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I'm most recently a writer.  In the six plus decades of my life, I've been a wife, mother, grandmother, Jill of all trades though mistress of but a few, and most of the time pretty content with my lot.  As a much younger person, I believed I was called to write, but life and living distracted me for most of those decades.  An unwilling transplant from the South,  twenty years ago I unintentionally landed in the geographical center of the US.  Writing came about in part due to the unwillingness, I expect.  When caring for family, gardening, and renovating a century-old house failed to provide sufficient creative outlets, I turned to the one thing I always intended to do.  Eight titles later, I'm grateful I found myself while Lost in the Plains!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Tricky Words and Tantilizing Phrases--Part II

Work on Shannon's Daughter is progressing, although I confess it is slow at times.  I'm doing that ridiculous one step forward, two steps back dance with this one.  Or at least one step forward, a half-step back.  This story, which I want to tell as accurately and entertainingly as I possibly can, is being a real challenge--or pain in the backside, depending on the mood I'm in at the end of my writing day.

I've been doing quite a bit of research.  I've downloaded a number of romance novels on my Kindle and spent quite a bit of time all steamed up with this or that hunky "hero," not to mention the absurdly perfect with one tiny quirk "heroines" of these books.  I have a renewed respect for writers who can throw open the door and follow their characters through scenes which repeatedly make me blush--and I'm a sixty-plus year old woman who's been married three times and enjoyed my share of those scenes.  It's trying to write them that has me all hot and bothered at the moment.

I think I'm making progress.  While keeping at least one foot in my comfort zone, I've managed to take Peg and Kendall where their story dictates they must go.  I can't quite throw open that door, but I can describe a love scene in the kind of language I'm most at ease with.  I think I'm going for the poetically suggestive, rather than the graphically descriptive here.  However, more and more I find myself slipping in some of those tricky words and tantalizing phrases without feeling I've crossed the line. 

I love Peg and Kendall together.  And I want my readers to feel the same about them.  Theirs is not the typical romance, and I would hate to let their sexual interludes overshadow what is really a very complex relationship.  So if I go slowly, it's because I want to do them justice, not just let their passion carry the story along.  At the same time, I don't want to downplay their passion, because it is such a large part of their relationship.  See, one step forward, a half-step back!  There are times when I've been heard moaning over my laptop "Oh, just write the @%#& book, Karen!" to which my wise and supportive husband/editor replies, "Well, yes!"

In the end, if the end ever comes and this book makes it to publication, the readers will be the judges.  No book is for everyone; just read a few of the reviews on Amazon and Goodreads to be assured of that!  What some may find offensive others will find disappointingly tame.  My job is to tell the story, using the words that do that best.  Since I'm convinced characters are not so much developed as discovered--witness those who refuse to conform to my ideals and instead force me to conform to theirs (see the archived post "What a Character!" for more on that) I'll just have to let them lead the way.  And right now, Peg Shannon and Kendall Gregg are taking me to places I've never been as a writer.  It's exciting, exasperating, and I hope in the end, a journey my readers will be glad I survived.


  1. I find those scenes super hard to write as well. In fact my critique partners laughed when I wrote,"getting your groove on." I'm more of the "love with the lights off" kind of writer.

    1. I guess with my theater experience, I tend to cue the lights and curtain, too!