The Book Boyfriend Effect

So after a good character development session today, the thought came to me about book boyfriends. You know the Mr. Darcys and Christian Greys of the world. Before I go any further with this post, I would like to give a shout out to my own first book boyfriend. Mr. Mamrou Chiba (aka Prince Endymion) of Sailor Moon.

"Oh Darien ..." (In my Sailor Moon voice)

“Oh Darien …” (In my Sailor Moon voice)

He was the reason I started to daydream about love, decided that marriage might not be a bad idea when I grew up, and found myself having a thing for intelligent, dark haired men who like to wear shades and suits whenever they think they can pull it off. He was my first book boyfriend. And to this day, I still find myself swooning whenever I pick up any of the Sailor Moon mangas and come across him in a scene.

Now back to my main topic. What I really want to talk about is the impact these men/boys have on women. Some may say it’s just an unrealistic crush on a man who doesn’t exist, but I believe their impact reaches deeper than that. I think these men do something to women on a subconscious level that changes the way we pick future mates. They change what we consider to be non-negotiable in relationships, alter our view of what a healthy relationship is, and even give us hope when we have a bad break up.

Which is why I think we, as romance authors, should put more thought into what we make our heroes to be. We should pose the question of, ‘Would I want to date this guy or have my mother/sister/daughter/best-friend date him?’ If the answer is no, then maybe we should re-think having him as our hero. Because he just may become someone’s first book boyfriend, and the pinnacle of the perfect man in someone else’s eyes.

 

 

Setting the mood

I love music. The sounds of the beat of drums playing in the background, the lyrics to a song, and the way they all tie together to invoke a special feeling into the listener’s heart. It is for that reason that I love listening to music when I’m brainstorming ideas for stories I am thinking of writing. Music helps me to craft scenery, character profiles, and story arcs.

So today I would like to share some of my favorite songs for writing and tell you why I love them and what they help me with.

Slow Love Slow by Nightwish

My fiancé got me into this band originally and I absolutely love this song. The sultry mix of guitar infused jazz and Annette’s voice just makes my skin shiver in a deliciously naughty way. So of course it is my go to song for writing love scenes and scenes that involve a ton of tension between two characters.

Other Side by Jason Derulo

This song speaks for itself with the lyrics. That feeling of having knots in your stomach as you decide to take a chance on someone else with whom you already have some history. Going from friends to lovers on a limb where things could go either really good or really bad. As you can guess I listen to this song quite a bit.

Not the Sun by Brand New

One word, desperation. That feeling of longing of wanting something so badly but not being able to attain it. To the point that you become plain desperate and will do/give anything to have the person you desire even if their feelings aren’t genuine. This song, along with Keep Your Memory Vague by Finger Eleven, played on my radio for a month straight after I had my first real heartbreak. So listening to it brings back some very vivid and angry memories, but really gets me into the mindset I need to be in to tap into the hearts and minds of my characters.

 

This is just a short list of the songs I listen to, if you want to see more of my inspiration music just visit my Grooveshark page here to stream my inspirational music playlists.

 

 

Why I love writing WITHOUT an outline

Last night I found myself writing a pivotal scene in one of my stories. It was a scene that came to me on my drive home from work where one character showed so much vulnerability that even I was moved after re-reading it. I mean tears didn’t literally fall, but my heart did literally ache for them. Now you may be wondering what this has to do with writing without having an outline in mind.

It has a lot to do with it actually, since this scene was not a part of my original vision for this story. Originally the character mentioned above did not exist and had no place in my story’s arc. And even when they were conceived their part was to be minor. Nevertheless, somehow in time it became a major building block for not only the overall story, but for the main character as well. Changing the entire course of the book itself.

Which is why I love writing without a rigid outline. Yes, let me clarify that. I love writing without a RIGID outline. I mean some direction with a general plot is good and I always use those. But I find that having a set structure for my stories to be limiting. I hate laying things out such as saying this happens in this chapter and this happens in the next chapter, because it doesn’t allow the movement in storytelling that I love. The ability  to change things up as go along because the plot calls for it or a character’s personality calls for it. I love that freedom and wouldn’t give it up for anything.

It’s why none of my stories are ever finished in their entirety even when I start my edits. I just write scenes and sew them together in the editing process. Sometimes adding entire chapters to merge two plot points together in order to bring my vision to life on the pages of my screen.

However I know some people do love writing with outlines because they like having that great sense of direction. So I would like to know how all my writer friends and followers feel about this. When you write, do you prefer to use a rigid outline, no outline, or a general outline and why?