Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Wednesday's Links to Writing & Marketing Blog Posts

By: Jessi Rita Hoffman

One of the hardest scenes to successfully write is the love scene. In your mind you may picture a moving, romantic interlude, but down on paper, you find it reads like melodrama—or worse. This can spell disaster for your novel, particularly if the entire book is building to this scene and it needs to be stupendous to carry the story.

In my work as a book editor and writing coach, I see a lot of limping love scenes. Some of the problems are those of amateur fiction writing in general: too many clutter words, repetition of details, and inconsistent spatial narration (one minute he’s holding her hand and the next minute he takes her hand, for example).

Clich├ęs are another problem, and they really stand out in a love scene. Lines like “kisses away the tears, tasting their salt,” or “she was surprised by the sweetness of his kiss,” or “I think about you day and night” can spoil a tender moment with their staleness.

Chauvinism is another common problem—along with what I call “slutification.” Lines like “there was still so much about her that was pure and innocent” may offend women readers, as will oversexed descriptions of the heroine.

But the greatest flaw I commonly see in love scenes written by aspiring novelists is the flaw of excess. For a love scene to move readers, it must embody the principle of restraint—in dialogue, in description, and in the characters’ actions.

A Lesson from the Victorians

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Happy writing and running, Kathy

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