Before I start, let me say, if you say the title and started to blush then good—cause that’s exactly where I’m headed. I know we’re all romance writers (okay, so maybe that’s an assumption of sorts, but in general, we all have written something with some kind of attraction in it, right?) But what we do is more than just that one scene (or three, five, or ten, if you’re writing something along the Blaze lines for example). It’s all about the build up, the anticipation, the little things that make you want to scream at the book or computer screen “Just kiss ‘em already”. I know that feeling well, thanks to a certain manuscript I’ll call ATD and I’ll leave it at that, but it was for that reason that I couldn’t put it down. So what makes a mood? What sets the tone of a novel?
1) Dress Up the Details!
Well, for starters, it’s something out of the ordinary.
Sure sure, Mr. Tall Dark and Handsome is still a winner with me, but it’s more than that. For me, the hero who constantly tugs at the hair behind his ears when he’s nervous, or holds his girlfriend’s hand before they go to bed, or pinches his lips in just that way when he’s thinking—those are the little things that draw me into a person and make me want to know more about them. So the more detailed you can be, the better.
2) Learn to Love a Quick Turn of Phrase
Maybe you hero’s mouth does this sultry little nibble when he kisses, or his voice sounds a certain way when he’s whispering—either way, the reader needs something more than the typical “ racing heart and quick, shallow breath” sentence. Think of some new way to phrase it, even if it means letting the idea or scene simmer on your mind for a bit. The more unique you can make your language, the better chance you have of being remembered and recommended by your readers.
3) Practice—who wants Perfect?
Perhaps the most incorrect assessment about Heroes in romance novels is that they are all perfect lovers. Not so. Sure, it might come off that way in some instances, but in real life, things (as well all, at one time or another have discovered) are far from perfect, especially the first time two characters or people get between the sheets. But isn’t that the fun of it? I mean what keeps people going when something unexpected happens (like they realize they’re wearing their underwear inside out )? The desperation they have to be skin to skin against that someone special. So tell the reader the little things that make them smile and want to root for those two people to get together—the more honest you can be, the better you’ll connect with your audience.
So in the end, it all comes down to being real—with yourself, your reader, and the people that drive you crazy. In a month where it’s cool to be what you’re not, try not to forget what brought you to that person, or to those characters in your WIP’s. So take a look in the mirror, smile (cause you’re all B-e-a-utiful) and get ready to get in the mood.