"LadyBird" - Stephanie McDowell
"My pride, my ego, my needs and my selfish ways..."
Bruno Mars, When I Was Your Man (2013)
It's ironic. When I began writing my ms I was most worried about the plot. While of course I want my novel to be chock full of hott steamy squirm in your seat sex. I want all of that lovin' to be intertwined with an interesting engrossing plot - and for the sex and plot to be the backdrop for the heart - a good old fashioned, honest to goodness love story. Don't get me wrong, I love smut. There's something pure, honest and simply enjoyable about raw lust and fucking. Yeah. But I came of age in the 'Bodice-ripping' era, i.e. Kathleen Woodiwiss, Thea Devine and J.D. Robb; and cut my teeth on the illustrious likes of Jaid Black and Lora Leigh. Those are my favorite books. The ones that have always stuck with me. The ones I love to read. The ones I want to write.
The ironic part? My fertile imagination may be challenged with connecting the dots, but the actual plot? I'm there. And I've been pleasantly surprised to discover that allowing my naughty thoughts full rein has not been a problem - although it's a job of work to find a variety of ways to describe a cock (ha!). But my greatest challenge has been writing a full and nuanced Heroine and Hero - and I don't mean conveying realistic idiosyncracies, hang-ups and assorted baggage. No, what I've been struggling with is writing the tender voyage of discovery part(s). My Hero is a yummy Alpha and my Heroine is an ambitious, self-sufficient ball-buster. My conundrum? How to write about, how to fully communicate the very real human emotions involved in revealing oneself to another, to being a safe loving place for that another (and vice versa), to get to a vulnerable place of trust, to write it - not easy between an Alpha and a ball buster. What to do?
I've researched, read and watched a few of my favorite erotic films - always helpful. But in the end for the best inspiration I returned, as I always do, to...music. I think that songwriters, especially lyricists have it the hardest. They have to tell a complete and hopefully nuanced story in the smallest 'space' possible: an introduction, a few verses and a refrain. But the best ones, the ones that stay with you always, do it beautifully. Over the years I've compiled quite a collection of such songs - that do what the best romance novels do in the smallest space possible. The other day Mr. Gorgeous gave me a new song to add to my collection - perfect for my Night Owl Music playlist: When I Was Your Man (Bruno Mars).
Leave it to my man to introduce me to a song that encapsulates the passionate turbulent drama(s) of the earliest part(s) of our 30 year long love affair. Mr. Gorgeous told me he's the guy in the unwritten verse - the man who managed to get his shit together in time to get his woman in the end. Otherwise known as the perfect writer's fodder. Alright, back to writing. In the meantime, enjoy this gorgeous song.
'Til we meet again,