Sunday, February 14, 2010
Guest Blog: Keeping It Real
Author Carol Storm guest blogs on a slice of writers life, keeping writing real, visceral and engaging to your reader. Enjoy!!! And when you're done, check out Carol's blog The Storm Report or, go to Facebook to find and friend her.
KEEPING IT REAL
By Carol Storm
First off, a huge thank you to Ursula for inviting me – and what a fabulous place to spend St. Valentine’s Day!
Have you ever heard the saying about giving a man (or a woman) enough rope to hang themselves? For me the hardest thing about writing erotic romance is that we have so much freedom! We can write about passionate, beautiful, uninhibited men and women. We can create characters that think sex, talk sex, and have sex nearly all the time . . . and yet, when we want to grab our reader by the heart (and not lower down on the anatomy) we have to dig . . . deeper.
We have to keep it real.
Let me show you what I mean. I set my new work in progress, BUCCANEER’S BRIDE, at the decadent, pleasure-filled court of King Charles II of England. It was a time and place where the king and the high nobility could wallow in sexual pleasure not only in private, but in the public eye. And bold Anthony Hawkins, my buccaneer hero, is very much a part of that world.
But is that all there is to the Hawk? Here’s my first draft opening:
“Anthony Hawkins had been too long without a woman. After seven years of plundering the Spanish Main, he was back in England – with an invitation to the royal court at Whitehall Palace. The Hawk’s newly-won gold would open doors. He pictured the king’s wanton women, all willing and waiting.”
Now that’s a pretty sizzling opening, if I do say so myself. It promises the reader pleasure and passion – but it really tells us very little about the Hawk. Let’s try to dig deeper:
“Anthony Hawkins had been too long without a woman. After seven years of plundering the Spanish Main, he was back in England – with an invitation to the royal court at Whitehall Palace. The Hawk’s newly-won gold would open doors. He wanted an audience with King Charles. He wanted an end to all the killing. But the king cared only for pleasure, and the hardened buccaneer knew all too well the need for pleasure – the need to forget. He pictured the king’s wanton women, all willing and waiting.”
This opening isn’t as short and snappy as the first one. But now the Hawk is a more interesting character. Instead of being just a fool with money to spend, he’s a man who’s seen a lot, suffered a lot – and who has a goal to end the suffering of others. His own lust is still very much a part of the picture, but now there’s a conflict between indulging mindlessly (like the king) and finding a way to make his sex drive lead to something more than pleasure.
And of course, that’s where our heroine comes in!
If there’s one thing I’ve learned through all my writing, it’s that you have to keep writing and writing and rewriting. It’s the only way to open yourself up to all the emotions your characters feel. When they feel, they become real, and then the reader wants to hang on for the whole ride . . . and savor every minute of the incredible, fantastic sex!
Carol Storm is the author of HUNTED WITNESS and HIALEAH HEAT, both available from PHAZE books, and GLORY AND THE CLEVER CAT, available from NOBLE ROMANCE. Visit Carol’s blog at THE STORM REPORT