If you haven’t experienced this frustrating writer problem, you haven’t lived.
You are busy writing your romance novel and trying your hardest to keep your two main characters apart, but whenever they get an opportunity they play, what I call, flirty games. To make matters worse they engage in flirty games when you have NOT given them the nod. Infuriating!
The phrase ‘herding cats’ springs to mind, because no matter what you do, these two characters keep making eyes at each other, experiencing fluttery feelings and being touchy feely.
Signs you have an issue with two flirty characters:
- You keep eye rolling your manuscript and saying, “control yourselves – there are 7 chapters, a nasty break-up, a painful skin condition and a tearful reunion still to work through.”
- You find yourself pointing a pen or a pencil at your writing, whilst muttering, “stop looking at each other like that!”
- Whilst editing you notice a lot of smouldering looks, lip biting, twinkling eyes and lips brushing repetition going on with these two characters.
- No matter how many attractive character distractions you write in these two seem to be connected by some invisible thread. You will find yourself shaking your head whilst groaning, “for goodness sake – I have created a love interest conflict for you, who is rich, beautiful, intelligent, dresses well, has an athletic figure, is happy to accept your weird ways, doesn’t mind you talking gibberish, loves your snoring sounds, is a famous celebrity in their spare time AND you are still winking at her / him over there!!”
This problem is quite pleasurable for the characters but for the writer it can lead to repetition, frustration, irritation and in some extreme cases….deletion. Gasp. If those pesky characters persist in playing flirty games, when the writer has told them not to, time and time again, the writer is left with no choice, but to delete one of them.
No one wants this outcome.
So, how do you handle this challenging problem?
- Admit you have a problem with two of your characters who won’t stop flirting with each other.
- Mark their character cards, so when you come to editing you are on the look out for repetition and sneaky flirting.
- Cut to the chase and write the scenes where they do get together. No matter how far in advance they are, write them! I have done this and it works a treat. It diffuses a lot of tension for the characters and for the writer too.
- Work harder at creating conflict. If they are flirting too much you are making things too easy for them. There’s nothing like a few unexpected life curveballs or financial disasters to dampen down strong feelings.
- Alternatively stick a few hundred miles between them.
It is tough out there for us romance writers!
Have a great day!