Last week I mentioned how listening to Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman by Bryan Adams changed the mood of a scene I was working on, but I didn’t really elaborate on how precisely the music ‘moved’ me.
So to answer those questions for those of you who asked:
It wasn’t just the words or pace of the song, though I believe paranormal romance writers can learn a great deal on pacing a story by studying the pacing of entertainment media other than books (like movies, games, etc. More on that later, I promise).
In the instance of my car radio epiphany, Adams’ song reminded me about the absolute necessity of emotional pacing in paranormal romance novels.
My voice and stories tend to be very action oriented and because of that, I often find myself needing to layer or beef up the emotional impact during the editing stage. Fortunately, since writing typically improves writing, this isn’t nearly as big an issue as it used to be. But I digress.
The song, that moment in the car, made the point so very clearly. Those words and notes gave me a punch to the gut of such emotional intensity. That same punch I like to feel when I’m reading a paranormal romance novel – or any romance novel. As soon as I hear the tune, I had such good memories of when song originally released. As the words washed over me, I felt cherished as I thought about the love I share with my husband.
Then it shifted, (I hit the repeat button on the CD player) to impact the way I was looking at my characters romantic obstacles. It was a delightful reminder to incorporate all my senses in the writing process. Not just what the character sees and smells, what they can touch, but the intangibles of what they feel – inside.
It can be scary, giving a fictional character enough rein to express themselves and their reactions completely. It can be draining for a paranormal romance writer, but it is absolutely essential for the reader’s ultimate enjoyment of the romance element of the paranormal novel.
Writing paranormal romance means you have to offer up that punch in the gut. It plays out as character motivation. Action’s one thing as a character works to a goal, but that action matters most when a paranormal romance writer shows how the character feels along the way.
Live the adventure!