Isn’t it romantic?

Similar to tender moments, building chemistry between characters romance can just as easily enter the realm of mushy cornball-skip to the end of the chapter – unreadable crap.

Who doesn’t love a little romance? I know I do. In fact many books and stories I read have a little or a lot. People like romance, the thrill of seeing love and the potential of sex. The genre of the story will often determine how much or how little romance will be in a story. It is however, ultimately up to the writer. I personally enjoy a little lead up, flirting and tender moments that bring two people closer. Romance should be personal. It is in real life.

I thought I’d try something different. For a few different couples I’d turn this simple three-line romantic conversation into something moving and individual for each couple. The rule, I can only use these three lines for dialogue.

“That’s how I know.”
“Know what?”
“That you’re worth the effort.”

Okay I’ll start with Dale and Amber, an atypical relationship, but one with potential.

Amber pursed her lips, lowered her chin and glared at Dale. His chuckle and glittering eyes made hers narrow at him. His apologies and persistence only made her blood boil. He was being an ass and wouldn’t stop asking her to dinner so they could talk.
He gestured at her overly defensive posture and pouty lips. “That’s how I know.”
“Know what?” Amber furrowed her brow at him and crossed her arms.
He chuckled and tapped her protruding bottom lip with his index. “That you’re worth the effort.” He walked away leaving her to stare after him, her lips parted and jaw slacked.

Hmm who’s next?  How about…  Valery and Jackson. Neither are romantic people, but perhaps they could have a moment.

Their schedules rarely coincided. Valery had almost given up seeing Jackson this week it was such an effort just to get time with him. His text earlier said he was swarmed with demanding clients and as in his style, he canceled his plans and showed up anyway. She was worried sick over Sasha being hidden away by some hot detective and her idiot boss was now MIA and she had to fill in. She needed some company badly.
And there he was, tall dark and ever so handsome. He tilted his head and gave her his best apology pout while holding out a bottle of her favorite Tintern Pinot Noir.  
Valery returned his smile with a sly one of her own. “That’s how I know.” She took the bottle and he followed her in. 
He took his coat and shoes off.”Know what?” 
“That you’re worth the effort.” She winked, grabbed his collar and kissed him deeply.

Last but not least, Tony and Anne

Tony’s hand lowered from her cheek to the back of her head and neck. He would not rush this with her. Anne stared into Tony’s steel-blue eyes mere inches from hers as her lips parted, her breath shallow and warm.
“That’s how I know.” He brushed his thumb over her rapid pulse and smiled.

Anne swallowed and whispered. “Know what?”
“That you’re worth the effort.” His eyes closed as hers did and he gently lowered his lips over hers.

Romance is worth the effort, at least it is for me. I plan and plot and scrutinize how to play it out. Subtle and tantalizingly stretched out or quick and passionate. Whatever I decide for those moody moments I know it has to be personal to the couple otherwise it’s like cut and past romance writing that just seems somehow wrong.

My advice about writing romance.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, keep it personal to the couple, watch the POV and show the reader, invite them in don’t just say “that’s romantic”.

Want to play? Give the three lines a try, and post a comment below with what you come up with for: (You can only use this dialogue.)
“That’s how I know.”
“Know what?”
“That you’re worth the effort.”

-Sheryl

The Ole Switcheroo

But I hate that

Desperately procrastinating

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Moody
Swarm

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Mood swings

I don’t find people to be even tempered. At rest, at work, at home or at play people tend to be who they are for the most part. But, what happens when tempers flair or stress overwhelms? Can a quiet person become loud? Does a calm person snap and start yelling? Sure, people can behave outside their norm, as long as it is infrequent and outside the norm.

When I work on bringing Sasha down, I have her steady personality of hard working, caring, strong minded and level-headed put to the test. Her snippy and mean responses start to peek through when she’s pushed. So when she falls over, her mood changes, and so it should. When someone looses a good job, they don’t just get mad, shrug and say “that sucked”. It affects them, it worms  into their day and alters their personality until they adjust and move on. Sasha was just attacked by Baylor again at her home. Can’t say for sure but a mood swing or two might be in order. Since she just came out of a traumatizing moment I have to bring the tone down and let her settle, then I can slowly build up the anticipation toward the next dramatic event. For now I’ll let her mood wander a bit.

Sasha leaned her head back and looked at the drop ceiling with frustration in her eyes. “Protective custody?” She grimaced. “Where?”

The officer that took her statement tapped his pen incessantly. “Until we have Crowan in custody you need to be fully protected Miss Parsons. We will take you to a day’s inn hotel and post officers outside to guard you.

“Splendid. Can I just book one myself? If I have to do this I’d rather be somewhere nicer.”

“It can be arranged if you wish.” He got up with a huff. She nearly asked why that was offensive as he left. She had no clothes and was banned from her house until they decided to put her there as bait.

“I’ll never be comfortable in my home again.” She muttered to the tabletop. The officer told her with damage to her car it wasn’t safe to drive. When she went off the road, she hit a rock and caused damage. She didn’t even remember or notice hitting a rock. Shock they said twice; she was still in shock. She didn’t think so but what did she know of being in shock.

Cal opened the door and gestured for her to follow him so she did. He had her things anyway. “Officer Cooper said you wanted to waive our hotel for one of your own choice.”

“I didn’t mean to offend but.” She stopped. But what? It was offensive.

“I booked the Linux for you, I figured you wouldn’t want the days inn that we usually use.” He chuckled. “I had a female officer gather some things for you and they will be in your room.” He led her to the parking lot.

“Oh. Um thanks. I’ll pay for the room.” The Linux was a star above what she would have chosen.

“It’s not an issue. The upgrade however means you have to have direct in-house protection.”

She breathed in the cool calming night air in before getting in the car. “Direct in house?”

“Officer in room. Well in the attached suite. Two plain-clothes officers will be stationed outside as well.

“Oh. Who will be in the room with me?”

“I will.”

“You.” She frowned and looked out the window. That was too close. He unnerved her and since she met him, her life has turned to hell. “Does it have to be you?”

“You sure know how to cut a man down.”

“Sorry it’s just.”

“Look Sasha I get it, you made yourself clear at Starches. You’re not interested, not on the market and if you asked me you’re not even remotely honest about why.”

Her head turned fast, her brow furrowed. “I don’t owe you an explanation.”

“No you don’t, we don’t know each other very well. I meant honest to yourself. You’re miserable for some reason and I’m betting it’s mostly your own doing. Regardless, it’s my job to keep you safe. End of story. If you want total strangers watching over you from a car parked obviously on the road, then go to the days inn.”

“No. You’re okay I guess.”

“Good to know.” The sarcasm rolled thick in his voice.

He pulled into the hotel, they got out and he opened the trunk so she could get her belongings. She followed him numbly as they checked in and went up to their room. She tried to look around and appreciate the décor but couldn’t focus.

The room was divided into three, a common room with a couch, table and two chairs flanked by bedrooms that each had their own bathroom.

“Do not leave this room without me, do not use the phone, you can call work in the morning.”

“Whatever Detective Dictator. I don’t need to call work, I was planning to take some time off to work on a project at home. I’ll have to let Val and Anne know that I lost my phone so they don’t freak out and call the… police.”

“Tomorrow. Stay off the internet and if you need anything let me know and I’ll order room service.”

She blinked her burning eyes at him and held her roiling stomach. She was precariously close to throwing up. Her mind heard his words but her body stopped processing. It all came crashing down, the surreal weight of the evening broke her defenses and she started crying.

Cal saw it coming, she was trying too hard to hold it in and be a tough girl. Save it for the movies, he always said. The real world was a whole lot more emotional. She ran for what she presumed was her bedroom and right through to the small bathroom.

Cal sat on the couch to make some calls. He could hear her, that would have to be enough.

A rough night and a rough reaction. Stress and strain can cause outbursts and behavior glitches that can sometimes be embarrassing or even hard to shake. Sasha probably thinks it couldn’t get worse, silly girl, she doesn’t know who controls her destiny. *insert evil laugh.

My advice about mood swings.
They can be serious, dramatic or even funny if you pace them well. Have fun and try having someone get snitty or even silly on the flip of a dime.

-Sheryl

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It’s a love hate sort of thing

Hey! Its’ Interjection

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 Anticipation