Friday, 31 January 2014

Day Nine of #TemptedToWrite

Day Nine:  Describe the Moment They Thought It was All Over...

There has to be just the right amount of heartbreak at this point.  And in some ways, this is the real test of a romance novel.

If you're genuinely upset when things go wrong; if you want to shout and scream and just shake the characters into making up, then you know the author's done a good job.

This is the moment that has to ring true more than any other.  Anyone can can imagine a decent Happy Ever After - they're the bread and butter of category romance, after all - but to write heartbreak you really need to be able to write.  It's got to tug at your heartstrings and make the reader ache, remembering the loss of their first love, or the guy who dumped them at uni.

But if you pull it off...

Example Number One:  Shweta and Nikhil in Shoma Narayanan's The One She Was Warned About

The rest of the day was hell for her.  Unable to cry, she paced the room, replaying the things Nikhil had said over and over in her head.  What he'd said had revealed a lot about the way he thought of her.  Perhaps there were excuses that could be made for him - she was in no frame of mind to make them.  All she could think was that she'd been right all along when she'd believed he didn't love her.
What makes this moment stand out? Proposals don't make everything okay.  There's more for them to talk about than just marriage, and it takes a very strong person to realise this and initiate discussion.  Shweta is a strong and sassy woman, whose decision to break it off makes him realise how much he needs her.

Example Number Two:  Oliver and Audrey in Nikki Logan's His Until Midnight

"Well, I'm done doubting myself."  She poked his chest.  "I'm awesome.  And clever.  And pretty.  And loyal."  Every poke an accusation.  "And the best friend a person could have.  I would have been fierce and proud by your side and someone you could face life with, head-on.  But that honour is going to go to someone else and I'm not going to be able to find him while you're still in my life."
She let her expressive hands drop by her sides.  As dead as she felt.  "So this is it, Oliver.   After eight years.  No more card games, no more conversations, no more long, lazy lunches that you can cling to in lieu of a real relationship with a real woman."  Her shoulders shuddered up and then dropped.  "No more Christmas.  If I'm not in your life then I'm out of it.  You don't get to have it both ways."  She settled her bag more firmly between them.  "Please don't email me.  Or call.  Don't send me a birthday card.  Don't invite me to your wedding with whichever Tiffany you find next."
Fortunately, she'd used up all her tears coming across the causeway.  Oliver wasn't so lucky and the glitter of those hazel eyes just about broke her heart anew.
What makes this moment stand out?  His Until Midnight is probably in my top three Modern Tempted books, and it's this moment that makes it.  Their hearts are properly broken.  Both of them.  And there's no quick fix to that.  Logan does a fantastic job of making us fall in love with her characters, only to delay that HEA in order to reveal so much about how the both of them feel.  Oliver doesn't say no because he doesn't love - that's precisely the reason why he's determined to walk away.  Amazing.

Catherine Lemesle's moment was my favourite #TemptedToWrite answer:

Everything was finished. 
It was the end of a beautiful love story. The most beautiful in the world. And, yet, he thought, it would not change the world. Just his life. He kept his eyes open, lying on the bed that had so many stories to tell. The bed didn't forget her perfume and her memory too. Christopher George was the richest man in the country, yet he knew he was the most miserable. 
For her part, Angelina did not sleep a wink. She was in the kitchen, but something seemed strange to her. Something had changed, but she did not know what. Suddenly, she realized and she doubled over with pain. She would never feel the smell of coffee anymore. She used to drink only tea. She had bought a coffee machine just for him.
What makes this moment stand out? I really like the fact that we see it from the point of view of both characters - Angeline and Christopher.  And I adore the way it scans - there's fantastic use of short sentences that capture the heartbreak brilliantly.  And I love that thing about the coffee machine.  Well done!!

No comments:

Post a Comment