Please welcome back our monthly guest, Karen Frisch, author of What’s in a Name.
In “The Dreaded Synopsis: Last Things First,” I described how helpful it was to have the synopsis ready before the story so I could use it as a reference (https://letstalkromance.wordpress.com/2011/07/20/guest-karen-frisch/). It created a road map to help me navigate my way through the novel without getting sidetracked. With my new novella, I realize the synopsis isn’t the only thing that should get done early in the writing process.
For the novella, writing part of the ending first rather than writing in sequence helped me develop the romantic relationship. Let’s face it, bringing a hero and heroine together in a novel can be as awkward and filled with pitfalls as it is in real life. For one thing, the author doesn’t have the luxury of time in terms of pages. Sometimes two strangers must become a couple within 50,000 words. In a novella, it’s even fewer.
I doubt true love develops in real life within the first 50,000 words that are exchanged by a couple. And what about stubborn heroes and heroines who hang on to their conflicts longer than they should? The more realistic we make their situations, the more complicated it becomes for us as writers. Pity the poor author who has to play matchmaker with this pair. To light a match under these characters, you practically need a torch.
I discovered the most effective way for me to play fairy godmother with my novella’s hero and heroine was to write the final love scene that closes the story early in the writing process. The scene revealed the mood, tone, and depth of the couple’s love. Writing it first showed me the level of emotion they needed to achieve by the story’s end.
It also reminded me I only had between 80 and 100 pages in which to reach my goal. The next step was to figure out specific scenes I needed to get the hero and heroine to the end and to pace the scenes accordingly. That meant I had to condense scenes I’d already written and find ways to bring the hero and heroine closer emotionally earlier in the story. These realizations forced me to think more efficiently and helped me save time.
In short, I was able to bring the pair together faster to create a more compelling story. Doing so saved me from writing scenes I wouldn’t have had room to include anyway. I hate having to murder my darlings, as the saying goes, but sometimes word count necessitates it. I learned a lesson that helped create a better story. And all any author wants, after all, is to keep her audience reading happily ever after.
(Karen Frisch is currently working on her next Regency romance for ImaJinn Books. She is the author of three published novels: the Regency Lady Delphinia’s Deception from ImaJinn, the historical romance What’s in a Name from Amazon/Avalon , and the Victorian mystery Murder Most Civil from Mainly Murder Press. All are available on Amazon, as are her two genealogy books, Unlocking the Secrets in Old Photographs and Creating Junior Genealogists.)
Author of Crushing Desire and Bound by Love, available now.