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Authors: Susan May Warren

Tags: #Reference, #Writing; Research & Publishing Guides, #Writing, #Fiction, #Romance, #Writing Skills, #General Fiction

How to Write a Brilliant Romance: The Easy, Step-By-Step Method of Crafting a Powerful Romance (Go! Write Something Brilliant) (6 page)

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For
example,
if
a
woman
is
afraid
of
failure
in
the
workplace,
she
might
become
driven,
even exacting.

What
if
her
flaw
is
impatience?
She
could
be
afraid
that
a
project
she
is
working
on
won’t
get finished,
and
that
her
coworker
will
steal
it
from
her
(because
she
is
a
single
mother
and
she
has
to divide
her
time
at
home
and
the
office).
Maybe
she
doesn’t
trust
because
she
thinks
she
can
only depend on
herself.

This
is
why
flaws
and
fears
go
together.
Yes,
the
fear
can
be
based
on
something
in
the
past
that happened
to
them,
but
more
likely
it
is
something
they’ve
seen
from
others,
or
read,
or
simply believe
about
themselves.
Whatever
it
is,
women
have
a
great
capacity
to
dream
up
fears
and
then
let them
rule
their
lives.
Yes,
they
need
to
be
realistic,
but
reading
about
child
abduction
in
the newspaper
is
enough
to
make
a
woman
lock
her
child
in
the
house
until
he’s
eighteen.

So,
for
a
woman’s
flaw,
it
helps
to
have
to
look
forward
(while
for
a
man’s
flaw
looking
backward
is the
best
tool)
and
see
if
she’s
afraid
of
something
that
will
happen.

Or…perhaps
it
is
something
that
she
wants,
that
she
fears
won’t
happen.
From
the
moment
my husband
asked
me
to
marry
him
to
the
final
step
down
the
aisle,
I
thought
something
terrible
might happen
to
him.
I
feared
losing
him.
So
I
became
clingy
and
obsessed
and
downright
scary.
And
he still married
me!

Let’s
look
at
some
heroine
flaws:

In
Return
to
Me
,
Grace,
the
heroine,
won't
let
the
hero
kiss
her
because
she
is
afraid
he’ll
see
her
scar and
think
she’s
not
beautiful.

In
How
to
Lose
a
Guy
in
10
Days
,
Andie,
the
heroine,
won't
let
herself
love
because
she
is
afraid
that the
hero
will
let
her
down
(and
look
what
falling
in
love
did
to
her
roommate!).

In
While
You
Were
Sleeping
,
Lucy,
the
heroine,
won't
tell
the
truth
because
she
knows
the
family
will reject
her.

In
a
great
romance,
the
hero
figures
out
the
woman’s
fear
by
seeing
her
flaws.
Maybe
he
pries
it
out of
her,
maybe
he
just
knows
her
enough
to
realize
the
truth.
And,
as
he
figures
it
out,
he
begins
to address
it.
His
job
is
to
make
her
feel
safe.
See,
a
woman
also
wants
to
be
protected,
even
if
she doesn’t
admit
it.
So,
as
your
hero
becomes
more
heroic,
the
woman
will
release
her
fears.

And
overcome
her
flaws.

As
you’re
creating
your
heroine,
ask:
What
is
your
biggest
flaw?

Then ask:
Why? What fear drives this flaw?

It’s
this
fear
that
will
create
sympathy
in
your
reader
and
perhaps
even
make
the
reader
see
herself
in your
heroine
and
overcome
her
own
fears.

Note: You can weave together the fears
of both the hero and the heroine and
cause an event that triggers
both
their
fears.
For
example,
a
woman
might
be
afraid
that
her
man
will
leave
her,
and
a hero
might
fear
that
a
woman
will
reject
him
or
won’t
follow
him.
So,
having
something
happen where
he
leaves
her
and
she
doesn’t
follow
him
is
one
way
to
trigger
both
fears.
I
always
look
at their
fears
separately,
and
then
try
and
find
one
moment
where
they
could
come
true
simultaneously. Like,
when
a
woman
fears
for
a
man’s
safety,
so
she
leaves
him
so
he
won’t
be
injured.
However, he’s
afraid
that
if
she
needs
him,
he
won’t
be
there.
Therefore,
they’re
both
trying
to
help
each
other, which
leads
to
some
fabulous
internal
obstacles!

If you’re building a Hero/Heroine Chart, write in your hero’s and heroine’s flaws and the fears behind them. These fears can assist you in building those inner obstacles.

Give
your
heroine
confidence.
Just
like
we
don’t
like
wimpy
heroes,
we
don’t
like
flimsy
heroines. It’s
easy
for
a
heroine
to
have
flaws,
mostly
because,
if
you
are
female
author,
we
write
about ourselves,
and
we
all
have
flaws.
So
you
need
to
work
at
putting
confidence
into
your
heroine,
giving her
something
she’s
good
at,
that
makes
us
applaud
her.

A
woman
should
have
something
we
call
the
“Super
Power.”
Something
that
gives
her
strength
to stand
alone,
if
need
be.
We
want
her
to
be
able
to
turn
down
the
rich
suitor
she
doesn’t
love.
Or sing
“You’re
so
vain!”
to
the
boy
who
hurt
her—and
then
walk
away
from
him.
Or
go
to
Italy
by herself.
Or
break
up
with
the
fiancé
she
doesn’t
love
to
take
a
chance
on
the
one
who
might
be waiting
for
her
on
the
top
of
the
Empire
State
Building.

We
want
to
see
her
have
confidence
and
believe
in
herself.
Often,
that
confidence,
or
Super
Power, rises
in the end to allow her
to do something that
she has
never
done before.
(Not
unlike the courage we see in
our
hero.)
However,
we need
to
see hints
of
her
confidence
as
the story progresses
and
as
we
get
to
know
her
better.

For
example,
Jane,
the
heroine
in
27
Dresses
,
is
excellent
at
helping
someone
plan
their
wedding, making
sure
they
have
the
perfect
day.
After
all,
she’s
done
it
at
least
twenty-seven
times!
But
she
is terrible
at
voicing
her
own
needs,
which
is
why
she
ends
up
in
twenty-seven
ugly
dresses.
She’s
also terrible
at
going
after
the
man
she
longs
for,
as
seen
by
the
way
her
sister
takes
the
man
Jane’s
always loved.
Our
heroine
even
agrees
to
be
in
the
wedding!
Finally,
the
heroine
is
able
to
recognize
the man
she
truly
loves
and,
in
her
final
Super
Power
moment,
she
goes
after
him,
speaking
up
in
front of
a
crowd
of
people.

Melanie,
the
heroine
in
Sweet
Home
Alabama
,
is
excellent
at
controlling
a
staff
of
people
and
her
own destiny
in
the
designer
world
of
New
York
City.
But
she
can’t
seem
to
control
anyone
down
in Alabama
and,
of
course,
her
ex-husband
is
in
control
of
her
destiny.
Melanie
finally
takes
control
of her
heart
at
the
end
by
choosing
the
man
she’s
always
loved.

The
heroine
in
Pearl
Harbor
is
a
nurse.
Evelyn
can
save
lives
and
keep
her
cool
in
times
of
darkness. But
she
can’t
seem
to
heal
her
heart.
However,
she
knows
what
the
right
thing
to
do
is
when
she becomes
pregnant.
She’ll
“save
the
life”
of
the
baby
she
carries—and
heal
herself
by
loving
the father
“with
her
whole
heart.”
And
in
the
end,
Evelyn’s
free
to
love
her
true
love
without
guilt.

In
Legally
Blonde
,
the
heroine
is
a
blonde
sorority
girl
who
flirts
her
way
into
Harvard
law
school. However,
Elle
learns
that
she
can
be
a
fabulous
lawyer
if
she
wants
it,
and
success
has
nothing
to
do with
her
hair
color
and
everything
to
do
with
her
abilities.
However,
it
is
her
sorority
girl
skills
that help
her
solve
the
case
that
no
one
else
can.
And,
in
the
end,
Elle
tells
off
the
man
who
broke
her heart
and
goes
it
alone.

Give
your
heroine
some
confidence:
something
she
does
well
and
something
she
then
uses
to
stand up
and
become
truly
heroic
in
her
darkest
moment.

When you’re building your heroine, ask:
What are you good at and how does that Super
Power help save the day?

Combine
that
question
with
asking
your
heroine:
What
can
you
do
at
the
end
of
the
book
that you couldn’t do at the beginning?

Now
you
have
the
makings
of
a
heroic
heroine.

On your chart, fill in your hero’s courageous moment and your heroine’s confident moment and you’ll be generating ideas for the Sacrificial/Big Gesture scene!

Give
your
heroine
a
unique
beauty.
Once
you’ve
created
a
heroine
with
a
super
power,
despite her
flaws
and
fears,
one
who
has
a
goal
that
will
drive
her
through
the
story,
you
have
one
last element
of
a
heroic
heroine.

What
is
beauty?
An
informal
Warren
family
poll
taken
a
couple
years
ago
elicited
very
different responses:

  • 16-year-old boy: Someone who is smart.
  • 13-year-old boy: A girl who can run fast. (This answer only recently became clear when he fell for a cute sprinter in track.)
  • 11-year-old boy: Nice hair.
  • 15-year-old girl: Someone who is unique.
  • Married old guy: Softness. Someone who is happy and cheerful.

What
makes
someone
beautiful?
I
think
we
can
all
agree
that
beauty
comes
from
inside.
A
crabby
person, regardless
of
how
beautiful,
gives
off
an
ugly
sheen.
But
an
unattractive
person
who
exudes
kindness can
be
very
pretty.

When
we’re
creating
a
heroine,
especially
in
a
romance,
she
has
to
possess
her
own
beauty. Something
special
and
unique,
hers
alone,
and
something
only
the
hero
can
see
and
love.
Maybe
it’s her
eyes,
but
also
the
way
she
can
look
right
through
him
and
see
what
he
needs.
Or
maybe
it’s
her patience.
Maybe
it’s
her
strength
to
see
the
good,
or
believe
in
the
good.
Whatever
it
is,
the
hero
sees it
like
no
one
else
can.
The
heroine
might
be
genuinely
pretty—and
then
gets
even
prettier
as
the hero
gets
to
know
her.
Or,
she
could
be
plain
and
turns
gorgeous
as
her
inner
nature
is
revealed.

The
key
is,
the
hero
has
to
see
her
beauty
and
appreciate
it.

Consider
one
of
my
favorite
actresses,
Jodie
Foster.
Love
her.
She’s
an
amazing
actress.
And
while she’s
pretty,
I
wouldn’t
peg
her
as
crazy-beautiful.
One
of
my
favorite
movies
of
hers
is
Maverick
, where
she
stars
as
a
gambler
against
Mel
Gibson.
She’s
a
scamp,
(and
he
likewise),
doing whatever is necessary to get into the big poker tournament (even stealing Mel’s money!) But the more she tricks Mel and teases him, the more she turns irresistible to him. Her scoundrel ways are what draws him to her, and they make a perfect team.

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