Another Column at MyShelf.Com

Beneath the Covers,Past
A Romance Column

Writing Romance: How This Gardener Nurtures Love

The course of true love never did run smooth.
                               -- William Shakespeare

     Thank heavens--at least as far as romance readers are concerned. Imagine this: The hero and heroine meet. Attraction immediately thrums through the air. Over a course of time, they discover comparable likes and dislikes, shared priorities and compatible goals. They wed and then live happily ever after. BORING!

     Though we might find joy in a similar, real-life scenario, most of us prefer more excitement in novels. Characters that face and conquer personal demons inspire us. Plots that provide seemingly insurmountable obstacles make our hearts race and our tears flow. To know the protagonists have sacrificed everything and won their battles—all in the name of love---gives us hope.

    So from where do authors’ ideas come?

     I cannot speak for other writers, but my answer is simple: Beneath my blossoming heart lie twisted roots.

      A stranger’s expression or poise often plants a seed in my imagination. I fertilize my perception with questions. Is she glum because her significant other found another? Will she look elsewhere or try to win him back? Does he wear designer clothes because he is going on a blind date and wants to make a good impression? Perhaps he dresses up because his personality—or body odor---repels?

      Once the first character takes roots, I need to nurture her in order to produce a bountiful harvest. What fruit does she wish to bear? What fungi from her past make failure unacceptable? What weeds are trying to choke off her dream? After I answer the first question, I rake away expected responses to the remaining two and hoe my twisted mind for possibilities. Almost anything is possible as long as I properly prepare the ground.

       Planting the peas for her carrots is a snap. Her partner must differ from her in some ways, yet complement her in others. If she needs full sunlight, he might prefer darkness. If he likes loose soil, she wants tightly packed earth.

      I know that eventually both will make concessions, yet deciding how they learn to grow together makes plotting fun! Do I thin the seedlings or let them grow at will? Perhaps his height affects her amount of available light. Maybe her roots don’t leave enough room for his to spread. How my hero and heroine flourish depends upon my gardening skills.

      I must also consider a few other factors. How I speak affects their growth. Will they respond to my normal voice? When would they prefer humor? Would tears provide sustenance? Or should I listen to the wind blowing through their leaves? Where and when I plant my crops also impact the harvest. Without proper bedding at the appropriate time, my garden could freeze or wither away.

           After months of careful tending, I’m ready to reap the harvest. I wash the carrots and hull the peas. They look delectable---at least to me. I’m off to the market. Wish me luck!

2005 Past Columns

Writing Romance: How This Gardener Nurtures Love

© MyShelf.Com. All Rights Reserved.