Sunday, September 19, 2010

Conflict is not picking a fight with your husband...

So today conflict is on my mind.

Yesterday my RWA Chapter hosted the funniest speaker I'd ever heard on romance, Jade Lee. I almost didn't come to this meeting. I didn't know what I'd learn from a historical romance writer whose focus is in Chinese history.

And it's a long drive.

But I packed my meeting notebook into my purse and headed out. And boy, was I glad I did.

My notes are kind of scattered, but here's a few things I learned.

1- Hot sex does not equal happy ever after. (Even though it helps - Jade did demonstrate this point with a teddy bear and a stuffed monkey. The video will be on U-tube soon...)

2- Characters have to change. AND the hero/heroine has to be the reason they change. The one has to make the other better. Think Jerry McGuire and "You complete me."

3- Characters have to have a fatal flaw. This is probably the hardest thing for me to write. I want my people to be oh so nice... but they where's the story. Where's the angst? Why would anyone read more than the opening line?

4-Save the Cat. Your main characters need to do something heroic the first time the reader meets them. Show their good side, even if it's hidden, for most of the book.


5-Build an imagery set around your characters. Jade talked about using colors, or animals, or elements. This one I'm going to have to work on some more. But it makes sense as a writer. If I know my heroine is a fire character, she's going to wear red, she's going to react before she thinks, she's going to be hotheaded and maybe stubborn. So even if I don't know what's going to happen in the scene, I know how she'll react.

So thank you Jade for explaining writer terms in a way I could infuse them immediately into my own writing. Now, I have to excuse myself... I have some characters to torture.

The picture is outside the Seattle Aquarium looking at the docks. My son assures me this is not the ocean, but it's the closest I've gotten in ten years....


laura said...

Sounds like you made a good call going to your meeting. And your notes made me think, too.

Thanks, Lynn!

Megan Kelly said...

Great summary of a fantastic presentation. Some elements of writing are universal, no matter the genre. And Jade made it all so clear in a fun way!