Sometimes it’s hard to get into a romantic frame of mind when its time to sit down and write, even when a deadline looms. For instance today. Two days ago, the sewer line from my 200 year old house to the street suddenly burst sending raw sewage into the air and across the yard. Yeah, how romantic is that? And then I see the outrageous bill, for digging up my entire yard to replace piping–none of which it seems is covered by insurance. There is no working plumbing in the house last night or today, the dogs had to be shuttled off to a kennel and the kids to a neighbor’s house. So I have a little time alone–except for all of the plumbers with backhoes, shovels and long lengths of pipe–and it’s time to write a love scene.
So how do I do it? How does an author write a rich, emotional scene when the world is not cooperating? I know of a fabulous New York Times bestselling romance author who pours herself a glass of white wine and then sits down to write three love scenes all in one sitting. I know another who watches sexy movies. I know another who calls her husband and asks him to come home for an early lunch. All very…inspiring.
Me? I read. It doesn’t have to be steamy stories, or even Regency-set. I just need to read. Reading transports me like nothing else. Books can whisk you away to another time and place…where toilet paper isn’t dangling from a limb and one plumber isn’t daring the other to eat the five-inch worm he just dug up. Today I just happen to pick up The Seduction of an Unknown Lady by Samantha James. Within the span of a single page I was in her lushly detailed world, not my own. I was her heroine for an hour or so.
Then I opened the chapter I had been writing the day before. I read it aloud (I have this quirky way of launching myself into the scene–I read my pages in a British accent, but its not the Queen’s proper British–it’s more Monty Pythonesque. It embarrasses my kids, which is, I suppose, part of the fun of doing it. But it works!) Then, I close my eyes and watch the scene unfold in my mind. The characters come to life and I listen. And I write. The world outside my office has dissolved and Regency London has taken its place.
If ever there was a means for time travel, it would be reading. It takes us away and allows us to experience another reality for a while. Let’s us forget our own troubles, replacing them with worries about choosing a gown for a ball–and whether the sexy hero is going to kiss you…um…I mean the heroine that night.
Books are pretty powerful things. If they were a drug, they’d be illegal. But they’re not. They’re only $6.99 or so. How great is that?