Shannon here: Donna Schlachter shares insight into her writing process. Comment or answer the question in this post to enter the drawing for a print (US only) or ebook copy of her latest Mystery Romance, Nothing is Easy. Deadline: Jan 8th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Donna:
Incorporating romance into stories can often prove a challenge, particularly if you subscribe to the “write what you know” theory. Not all writers have a romantic experience to draw upon. So what happens then?
We listen to stories our friends and family share about their experiences. We watch movies we wouldn’t normally view, such as the Hallmark channel. We read romance novels.
Does it always work? No.
I know this because I am one of those writers. It isn’t that my husband isn’t romantic. He is. He does sweet things for me on a regular basis.
The problem is me. I don’t always see his efforts. Don’t recognize them for what they are: his attempts to show me how much he loves me.
So when I write a story, I tend to get the story done first. Character growth, a problem, maybe a villain, something happening, and a satisfying ending. As I go along, I make notes on my synopsis to add more emotion here, to make sure my reader understands how troubled my character is there, and to be certain to refer to the lie my hero or heroine believes, because that belief makes people react the way they do.
During my edits, I draw on my own experiences, or on those I’ve heard from others, or movies, or other books—something that ignites an emotional experience for me. I think about situations where I was angry or frustrated so I can add in those physical responses. Times when I was embarrassed or humiliated. Afraid somebody would find out I wasn’t who they thought I was. When I disappointed or failed.
I remember arguments my husband and I had to relive the harsh words and feelings of hopelessness we experienced, and then I recollect when we apologized, admitting we were wrong, and asking forgiveness.
And then I apply these emotions and responses to the characters, their lies, their situations, their personality types, and the extent of their relationship. Depending on how much they want the relationship to continue, maybe they won’t try as hard to repair the breach.
By the time I’m done with my edits, hopefully, I’ve allowed the characters to experience the highs and lows realistically without coming across as mentally unbalanced. Unless they are.
Just as I’ve written stories set in places I’ve never been, with characters doing jobs I’ve never held, and experiences I’ve never had, writing romance is a process of drawing on a range of emotions that will lead my characters to where we all want them to be: their happily ever after.
About Donna and Leeann:
Donna lives in Denver with husband Patrick. As a hybrid author, she writes historical suspense contemporary suspense. In the past, her alter ego, Leeann Betts, authored the contemporary, but now Donna has regrouped and simplified her life. She has been published 50 times in novellas, full-length novels, devotional books, and books on the writing craft. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Writers on the Rock, Sisters In Crime, Pikes Peak Writers, and Christian Authors Network; facilitates a critique group; and teaches writing classes online and in person. Donna also ghostwrites, edits, and judges in writing contests. She loves history and research, and travels extensively for both.
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About the book – Nothing is Easy:
After Ed asks Margie to marry him, they both settle in for a quiet Christmas season. But when a series of murders mimics the books featured in her store Mystery event, Margie wonders who is out to get her? And is any of this linked to her application to expand her bookstore?
Ed doesn’t want to believe Margie is involved in any of these murders, but if she’s completely innocent, how could one person be at every murder scene? His heart says she’s not involved, but the evidence shouts otherwise.
If only they could identify the connection between Margie and the murders, they might be able to be one step ahead of the killer.
Nothing is easy…especially love and faith…where murder—and Margie—are involved.
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Question for Readers: Leave a comment letting me know you read the entire post by answering this question: Name at least two emotions I mentioned as fodder for my emotional content.
Happy New Year!
Come back Jan 4th for Janet W. Ferguson!