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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Honeymoon - Donna Alward

Starting a new book is like a new relationship.  At first you see all the possibilities.  Everything is brand new, and you're learning about your characters just like you'd get to know a new boyfriend.  Everything about them is wonderful, even their flaws. You want to spend all sorts of time with them. Then you get engaged...oh bliss!  This is really going to happen.  The idea is now a reality and you're going to write this great story. Maybe you've done character sheets or a synopsis or an outline.  And the glow stays through what I call the honeymoon phase - usually through the first three chapters or so when the hero and heroine meet and yes, there's conflict but there's also simmering tension and the rest of the book lays ahead, blank pages that will hold your wonderful story.

Of course later on it becomes very much the day to day living with it, fighting for words at times, moments of rapture, but, like marriage, a lot of Hard Work.

I love the honeymoon phase.

This summer sees me starting a few new projects and there is nothing better than this "discovery" period. Possibilities is the best word I have for it.  Anything can happen - including magic. In the honeymoon phase I don't have to be overly concerned with arcs and acts and writing myself into a corner. The world is my oyster. And my job is to fall in love with my characters and care about their problems - because if I do, there is a better chance my reader will too.

I've got 2 things on the planning burner right now, and I'm having great fun.  One is a bit lighter in tone, and I'm imagining snappy dialogue and a heroine that isn't going to let the hero get away with anything.  I've pulled a little role reversal and it has me rubbing my hands together with glee just thinking about it. The other is softer, lazier, with a longer character arc and a bigger world.  I'm looking forward to sinking my teeth into that one too. I already love my heroine and my heart aches for what she faces at the beginning of the book.  And the hero - he's kinda delicious.  Both have had what I'd call "defining moments" in their lives but neither have really dealt with them.  But in this place - and with each other - they kind of can't ignore it anymore.  And I'm pretty sure they're going to fall in love at the same time.

When I'm neck deep in the middle I know I'll be cursing and grinding away to get things just right. Right now, as I work on the beginnings, I can't stop the sense of optimism I feel as I type the first words that will be their stories. :-)

Right now I have a reprint out - Hired: The Italian's Bride is in the anthology Mediterranean Men & Marriage, and in October my newest Harlequin Romance will hit the shelves in the UK (Feb 2011 US) - Proud Rancher, Precious Bundle.  You can check everything out at http://www.donnaalward.com/

11 comments:

susanwilson44 said...

The Honeymoon - Donna I LOVE the way you describe that - you are so right! It's just perfect!

Caroline said...

Ohhh I can so totally relate to this blog Donna. I love the Honeymoon period of a book, the thinking about it, the naming of characters, "seeing" their journey progress until they get to the HEA.

But at the moment I'm going through a particularly nasty divorce! Not with my DH thank goodness, but I'm in editing "hell" with my latest wip. Oh how I wish I was an author who loved doing "edits". But I'm not. Caroline x

practimom said...

I do love that, the honeymoon phase. I love when authors tell me how they write, and this is another little tid bit of how it is done. i dont have two things i think writers have, patience and imagination. thank goodness there ARE great writers out there....what would i do without you! I guess you could say i am in a state of constant honeymoon with you guys....jeez i am lame!!

Donna Alward said...

Practimom - you are not lame! You're a reader! We love you guys!

Caroline and Susan - hi! And thanks for popping in. Caroline you gave me a bit of a fright for a minute since I know you recently got married...

Jennie Marsland said...

So true, Donna! With my last book I was ready to give up in the middle, or else line my characters up against a wall and execute them. I'm still in that wonderful honeymoon phase with the new one.

Melanie Milburne said...

Loved your blog, Donna. I always have a honeymoon period and write like crazy until it starts to dawn on me that maybe I should have put a little more thought into this, just like a new relationship. But it's worth working through the tough stuff to find the diamond under the rough, so to speak.

Christina Hollis said...

When the honeymoon is over and you reach that rocky patch, don't forget the fun of making up afterwards. Well, that's what I keep telling myself...

Mary said...

Loved this blog post. Oh and I just want to tell you what a fan I am of yours. I can't wait to read your next book :)

Donna Alward said...

Jennie, Melanie and Christina - AMEN! Revisions hit yesterday on my last book I handed in first of July, and we're in need of some serious marriage counseling, I think. LOL. Confident it'll all work out in the end, though.

And Mary - it's comments like that that keep me going! THANK YOU! Next book hitting the US in February. :-)

cheryl c said...

Donna, I loved seeing the cover picture of Mediterrean Men and Marriage because I just recently saw that site in person. My husband and I went on a dream trip to Greece!

runner10 said...

Great way to word it!! Wish the honeymoon could last longer.