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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Adjusting the Thermostat for Romance Part 2: Warming Up Slowly

I'm incredibly annoyed by banter on morning radio. I'm also annoyed by it on news shows. It just seems unprofessional. I actually quit listening to one local radio station because the man and woman they had paired up for the morning show made me feel like I was always on the outside of an inside joke. Having said that, I do have to admit that playful banter is a great flirtation device and very appropriate in a romance.

I had a crush on a boy in high school. A secret crush. He was as annoying as could be. He tormented me. It was awful. I found the thought of being in his presence delightfully nauseating. I loved him. I hated him. I thought he hated me. Now, years later, I'm confident enough to look back at it and believe that it is possible he may have actually had a secret crush on me, too! Don't we torture the people we love most?

But, this is not high school we're talking about. We grow up. We learn to flirt with more finesse. We can be subtle, bright and alluring. We can use our intelligence to gain the interest of someone we want to get to know. We can use our words to make them laugh, make them gasp, or just leave them breathless. It's all a matter of degrees.

It's important to establish mutual attraction early in your story. It doesn't always have to be about physical attraction. It can be a cerebral attraction. What is they say in Sleepless in Seattle? "Your subconscience was attracted to his subconscience subconsciously." You're reader can get a real giggle out of a war of words knowing both hearts will ultimately succumb. Initial disagreements cast in a playful light can become the essence of necessary conflicts later in the story. What a challenge to write two people who spar and spark at the same time! How joyous when they finally get together in spite of the raging battle!

Think Scarlet and Rhett. Think Harry and Sally. Think Wesley and Princess Buttercup. Think Beauty and the Beast. And, if all else fails, turn on a morning radio show for a few pointers.

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