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Romance and other Writers: Let's study that He-She Thing:
In general romance, writers need to reach beyond and dig deeper than their own life experience. Here are some of my tips to consider:
We’re as different as our birth signs. John Gray’s study of Venus and Mars books are excellent studies for the general romance man/woman basic relationships.
Historical romance writers have an easier time of creating the male protagonist/hero—this because in historical times males had a designated role, just as females did. Yet he had to be appealing enough for the Heroine. Now with Equal Opportunity, etc., sex harrassment, etc., romance needs to temper the hero’s power over the heroine just that tad more. (We know that the heroine has her own power, right? :))
Excellent Story Twists: Expectations of relationship and romance can conflict, and do. For instance: A hasty marriage and shift in a heartbeat, because H/H expectations are different. Who does what in the partnership? Who pays the bills? Stay at home mom or career mom? Household management, etc. Whose Friends antagonize, etc.? Who does not look at the opposite sex too much? So when push comes to shove, and expectations are not met, are they reasonable or not, when considered by the opposite partner? Thus, a story twist.
The Pendragon Virus, one of my early contemporaries, is an example of man/woman expectations and therefore, the interesting battle of the sexes.
Physical Action and Body Posturing: This is an area that is critical to the creative writer, not just words, but Actions and Posturing. A flirtatious gesture by a woman, a second look by a man—much slower, more intense—a man showing off his strength, angling his head, sticking his thumb in his waistband, both hands slid into trouser pockets, tensing of his shoulders, neck cords, etc.
That flirtatious gesture by a woman: a look over her shoulder, maybe a little more sway to her walk, arranging her hair, etc. are typical.
Dressing the H/H: Tighter clothes to show off assets, looser clothing for movement or shielding self, updated or outdated clothing. Jewelry or not, expensive etc. And shoes. Is she checking herself in the mirror to see if she appeals to him? His favorite color of dress? Is he sprucing up for her? It’s all part of the mating ritual, seen in wildlife. Dressing also includes preferences, i.e. Sam in The Pendragon Virus loves his classic oil-dripping Bertha.
Back to Expectations: If one H expects certain behavior from h/her prospective mate and those expectations are not met, that’s a twist.
Romantic Touch: How each H/H touches the other: a stroke, a gentle brush of a fingertip, examining the other’s face, the various shades of hair, the tiny crinkles at the side of the eyes, examining a tiny scar and its history, the texture of skin, the comparative size of their hands when held. Any kind of nervous/excited tremor when touching, a desperate need touch/grip need to be contrasted with gentler moments.
Lots of little nuances in the He-She Thing. When they are missing, the texture of the story/romance is off.
I hope you’ll comment/input on this post?