Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Falling In Love...

by Tawny Weber

Do you ever fall in love with a story?

As a writer, I rarely read my own work from a reader's perspective. My process is more along the lines of hyper-critical judgement, wrapped in scrutinizing assessment. I write the words, I read, change and shuffle them. I edit and polish. I send it out for critique and start the whole process again. Then I kiss it goodbye, send it off... and to be honest, try to forget about it. Otherwise I can think of millions of minute changes (or worry myself crazy, which is a different post in itself).

But part of the editorial process brings that book back to me a few times. At least once for revisions, again for line edits, and the last round for galley edits. I just finished the galley edits on my January release, DOES SHE DARE?. And for the first time, I actually fell into the story as a reader. I felt the joy and pain of the characters, I giggled and wiggled, I lost track of what I was supposed to be doing because... well, I was reading!

I was rooting for Isabel and Dante, and even though I knew the outcome, it still made me sigh happily when I read the ending. It was fabulously fun, if you don't count the fact that then I had to go back and start the edits all over.

If you write - do you ever re-read your work and go OMG, I wrote that... and it rocks! Do you ever find that fabulous distance that lets you be a reader and simply enjoy, critique-free?

As a reader, what kind of story sucks you in, makes you lose track of the hours while dinner burns, laundry sits forgotten, emails go unanswered?

What is that magic formula that makes YOU fall in love with the story?


Helen said...

I am not very good at expressing myself with words hence the reason I am a reader and not a writer but at the start of a book I like to feel a conection between the Hero and Heroine some sort of pull and perhaps some intrigue something about their pasts that will make them become one at the end if that makes sense, the need to help and care for another person or solve a mystery together that will pull them closer until the inevitable happens and there is a wonderful HEA. I also love a good romance with humour in it. I have burn't dinner before today when I have got lost in a book that I have been reading a couple of times my Hubby just laughs at me.
Historical romance is my favourite genre but I love to read a good story no matter what genre it is. I hope I have made some sense I think this is a fantastic question to ask Tawny thanks for making me think about something I love after a hard day at work.
Have Fun

Christie Kelley said...

Great post, Tawny. Yes, I have fallen in love with a couple of my stories. I just finished line edits and had the same thing happen. I hadn't read the story in quite a while and I'd forgotten how much I love it.

I guess I'm a sucker for the underdog. I still loved reading about my hero and his persistance (can you stubbornness) to marry the heroine. All the while she's saying no because of her childhood upbringing.

As far as a magic formula? I wish I knew it. Maybe someone here has that magic.

Caren Crane said...

Like Helen, I like to feel the pull toward the hero and heroine. Even better, it's fun as the reader to be the "insider". You know things about each of them that they don't know about each other. The things that will bring them closer. The ones that make them perfect for each other. I adore knowing before they do!

Of course, the flip side is that I also like it when they surprise me and each other.

And yes, I have many times picked up something after months away and started reading and thought, "Dang, I'm good!" *g* It's the best feeling in the world!

Kirsten said...

Welcome out of your deadline cave, Tawny! Are you out for good, or is AC going to appear at any moment and drive you back in with her crop?

I have fallen in love with a number of Susan Elizabeth Phillips stories, most recently an old one of hers, Kiss An Angel. This is a transformation story, and I think I've mentioned before that I adore transformation stories. Kiss An Angel has the rich, useless girl who gets to work hard and prove how tough she is, both to hero and herself. I also love the ugly duckling transformation stories. I guess I get swept away by the notion that we've all got something not-so-perfect about us, but given the right environment, we can overcome it.

And in triumphing over that, we get the goregous guy, too. :-)

Joan said...

I'm not alone? I'm not the only one who has read her own writing and thought, "Boy, you're goooood"?

I recently went back through THE PATRICIAN'S FORTUNE (Damon's story) for the first time since marathon finishing it last year for the GH.

I had written a very descriptive scene that took place at the Circus Maximus. Kind of a back drop for a showdown between the villian and hero. I just knew I'd have to cut it down, certain I had gone into meltdown mode while writing it.


No, I didn't. I had actually done a very writerly thing and woven the important character interaction in with the chariot action (And breaking for the lead is Ben Hur :-)

I thought. Wow, you're good.

It's nice to have these moments to balance out the very top heavy "God, you stink" neurotic moments.

Great post, Tawny.

AndreaW said...

I have fallen in love with many stories. I would have to say that my favorites are when the hero and heroine match wits. I love it when they bicker and you can feel the sexual tension brewing between the two. Love it!


Jill James said...

Tawny, wonderful post. Sometimes, if I'm very lucky, I'll read something I wrote awhile ago and say, "Did I write this? Wow, it's pretty good." LOL

I fall in love with stories set in far away times or places. If the story is believable I can imagine myself there.

Tawny said...

Ooooh, Helen - great points. Like you, I love that deeper connection between the h/H - and even better love humor, even if its every subtle. Anything that makes me "feel" for the characters is a winner in my book. Sounds like your hubby is a winner too, LOL. A guy who supports our romance reading definitely rocks!

Tawny said...

LOL Christie... I wish there was a magic formula too. Although now I'm picturing us all, down in some dark dungeon, mixing up brews and dancing around in a circle for it (yes, too much time in the cave). The underdog stories are GREAT, and that nice distance between writing a story and rereading it really helps smother the irritating internal editor so we can see the story better, huh? Rock ON that you love yours :-) Thats the real key to "spark" if you ask me.

Tawny said...

Caren - secrets and surprises (hey, that could be a title), great ingredients for magic!!

And Dang... you ARE good ;-)

Tawny said...

Kirsten... I'm an illusion, I'm really not here. Seriously, I snuch out of the cave briefly, but I'm still there for another 2 weeks. I should have this story finished by the 27th, though, then I'm freeeeeeeeeeee!

And, hey - my cave-companion is a transformation (ie: makeover) story! I adore them, too! There is something so interesting about watching a character find their strength, really bloom into their full potential... and snag the hunky guy LOL

Tawny said...

Go Joan (and Ben Hur)! Its those scenes that have such intrigueing layers that are real magic, I think. They do more than one thing, but its subtle.

And hey, Bandita's don't stink. We might have a temporarily unpleasant aroma LOL, but we NEVER stink. (remind me of that a few million times when I finish this manuscript)

Tawny said...

Andrea, all I can say is Me Too, Me Too! Witty banter, fast pace dialogue, they are my absolute favorite. I wish so much I could master that. Once, I read seasons of scripts from the Gilmore Girls because they have (had) some of the best banter on TV, just hoping to get a hint on how to do it!

That, no matter what else the story might be about, always draws me in. Sexual tension, of course, is a must LOL.

Tawny said...

I agree, Jill... about the key being able to sink ourselves into the story, the setting, the world. And hey... you really ARE good! I'm glad you are seeing it when you read your work ;-)

Joan said...


I'm with you regarding the H/H matching wits.

I recently had a contest judge suggest that I have the H/H "hold mutual admiration" for each others strengths.

Well, yes they will but they have to have "fun" getting to that point. IMHO

AndreaW said...

Exactly, Joan! Where's the fun in mutual admiration right from the start? I like to enjoy the ride there.

Nancy said...

I do occasionally read something I've written and find that I really love it. Usually, it's something I've written with that clicking along, hitting on all cylinders sensation in the back of my head, when everything is humming and the words are flowing. Though sometimes, as Joan noted, I also get that "you stink" sensation, especially reading old mss.

Stories that suck me in have high stakes. The stakes can be personal, but they have to be big. They also have to involve characters I can care about. I don't much care what the genre is if a story has that.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Great post, Tawny.

I must confess that I've fallen in love with my stories. My very first one was so special to me, that after my writing evolved, I went back and re-wrote the entire book, much to the dismay of my biggest fan, who kept saying, "But I loved that story just the way it was!" (Moms, you just have to love them!). The story stayed the same as far as the H/H and the HEA and the mail-order bride aka murder witness. But I wanted to write it with all my newly acquired skills. It truly turned out better.

Like Caren and Joan, I have read passages that still make me laugh or cry and I think, "Dang, I really wrote that!"

And certain writers always pull me into the story. SEP, Julie Garwood, Sandy Blair, Sherrilyn Kenyon, etc.. I love how they pit them against each other and let them move through the romance naturally.


Beth said...

There are times when I read my own work and think, "Dang, Girl, you're not half bad" *g*

I've fallen in love with many stories and often re-read my Keeper books. I adore stories where the dialogue is fast and funny and smart, the sexual tension palpable and the conflict seemingly insurmountable.

Hmm...sounds like a Tawny Weber book :-) Can't wait until Does She Dare? is out!!

Tawny said...

LOL Beth - not biased much, are you? But those points you mention are the same ones that are key for me as a reader, and what I hope (wish, try) to layer into my stories.

Nancy, you're right. Isn't it the stakes that make us wonder if the characters will win or not? The higher, the harder (not to be taken in any naughty, blaze way, of course) And remember... we don't stink LOL

Suz, Isn't it fabulous when we are able see ways to improve our work?! Even if it does irritated our biggest fans (aka Mom). To me, each book I write I feel is stronger than the last. My agent recently asked me to revise my first ms for her... its like slogging through mud. SO hard without simply starting fresh, since my writing skills have shifted so much since that story. But, I do love it, so I'm definitely going to try. Then I'm going to hope that light rom com contemps come back LOL

MaryF said...

Caren wrote: And yes, I have many times picked up something after months away and started reading and thought, "Dang, I'm good!" *g* It's the best feeling in the world!

No kidding! Anyone remember that scene in Cheers when Sam and Diane were having a love scene writing contest or something, and she came out and spritzed water on her face and said that???

I love this feeling, and am glad I'm not alone. I was afraid I was a little conceited!