Everyday Action and the Romance Writer
She gets up, she has a shower, eats breakfast, goes to work… If you read contemporary romance, chances are you will have read action of that kind more than once, and if you write contemporary romance, quite possibly you have read and written it! The question is: is reading about the heroine/hero going about their daily life boring? In a contemporary romance that is just romance, there is often the problem of how to fill in the time between meetings and interactions between the hero and heroine. This is when writers often reach for the gets-up-showers-eats jar.
But before you get your hand in it and grab a good handful, you need to ask yourself if readers really want to follow this character around as he/she does fairly dull everyday things. The trouble with us writers is that we are fascinated by our main characters. They are perhaps us as we would like to be (or think we are!), or are our dream man/woman. We have also created this delightful fictional world where everything is as we want it, and where we love to escape and send time. Readers may not be quite so enamoured. Especially at the beginning of a novel, readers will not be interested in anything that the characters do unless we, the author, have made the reader care. At the very least, keep mundane everyday action out of the first one or two chapters.
One way that you can cut a lot of uninteresting action out is to remove the activity linking the important scenes. So, instead of describing your heroine getting up, taking a taxi to the airport, getting on a plane, flying to Rome, landing, and walking off the plane where she is desperately hoping the hero is waiting for her in arrivals, do this: the scene begins with her rushing to be at the head of the queue to disembark the plane. She looks, for the hundredth time since boarding in London, at the text message she sent him, which says I will be on the plane arriving from London at 2:30 pm. Be there if u love me. Her heart is in her mouth. She almost feels sick with anxiety. All kinds of ‘will he won’t he’ thoughts are swirling in her mind…
She rushes off and hurries through baggage claim, almost picking up the wrong suitcase because she is so distracted. Then, with her heart thudding in her ears, she walks out to arrivals. And there he is, standing holding a bunch of her favourite red roses and wearing that gorgeous smile she could never forget… Now you have a great, action-packed scene that allowed you to seamlessly slip in information about what happened earlier without any mundane descriptions or boring activity. Voila!
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