Risky Regencies

Why Do Heroes and Heroines Fall in Love?

My Christmas “gifts” came early this year – two requests for revisions for Diane Gaston’s newest Harlequin Mills & Boon, The Vanishing Viscountess, and Diane Perkins’ latest Warner Forever, Desire in His Eyes.

After an author turns in a completed manuscript, the next step in the publishing process is for the editor to read through it and write a revision letter with things the editor thinks should be changed. It was my luck that my HMB revisions came incredibly fast and my Warner revisions came sorta late and that they both came at Christmas time.

The author has some say so in whether she actually makes the changes that the editors request, but my experience has been that my editors make the books better and I’m happy to take their advice.

Imagine my surprise, however, when both editors asked me to “show” why my heroes and heroines fell in love with each other. In both these books, my heroes and heroines are, shall we say, put in very intimate situations with each other. I could not stop them! My heroes and heroines ganged up on me and demanded a more “sensual” book, but apparently they forgot to remind me to show why they were so “attracted” to each other. Why did they fall in love?


I’ve no doubt I can fix this little problem. The present I’m giving to myself is to not even look at these two manuscripts until after Christmas, but in the meantime, it got me thinking. How do readers like the author to show how the hero and heroine in a romance fall in love?


That’s my question for you today. How do you like your heroes and heroines to show they are falling in love?

Cheers,
Diane

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robynl
15 years ago

I like them to be wanting to be with each other more and more; to all of a sudden,out of the blue, have thoughts of each other that causes some tingling(LOL). Maybe one of them dreams of the other one more and more.

Elena Greene
15 years ago

It seems to me that showing characters falling in love is not quite the same as showing why they are in love, though the two go together.

The way I like to think about it is that somehow the hero and heroine have problems and strengths that somehow complement each other. That sounds cold and analytical the way I put it, but can be shown through things that are interesting and not at all gushy. Like a spirited debate that forces one or both to face something, change or grow in some way.

I need to feel they are not just good people, but good for each other in some special way.

Anyway, I’m sure you’ll pull it off. ๐Ÿ™‚

Lois
15 years ago

Uh. . . you know, never thought of this. But I guess I like seeing the slow progress, every meeting you see something more to the couple, they look forward to seeing each other, dreams just like Robyn said, working through the problems and how they complementing each other like Elena said. . . and I’m sure I’ll agree with any comments that come after me too.

For as simple as the question sounds, it’s tough because I never thought of it. But why though, I would think that’s something that we truly don’t ever actually know. There are the things we love about someone, but the why, isn’t that for the scientists and philosophers? LOL ๐Ÿ™‚

Lois

Anonymous
Anonymous
15 years ago

How do I like to see a hero and heroine fall in love? Through dialogue, mostly. I want them to talk to each other, so I can see that their attraction goes beyond the physical and get a sense of their chemistry. I also like to see a hero and heroine start fighting each other’s battles, if that makes sense–if one protagonist is in trouble or danger, I love to see the other instinctively leap to his or her defense.

Anonymous
Anonymous
15 years ago

I’m also a fan of the talking route. Talking and thinking about tiny things they have in common, or don’t have in common–those make me feel like it’s real. Obsessing over each other makes me want to throw the book, though! I need to feel like it’s more than a crush.

Diane Perkins
15 years ago

This is helpful! They are certainly very attracted to each other, so I think I need to show that they belong together for other reasons as well.

Talking! Dialogue! Thinking about each other! Dreams! (am writing this down…)

Kalen Hughes
15 years ago

Oooooo, this one is so hard, and I think it can be deeply personal. I mean, why is it that some books/films work for some people and not for others? Lots of people have spoken up about how sizzling they found the latest P&P, but I thought there was no chemistry at all. And Iโ€™ve handed books to friends that actually made me cry and theyโ€™ve handed them back with a look that says, โ€œYouโ€™re nuts, this book didnโ€™t work at all.โ€

Diane Perkins
15 years ago

I think the exchange of looks between Darcy and Lizzie were heated and their interactions trembled with an undercurrent. The new P&P did work for me! I just watched it again on HBO – I also watche Persuasion twice on BBCA, so I’ve had lots of Regency replenishment this last week.
My husband flew out of the room when Persuasion came on. “I just can’t watch that again,” he cried. I responded, “You’ve never seen it before.” — He must have been thinking of P&P, which he did like, by the way.

Terry Z McDermid
15 years ago

An intriguing and timely question, Diane! My proposal chapters came back from my critique partner with a request to see more of why they were attracted to each other. The story is a contemporary, told in memory flashbacks, so they’ve already become engaged when we meet them. I’m working on the edits now and will keep the list of comments made here, too!

The looks and dialogue are what I enjoy most, I think, when reading. The glances Darcy gives to Elizabeth. The changes the hero or heroine make to be around the other. And I love it when someone says something bad about a hero (usually) and the heroine is the first person to speak up for him. You know he has to love her now!

Best wishes with your edits! I know you’ll come through. (And isn’t it fun, in a way, to see the book evolve and change for the better?)

Cara King
15 years ago

if one protagonist is in trouble or danger, I love to see the other instinctively leap to his or her defense.

Ooh, I’m with you on this one, Susan. This always works for me when I’m reading…and it makes me feel the love will last!

I also agree with those who say this subject can be difficult to do. As Elena points out, showing the characters falling in love is one thing, and showing *why* this character and not another is the perfect person for whoever can be quite another…

A couple things that work for me, as a reader & writer, to show why these two people and not someone else…

1) The hero & heroine really understand each other, in a way other characters don’t understand them….which is often shown through dialogue. They *get* each other. When one explains an intricate emotional thing, the other says “yes, I know exactly what you mean”… instead of saying “well, I really don’t see why you’re so upset about it” or the like…

2) Rather similarly, they communicate well. I think this means a lot to me, because I’ve always been something of a social dunce, and there are few people I know who I can really talk to, in a totally relaxed way, and know I’m communicating! With a lot of people, conversation for me is *work*. So when I meet someone (and it doesn’t have to be romantic) and we instantly hit it off and can *talk* and be comfortable together and make each other laugh and understand each other, it means an awful lot to me…

And that’s not to say that the hero & heroine can’t have misunderstandings, or have to work on some form of communication… ๐Ÿ™‚

BTW, Diane, I love your selection of photos!

Cara

Judy T
Judy T
15 years ago

Diane, I have to admit that I’m a little surprised that this question is coming from you because that is one of the things I really love about your books. Your characters aren’t just physically attracted to each other, they fall in love with the whole person, flaws and all. They spend time together learning about each other in a variety of situations. They grow comfortable, ie, they don’t have to put on a show or try and be something they’re not, in fact, their relationship improves as they allow themselves to realize what really matters to them. I like instant attraction, but it isn’t what will hold a relationship together when life gets rough. It’s uplifting to see a couple work through personal differences to finally stand together in a difficult situation, each recognizing that the other person’s happiness is worth sacrificing for, and then being blessed with the knowledge that what they thought was a sacrifice wasn’t a sacrifice at all, and their relationship comes through stronger. Hope this makes sense. Two books! WOOHOO!! ๐Ÿ™‚

Anonymous
Anonymous
15 years ago

There is something I agree with in every comment. I too believe that when someone takes to defending one when troubles arise, when someone helps the other out. Actions, talking, thinking about each other with dreams and dialogue are large parts of love. Emotions sometimes say it all as well, and why someone’s in love, intimacy is great too. And thinking about ‘all’ the reasons why this person makes someone feel loved, through good and bad and not having to be perfect to be loved.

Anonymous
Anonymous
15 years ago

I also have an question off topic. And didn’t know where to ask, since there’s alot of authours with online reads. What is the best website/host that excepts online stories on their servers that contain languege and intimacy scenes? I’m having trouble finding an host that alows that content online. Does anyone know and can point something out? Thanks in advance!

Diane Perkins
15 years ago

Thanks, Everybody!
Terry, you know my pain!

Cara, I too have that social shyness (in my case) that still paralyzes me sometimes. I remember several years ago going to a Maryland Romance Writers all day workshop and you were there, but out-of-context (because it wasn’t a Beau Monde function) and I barely spoke to you! But I was hit with that sense, “Do I know her? Do I know her well enough to speak?” I am still working on that shyness, but now I would probably chat with you.

Judy, you give me confidence that I can do it again! I am sure I can fix this. It probably needs only a tweak , here and there (I hope!)

Mallory, I don’t know exactly what you mean about online reads. I only know about eharlequin online reads, but I suspect you are talking about submitting them not just reading them.
I hope you find the answer!

Amanda McCabe
15 years ago

I’m so glad you posted about this, Diane, because it is something I’m wrestling with in my own WIP! I don’t know the answer, but all the comments here were extremely helpful. I know as a reader I want to know why a couple is perfect for each other, why they’ll be able to weather the years together (not just because they want to jump into bed together, though that’s part of it, LOL!), and as an author it’s a challenge to show that.

And I just watched P&P again last night! (I’m on a non-holiday movie watching spree). That first proposal scene in the rain I think captures the whole “chemistry” thing so perfectly. When I first saw it I could hardly breathe! Wish I could capture it in writing. ๐Ÿ™‚

Todd
15 years ago

In some of my favorite romances, the hero and heroine actually take a long time–like a year–to fall in love. It’s not that commonly done, I guess because most books have a plot that must progress more-or-less in sync with the romance, which tends to push towards a more compressed timescale of a few weeks, or even just a few days. That can work for me too, but it does leave me sometimes wondering why these two characters are so instantly smitten with each other.

Another thing that I find frustrating is when the hero and heroine have figured it all out, but the author needed another forty pages, so one or the other of them decides with INCREDIBLE STUPIDITY that the other would be better off without him or her! I mean, please!

I’m not sure there’s a single technique that works for me, but when it does work it really enhances my pleasure in the book. I feel like the characters are really falling in love, and not doing it just because the author told them to. ๐Ÿ™‚ Sometimes you see it in the way they click in dialogue (just like real people do, sometimes). But I’ve read a few books where the hero and heroine spent the entire book fighting with each other, but at the same time you could feel the attraction sizzling underneath. (Faro’s Daughter, for instance.)

Anyway, I don’t know how authors do it, but I salute them when they do!

Todd-who-never-argues-himself

Diane Perkins
15 years ago

Another thing that I find frustrating is when the hero and heroine have figured it all out, but the author needed another forty pages, so one or the other of them decides with INCREDIBLE STUPIDITY that the other would be better off without him or her! I mean, please!

Oh yikes, Todd. I hope when my heroine decided the hero is better off without her that it won’t seem incredibly stupid of her!!! I know what you mean, though. I’ve read books like that too

Diane

Todd
15 years ago

Diane wrote:

Oh yikes, Todd. I hope when my heroine decided the hero is better off without her that it won’t seem incredibly stupid of her!!! I know what you mean, though. I’ve read books like that too

Whoops, that shows what happens when I start firing off in random directions. ๐Ÿ™‚ No, I was definitely NOT thinking of you, Diane–not, in fact, of any of the Riskies. But I recently read a Regency, by an author (a rather good author, actually) who will remain nameless, in which the hero and heroine had both realized they were in love, and that the other loved them, and that there were no insuperable obstacles to their marrying, and then in the next chapter the heroine took off so that the hero would be free to find someone even better.

So he had to chase after her for no good reason. It kind of made me want to smack her. But in a good way. ๐Ÿ™‚

(Actually, aside from that it was a good book, which is unusual for books written by nameless authors. I got the very strong feeling that the author wrote it, and then said “Oh, oh, 5000 words short. Well, I’ll fix that!”)

So apologies to anyone who might, even for a tiny fraction of a second, have supposed that I was talking about them, because I was definitely talking about…er…some other person or persons unknown.

Todd-who-can’t-quite-remember-anymore-what-question-he-was-answering

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