Writers of all genres must learn how to craft realistic stories that enthrall a reader from page one to The End. Romance writers have the added responsibility to take two people who may not have met on page one from an initial hello to a happily ever after (HEA) ending. Plus, this magical culmination must be reached in approximately 75,000 words. Wha? I talk that much before breakfast. To help make it happen, let’s look at the findings of a man who many believe was the greatest scientist who ever lived: Isaac Newton.
Isaac Newton and the Third Law of Motion
Around 1666, Newton found in his 3rd Law of Motion, a proven law of physics: Action and Reaction. Newton proved that for every action there exists an equal and opposite reaction. I know, are you wondering what this science jargon has to do with the forward movement of a romance novel? Bear with me for a sec.
How many romance writers have an awesome story to tell but stare at the screen wondering how to get the hero and heroine moving and talking? Then, once they talk, how to move past the initial formalities and get into the heart of the romance?
Every scene in your story must serve a purpose, or why is it there in the first place? If you want to bore your reader, write mundane chit-chat and listen for the sound of your labor of love’s covers slapping shut. But a surefire way to get readers turning pages and sparks flying is to ramp up your dialogue. This is where Newton’s Third law can help get the ball rolling and our couple moving full speed ahead
What Does Dialogue Reveal?
- Spoken dialogue shows the person your character wants others to see.
- Inner dialogue shows the true person, how the character really feels.
Use this knowledge to your advantage. You can have a hero who sweet talks a heroine, but his inner dialogue reveals his nose should be stretched to the length of a ruler. Inner dialogue gives the reader an edge—an inside look at a character’s true self causes the reader to know she is getting a heads-up from a reliable source. By combining both, and focusing on creating actions and reactions, you can make a scene spark.
Isaac Newton in Action
Marcus strolled to my side and urged me (action) to take his hand and follow him onto the dance floor. Once we reached an open area, I fell into his arms and inhaled the scent of his cologne (reaction).
Easy peasy? Let’s continue:
He gazed into my eyes as his fingertips slid from my left shoulder down to linger at my wrist (action). My breath became ragged, and I felt my knees weaken (reaction).
Now, what can you write to take this couple out of the friendship realm and straight into the pages of the Flame and the Flower? Remember the concept of conflict? That’s right. Raise the stakes by revealing what our protagonist wants, her deepest, most intimate thoughts, through inner dialogue. By revealing this to our reader, we show how much this moment means to our heroine and how devastating she will feel if her desires are not met. This will make your reader care about the protagonist and happily invest her limited time in your novel.
Heighten the Stakes
I wanted to be the woman Marcus was seeking—strong, independent, not just a friend or companion but a proper lady and desirable lover. I wanted us to strive for our greatest potential, together, as one solid force. Marcus made me feel I could accomplish anything I wanted. He cared about fulfilling my needs and soaring as high as I wanted to fly.
He kissed my cheek then probed my eyes with his pools of blue. I saw it: he was hungering, not for the flippant Roxanne, head cheerleader, but for me, Zoe Carter. He left no doubt as he gazed into my eyes—his lusty look was meant for me.
Build your scenes using inner and outer dialogue, action followed by reaction, and conflict. Practice the technique and see if this doesn’t make your writing move faster and sparkle brighter.
Tammy Lough is an award-winning author who loves writing romance and creating unique characters who burst with personality and frequent sprinklings of humor. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Missouri Romance Writers of America, Saturday Writers, and the Missouri Writers Guild. You can connect with Tammy on her website www.TammyLough.com.