Friday, March 13, 2015

The Romantic Arc Version 2.0

This is an updated post that I first shared in 2010. I've learned a little more since then and so present you with this updated version.

We're romance writers.

But how exactly do you write, falling in love? ( Love, love Andrea Bocelli, sigh!)

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?

The romantic arc is all about the emotional journey that ends up with your hero and heroine finally together. 

Dr James Dobson explains it nicely in his book Love for a Lifetime:  “Bonding refers to the emotional covenant that links a man and woman together for life and makes them intensely valuable to one another. It is the specialness that sets those two lovers apart from every other couple on the face of the earth. It is God's gift of companionship to those who have experienced it."

For you The Hero's Two Journey fans like me, Michael Hauge's characters go through the journey of discovery as they move from identity to essence and he sums it up nicely: 

The reason two people get together is because the romance character recognizes the hero's essence under his identity and falls  in love with that. This is the person who sees the hero just as they are. The characters must see each other emotionally naked.

Though attributed to author Linda Howard the Stages of Intimacy were identified by Dr. Desmond Morris, and are mentioned in Dr. Dobson's book. You can find a detailed disussion by Dr. Dobson here.  I encourage you to print this up and use it to help you track the romantic arc of your story.

1. Eye to Body.

2. Eye to Eye.

3. Voice to Voice.

4. Hand to Hand

5. Hand to Shoulder

6. Hand to Waist

7. Face to Face.

8. Hand to Head.

9-12 are sexual and private.

To help my own writing  I've begun to develop my own Falling in Love Arc. These steps have been adjusted since they were first mentioned in my 2010 blog post.

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 Almost Kiss:  Totally my favorite part of the romantic arc as it builds romantic tension. It can be used several times in a book.

5. The First Kiss. All the senses collide: smell, sight, hearing, touch and taste. The first kiss can be tentative, it can be exciting and passionate... depending on your story. But it better be memorable.

6. Emotional Commitment. The startling realization that they are emotionally committed to another person (whether they like it or not). This will intensify as the story proceeds.

7. Emotional Setback. With realization often comes denial and or fear and an emotional setback before final acceptance.

8. Acceptance. The declaration of I Love You. Often first self admission then verbal admission.

9. The Big Kiss. The  mutual acknowledgement I love you kiss.

One of my favorite examples of The Romantic Arc is from the Australian TV series, McLeod's Daughter's. The characters Tess and Nick.  And my absolute all time favorite is Anne and Gilbert in Anne of Green Gables the series.

Now for some romantic passages that highlight these steps and a few video clips for inspiration. In theory I should be able to find all the steps in every book I open. But for fun, we'll mix it up.


His balance faltered when he realized she'd smiled at him. Rocky Mountain Hero, Audra Harders.

He shot her a covert glance. Dainty little thing, but the coltish figure he remembered from the church volleyball team had filled out and the carelessly cropped hair now tumbled down her back. High Country Hearts, Glynna Kaye.

Heightened Awareness:

These clips demonstrate awareness and move to heightened awareness so nicely. 

Persuasion, 1995, the movie.

 The hurt tone of her voice made him want to pull her close, to comfort. Instead, he eased his arm out of her grasp. At the moment, even incidental contact left him reeling. The Guy Next Door, Missy Tippens.

 How could she resist such a man? Handsome, charming, bigger than life and he owned a hardware store. Safe in the Fireman's Arms, Tina Radcliffe.

Emotional Discovery:

  Admit it, Annemarie. You've grown attached to Sam Vickary, and you'll miss having him underfoot.  When the Clouds Roll By, Myra Johnson

A desire to protect her stirred deep within Frank when he saw Collen standing at the window as he pulled his truck out of the drive.-Stranded, Debby Giusti.

The Almost Kiss: 

Noses nearly touching, they both froze. Seconds ticked by as her warm breath kissed his face. Dan swallowed. It took every last bit of resolve in him not to touch his lips to her soft inviting mouth. Stranded with the Rancher, Tina Radcliffe

The First Kiss 

Is there another better than the First Kiss from North & South?

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, Mary Connealy.

Ben's hand slid to her smooth, long neck, then burrowed into her hair as he gently lifted her head toward him. By the time he leaned in to touch his mouth to hers, he was near dizzy. Mending the Doctor's Heart, Tina Radcliffe.

Emotional Commitment:

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,  Linda Goodnight.

Emotional Setback:

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,   Ruth Logan Herne.


He cradled her face in his hands. "I want to be your husband. Will you do me the honor of becoming my wife? Last Minute Bride, Janet Dean.

The Big Kiss.

There aren't any better big kissing scenes than Julie Lessman's. Check them out here.

Becoming Jane.

Feel free to share your favorite passages from your books or others that exemplify these stages. Or tell us your favorite romantic arc characters from television or movies.

 One commenter today will receive the Seeker book of your choice, as currently available in print or ebook  on only. Winner announced in the Weekend Edition.

 And if you think you might be ready for the advanced romance and kissing class and you don't have a copy of Julie Lessman's Romance-ology 101 (why not???) we'll throw in a print copy! Tell us you want it.

And don't forget to mention your Speedbo progress for a chance at this week's Speedbo prizes!


 Originally from Western, N.Y., Seeker Tina Radcliffe left home for a tour of duty with the Army Security Agency stationed in Augsburg, Germany and ended up in Tulsa Oklahoma. While living in Tulsa she spent ten years as a Certified Oncology R.N. Her career also includes being a library cataloger and a pharmacy clerk.

 Tina is a two-time RWA Golden Heart finalist, a 2012 ACFW Carol Award finalist, a 2014 ACFW Mentor of the Year finalist, a 2014 Golden Quill finalist and a 2014 ACFW Carol Award winner. She has won first place in over twenty RWA chapter affiliated contests in her career. Tina is also a short story writer and has sold TWELVE short stories to Woman’s World Magazine. She currently resides in Arizona where she writes inspirational romance for Harlequin Love Inspired and independently publishes sweet romances.


  1. I forgot about Daylight Savings Time.

    I'm late. So late. That's my story of late.

  2. LOL We forgive you (even if I have been refreshing for 29 minutes!)

    I'm too tired to make sense of this right now, but it's exactly what I need for the work I've got planned for this weekend. Tomorrow, when I'm alert, I shall study.

    Thanks, Tina! Well worth the wait.

  3. Yeah! TINA! YOU ROCK!!!
    You almost had me running to check out those snippets of love. Then I realized, this is TINA. Thanks for an interest post.

  4. Thanks, Curry.

    Arizona doesn't do DST, so I forgot about you EST folks.

  5. I'm humming, Andrea Bocelli as we speak, Marianne.

  6. Oooh! Just watched the North & South kiss again. Sigh!

    I love watching the romantic arc unfold in a story. That's exactly why I read (and write) romance.

    Of all the kisses you've written, Tina, which is your favorite, and why?

  7. I never believed it, Keli, but it's true, the book you're working on is always your favorite.

    Because you're falling in love as the characters fall in love.

    So you're always true to the one whose hand you're holding.

    Besides, you can't kiss and tell, can you?

  8. Awesome post Tina. I'll come back this evening and revisit it. I do like all your examples.

    When I moved to Indiana I was ecstatic that we didn't have DST here. Unfortunately, a few years later a new governor came into office and decided we needed to be on DST and so we are. ARGGH!

    I would love to be entered to win a copy of Julie's . Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy.

    Have a wonderful weekend!

    Continue Speedboing everyone!

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

  9. Good post Tina. Going to print it off and use it. Thank you for your continued support and advice. I greatly appreciate it. Back to writing.
    Oh I almost forgot; I want Julie ' s romance book since she is my favorite historical romance writer.

  10. Hi Tina,

    Great post! I'd just pulled out Julie's Romancology book this morning and looked through it again.

    I'm up to 17,339 words so far. I'll sprint this morning, but after work we're hitting the road. I'm so excited for vacation. We're going to watch Asbury University Men play tennis all week on Hilton Head. I'd be excited anyway, but the beach makes everything even better!

    Have a great day. (I loved the line about the hardware store!)

  11. Thanks, Cindy and Kelly!

    Speedbo and romance on!

  12. Jackie Layton, oh, my goodness! WAY TO GO!!! SPEEDBO!!

  13. Good romance examples. Remembering those months of courting that special guy brings it all back.

    What sane woman could resist a man who owned a hardware store???

    My daughter told me not long ago that when she was a teen, she lost patience with her dad and me because of the hand-holding and as she called it, 'moony-eyes'. :-)
    We just laughed at our disgusted teens and stayed in love.

  14. Forgot to post my Speedbo accomplishment.

    Didn't shoot as many ducks as I'd hoped for.
    1,360 for the day, with a total count of 13,315.

  15. Sigh. Nothing like a North and South kiss for breakfast.

  16. Mary Hicks, that is a lot of dead ducks!!!

  17. Hi Tina,
    New Hampshire is such a crazy state I don't even notice EST and DST any more. The way we do things here doesn't make sense to anyone from the "outside." If it wasn't that it would be something else.
    I wrote my chapter last night but almost didn't. My back hurt, I was extremely discouraged, and I almost quit. All of it. The chapter isn't that great even by Speedbo standards, but I've got it. Going to do another tonight after I prep for the snowstorm that is supposed to hit NE tomorrow, you heard it right. Again.

  18. Tina is awesome! And that is all I have to say about that.
    I have made my goal of 1000 words per day every day since Speedbo began. What I have discovered is amazing to me. If I know I can stop after 1000 words and not write into eternity, I do much better. Wow - who would have thought? I always figured the more words the better. Of course that often translated into no words. Thank you Speedbo - NO LIMITS!

  19. OK, this is one of my favorite kiss scenes of mine, the first kiss of Karl and Violet from "Lost and Found," my unpubbed story about the settlement house movement in New York after World War I. He's obviously more experienced than she is, but the kiss moves him just as much. Or is supposed to...

    James O'Connell had carved a paradise out of a city lot. Beds of roses, each in a different shade, radiated out from a central fountain. Violet breathed deeply, inhaling their scent, and sat on a white iron bench beside the plot of white roses. As Karl sat beside her, she grinned at him. “I’m sure I heard a cricket, but it couldn’t be. Not in New York City. Not unless Uncle James had them imported.’’
    Karl took her hand. Out here, the gesture seemed natural. “We could almost be in the country. Do you like the country, Miss O’Connell?’’
    “I don’t mind it. We have a house by the ocean, and it’s nice when we want to get away. My parents are up there this week. But I guess I’m a city girl. I like walking out the door each day, not knowing what I’ll find. And now that I’ve been to Macy Street, I can’t turn my back on those people. I guess this is where I’m supposed to be right now.’’
    She wasn't usually a babbler. Did she feel what he did, that the very air was alive with meaning? That something was going to happen?
    He shouldn't. He really shouldn't. Just this once, he told himself, and tomorrow they could go back to being who they were.
    Tonight didn’t count.
    “Miss O’Connell, have you ever been kissed?’’
    Her eyes were huge, almost black in the light borrowed from the ballroom. "Once or twice in my debutante year. Not so it amounted to anything.’’
    “I think we can remedy that. Stand up, please.”
    As always, she obeyed him. He cradled her face in his hands, bent his lips to hers and kissed her gently but thoroughly. She closed her eyes and kissed him back. When he released her, she groped for the back of the iron bench. “ Thank you,’’ she whispered.
    Karl wanted to hang on to something himself. Might as well be her. “You’re welcome. Want to try another?’’
    “Put your arms around my neck--that’s right. And I put my arms around your waist, like so. Then you tilt your head a little. See how nicely we fit together?’’
    “Even better than waltzing,’’ Violet murmured.
    He kissed her again, with a little more power, and his strong arms tightened around her waist. She was the first to pull away. “Thank you,’’ she said again. “So that's what it's supposed to be like. That was very nice.’’
    “I thought so, too.’’ Karl felt as though he had been running. Yes, so that was what it was supposed to be like. “But maybe we’d better stop for a while.’’ He brushed a hand through his hair, apparently leaving a tuft on end. She reached out and smoothed it down, and he grinned at her. “Yes, I think we definitely should get back to the other guests. But may I call you Violet now?’’
    “If I can call you Karl.’’

  20. Wow, Tina, you have me melting with these fabulous examples. I will be looking at these stages in the novel I'm revising. Thanks!

    Not much time to check out the links now but will be back.

    Love your comment that you're always true to the hand you're holding. Such fun to relive our own romantic arc with each book we write.


  21. Well what a toe-curling start to the day but shame on you for distracting me from Speedbo with all those clips! Thrilled to discover that MacLeod's Daughters is on youtube. More distractions for physio time. And I wept through the Anne and Gilbert clip. I think they must have been my first glimpse into the power of romance when I was ten. But as much as I loved the movies it irks me no end that they messed around with the plot in the second one. Gah!

    Okay -- so -- I'm reading Presumed Guilty by Dana R. Lynn -- debut Killer Voice author!!!! What a great premise and I love the jolt of awareness she conveys between hero and heroine before they are willing to acknowledge it. Here's an excerpt.

    "Why was he here? Couldn't they have found someone else for this duty -- someone who wouldn't look at her with such clear disdain? Her knees trembled as he moved beside her. She resisted the urge to step away from him. Jerking her eyes forward, she strove to act as though he weren't there. But his image had been seared into her mind. Strong. Determined. A man of faith. And the man who had personally slapped handcuffs on her and coldly recited her Miranda rights."

    1. McLeod's dtrs first seasons were wonderful. Then it got soap opera like. Love Dana's excerpt! Thanks for sharing!!!

  22. Put my name in the hat for a copy of Julie's book.

  23. A real keeper post, TINA--thanks for all the great examples!

    I have to tell you, whenever I'm getting ready to write a romantic scene, I always think, "How would Julie Lessman write this?"

    And then I tone it down about six notches. :)

  24. Woohoo! Love the romantic arc! Thanks for sharing your excellent tips and insight, Tina. :)

    I refer often to Julie's Romance-ology 101--sublime! (Would love another copy to give to a writing friend in my MozArks group, too.)

    Not doing Speedbo, but cheering everyone else on! Go forth and conquer!

    1. Thanks for being a cheerleader Cynthia!!!

  25. Oh, I love romances. You get to fall in love all over again with each book. One point I like is when the h/h communicate at a deeper level, baring their souls to each other, revealing things they'd never say to another human being.

  26. Tina, you ROCK! Am struggling today with the last third of my book. This is usually the easiest part!!!!!!!!!!!! Ohmygosh. But this is helping. Thank you, girl. I'm just going to go for it, make this the most unapologetically romantic last one-third any book has ever been, just because I totally don't know what I'm doing, and romance is WHAT I DO!!!

    Okay. That's my first emotional outburst of the day. It probably won't be my last.

    Tina, you asked if there is a better first kiss than the one in North and South. And the answer is, uh, NO. Best first kiss EVER!

  27. Agreed, Melly and Seekerville turned me on to it!!!

  28. Oh, and THANK YOU for the Andrea Bocelli!!!!!!! Best music in the world for me to write by, so that's what I'm going to do today. Hugs!!!

  29. I love romances!! And so many great books out there by Seeker writers!!!
    I want in for the Seeker book of choice, please!!!!!

  30. WOW, I just snatched a minute to work on my Speedbo WIP and instead of a man being "overcoated and hatted" I wrote "overcoated and hated." No.Place.To.Go.But.Up.

  31. Can I just say it? I LOVED this post! Being newer to the romance genre in terms of writing, I like the arc you've presented. Now I can make sure I've got all the elements in my story. You don't know (or maybe you do!) how helpful this is to me, Tina. Thank you!

    I'm definitely printing this one out (and watching the clips later, when I take a break).

    Speedbo progress? I got another scene written yesterday for my subplot. Today's goal is about organizing my next couple weeks of blog post, since spring break is coming up and kids will be underfoot. I'm hoping to get one more scene written this weekend, and then I'll be almost halfway through this phase of my goals. :)

    1. I wrote this post for me, Jeanne, lol! So glad some of you find it helpful. It prevents the " I hate you. I hate you. I love you" syndrome.

  32. My internet went out last night right when I was trying to log on to Seekerville. So I got to read your tips this morning. And they're just as good as they would have been last night. How about that?

    I've brought coffee.

  33. Also, please enter me in Seeker Book of Choice, what the hay.

  34. Thanks Tina for an inspiring, helpful post. I, too, am going to print it off, so I can refer to it!

    Have a happy romantic day...

  35. Julie! Juile! Julie!

    If you are going to use the most romantic singer in the world, who can sing in the most romantic language in the world, and have him singing about falling and romance, you need to use this song!!!

    "Vivo Per Lei"

    The title means, "I Live For You", but you don't even have to know the Italian to feel the power this song. Dio mio!

    As for kisses, here's the big surprise!

    Can you guess which Seeker wrote the below?

    "His hand covered hers, large and work-roughened against her smaller one. "Mollie?"

    She turned toward him, heart pounding with fear and excitement all mixed together so much that she thought she'd take wings and fly. He reached out and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear, his warm fingers lingering against the side of her face. His dark-eyed gaze flickered over her face then dropped to her lips.

    Then slowly, like molasses poured out of a jug on a cold winter's morning, he dipped his head and captured her lips with his. Mollie's eyes slid closed as she savored the sensation of her first kiss."


    This was such an unexpected and wonderful surprise that I remembered the page it appeared on weeks later: 237!

    Please note that this was a western historical romance where it was snowing. The use of 'molasses' was absolutely perfect for the tone of the story. I just loved this scene.


    P.S. I think someone has been reading "Romance-ology 101."

    1. Vince, Tina wrote this post! Now must go figure out who wrote that line.

  36. Right now, I'm totally loving a BBC series called The Paradise. Some great romantic scenes there! And I LOVE the North and South scene...sigh.

    I want Julie's romance book too. She's definitely has it down when it comes to sigh-worthy romance.

  37. OH. MY. GOSH.


    OH. MY.GOSH!!!

    All of your blogs are wonderful, Tina, but I gotta tell you, I had more twitches in my eye reading this one than any blog I have ever read in my life.

    Maybe it's because romance is so important to me -- an addiction, truly -- but I would read a couple of lines or paragraphs and literally twitch with excitement over what I read, and how beautifully you put everything together. Never have I taken this long on a blog before, but everything I read would hit me so hard, I just had to comment on it, so here's my first comment:

    You said: "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."

    You immediately took me back to my first real kiss at the age of 16, when a guy I wasn't really crazy over kissed me on the neck.

    OH. MY. GOODNESS!!! I was his (in my heart) from that moment on, and when my sister and I left to go stay with our aunt for the summer (who was a nun, so this was a convent), I dabbed Aqua Velva on my pillow every night because it's what HE wore. I had a calendar on which I'd mark off the days till I saw him again in BIG red X's, and although the guy was NOTHING to look at, to me, he was my first love and I will never forget him!! Thank you for bringing that lovely memory back.



  38. This is a great list, Tina.

    I'm guilty of trying to rush the romance in my stories. My editor has to call me on it every time! But this list should help me develop the romance in a timely fashion. Thanks!

    My favorite step in the arc? The almost kiss. There's something about that anticipation.... :)

  39. COMMENT #2

    I just LOVE James Dobson, so when you posted his quote that began with, "“Bonding refers to the emotional covenant that links a man and woman together for life ...," I just had to read it to Keith.

    "Isn't that beautiful?" I said.

    He scrunched his nose. "It's okay, I guess, but it doesn't match my definition."

    "It doesn't?" I said, wondering what in the world he was going to say.

    "No," he said with a face so serious, my heart kind of lurched.

    "To me, it's taking a bullet for you, Julie," he said quietly.

    I blinked and my heart stopped. And then, OF COURSE, true to my CDQ nature, I immediately cried.

    An abbreviated version, to be sure, but true nonetheless.


  40. I needed this blog post today as I'm developing that attraction between my hero and heroine!

    Excellent, Tina. You've broken down the attraction into a step-by-step guide for authors. I hope you turn this into a workshop presentation.

    I give this blog post a 5-star rating!

  41. COMMENT #3

    YOU QUOTED: "The reason two people get together is because the romance character recognizes the hero's essence under his identity and falls in love with that. This is the person who sees the hero just as they are. The characters must see each other emotionally naked."

    Okay, this quote alone is enough to get me to read Michael Hauge, which -- don't throw anything at me -- I have never read. Absolutely WONDERFUL quote that stresses something I unknowingly try to inject into each of my books. And don't even get me started on the phrase, "emotionally naked." Absolutely brilliant!!


  42. COMMENT #5

    You said: "Though attributed to author Linda Howard the Stages of Intimacy were identified by Dr. Desmond Morris, and are mentioned in Dr. Dobson's book."

    This is one of my FAVORITE things that James Dobson has ever said -- the stages of intimacy, which I first heard on his radio show, Focus on the Family.

    The thing that struck me more than anything about these stages is I think (not sure, but I think) I remember him saying that the strongest marriages had a basis beneath it of most if not all of these stages in their proper order. Which is really bad news for the world's amoral agenda that generally go from #3 to #12 in the blink of an eye, stripping away any real foundation for emotional growth and depth.


  43. COMMENT #6

    Your steps for the "falling in love arc" are absolutely BRILLIANT, and although I generally skip the "almost kiss" step altogether to bring the "first kiss" in much earlier than most CBA authors, the rest are DEAD-ON and so worth printing off, as is this entire blog.


  44. COMMENT #7:

    I was SOOOO taken by the Anne of Green Gables quote that I actually sat down and watched the entire 6-minute+ clip, which is something I NEVER do because it eats up too much time, but WOW, WOW, WOW!! That movie is definitely going on my TBS (to be seen) list!!

    And I watched the Becoming Jane clip, too, you little brat!!

    COMMENT #8:

    OH. MY. GOSH!!! My hat is off to you for finding such succinct and SHORT clips from the Seeker books to demonstrate your points, something I can't seem to do. Each and every one made me want to reread the books and drove the message home wonderfully!!


  45. WHOOPS ... skipped COMMENT #4, so we'll make that this final one:

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for giving me "The Big Kiss" to show examples from -- that's where I want to be, ALWAYS!!

    And thank you for offering Romance-ology in print to the winner -- I insist you let me be the one to send it to them, okay?

    Hugs and thank you for such an enjoyable start to my weekend!


  46. Looove your kiss scene, Kathy Bailey!!!!

  47. SWEET! I really needed this post! I sometimes want to rush the romance, and here is a great tool to help me keep it at a good pace!

  48. Being a guy, the most romantic one was the one made about the hardware store. It's like the fact that my wife knows I can always fix what's wrong with her computer or the clog in the drain. :-)

    As far as my SpeedBo progress, I'm a little embarrassed.

    1. Lol, Walt! What's going on w your Speedbo? Need a friendly kick?

  49. Printer upper/keeper post

    for when I need it in my stories and possibly in real life when hubby mumbles something about feeling neglected.

    please: name in draw for a Seeker book, which will be really hard to pick because there's too much awesomeness to choose from. hmmm...

  50. I had to come back and share an "almost kiss" from my September release, A Home for His Family.

    “If she’s asking for help, I can’t turn my back on her. I have to try.”

    Nate stepped up behind her. She felt his hands brush her sleeves, but he didn’t touch her.

    “No, you can’t, can you? You wouldn’t even be able to turn your back on a starving kitten.”

    Sarah’s eyes stung. He understood the situation even more than she did.

    “I’ll help you, Sarah. I don’t know what we can do, but you only need to ask, and I’ll be there.”

    She turned around, but his hands didn’t move. She froze, his strong chest inches away, her forehead nearly brushing his chin. He closed his hands, grasping her arms, and pulled her close. She couldn’t look up into his face, but she couldn’t back away, either. Taking a deep breath to steady her nerves, she inhaled the scent that clung to him—leather, horses, woodsmoke. His hands held her gently, his strength restrained. This was Nate, not the man who had kept her at arm’s length this morning. She felt his lips brush her forehead, lingering as he inhaled. She wanted to raise her face to his, to let him give her the kiss hovering between them, but he dropped his hands and backed away.

  51. Tina, again PERFECT timing with a Seekerville post! This was just what I needed to direct my writing today. After reading your great post, I wrote an "Almost Kiss" scene which works well with my story. Fun!

    #Speedbo progress: mid-Day 13--behind by 373 words, but hoping to get more words down today to be on target.

    Ah-ha moment: learning how I write and using little bits of time. Works for me!

    Sending THANKS to the cheerleaders and encouragement to other Speedbo-ers. (WOW...what some writers are accomplishing!)

  52. Tina, Thanks for your post. I face a challenge in writing Romantic scenes because I have never been kissed. I bought Julie's Romanceology in Kindle form and it helped greatly. I also pay attention to the way other author's describe things, but never having experienced it adds to the challenge.

    I bought Debby Giusti book Stranded in Walmart this morning. Can't wait to read but may have to wait until April since I am doing Speedbo.

    So far this month I have written 18,014. Alas I have not written anything today. The vertigo is so extreme today that I am struggling to stay upright and the blurred vision is really fun. Heading to take a nap and hoping it will be a little improved. If not I will push through any way and write.

    I would love to be entered for a critique.

  53. What a fun topic today. Really enjoyed it. I for one enjoy writing the almost kiss the best. Personally getting a hoot out of stretching the romantic tension as along as I can. My two favorite almost kiss scenes are in Shadowed in Silk and my latest book Veiled at Midnight.

    Dassah tilted her face up. Cam filled her vision with the angular line of his jaw, the strong mouth that appeared vulnerable the closer she inched toward him. His fresh, warm breath fanned her hair, and she arched closer as he drew her nearer, tracing his finger along the line of her cheek, the outline of her lips. “My beautiful—” His voice broke. “Sweet janu, I don’t deserve you.” He buried his face at the side of her neck, and she clung to him, looking over his shoulder, her mouth still yearning for the touch of his lips.

  54. Julie has ever seen Anne of GG! It's a series so it takes time!

  55. I am far away from home and just checking in....

    Oh, Tina, this was wonderful, beautiful, awesome romance stuff!

    Romance makes me feel good. Romance puts me in mind of hope for the world, white sheets flapping in the breeze on a wind-swept prairie and new tomorrows.

    Romance means family and faith.

    It's the perfect, God-intended joining.

    This is a great, wonderful, marvelous post!

    I'm sighing over these sweet lines.

    Sighing happily!

  56. Never seen Anne of Green Gables.

    Julie has never seen Anne of Green Gables, one of my favorite coming of age series of all time????

    Going to check excerpts now...

    With a smile!!!

  57. I'd never seen North and South until it was mentioned here last year, by Tina and a few others....

    And then I watched it.

    Loved it.

    Loved it.

    Loved it.

  58. T I N A!

    A post about kisses!
    A post with a big picture of "Romance-ology 101"!
    Julie making lots and lots of comments as if the host!
    How could I miss this?
    Just getting old, I guess.

    Sorry Julie.
    I'm quite sure you would have selected my Bocelli video. : ) Bocelli singing in English is like Jeter batting left handed.


  59. Hi Tina,
    I love the steps you've outlined in your Falling In Love Arc. You are so right, these steps give a great read as the story and tension builds.

    Please enter me in the drawing for a seeker book.

    Happy writing weekend everyone, May all your writing goals and dreams come true!

  60. Great post today, Tina! I am working on the romance part of my murder mystery, and this couldn't have come at a better time! I'm so excited to put these into practice when I write tonight!

    As I mentioned yesterday, I haven't officially signed up for Speedbo, but I did manage to add about 5K words this week, writing over my lunch hour. I couldn't write today, because a co-worker is retiring and we had a lunch party for him, but I'll be back at the computer tonight!

    As an aside, I LOVE ANNE OF GREEN GABLES!!! I've read the entire 8-book series multiple times and seen the movies too many times to count. Except the third one. It's awful. Even though Gilbert and Anne get married, I just can't with it. No way.

    Have a great day and a lovely weekend!

  61. I love the romance arc steps you gave! This clip is one of my favorite scenes of when the heroine realizes she loves the hero.

    I'd love to win a Seeker book and Julie's book!

    Speedbo check in...still plodding away on filling in my missing middle. I got another 1/2 scene done today.

  62. Talking about stages of intimacy reminded me of something I heard once.

    A couple never gets emotionally closer than they are the first time they make love.

    Thus if you have sex almost immediately after meeting or very early on, that's it. The theory was that many men are willing to give emotionally intimacy but only the bare minimum they need to (ahem, excuse me) score.

    So if you make them wait and GET TO KNOW EACH OTHER DEEPLY FOR HEAVEN'S SAKES before you reach that deep physically intimate stage, you have a much better, deeply relationship.

    1. Good info however embarrassing Conneally!!

  63. OH, NO ... I'm back, but I can't let such sweet comments go by, so here's my 10th (and God willing my last) comment:

    CINDY, JACKIE, CYNTHIA, KELLY, AMANDA, KATHY B., AND LANI -- thank you sooooo much for owning, using, or wanting Romance-ology 101 -- you guys ROCK!!

    MYRA SAID: "I have to tell you, whenever I'm getting ready to write a romantic scene, I always think, "How would Julie Lessman write this?" And then I tone it down about six notches. :)"

    LOL ... and it's a good thing, too -- you already give me enough competition as is ... ;)

    PAMMY ... totally agree with Vince on your excerpt -- YUM!!!!

    And finally, VINCE -- that song is GORGEOUS, especially in Italian, my friend, so thanks for the share.

    Hugs and Happy Weekend, All!


  64. And I said 'men' because that sort of used to be the wisdom, right? But these days it's probably true of women, too.

  65. Just popping in to say I'm working (or will be shortly) on speedbo goal and to bemoan that Naomi won't watch North And South because the first part was too boring.....but I'm like, gah! The kiss! The look back at me! How can I live knowing someone quit that movie before he tells her to Look back at him! That was better than the kiss in my honest opinion, I wanted to drag her back to him myself!!!!!

  66. Wilani, thanks for buying STRANDED! Sending cyber hugs and lots of love!

    You've made my day! :)

  67. I loooved N&S and I think you hooked me onto it MJ!

  68. Tina, it's unanimous. YOU ROCK!!

    Love, Love, Love, Love, Love this post! Yep, gotta print this one out.

    I always worry if the romance in my books are too rushed or too slow. I definitely need to work on the Romantic Arc. But first, I really want to go write a kissing scene for my H/h. I think it's time for an "almost kiss."

    I haven't added words for the day, yet. I just got home for work, and now I'm headed out to help decorate for the baby shower our church family is giving for my daughter and son-in-law tomorrow. I'll be back in a few hours and will definitely write a kissing scene (or two) before I go to sleep.

  69. Romance :) great post..
    toss me in the drawing please :)

  70. Great post. It will help a lot. If I win , either Tina's book or a seeker ville book would be fine. Is there a critique up for grabs this week? Getting ready to do some writing.

    1. Ooops I meant the romance o l o g y book. Tina didn't write it.

    2. Ooops I meant the romance o l o g y book. Tina didn't write it.

  71. I'm sorry, after watching the Persuasion clip, everything else was just a blur. Kidding, of course, but wow! :)

    Please drop my name in for the giveaways! I'm progressing towards my Speedbo goal at a snail's pace, but at least I'm moving forward.

  72. Good post, Tina! Good thing we're supposed to show, not tell, because just getting the right words out of my MC's mouth can be a challenge when all he can do is put his foot in it.

    My writing critique group was supposed to meet at my place this afternoon but had to be postponed. I'm off to take advantage of a bonus afternoon to write. :)

  73. Thank you, Tina. It still needs work but this book is my next project after Speedbo. I want to put in more sensory details. What I like about it, and what I try to do with most kiss scenes, is that it couldn't be anyone BUT Karl and Violet. I try to make the kiss fit the kiss-ers, as it were.
    I am going to look for North and South in the video store, or whatever the equivalent is now.

  74. Wonderful post! I love those stages. I love first kisses...the anticipation, the sweaty Amazing. And am a big dud because I've never seen North and South? What rock have I been hiding under? After a kiss like that, I better start watching it now.
    I'm happy to say that I've met my speedbo goal. (Thanks to spring break). As of this afternoon I'd added 2547 words to my manuscript.
    Please enter me in the drawing for a book, but I already have Julie Lessman's Romanc-ology 101 (in both print and e-book) and love it.

  75. Since I write shorter length, my story people skip some of these oh-so-wonderful steps. Thanks for the reminder.
    I'd love a copy of Julie's Romance-ology.
    Had I known life would take such a crazy, take-me-to my knees turn, I wouldn't have signed up for Speedbo. But you know how God can override those plans of woman. I keep plugging away, 15,640 words.

  76. Thanks, Tina! Great post!
    A lovely way to 'heat' up the day!


  77. I'm FINALLY here. I swear, I started reading this at least 3 times today and got sidetracked! But I can't complain. Middle child is home from college for spring break. :)

    Tina, what a great post! Thanks so much for sharing your own arc. I'll be saving that to use in the future!

  78. Jackie, that's great on your Speedbo numbers!! Have a wonderful trip! I'm envious. I love writing at the beach. :)

  79. I have had a busy couple days and have not had time to read the last two days posts here but will catch up on them this weekend. Please enter me in the drawings for all available prizes!

    I have written about 13300 words so far and have been meeting my goal of 1000 a day. Please enter me in the speedbo drawings.

  80. While I don't write romances, I have a secondary plot of romance in one of my stories. Very satisfying to realize that I instinctively followed the romantic arc you described, but now I'll KNOW how to do it right in the future.

  81. Wow, Vince, THANK YOU for sharing that snippet. I just went and grabbed a copy of The Homestead Brides and turned to page 237 just to be sure that was mine.

    I am quite fond of molasses... :)

  82. Tina - thank you! I've been struggling with the romantic arc in a novella, so this is perfect timing. I'm going to print and study. Great big cyber hug from Oklahoma!!!

  83. LOL, Pam, you are too funny. I am going to buy Homestead Brides now!!!

    You should hire, Vince.


    ME TOO!

    KEEP GOING FORWARD!!! #NoLimits.

  85. LoRee, you did 15K that you might not have done. It's not about the distance. It's about finishing the race.

  86. Off to watch Becky's youtube clip.

  87. Gosh , all you Speedboers are doing amazing. Making me look bad.

  88. Becky!!! THAT WAS PERFECT. My favorite version of Emma too.

  89. Did anyone else watch the video clips from "Persuasion" more than once? :)

    I am glad I read this after I got home from the studio. I never would have been able to concentrate today!

    I was reminded of my first love and our first kiss. I was 16 years old and positively floated for weeks. I felt like Scarlett O'Hara when Rhett nailed a kiss on her and she looked like she was going to pass out. Ahhh the memories. :) Like Julie, I did my best to have that romantic feeling but instead of Aqua Velva, I would burn sandalwood candals. Still have a fondness for them. :)

    I'll be typing away after dinner. For now my Speedbo numbers are 20,188. I plan to add at least 1500 tonight. And I'd say this post is just in time! I am so inspired!

    I have to say that I am among many who would love Julie's Romance-ology 101! It is already on my wishlist. :)

    Wishing everyone an amazing and successful Speedbo weekend!

    Thanks for keeping our writing fires stoked!

  90. TINA, that Falling in Love Arc is a great guideline! Thanks for sharing it.

    I'm a big fan of the almost kiss. I find out so much about the characters in those scenes -- for example, how respectful they are of the other character's physical and emotional space.

    Go Speedbo-ers!

    Nancy C

  91. Wow, Tina - - I needed this post. I was sighing out loud as I read certain parts. :)
    A KEEPER post for certain.
    Sometimes I get so "caught up" in all the other aspects of my writing that I tend to be a little generic with the romance part (NOT good when I'm writing a ROMANCE) - - so your post will be an excellent "romance refresher" for me.
    Speedbo update: Completed the first of my major goals, now working on the second one. Need to add lots more words in the next 18 days - - but feel I can do it.
    Thanks again - - you are amazing!
    Hugs, Patti Jo

  92. Mary Connealy said...
    So if you make them wait and GET TO KNOW EACH OTHER DEEPLY FOR HEAVEN'S SAKES before you reach that deep physically intimate stage, you have a much better, deeply relationship.

    Thanks for that, MARY C. It explains something I've instinctively appreciated in books (because it adds such depth) but was never able to put into words.

    Nancy C

  93. Tina, Thank you so much for such a fun post. You had me at Anne of Green Gables. I love Anne and Gilbert.

    First I'll answer the character taking note of the other by going to the movies. In The Lady Eve, Barbara Stanwyck's character knocks Henry Fonda's character in the head with an apple, and then he meets her for the first time in a clever montage where she tracks his progress through the cruise ship dining room in her mirror before sticking out her foot to trip him.

    Please enter me in the drawing for Julie's book. I need all the help I can get, especially with expressing emotion.

    And I have this model printed out and I look at it during my edits. Thanks again.

  94. Way to go, Kelly!

    I watched all the clips many times!

  95. The Lady Eve! Must put on my to see list. Thanks, Tanya!

  96. 5K this week! Way to go Stephanie!

  97. Emotion is something I need to remember while working on Speedbo!


  98. Great post, Tina. Can't believe we're halfway!!! On to the next half!

  99. LOVE this post!

    Now I must go back through my scene chart and check for these Steps to Romance.

    I've recently been caught up in watching "The Paradise." The romance between a shop girl and store manager is so taboo, but you see the little changes even more--her recognizing his desperation to be more than he is, his drawing pictures of her while TRYING to remember his dead wife's face, and the magnetism between them. *sigh*

    Great post, Tina! I'll be revisiting this one!

  100. Thanks, Tina. I'm a romance-dud, in that I really don't remember the stages of falling in love. Hey, it's been a long time! So I was laughing at myself and at life in general as I read your great examples. I'm going to read them to my hubby. :) He's a sweet guy, and he's a captive audience right now, since he's sitting-in-his- recliner-and-can't-get-up.

  101. falling in love was even better at age 43 with my now husband of 9 1/2 years. !!! The kisses were just so sweet!
    Rhonda Nash-Hall