Back from France and Emotional Conflict

Posted on Posted in Editing and Revision, holiday

Hi there- I am back from Chamonix to the Sunshine of Hampshire.

We had an amazing time and I was awe struck at the mountains which climbed steeply out of the V shaped narrow valley where Chamonix sits. It is a stunning location.

All in all – I walked about 70 miles in the week including some very steep climbs, but of course I have not lost an ounce. 3 course dinners in lovely restaurants every evening and copious glasses of wine tend to cancel out the hard work done during the day. Sigh.

I will post a few more pics over the next few days to give you a flavour for the magnificent views in this part of the world.

Here is Mr Nina [aka he who carrys the rucksack] enjoying the meadows of wild pansies and alpine flowers before we headed back to the ski lift – that blob in distance below. Lots of snow and glacier melt higher up.

And now I am back to revising my latest Mills and Boon Romance.

Key focus: Character Arc and Emotional Tension

Sometimes it feels like I am sitting an exam where I open up the exam paper, and there is not a single question that I can answer. Not only that, but I can’t remember studying for this topic, AND I HAVE to pass this exam to achieve my goals.

Feel the fear. It does not last long, but it is there.

Here are some of the questions I have come up with, to try and convince myself that I am not a complete duffer, and I can create Internal Conflict and Emotional Development for my hero and heroine. 

Emotional Punch: Questions

  • What draws the Hero and Heroine together?
  • What will keep the Hero and Heroine apart? What obstacles are they going to have on the journey to find love?
  • Why should a reader care about my Heroine?
  • Have I made her sympathetic? Empathetic? Likeable?
  • Is her motivation crystal clear and believable so a reader can relate to her situation and want her to succeed? Can a reader identify with my heroine?
  • Why should a reader care about my Hero?
  • Have I made him aspirational? Admirable? Likeable?
  • Is his motivation crystal clear and believable?
  • IS HE HEROIC? Would I want him to knock on my door and ask me out?
  • Have I revealed these characters through their actions, interaction with other characters and reader insight?
  • Have I revealed his and her backstory through a moment of great emotional tension, rather than just telling it as narrative?
  • Have I used exposition as ammunition?
  • What are the complications within the relationship which are making it difficult for this couple to be together?
  • Why do they feel that they cannot be together? Or cannot be?
  • How will they get around this?
  • Does each scene have an emotional turning point, and not just a plot turning point, to move the story AND the relationship forward, while telling the reader something new about that character?
  • Have I created believable and gripping obstacles to the romance what will keep the reader turning the pages and staying awake to read what happens next? Is the pacing right to keep the readers interested?
  • What does my heroine want – passionately?
  • What is stopping her from having it?
  • How is my heroine unique and still relevant to the modern woman and what her aspirations are in the world?
  • What does my hero want – passionately?
  • What is stopping him from having it?
  • What beliefs and values (both good and bad) has the hero learned throughout his life and how do they impact his relationship with the heroine?
  • Which of his beliefs and values will he have to change as he battles both inner demons and outside conflicts, as he continues to grow toward a resolution that has him living happily ever after with the heroine?
  • What is my hero’s some inner torment?
  • Does he act against his nature for the sake of the heroine? For example, if he’s a man who would rather fight and die than run and hide, force him to run and hide in order to protect the heroine.
  • Is he vulnerable? What is his weakness? Make him aware of it, and of the moment that he puts himself at risk. For example, if he’s vowed never to experience the pain of rejection again, make him realize that he’s falling in love with the heroine. He knows that he risks being hurt again, but he’s helpless to stop what he feels.
  • Have I created a real and believable struggle for my couple, that will end in an emotional catharsis for them – and a reader- when they commit at the end?

I find it useful to think about these points, while reclining in my boudoir eating bonbons.

Recalling the sound of nightingales singing in the deep forests of the French Alps.

With a blanket over my head.

It’s good to be back.

8 thoughts on “Back from France and Emotional Conflict

  1. HI Rachael – thanks for dropping by. You are most welcome and I hope you find the list useful – especially at the editing stage.
    [I have other lists and I am not ashamed – I need all of the tools I can cram into my designer tool belt!]

  2. Thank you Kate – it was a great time. As for the list? In my other life I was a nerdy geek scientist uni lecturer and these tools don’t go away do they? Planners RULE!
    And I am sure you will do brilliantly at your talk at the conference without my input. Although I may turn up to heckle and ask really tough questions… Snarf. As though I know anything – 4 books sold as to your 44.
    See – this is why I need the lists.

  3. Welcome home, Nina – glad you had a great time.

    And I do like your list. Very planner-ish. Hey, you don’t want to do my RNA talk in 12 days’ time, do you? 😉

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