My daughter ran through the house the other day, dangling a stuffed toy in the air with the dog trailing behind her jumping. Giggles and barking easily blended as I watched them play keep-away.
Immediately the concept of writing craft came to mind. Why you ask would that spur an analogy? Well, I love to read books across all genre’s, but one thing is consistent with them all – the angst. The right amount will keep the reader going and interested in the book.
Admit it, we’ve all read the books (or have begun to read and then got frustrated and quit) where the heroine and hero are back and forth constantly. Bickering like a bunch of kids that are truly annoyed with each other. That type of behavior does not necessarily build a good lasting relationship. A certain amount of flirting/sparring is expected because that’s what we do in real life, but then there’s overkill. Let the reader get what they anticipate somewhere along the way otherwise frustration sets in.
Too much and the reader looses interest. Too little and the game is easily won. Either way, the reader looses interest. Balance is hard to find.
Books for me are an escape to another world for a short period of time. The book itself doesn’t matter as long as it is well written with a happy ending, which is easier said than done. The craft of storytelling is everything. Some readers have the perfect life looking to escape nothing. Some readers are in the midst of conquering cancer and need to read that somewhere life is exciting. This is where my great love of reading began, sitting in the oncologist chair with tubes connected to a pouch of chemicals designed to kill the cancer.
For hours, I could transport myself to the 17th or 18th Century and be a fair maid captured by a handsome pirate. Or I could be a college student rescued from certain death by the vampire of my dreams. Regardless, the result was the same in the end. Whatever the story was, it allowed me to endure the pain and left me with a happy feeling in my soul that the world around me was all right.
Because of my journey, I was inspired to write and hope to have a book published some day. It’s a goal, a purpose to live, and a reason to inspire the next person that might fill the same oncologist chair. My point of all this is to remind the masses that drama for the sake of drama is not entertainment but annoyance. However, the right amount of angst will have your reader hooked ‘till the end. No matter what the circumstances, romance readers want that happy feeling at the end of the story.
What about you? Do you want the happy ever after (HEA), happy for now (HFN), or do you want the hook that leaves you dangling until the follow-on book?