We've all heard of the movie "The Rules of Attraction", right? Although I haven't seen it, I don't really want to because it's college drama. Not really my thing, you know. So in light of the movie's title though, I've developed ways to add more passion into my work in progress. As I stated before, I am an edit-as-you-go writer, which can sometimes harm and help me at the same time. I make revisions during the writing process. Other people tell me I should just finish the novel before revising it, but the problem is I can't let go until it sounds right. I become an insomniac, just ask my fiance, and I literally stay awake late into the night trying to figure out what to fix in my manuscript. Okay, maybe I'm just obsessed, but you get the idea of what I'm talking about. Hopefully, you can relate some way.
When an author tells a story, no matter if they write romance or not, they are doing what makes them happy. At least, I hope you do what you do for good reasons. I mean we can't depend on the money coming in, and who knows how many people will buy your finished product (if/when you get published), but what we do know is how to make what we write the best. I came up with this plan to add more passion into my work when I was reading someone else's book. The emotion on every page was heightened and the character's seemed to connect through the air. I know this sounds crazy, but it is possible for everyone to make their pages sizzle with words.
The rules of passion I use are as follows...
RULE #1: Don't tell the reader what the person is feeling, but show the reader through dialogue, internal monologue, and long descriptive sentences. You'd be surprised how far a little showing goes.
Ex: When Alex looked in her direction, the air around Rosalind turned warm and comforting like a soft blanket.
RULE #2: When describing a setting, add the right adjectives. Don't just heighten a scene, empower it to sound more compelling.
Ex: Early morning fog swirled about the damp streets of London.
RULE #3: Use a period or pause to your greatest advantage. They aren't just for showing where sentences end. They work to convey ideas, a character's short attention spans, and add a little bit of flavor. Ex: The woman [Rosalind] had been through so much. Maybe more than he [Alex] had. Her strength was tremendous. He reflected on his own life. His sisters' lives. He couldn't imagine them out on the streets...
RULE #4: Don't hold back on your emotions. I've mentioned in an earlier post about how I like to repeat my words out loud to create a natural dialogue or to make sure what I write makes sense. You'd be surprised how much I'm affected by some scenes. I'll cry with my character or seek revenge on the antagonist for hurting her pride. Ex: “I do worry about your welfare, you know.” She didn’t remove her eyes from the window in fear of seeing the anger on his face. “Lurkers hide often in the shadows.”
RULE #5: Begin and end your story with a bang (literally or figuratively). Many published novelists will tell you that in order to hook an editor or agent, your first chapter has to stand out. Allow your first impression to express how much you love what you do. Ex. (from my prologue): The shot rang through Fonthill Abbey like thunder rolling over the hills. The smoking pistol clattered to the floor. William Kendall slumped over.
As you can probably see, anyone can write with passion. Genre does not prejudice against well-written words. Remember this as you write.
(BTW, all writing examples are from my work in progress, The Earl's Son. Enjoy!)
Do you have another rule you'd like to share with everyone? Please feel free to leave a comment below.