Romance & Flash Fiction
Thank you Father Dragon, for allowing me to visit your charming cave, I dropped by today to discuss writing romance and flash fiction.
The basic plot for any romance is, boy meets girl, conflict ensues and boy loses girl, the conflict is resolved and boy gets girl back. Make that conflict a murder and you've added a bit more tension to your plot. Which is what I did in all three of my books I call the Murder Trilogy.
I've been an avid reader of mysteries and romance all my life, and constructed my books around what I liked. I happen to like a bit of murder with my romance, or a bit of romance with my murder mystery. The truth is many genres have a bit of romance in them, but the romance isn't the main story line. Where it gets curious is the label romance – folks seem to have blinders on when that word is mentioned as we've recently seen via the RFW's demise. Many folks were put off by the term but taking the word romance out of the mix made folks more open to the challenge.
I think it harkens to the bodice ripping prose of Barbara Cartland. Even though today there are many sub-genres for the romance novel, the paranormal, suspense, even horror, it still conjures up the old stereotype.
The key to success in writing any genre is to know the genre. Read it. Know the publishers and what they want and be comfortable with writing love scenes, although today, for the more independent, self-publishing is a great option.
In regards to love scenes, there are also many different levels of exposure, so to speak, you can be more Victorian and poetic and allude to passion or venture into the realm of the erotic. Again, it's important that you do your research and know your target audience. If you decide to go with the more graphic, practice makes perfect – in real life as well as in writing.
I also enjoy writing flash fiction. A form of short story writing that is very tight and concise. Your goal is to pull the reader into the story with the minimum number of words and get to the middle of the conflict quickly. It is also important that your flash fiction story has a beginning, middle, and an end, but in as few words as possible. There is no minimum number of words – I've seen challenges that limit the words to 25, or 140 characters - Twitter's limit. But the maximum is 1000 words, such as the limit for Write…Edit…Publish hosted by Denise Covey."
I've learned a lot from the challenges. Since I'm a very flowery and long-winded writer, and need to cut down on the wordiness, this kind of practice is valuable. Plus, I simply love the challenge. One such example is below. Using only 60 words or less and the title Sleepover tell us a story.
Remnants of food litter the room. It’s My Party plays in the background. I carefully step over each girl in baby doll pajamas. Lightless eyes manage accusatory stares. Their bodies pale in death.
In the bedroom, the prom queen sleeps soundly. The only evidence of her crime is a single drop of blood in the corner of her mouth.
Father Dragon, I enjoyed my afternoon with you and your lovely Dwarves. I do hope you and your readers enjoyed the discussion. I'm thrilled to award one commenter an eBook copy of Murder, Madness & Love.
After a gritty detective becomes involved with a beautiful widow suspected of murder, rumor and obsession obstruct his quest for justice.
Sunlight blazes on an empty canvas.
Arctic winds gather snowflakes on a frosty window ledge as a statuesque form appears. She moves past a table littered with papers. Headlines splash news of murder, but it's the photo of another young woman with features mirroring her own that draws her attention.
A different headline peeks from underneath the Anchorage Times.
Wealthy Businessman Dies in Car Crash ... BLACK WIDOW SUSPECTED!
Graphic images swirl through her head and a tear rolls down her cheek. She drifts toward an easel and a trembling hand dips a sable brush into a palette of paint.
The Westminster doorbell chimes. The brush slips and blood-red paint stains the floor.
Detective Steven Quaid waits. His Tlingit, Indian features carved from granite, mask his Irish passion ...
Will he arrest her this time?
All fingers point to her guilt.
But, is she guilty of this cunning plot? Or, just a victim of circumstantial evidence?
The door opens ...
His heart races ...
Murder, Madness & Love is available as an eBook at Amazon ~ Kobo~ and B&N, and will soon be out in paperback.