~ By Celia Lucente
Note: This is from last year, but it’s so fun and informative it’s worth bringing back! Enjoy!
The best holiday for the romance writer!
I just read a fantastic article about the definition of the Romance genre by bestselling author Shannon Donnelly. It resonated with me (by golly maybe I’m getting it) and I’ll be touching upon it in this blog. There’s also a three-part series going on now in Writers of the Storm Called “What’s Love Got to do with it?” It’s got some helpful tips on the construction of a romance book. Check it out.
The article mentions that the best romances are when the external and internal conflicts of the main character, usually the heroine, collide and resolve at the same time bringing the heroine and hero together. The central plot question in any romance novel is if the characters are going to make it as a couple. So, the entire story is concerned with why they aren’t together. Then they resolve those conflicts so they can be together.
So what’s that got to do with love? Our romance books are not about all the lovey-dovey mushy stuff you read in Valentine’s Day cards or love poems or love songs. However, we want that HEA or HFN ending in our books. Life doesn’t quite work out that way though because problems continue to crop up. A romantic relationship is sometimes challenged daily with numerous problems most notably finances, job change, children issues, aging parents, you name it. I don’t understand why after our H & H get together we can’t have sequel showing how they are managing with life’s challenges. What if, in the sequel, that love is at risk of loss and the new book concentrates on how they get it back. Hey, I might be on to something, huh? But … I digress.
Let’s examine the origin of Valentine’s Day.
The story of St. Valentine is rather sad because he was a martyr. A popular account says that he was thrown in prison for conducting marriages of soldiers who were forbidden to marry. I suppose the rulers of the time wanted them to be emotionless fighting machines. Obviously the plan didn’t work. According to legend, Valentine miraculously healed the daughter of his jailor and later fell in love with her. He penned the first Valentine message in his own blood. That was the length to he chose to let her know how he felt.
During the High Middle Ages (the period of European history c. 1001–1300), the theme of courtly love flourished. Then in 18th Century, England exchanges between lovers of flowers, cards and confectionery became popular. In case you didn’t know, food items rich in sugar are referred to as a confection. BTW, I was first in the line this morning at Kilwin’s Chocolates and got my honey some!
The figure of Cupid arose. He was credited for bringing lovers together. At least that’s what I remember. When he’d arrive, he’d spear the hearts of the two lovers binding them forevermore. According to classic mythology, Cupid (Latin Cupido, means desire) is the god of desire, erotic love, attraction and affection. He is often portrayed as the son of the love goddess Venus, and is known in Latin as Amor (“Love”).In contemporary culture; Cupid is shown drawing his bow to inspire romantic love, often as an icon of Valentine’s Day.
But enough of the history. Let’s discuss how the holiday can be tied in to your WIPs.
To what lengths will your hero or heroine go to make them come together as a couple? Hopefully it doesn’t involve drawing blood. Unless they’re vampires, of course. Number one we’re writing fiction, and to make it interesting the theme has to story-worthy. Typically, the character(s) must be intrinsically flawed. Once they resolve their issues, it’s hopefully not too late and that haven’t lost their chance with their potential partner. Now they can come to the realization that the hero or heroine is the one for them.
How can you tie-in a Valentine’s Day theme to your WIP? Might the holiday be the day when your hero finally realizes that his begotten ways, emotionally damaged past, and his second chance at love is indeed with the heroine thus deciding to pop the question? Okay so maybe that’s too cliché. Yet Valentine’s night could be the first time they make love. Or kiss. Or come to the mutual realization that they are in love with one another. That they are going to do whatever it takes to stay together as a couple despite whatever circumstances stand in their way.
Or the heroine no longer uses her career as an escape from her unresolved emotional woes and realizes that her guy pal, the one who she’s sparred with throughout the book might just be the one for her. She decides to surprise her hero by throwing together a home cooked meal. Yet she burns the roast. The hero saves the day, or night, when arrives with an expensive bottle of French wine and basket of goodies. He’d already planned to lay a blanket by the lake in Central Park on this unusually spring-like day. He’d procured hard-to-get reservations on this special night for dinner at the Tavern on the Green. Hmmm … wish I could date him!
The possibilities are endless for a Valentine’s Day themed romance story.
And now for a little fun! Below you’ll find a couple of You Tube clips from a few of my favorite movies.
Of course, the first one is my ALL TIME VERY FAVORITE!!!
When my Having Fun with Mr. Wrong comes out you’ll KNOW why. Chic Lit is NOT dead!
And Attention girls, girls, girls —I cry every time I see this. I’m XX years old and still dream of this moment. Well, uh, had it once, too bad the marriage only lasted two years.
My wedding reception would be held at my all-time most favorite place in the whole wide world: the South Florida Fairgrounds:
And finally, because we are indeed a modern bunch it would only fair to give exposure to all persuasions and BTW I cried at this one and I’m not even PMS’ing!
So enough of SNC now for an old classic that I have to have to remember somehow!
I did, I did!
I shall close with another classic, not so mushy, but definitely holding promise for these two potential lovebirds. Hey, you might get a laugh:
OMG! I had as much fun writing this blog! Now let me throw out this pile of tissues I used.
I hope you spend your holiday with your special someone. And if you’re single (don’t worry…I’ve had numerous dry spells in my life) treat yourself to a great night out with your best friends! Regardless, enjoy, eat chocolate and drink wine, without guilt, and inhale the scent of some wonderful roses! Until we meet again, I am truly yours, Celia T. Rose.
Last years Valentine’s Day celebration by the St. Lucie River:
Celia Lucente is a full-time writer of contemporary romance and women’s fiction and is seeking either an agent or acquiring editor for her finished works. She is a PRO member of RWA, and a member of the RWA Contemporary Romance, RWA-WF, RWA Romance Critique Group and her local chapter of Space Coast Authors. She is a participant with several critique groups and CP’s and enjoys working on her craft by helping fellow writers.