loved’ is, in itself, a great attraction to love.

The heroine in “The Bossy Bridegroom” had sacrificed much in her life and continued to sacrifice much more in order to serve others as the story opens. Both the hero and heroine in, “The Sweetest Gift”, sacrificed much to make their respective Christmas gifts. The love was not in the giving. It was the sacrifice.

Emma in “A Heart Revealed” had suffered much and sacrificed even more by holding to her religious faith. Emma was well worthy of being loved.

A sympathetic heroine, who is genuinely worthy of love, is eminently loveable.

Characters who have made themselves highly worthy of love are supremely memorable characters.

If you can make your heroine so worthy of being loved that the reader will think any hero would have to be crazy not to fall in love with her, then every action the hero takes will transcend language. It will become almost impossible for that hero not to show his love for the heroine in everything he does and thinks.

Sorry: I’m doing philosophy and Chapman is doing psychology. This is just a different POV. (Deep POV -- as in 'it's getting deep in here'. : ) )

Actually, I love your covers. Those women are beautiful. How could a man not love the gal with the baseball? But then men are so superficial, aren’t they? They can fall in love with a pretty face. (Charity).

Vince

P.S. I have to go now and check my bids on the Brenda Novak auction. Last few hours! Lots of bargains on the last day.

Valerie Comer said...

Happy Birthday, Sue!

So if (I said IF) Ruthie's love language is bossy, it sounds like Tom Linscott shares the same one.

Just sayin'.

Natalie Monk said...

Hi, Lorna! Your use of the 5 love languages as a romance writer's guide is brilliant! I bought one copy with this in mind, but I jinxed myself by buying a Spanish copy. (Thought I was doing a double favor to myself. Read the book AND brush up on Spanish. Yeah. right. :D )

I have Making Waves on my Kindle and am excited to read it soon! Your covers are stellar!

Tina Radcliffe said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SUSAN MASON!!! FINALLY 21 EH??? (NOTE THE CANADIAN EH??? AM I GOOD OR WHAT??)

Erica Vetsch said...

Love, love, love this idea! When Mary Connealy first told me about it a couple of weeks ago, I had a lightbulb moment.

You should teach this as a class at conferences. It's SUCH a great idea for romance writers.

Virginia said...

Happy Birthday, Susan!

Okay, Julie Lessman's 'cave man' comment made me realize why I had such a hard time with all the workmen tromping through our house for 4 months.

Cave men, indeed. Once I tried to make lunch for six hungry kids while some dude STOOD ON MY COUNTER in his dirty boots to reach the kitchen ceiling. Not happy. Get a chair like a civilized human being. Or hey, use that ladder two feet away.

The one worker I really liked was shy, quiet, laughed at the crazy kids, let them watch him work. Nodded as they chattered. Tried not to step on any little people. Picked up his sharp tools and unplugged his nail gun (and hid the cords)when he went to lunch. Reminds me of my husband, actually, if I'd known him at 20 or so.

Hm. Maybe I could have gotten through the demolition/reconstruction a little more happily if I'd thought of them as 'love languages'.

Virginia said...

Ruthy, I love your bossy self.

Just wait until November...

Ruth Logan Herne said...

I think part of our mars/venus thing is the perception of "meaningful conversation"...

We want to talk something to death.

They want the box scores from last night.

We long to wax poetic.

They want the box scores from last night.

We want them to help with dishes ala Bridges of Madison County, to truly LISTEN to our whining...

They want the box scores from last night.

If the lot o'youse figures out how to bridge THAT gap, let me know. Which takes me back to how much I enjoy writing fiction, LOL!

And if youse are all married to perfect listening men, please. Do not feel it necessary to share that with me.

'Kay????

Lorna said...

HELEN, 48 years! Wow! You must know all about love in any language.

MARY, rest assured dusting would not count as an act of love because most men would never notice.

MARISSA, you're a girl after my own heart. I love a hero who not only acts the part, but can say it.

Lorna said...

MELANIE, I think it's fun to consider what your heroine's primary love languages would be. It helps make them more real.

Hell DAWN, my friend. Since we all long for love, I think this should apply in some way to any genre.

SUSAN, Happy Birthday!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

What??? Anniversary for HELEN?????

Birthday for Susie-Q?????

Oh, happy day, does that mean CAKE in Seekerville?????

I believe that it does!

White? Chocolate? Dark Dutch Fudge with raspberry filling and whipped cream frosting?????

Tell me your faves, I've got the ovens fired up!

And hey, that Tom Linscott (did I spell that right???) is a hottie. I love take charge guys.

Oh, and the befuddled ones.

And the spectacled ones.

I think I just like men. ;)

Lorna said...

VINCE, you're so right. The ulitmate love is sacrifice, and yes, a heroine does need to be worthy (or almost impossible not to love).

I think using these five love languages, though, help the reader to believe the love between the characters and to appreciate that act of sacrifice when it comes in the story.

Mary Cline said...

Lorna, and all of you!

Thank you for answering my questions, talking to me, now I love you more than ever!!
Conflict of all kinds, LOVE it. Thank you! Clueless hunks, Love them!
You have all added so much today I will copy the whole blog and all of the comments at the end of today no matter how much paper it takes because this is one of the best ever.

I know, I've said that before and I will probably say it again.

Mary Cline said...

Oh, My anniversary is June 1 too! 38th I think. Any kid of cake is fine Ruthy.

Lorna said...

NATALIE, Spanish, huh? How funny! It would take years for me to get through that. My daughter, who just graduated, has had 3 years of college spanish. I could ask her to translate for you.:)

ERICA, I'm glad this information served as a lightbulb moment for you. We writers need as many of those as we can get.

VIRGINIA, that quiet, shy one needs a book. :)

Virginia said...

Happy Anniversary Helen!!!

Happy Anniversary Jessica!!!

AusJenny, I'm not a touchy person either. High school girls give me the heebeejeebies, they hug ALL THE TIME.

And kids, too, but they're so cute and adorable I don't try to shake them off. Oh, and sticky, too.

Virginia said...

Ooops, Happy Anniversary Mary Cline!!!

Helen Gray said...

Happy Birthday, Susan!!!

Lorna, I really loved this article. Enough I copied it.

Ruthy, I love angel food cake.

Abbi Hart said...

Great post! I usually show love through gifts and gifts and words of affirmation are what make me feel loved!

Mary Connealy said...

What a party day here at Seekerville.
Anniversaries and birthdays and love languages. How sweet is that?

Jewell Tweedt said...

Lorna-
Great advice. It has made my writing better.
Folks I just finished reading Lorna's Making Waves and Mary's In Too Deep. Both are fun reads for summer. Check them out!

Jewell Tweedt

Jan Drexler said...

Great post, Lorna! And I love your suggestion to have all five love languages present in the book. After all, if we want the reader to fall in love with our hero, he's got to hit her love language, too (and vice versa for the heroine and male readers...).

You've given me some great ideas to sweeten up the first few chapters of my story! Thank you!

I know my dear husband knows my love languages well - quality time and words of affirmation. He makes me swoon some days!

Happy Anniversary Helen, Jessica and Mary!

Happy Birthday, Sue!

Am I too late for chocolate cake?

BTW - I received a super surprise package from Audra in the mail today! I'm so glad I won that particular contest :)

And yes, bossy is a love language. Don't you feel loved when Ruthy bosses you around?

Walt Mussell said...

So, if you're giving someone a foot massage, that wouldn't count as an act of service in addition to physical touch?

Carol Moncado said...

In contemplating my current WIP...

I'm just under 10K in and I have...

*Physical Touch [carries her after she twists her ankle really badly]
*Words of Affirmation [tells her she looks beautiful [twice] when she answers the door fresh out of bed and with Bell's Palsy]
*Acts of Service [makes her breakfast and cleans her house while she dozes]
*Gifts [he brings/makes breakfast and brings flowers]
*Quality time [he's hanging out with her while she can't walk on her foot]
*Bossy [made her go get the ankle checked out at the ER]

:D

jesskeller said...

Can I just say that today's post makes me all giddy because I love Lorna and all her books!?!

This is a great thing to keep in mind - I'm making a note-to-self to check on my characters love languages and make sure the 5 are in there.

Of should I say six? Because BOSSY sure looks like it might be one. If not, I sure wouldn't sigh over Clark Gable or Edward Rochester as much as I do ;)

Donna said...

Walt, foot massages count as an act of service, physical touch AND quality time! Major bonus points!!

Love the topic today, thanks Lorna!

Happy Anniversary ladies and Happy Birthday Susan!

travelingstacey said...

I've never thought of using the 5 Love Languages with my characters...but that makes so much sense! My husband and I always joke that I have all of them and he can't figure out which one he has. : ) I loved Making Waves and would love a chance to get your new book!
Blessings~Stacey

Ausjenny said...

Happy anniversary to Helen and Melissa and happy birthday Susan.

Lorna, I can put up with the odd hug. (odd as in one or two not as in strange).

I am a country person who needs her personal space. we have a man at church who tends to invade everyones personal space and you can only take so many steps backwards till you are hitting a wall or something.

Nancy C said...

Hi to everyone. Hope to read comments later this evening.

Lorna, your post has been an eye-opener for me. I knew these things instinctively but have never seen the concept put into words/expressed so clearly. This post gets printed and added to my three-ring binder.

And oh my gosh the covers are wonderful. Love the one of the roller coaster :-)

Nancy C

Jackie S. said...

Please count me in for the drawing, Lorna! I loved your other books and am anxious to read this one!
Thanks!

Jackie said...

On vacation my family read The Noticer. I've also read Gary Chapman's book.

I've recently considered what my character's love languages are. So you posted this at a perfect time for me.

My husband's love language is words of affirmation. BUT he shows his love for other by acts. He always finds things to do to show me how much he loves me.

I'm so glad you shared this today.

Please enter me in the contest. Thanks.

Jackie L.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Chocolate cake, CHECK!!!!

Dig in!

Also red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting....

Although I'm a spice cake gal myself, 'tain't my birthday, is it?

And two anniversaries??? Or three??? Ah, June is a month of weddings.

We got married in December. An old man I worked with said, "Bah, that's dumb. Once you have kids you will NEVER be able to do anything on your anniversary because there's no time."

I laughed at him.

He was right.

I was wrong.

And that same scenario has repeated itself multiple times even when I pretend to be smart.

Dagnabbit. But any excuse for cake is a good excuse!!!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Okay, I'm totally in on the natural conflict that evolves from mixed expectations...

I never thought of it as love language speak, but that's exactly what it is. When we look at Gift of the Maji, that's what we're seeing. Sacrificial love in two distinct ways.

And they had a HEA, so we're good, ladies!!!!

Virginia said...

Ausjenny, you made me lol!

Lori Benton said...

Hi Lorna. What an interesting insight. I've heard of those love languages but never thought about applying them to my hero. What great timing for this post, as my manuscript is due in fifteen days. Perfect time to double check my hero is speaking my heroine's language. :)

Mary Connealy said...

CAROL LOL you've officially added bossy.
Write the book, quick.



The Six Love Languages.


Catchy title.

Mary Connealy said...

Jewell, thank you for the kind words about my book. :D

CatMom said...

Great post, Lorna---you've given me a lot to think about (AND help with my writing too). Your books look great (especially Ride of her Life!) and I'm eager to read each of them. ~ It was fun meeting you last year at ACFW (yes, I'm the one who "invaded" your hotel room with Tammy Alexander so we could have a photo with Judy Miller--You were so kind to snap the pictures!). ~ Thank you again for sharing, and I'm thinking my main love language would be acts of service (and that's definitely my husband's too!). Hugs from Georgia, Patti Jo :) p.s. Sorry I'm chiming in so late (been to an out-of-town funeral).

Lorna said...

ABBI,I have a mother-in-love whose primary love language is gifts. She gifts the best, most thoughtful gifts.

Hi JEWELL! Thanks for your kind words about Making Waves. Looking forward to our book signing in June.

JAN, thank you! I'm glad you think you can use these suggestions.

Lorna said...

WALT, are you applying for sainthood? A foot massage would easily do double duty and might even qualify under the sacrificial love part, too.

CAROL, impressive examples! Glad you included the newly acquired 6th Love Language of BOSSSY.

Hi JESSICA! Glad you made it to the party. It wouldn't be the same without you.

Lorna said...

DONNA, oh, you're right. Walt's foot massage would include quality time and if he tells her how beautiful her feet are, he could add words of affirmation, too.

TRAVELING STACEY, I'm so glad you enjoyed Making Waves, and what a sweet thing for your husband to say about you. It says a lot about your nature. Love your picture, too.

AUSJENNY, isn't it funny how some people don't seem to understand the personal space concept?

NANCY, thanks for stopping by.I feel honored to be part of your binder collection. And you're right. I think we do a lot of these things instictively.

Lorna said...

JACKIE S., it tickles me to hear you loved the other books! Good luck in the drawing.

JACKIE, it sounds like you are truly blessed to have a husband like that. Do you think is secondary love language is acts of service or has he discovered how much it means to you?

RUTH, the Gift of the Maji! I was thinking of that earlier and couldn't remember the name. Sacrificial love but played out through the gifts.

Hi LORI! I'm doing the double check on my manuscript, too. It goes off tomorrow.

Lorna said...

CATMOM (Patti Jo), Yes, I remember you! I also know you from Judy's blog. Thanks so much for stopping by!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Well, I just loved this post. As I'm working on my current book, I'm going to keep this front and center in my small, small brain.

Lorna, you rock, chickie!!!

Cathy Gohlke said...

This is a great post, Lorna! I hadn't thought of showing love in just this way, but you're absolutely on target! I'll be keeping this in mind as I develop my next hero.

Thank you!

Shelia Hall said...

to me words of affection and a personal touch is what makes a great hero

Digging for Pearls said...

My love language has changed through the years. I'm not sure what it is now. :)

Congrats on the new book Lorna.

Blessings,
Jodie Wolfe

Janet Kerr said...

This is a most interesting post! I had never hear of Love Languages. I will look into this further.
Thank you for this information,
Jan

marybelle said...

It's the little things that can mean so much. I don't take them for granted. I love stories where there is so much meaning in a gesture.

marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

Lori Benton said...

Just checking back in to say Lorna, what fun this is. I'm keeping a record of my hero, Neil's, words of affirmation, touch, acts of service, quality time and gifts, and have learned that HIS love language is definitely acts of service, followed close by words of affirmation.

Thanks for the post!

Lourdes said...

For me it is quality time. Being someone who has trust issues none of the others would work for me.