Writing is a gift. Not everyone can do it and do it well. Not everyone thinks like a writer. Believe it or not, most people do not have imaginary people playing out scenes in their minds. Don't call the men in white coats. I'm perfectly normal. Really.
I finished my first round edits for Secrets and Shadows yesterday. Two whole weeks before my scheduled deadline. In any profession, beating the deadline is a really good thing. For me this meant two things: the book was in great shape and needed little done; & my faith in that writing gift has been reaffirmed.
Writers are frequently an insecure lot. So it helps to have someone pat you on the back and point out how good your work really is. My editor is wonderful. Very helpful and professional -- and she likes my writing. Yes, that does help or she wouldn't have bought the story, right? But she also mentioned that she enjoys the way I write love scenes.
What a relief! Because I have to say love scenes are among the most difficult aspects for me as a romance writer. I don't want it to sound like purple prose ... I don't want it to be a step-by-step instruction guide as in Tab A goes into Slot B (snicker) ... and I want to keep it in harmony with the personalities of the hero and heroine.
Some writers are great with love scenes, others not as good. One who I think is almost perfect is Heather Graham. Yes, I want to write like her when I grow up. So I find myself thinking about just what makes her scenes so wonderful -- besides her basic gift with words. Then I try to use that same sort of approach in my stories. I concentrate on sight, sound, scent, touch and emotion. Whatever applies. I don't worry as much about what goes where -- that'll work itself out -- and the scene just flows from there.
Since I write both sweet and sensual stories, I enjoy both ends of the spectrum. The key element is attraction which develops into something deeper. Depending on which story I'm writing (and for which publisher) I know just what type of language I can use to show this couple falling in love.
One of my publishers is strictly for sweet stories. Another is PG to soft R -- the latter meaning no detailed action 'below the waist', to put it in simple terms. ;) My third publisher is looking for just about everything -- as long as it's well-written. It's by these guidelines -- and my personal comfort level -- that I work.
Overall, emotion is the key. That and really knowing your characters. If you rely on those two things, you should have a good start.
I think I've known for a while that I'm getting good at this stuff. And now that my gift has been reaffirmed in the kindest of ways, it gives me the little push I've been needing to jump over this latest writer's block.
Speaking of characters -- there are a couple that need my attention.