Thursday, February 13, 2014

Therese Travis: Romance for Writers

Who doesn’t love a little romance in his or her life? Look at Valentine’s Day—all the chocolate and flowers and fancy cards with sweet verses inscribed inside. (Did I mention the chocolate? Because I’d hate to forget the chocolate!)

Romance writers have a special calling. They need to take the basic plot—boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, boy almost loses girl, boy wins girl—and make it new and fresh, and different from the thousands of other stories utilizing the same plot. How to do this? I mean, people have been falling in love forever, right? I’m assuming Adam was the only guy who didn’t have to wonder if Eve liked someone else better—no rivals for him.

Judging from the number of romance books sold, we do a great job. I admit, though, that I sometimes just can’t wrap my pen around the romance. I shudder at the thought that they just might not make it, that some small thing, easily overcome by someone with a clearer vision, will keep them apart forever.

How could I do that to my precious MCs (main characters)?

(I know, as writers, we’re supposed to. It’s still hard.)

But then I started to look at those “small things,” the things an outsider could see as wrong, but the characters can’t. And using those, I began to see my way.

It’s not the lie that will bring love to your characters, but the reveal: The lie is, in fact, really a lie.

Begin on a collision course. Your female MC’s development intersects with the male MC’s, and at the beginning of the story, there’s no way either of them can enter into a relationship with the other person. And yet, that person is theirs, ordained by God. You’ve got the whole manuscript to show your characters the truth of this.

Choosing the lie is the hard part. The fact that you’ve got to find one for each prominent character, and make them mesh, can make you want to toss your options into the wind and let the birds pick for you.

And don’t get me started on what these lies have to do with love. Love should always be honest, right? But if our MCs are lying to themselves, how can they be honest with each other?

Ooh, perfect tension.

I don’t need a man. Or a woman. I don’t deserve love. I don’t like you. You’re not my type. I have my career to worry about first. I have other obligations. No one will want me. There’s someone, or something, I love more. Lots of lovely lies. Lots of lovely ploys to keep your lovers apart.

Add in to this the faith angle, and you’ve got even more tension. None of us are perfect in our faith, and we’re all on our own journeys. We’re not going to match steps. And we have our standards. What if we put those standards, or lack thereof, before the will of God?

The middle of the story is what I sometimes call the muddle—everything can, and should, go wrong. The fight against the lie, loss of ground, proof that the lie is true, all these should come about.

And then—that step of faith—whether it’s faith in God, or self, or another person, leads to the first kiss. Just as it should.

In my latest release, A Fistful of God, a YA, Aidyn believes no normal boy could be interested in her. She needs to realize her worth, that it’s all right to reach out. Miguel believes he has to choose between protecting his mother and loving Aidyn.

Wishing you a happy, romantic Valentine’s Day (because who wouldn’t want it?) and don’t forget the chocolate!

A Fistful of God

She's never taken a drink, but she's recovering from alcoholism all the same.

After the death of her father, teenager Aidyn Pierce spends all her time cleaning up her mother's messes. So when Mom announces she's getting sober, Aidyn doesn't believe her. Mom has tried before, and Aidyn knows there will come a time—a day, a week, maybe even a month from now—when the cravings will be too much, and her mother will start drinking again. So, when Aidyn is encouraged to attend support meetings, she refuses. No point in wasting her time when her mother's going to drink again, anyway.

But what Aidyn doesn't count on is the healing power of love and friendship, and the incredible strength of God to walk both mother and daughter through the dark valley of addiction and recovery.

Therese's books on Amazon


  1. Sounds like a great story!!! And the whole romance writing part is so true!

    1. A Fistful of God sounds amazing, doesn't it? I'm adding it to my TBR pile, for sure.

  2. This was a beautiful story. And I'm sure as easy as it was to read, it was difficult to write. Very well said post as well.

    1. I agree, LoRee. Therese has a unique way of looking at it. I'm glad she shared her viewpoint with us.

  3. Therese, thank you for visiting Write Right! I enjoyed your post, and I'm sure it'll bless a lot of others, as well.

  4. Great post! Can't wait to read A Fistful of God!! xo Ladies!!!