Keep Romance Simple

“There was that look again; that same look he had when he saw her the night before. Even now, Charlotte couldn’t tell exactly what it meant, but was swiftly reaching a conclusion. It was more unsettling in such close proximity, yet she was glued to her seat, and her entire body stiffened into a solid rock. She wouldn’t have been able to move if she wanted to while his fingers remained close to her face.

“Am I scaring you?” August asked.

“Wha – um – no.”

Fungus! Toenails! Vomit! Fungus! Mucus! Charlotte’s mind shouted things that disgusted her, but nothing seemed to be registering.

“Then please don’t look so terrified,” he smiled.

Fungus! Fungus! Fungus!

“I’m – I’m not –” Charlotte stammered when he pulled her closer and kissed her softly.

His hand moved slowly over her jaw, to her neck, gliding over her skin as she leaned into him and closed her eyes, returning the kiss while her head figuratively exploded.

August’s hands lingered on her face, and his fingers in her hair for a moment or two longer when he gradually moved away from her. Charlotte opened her eyes.

“Not so bad, was it?” he asked with that smile that made her forget … everything.

Charlotte couldn’t quite grasp what had happened to her brain after August pulled away. All of it had short circuited, which might explain why she couldn’t find her voice, or feel any part of her body except a strange tingling on her lips and face. She only stared.

August observed her for a few seconds with raised eyebrows. When she finally blinked, he relaxed.”
– Warped by: Laura (ME!)

Romance. I love it and I hate it. When it’s done well, and makes me hate my life, I love it for a few hours. It’s not until later the same night when I’m ankle deep in Dove chocolate wrappers and my own tears that I hate it.

When it’s done badly, yet still makes me hate my life, I hate it even more.

In the excerpt above, hopefully, you can tell the obvious that Charlotte, the main character, is incredibly out of her depth and doesn’t recognized signals right away. Even when she does, she doesn’t know what to do next. Because, in this instance, Charlotte is a teenager, experiencing her very first kiss. 

I wrote Charlotte’s first kiss to be like what I had hoped my first kiss to be when I was a teenager. Needless to say, I was thoroughly disappointed, as I’m sure most of us are when it comes to those highly anticipated things of childhood and early adulthood.

Although I’m in my thirties, most of my personal romantic experience is literary rather than based in reality. However, I’ve written romance since I started writing. And, most of it, is horrible. I readily admit that.

I used to write verbose, meaningless confessions given by men who usually have accents that are based somewhere in Great Britain to women who were really quite stupid and juvenile. The stupid women were accidental on my part. But, it just proved further that I didn’t know what I was doing.

Charlotte is new to romance, so her encounter is sweet, but very simple. It took me a long while to figure out that romance written clearly and simply usually has the most impact.

While I am personally romantically inexperienced, I don’t think that disqualifies me entirely from writing a good love story. The lack of experience calls for more reliance upon my imagination and other’s writing, which makes it more challenging. Yet, I still do it.

In my book series that will never, ever get done, I’ve rewritten the romantic confessions of the two main characters perhaps a dozen times now even though the actual event doesn’t happen until the end of the third book in the series, which I haven’t started writing yet. I’m currently slogging through the first draft of the second book.

Knowing how things were going to turn out, I couldn’t contain myself and wrote the scene, knowing the basic context and the setting. Like a reader skipping ahead to the good part, I’ve rewritten that scene/sequence in so many different ways.

Now, however, it’s getting convoluted in my head, because the more I get to know these characters, the more that later scene changes, no matter how many times I rewrite it. And that is what makes me feel like I may be inadequate at writing romance at all.

That’s when the infamous self-doubt comes in again. But, you know what?

I’ve tried so hard to make that scene perfect, just so it applies to the characters and is satisfying to the reader after plowing through three books to get there. But, I forgot the one rule I just listed above. Keep it simple.

We’ve all read and watched verbose, obvious confessions and narratives, but those are the crappy ones. The ones that are short, quiet, and to the point are always the most poignant. They are the ones that deserve the chocolate and tears. That is the romance that, while satisfying, leaves the reader/audience wanting more and more.

Even if I remain single for the duration of my life, I figure I’ll eventually be like Jane Austen or L.M. Montgomery, and write beautiful stories about romantically fortunate women, while I sit alone in my cottage in Ireland with my knitting, and corgis. And then I’ll die young and alone. Sweet.

Just one more, because I’m nearly out of chocolate …

Share this:
Like this:Like Loading... Related