Fall is here—finally!—and with it cooler weather. And hurricanes. And rain. Which just goes to illustrate that the good often comes with the bad. It’s a yin/yang thing. Perfect tension. Good and bad are the building blocks of a great story. Life, too.
You know the big picture artistic view of life as mimicking the seasons. I’m a total sucker for Sinatra’s Very Good Year. (Anything Sinatra sang, really) It’s a perfect example of the analogy of spring as youth, summer as the fullness of life, autumn growing old, and winter as death. Start the cycle over again.
But autumn and winter get a bad rep. There’s more to each season. Autumn isn’t just trees becoming bare and life preparing for a deep sleep. It’s the smile you get when you carve a pumpkin. It’s the colors and scents of the turning leaves. Winter isn’t just death. Its stark beauty is haunting and pure. It prepares the land for spring.
Yeah, I’m waxing poetic. But if you think about romance books you read, you’ll find a similar balance. The good with the bad. The ups with the downs. The cold reality of loneliness and the warmth of love. The hurt of loss and the excitement of discovery and new love. Without one, the other lacks shine. In other words, it’s boring.
Life is full of balances that can tip one way or the other. Rarely do we dance on the middle of the fulcrum. But I guess that place is where the happily ever after lives.
The task of the writer is to remind the reader of the balance. To create tension between the good and the bad, between characters. To create an imaginary place based on the sometimes dull reality of life and make it sing.
Balance isn’t always easy to capture. Write only about the happy moments, and they don’t seem as interesting. Or as happy. Write only about angst, and the warm fuzzy romance readers crave is lost. If you pick apart the best romantic novels, and you’ll find that balance is there, supporting the story like the foundation of a house. The balance creates tension and tension drives the highs and the lows. The best writing coaches will tell you that you need create that tension in each interaction of your characters, be it large or small.
So the next time you’re reading, or the next time you’re appreciating the smell of the leaves in the cool autumn wind, think about balance. Embrace it. Celebrate it. -Shira
Shira’s latest release is Take Two, from Dreamspinner Press, a lighthearted, sometimes funny, sometimes poignant contemporary romance feature a Hollywood superstar and his soon to be ex college professor. Set at a location shoot on Bald Head Island at the North Carolina coast, Take Two is about second chances at love and true love that just won’t quit.
Blurb: Lights, camera, action! When Professor Wesley Coolidge accepts a summer job as a historical consultant to a pirate movie being filmed in North Carolina, the last person he expects to bump into is his soon-to-be ex, movie star Sander Carson.
Just like the flamboyant pirate he’s playing, Sander, aka Sam Carr, is used to getting what he wants, and he makes it clear he wants Wesley back in his life. Sam lost Wesley when he left their life in New York City behind for a career in Hollywood. But Wesley has finally managed to put the pieces of his heart back together, and he isn’t interested in Sam and Wesley: The Sequel.
Convincing Wesley to give their relationship a second chance will take much more than Sam’s apologies and reminders of good times past. If Sam wants Wesley back, he’ll have to show Wesley that they really can sail into the sunset together—a real-life happily-ever-after that won’t end once the final credits roll.
Dreamspinner Press: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/take-two-by-shira-anthony-7477-b
About Shira: Shira Anthony was a professional opera singer in her last incarnation, performing roles in such operas as Tosca, Pagliacci, and La Traviata, among others. She’s given up TV for evenings spent with her laptop, and she never goes anywhere without a pile of unread M/M romance on her Kindle.
Shira is married with two children and two insane dogs, and when she’s not writing, she is usually in a courtroom trying to make the world safer for children. When she’s not working, she can be found at the Carolina coast aboard Land’s Zen, a 35’ catamaran sailboat, with her favorite sexy captain at the wheel.
Want to hear Shira sing? You can listen to an excerpt from a live recording of Shira performing Tosca on her website: http://www.shiraanthony.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/tosca-visse-darte-exceprt1.mp3
Where to find Shira: