Smart Girls Read Romance -- so do the bestselling and award-winning Authors who write this blog.
Join them as they dish about Books, Romance, Love, and Life.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Romances are about connections

Some think romances are just about the romantic relationship at their heart. While that relationship is the core, it's not remotely all that is in the best ones.  

From the time we are born, connections establish much of how we see life. It begins with family and expands into friends, community, school, workplace, and even government. Writing a book leads to looking for those connections for the characters. Whether someone has created a fantasy world or is using an existing one, I believe the most interesting books reveal these connections.

When I start writing, I have a personality profile, but it’s only as the story comes together that I begin to see the full picture of who these people are in terms of the grounding in their lives. If they are true vagabonds, with no such connections, that’s part of their story but do they then get planted somewhere. I have never written a book where there aren’t such important connections. 

Because I live in a rural community, I have seen the power of that kind of community in negative and positive connections. I live on a place that is still called by the names of the previous owners though we’ve lived here now almost 40 years.

Writing on my work in progress, a paranormal that is set in a real place with descendants of my historicals, it has been interesting to see more connections appear—ones that hadn’t made it to those profiles. The fact that I know new details does not mean they will all appear in the book. I read critical reviews of someone else’s book, where readers felt too many characters had cluttered up the story. If a character has been a hero elsewhere, fans of a series do like to see them appear to see how they are doing, but it can be brief. The key is though understanding that these connections deepen the personality traits of the protagonists and are reasons for readers to care more.

One thing I did this year was create timelines that not only gave the births of my characters (major and secondary) but also what was happening at that time to impact their lives. If you have read the book Generations you saw how the authors showed the connections and impacts on one generation to another in the United States history (a good book for historical writers). Another book I’ve found helpful for those other influences is The Timetables of History

Once again, not everything you know has to make it into a book, probably should not; but it helps to know what else was going on, which books were popular, who was governing as it is way to make the characters have depth and be grounded in their world.

I did a timeline also for the Oregon historicals but here’s just the Arizona one:

I also created a booklist because I wanted in one place all of the books, to help readers who might’ve read a book with an interesting secondary character and find of interest that there is a story for them.

Lambing season is all about connections, 
and these lambs must find their place in the flock.


  1. Enjoyed your post. Ive always created timelines for characters because it helps me "see" them better. I like to know what songs they listened to as teens, how old they were when life-changing events happened, etc. Thanks for sharing the links to yours.

  2. I agree on knowing the music and books for especially the historics but even today, to know what young folks are listening to adds some depth to the characters-- great reminder, Joan


Thank you for commenting on Smart Girls Read Romance. We love readers and love their comments. We apologize that due to a few unethical spammers we've had to institute comment moderation. Please be patient with us... we DO want your genuine comments!