Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Of Love and Romance: Kara Isaac

YAY! Kara Isaac is here!  I love her!!! We both hang out on Novel Crossing and she is just the most fun! Also, she's a Pastor's Wife and I grew up a PK so we have so much in common!!

The Worst Advice You’ll Ever Get On Writing Romance

Hi, my name is Kara and I have a confession. I write romances and not much makes me happier than a great romantic comedy (book or movie) but I am totally ambivalent about Valentine’s Day.

I also know nothing about writing romantic scenes. Which is what Rachel suggested that I write my Valentine’s love and romance post about. So she really picked the wrong gal for this one. Sorry, Rach!

Here’s the thing. Evidence suggests I’m not horrible at this romance gig. I have a few contest wins to my name, an awesome agent, and editors have said nice things, so why the fear that I’m finally about to be outed as a fraud when someone asks me to write about writing romance?

Let me go on a little tangent. You know, how when you were growing up, you had the list? The one that delineated the spiritual/emotional/physical characteristics of your soulmate-true-love-forever-God-ordained perfect match?

And then you met him. That guy who ticked every single box on that list. And you connected with him on the same level as you do with the average potted plant.

And it made no sense. This was the guy. Who fit the list. Yet where there should have been crazy chemistry there was the romantic equivalent of a bowl of wet cornflakes.

This is why I feel completely out of my depth giving anyone advice about writing romance. Because, like people, often your characters either have the magic or they don’t.

And sometimes there is no reason why. You’ve done their Myers-Briggs profiles, delved into their hurts, strengths and weaknesses, done everything it is possible to do to make your fictional couple the perfect match. Then you put them together on the page and **crickets chirping**

True story. I had one of my manuscripts all planned out. My heroine was going to be on a call-in radio show and be re-connected with an ex-boyfriend. It was going to be Nicholas Sparks meets Becky Wade meets Francine Rivers kind of romance awesome.

Until, before the poor ex-boyfriend could even pick up the phone, my heroine went and fell for the radio show host. This guy who was supposed to be in one scene, only there because I needed his show to connect my two estranged true loves, suddenly took over my whole story. Why? Because this crazy chemistry showed up on the page and refused to be hustled into the professional plutonic scene it was supposed to be.

That’s why I can’t get anyone advice about writing the kind of tingling, happy grinning, crazy chemistry, romance that people want to read. Because, I honest to goodness, don’t know exactly how it happens.  All I know is that if you can get two characters on the page who spark, then your biggest battle in writing a romance that people want to read is won.

And that, dear Rachel’s blog readers, is my truly best advice on writing romance. You’re welcome J

So let’s talk books, chemistry, and romance. Who are your favourite fictional characters who have the kind of burning-up-the-pages that I’m talking about?

P.S. You know that list? Top of my list was “no facial hair” (sorry, I mean top of my list was “loves Jesus”, then “no facial hair”). Guess what, still hate facial hair. I look with pity upon all those women who have to tolerate their husbands doing Movember and growing giant slugs on their faces. Exception to the rule: my husband. I’ve seen him without it once and told him to never ever ever ever EVER do that again. God works in mysterious ways, people. 

Kara Isaac lives in Wellington, New Zealand. By day she is a mum of two, pastor's wife and public servant. By night she is a professional bather, tidy upperer, peace negotiator, laundry folder, closet Bachelor fan, and occasional romantic comedy writer. Represented by Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary Inc. she loves to connect with fellow romance lovers on Twitter @KaraIsaac and Facebook at Kara Isaac - Writer 


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Rissi said...

Fantabulous post, Kara. Really enjoyed reading it. :)

Laurie Tomlinson said...

Love this post and all the romance you write, especially weird metaphors like "bowl of cornflakes" that totally work.

To me, these are the best, most authentic romances on paper and in real life -- the ones that defy *the list* :)

Kara Isaac said...

I'm also a PK too, Rachel (who swore she'd never marry a pastor!) Thanks for inviting me to come visit :)