Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Whatever happened to really good emotional drive?

Yep, this is gonna be a rant and a half. I sat down for a little while yesterday, piddling along the internet going – hmm, does anything look good to buy? I went to all my favorite haunts, but ended up ordering an old story from Half.com by one of my favorite romance authors and then sat wishing I had it in my hands. The author? Kathleen Harrington. The book? Cherish the Dream.

I actually do have the book. I just have to read it carefully. My copy is falling apart at the seams, literally. So, gingerly, I fell back in love with the characters. Blade Roberts – Captain and half Cheyenne Indian. Did I mention it was a historical? LOL. Theodora Gordon, botanist and blue stocking if ever there was one. Engaged to some entrepreneur who funded the mission to map over the Sierra's. Lieutenant Kearney/Fletcher/O'Fallon. It's amazing that I remembered so many of them, and all the good things about them. Why?

Because Ms. Harrington had the great ability to capture emotional drive and the story epitomizes exactly what emotional drive is. It's the fuel feeding the reader to turn pages. The angst that makes you wish the story would go on forever. It's real and you feel it as a reader.

There's some special quality that keeps you enthralled. I can say that with all honesty with this book because from moment one I read and read until it was four in the morning. An all-nighter I didn't regret in the least. And she isn't the only author who captured me that way: McNaught, Garwood, Rogers, Norton, Lindsay. They all brought their characters to life via emotional drive.

So what's happened to this aspect? I think it's more that writers have forgotten about it. That there should be more than – oh, he's hot and I want to screw him. Or, she's a babe, I wonder if she gives good head? This is what's happened. In a way, it makes me want to write better. To show the writers who load a story up with sex that I can write hot, with a plot and have my characters become memorable.

It's a tall order I've set upon myself, but then again, I've never shied away from a challenge.

Your turn, tell me what you think is lacking in stories today? Is it that emotional drive has gone by the wayside or is it that some stories aren't hot enough for you? What would you like to see in a story?


Until next week, cheers and happy writing,





Rae Lori said...

Yes, yes and Yes! I so agree. Going through a lot of modern stories have been sadly underwhelming because that emotional punch isn't there half the time. The tension between the characters seem forced and not strong as it could be. No emotional drive like you said.

I think the love story is missing in a lot of stories. Just how a man and a woman can relate on an emotional level rather than just wanted to bed each other. Not sure if it's the HQN Presents syndrome or not but it seems to be widespread. I'm reading a few sweet romances and non-romances that are pretty good in the chemistry department because the forced sexual tension is removed and it's just people relating to each other. I love it! I wish more romances had that nice build up that allowed the characters to get to know each other and then slowly fall in love.

Sandy said...


I agree that writers are forgetting about the emotion plus it's really hard to write. Smile.

You have great plots and sexual tension that lead up to the love scenes. When I learn how to do it better I won't shy away from them so much.

I have no doubt you'll meet the challenge and win.

Thanks for a great post.

Z(Aasiyah/Nolwynn) said...

That's the beauty of writing romance for me, this journey to fall in love by two people who are different and probably never thought the two of them would end up together. Getting them to HEA with lots of emotion and conflict is what maketh a good story for me, not how many times they have sex!

Sidney Sheldon does this in almost all his books, despite them not being romance per se, but there is this involvement, this draw-the-reader-to-the-character aspect that he caught every single time. Judith McNaught is another one who does it, and closer to now, I think Sophie Kinsella does it quite nicely too. It's about the journey with them, and they paint it for you in all its shades and shadows.



Anonymous said...

I think romance needs to be in romance!
The wooing, the courting--the emotion that leads up to the intimacy.
Otherwise we're going to all sound like some of those sexy novels written mostly by men forty, fifty years ago! Not something women want or many males for that reason.
Passion and desire are hugely sexy and extremely involving things and there should be a lot of that, I think, in romantic fiction.
It isn't all about the sex act. It is in my opinion about what comes before and after, about needs and wants and why those needs and wants are there.
THEN! ah then, when the reader is screaming, KISS HER ALREADY! CARRY UP TO THE BEDROOM! Who can forget the scene in Gone With The Wind when Rhett carries Scarlett up there? I sure haven't!
Greatly informative and interesting post!

Liena Ferror said...

Great and informative post, TJ. I often have to remind myself that my characters are people who have emotions and those emotions are what drives them. After all, emotions are what drives real people.

Again, great post!


Linda LaRoque said...

Hi T. J.,

Interesting post and so true. I think part of the problem today is that the hero and heroine are so perfect and have very few human flaws. It's hard to get emotion out of perfect people.