“But what do they have in common?”
Emotion in Romance
How often have you read a romance novel where the sexual tension is palpable? Tingling, breathing heavily, you squirm in your seat, eager for the big payoff, wondering Will they/Won’t they/When will they? Of course, the would-be lovers can’t get together, because of a family feud, or a big misunderstanding, or he’s a firefighter and she’s an arsonist, fill-in-conflict-here.
But then that conflict gets resolved, and they are finally in each other’s arms (not necessarily in that order). And the couple suddenly realizes that not only do they share an intense sexual attraction, but that they like and respect and yes, love each other.
And I as a reader scratch my head and wonder, when did this happen?
These are the kinds of books I close and think, I give them six months. And even an epilogue a year later, showing them smiling and happy and bouncing a baby on their knees, doesn’t change my belief.
The kind of romance novels I love are the ones where emotional intimacy is developed right along with the physical. Where compatibility is not an afterthought. Where the reader yearns to see that couple together, not just for a night in bed, but for the rest of their lives.
As writers, we sometimes get so caught up in building sexual tension that we don’t pay enough attention to the characters’ emotional growth. What do these people have in common? Are they both sports fans? Do they love animals? Does he ‘get’ her as no one else has before? Maybe they each have a secret from their past they’ve never dared to share with anyone else.
These are the characters I believe will have their Happily Ever After. And I don’t need an epilogue to convince me.
Take a look at your keeper shelf. How many of your favorites have attained that position because the author not only titillated your senses, but took you on a stirring emotional journey? My guess is, all of them.
What are some of your favorite romances, and what makes them special to you?
Linda Steinberg writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and women’s fiction. Her books are available online and at her website, www.lindasteinberg.com. Her contemporary romance, Only with the Heart, is featured in a boxed set with six other authors, Fast Men Slow Kisses, available at Amazon and other vendors on Oct 27 for the amazing price of 99 cents. All proceeds go to charity, The Wounded Warriors Project.