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The Rules of Writing With Passion

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.

Happy writing!
Diva J.
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Anonymous said...

Oh, this is really good stuff. I'll bookmark the article and come back if need be. I'm always trying to write more vividly, and your rules of passion are just the right advice.
One word on the edit-as-you-write thing. I do the same, and people, too, told me I should write faster without thoughts on revisions. They say I can do that when I'm done and go back to the beginning. The problem is...I can't. I need every chapter to be the best it can be before moving on to the next. I'm not a half-half, so-la-la person. I'm a perfectionist. From the start. And it works best for me. When my novel is finished...it's finished. No revisions needed.
So never let anyone tell you to write differently than to how you write now. Everyone's personal way is the best way to creat good writing.

christine hughes said...

Great article, Diva. It's easy to lose focus when writing, especially when trying to get the words in. The trick is to make the words count - with passion.

Firetulip said...

Love your post, Diva. Often we forget to get in touch with our own emotions and ask ourselves how would I react in situation like this? What would I experience from inside? Would I show it on the outside? And how would I hide it from the world? To do that it is essential to step in the shoes of every character whose POV you're taking. And passion can be anything from quiet subdued housewife who is hiding her emotions for she was thought to do so, to steamy love scene. No matter the scene I'm working on, I always write in the scenery my character is noticing and what does that do for him/her as well as the thoughts that go along with it. It truly brings the pages of the book alive.

Diva J. said...

Piper, I agree with you wholeheartedly. Never let anyone else tell you how to write, it's a personal endeavor we must all do alone...I'm glad you enjoyed. I hope you can use some of these rules in your own work. :)

-Diva J.

Diva J. said...

Yes, Christine. I am a big advocate of staying true to yourself while developing your own voice when you write. Passion is the driving force behind our words or we wouldn't be authors in the first place. :)

-Diva J.

Diva J. said...

You are so right, Firetulip. Our characters are very important to the story process, without them, there would just be plot really. Adding passion, involves more than just your average love/romance scene, you must embrace your writing and let your inner passionate-for-writing voice to carry you through the novel. Good luck with your writing!

-Diva J.

LKF said...

This information is great. I'M going to print it out and put it by my desk. It helps to have direction sometimes and your direcion is just what I need. Great post.
Thanks for sharing

Diva J. said...

I'm so glad I could help. My advice works across all genres. You welcome, and thank you for commenting!

Diva J.

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