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The Crucible of Love


Our concept of love is centered in our minds. Our human sexuality constrains us to love, and this is the crux of the male/female equation: we want to love and be loved by a member of the opposite sex. When we refer to our “hearts” we really mean our entire mind and emotions. Beyond the animal level, there is no sex vs love; only sex and love. And this is the human ideal.
Readers expect the hearts of the protagonists in a love story to be at high risk. Their expectations are concerned with the emotions of a romance couple. The stakes of love are necessarily great. When lovers seem lost to one another, they must suffer.
Some novels recount a series of mindless, fleeting, promiscuous physical encounters. Let yours portray the love of a lifetime. Try to convey a sense of destiny, the idea that their meeting was written in the stars, that they have been searching for this one person always, and yearn (perhaps subconsciously) for commitment. Deliver a story that will meet every romance reader’s expectation and speak to anyone who has ever really loved.

On separate sheets of paper, make a chart for each: Female romantic lead and male romantic lead.
(1) Describe them as you want them to be.
(2) Go back through their lives, and year by year, layer by layer, deliberately construct their personalities so they end up the way you need them for the purpose of this story. Remember: At some point, environmental influences or events become internalized. These (influences and events) become separate and hidden and will govern autonomously from within the character.
 Your story is the latest event or series of events in the evolution of these characters.
(3) Build in admirable qualities, but give each at least one major flaw. (This allows you to effect a personality arc.)
 SUGGESTION: In your favorite romance, or perhaps you admire a romance couple in another genre, note that character flaws and traits are orchestrated (contrasted.) Their qualities are in conflict and complement each other. Use such characters as models.
(4) Make a chronological chart to track the development of the sexual tension of this couple, then make one for your own couple. Include initial meeting, first attraction, denial, the first touch/kiss; their moment(s) of truth: when they committed their emotions; the discovery of the MAJOR OBSTACLE or complication in their relationship; estrangement, the CRUCIBLE, the effects of their mutual desire. List all you can think of.
 The author determines the behavior, actions, reactions and thoughts of her characters. She creates the internal development and the dynamics of the character’s mind, thus properly motivating that character.
 A reader cannot know the workings of the mind of a character; he can only make an inference from the data he observes. Thus, an author must show, tell and imply to reveal a character to her reader.
 Word to the wise: Heroes love with mind and body; villains lose themselves in lust, carnal desires and erotic obsessions. #

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