Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Writing Relationships

Sorry about the lack of updates. I have been wholly and delightfully eaten by edits (and if you think the blog's been neglected, you should see my house. We're going to be eating off paper plates by tomorrow.)

Last night, however, I hit a block. The pivotal emotional scene of my novel was just not working, and nothing I could do seemed to make it work. So, I did what I always do when I am despairing over scenes, I messaged fellow writer Kalayna Price, author of the fantastic Grave Witch series and all around best person. (This is one of the unsung amazing perks of being a writer, you get to be friends with other really freaking good writers!)

Now, one thing you have to understand about Kalayna if you haven't read her stuff yet is that she writes some of the best emotional knots and you will ever read (also, the sexiest, sweetest, absolute best love scenes). The scene in question was a confrontation between my hero and heroine who are having, shall we say, a bit of a rocky turn in their relationship, and since Kalayna is one of the best relationship writers I know, I turned to her for some expert advice on how to make the scene gripping and emotional without being overwrought.

Okay, so I'm paraphrasing. My actual question involved way more swear words and T__T emoticons. But, as usual, Kalayna came through with brilliance.

Kalayna: Just close your eyes and imagine what needs to happen until you have the right sized grin is on your face.

And this, folks, is why I bug her all the time. Just like that, I realized what was wrong. I couldn't make the scene work because I'd gotten so caught up in getting things right I'd forgotten what the scene was about. The most important part of this exchange wasn't the details or the plot or even the revelation of information. It was the people. Two people who love each other a lot but who are having a really hard time. Two people I love, and love to write, and it took another writer to remind me of that.

So there you are, I am spreading Kalayna's trade secrets all over the internet. Use them for awesome! And read her books, they're bestsellers for a reason.

Back to editing!


  1. This is brillant! Something so simple, yet I swear my cubemates were blinded by the light bulbs that flashed over my head when I read this!

    Thank you for sharing these secrets- you and she may have saved me many brain cells!

  2. That's such great advice! Thanks for sharing, and thank Kalayna for us, too. While dialogue is one of the things I usually have no problem with, from time to time I get stuck the way you described, and I think this will really help me get through it. Good luck on the edits!

  3. Awesome. And yay Kalayna! Her books are next on my list. :)

  4. Had a plot idea yesterday that had me grinning like a really happy Joker victim on and off for hours. It's the best kind of high. Thanks, Kalayna, for reminding us what our words are reaching for (and for being there for our pal Rachel). (:

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