It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog, so let me start out by apologising. Again. Sorry, once again folks, for the long silence, but it’s good to be back. And the reason is … yes, you’ve guessed it, I’ve been busy writing. And the publisher has been nagging me for another blog as well as working with the copyeditor on the next book that’s coming out – The Italian Billionaire Seduces a Thief. Look out for it. By the way, I’ve been reading some of the reviews that have come out – good and bad, with bouquets and brickbats about a common and necessary ingredient in any work of fiction – conflict.
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What? Conflict? Is it a necessary ingredient in a work of fiction? You may well ask, but I don’t see how it’s possible for any genre to survive without conflict.
Let me explain. For thrillers, protagonists combat antagonists. For crime novels, detectives (private and otherwise) chase criminals. Horrors have evil forces – natural and supernatural. Romance … well, we have lovers who quarrel. Science fiction usually has horrid aliens or humans who want to dissect nice ones – what gives, I ask indignantly? For the romance genre, well, the basis for a sweet, happy ending is that there needs to be some unsweet, sourness, bitterness, unhappiness for us to find our way to the let’s face it.
Lovers quarrel. And an essential ingredient, if you ask me, for a romance novel to progress in an entertaining, engrossing manner. Spice. Drama. Ups and downs. Communication in an animated manner. It doesn’t always have to be a screaming, shouting match. And I absolutely abhor it if there’s violence in the mix. In my book, literally so’s to speak, it’s reserved between the protagonists and the enemies.
Now, between our two lovers, I like to create conflict, and quite naturally, in the end, seek sweet resolution, the sweeter the better, with one or both eating humble pie. Preferably both. I like balance too. Equality of the sexes remember. I favour strong heroines who believe in themselves – doesn’t absolve them of having vulnerabilities, insecurities or faults. For the characters to be truly rounded with some depth, they need to have these for them to be … well, human.
And when intersecting the plot organically with these vulnerabilities, insecurities or faults … hey, presto! The result is conflict. Like mixing sodium and water. Or tossing a match in box of firecrackers.
Okay, okay. Both sound like shouting and screaming matches. Mea culpa. What can I say? I like spice in my food as well as in my lovers’ quarrels. But what makes it tick?
In ‘The Billionaire Needs a Bodyguard,’ Lex doesn’t quite believe in her sexuality or rather, is in the process of discovering it. Which lends itself to quite naturally being unable to deal with the sexual chemistry and tension flaring between her and Michael. That, my dear readers, adds nuance to the conflict between our two lovers. The fundamentals of the conflict are already present – Lex is lying to Michael and her behaviour contradicts what Michael believes her to be – a con-artist pretending to be an escort. Michael, on the other hand, rough around the edges being a self-made billionaire, has no clue how to handle the overwhelming jealousy that assails him when Lex is seen to be flirting with his chief of security. Therefore, the basics of arguments flaring between the two flow organically from the plot, but the scenes gain great depth and feeling because of the lovers’ individual vulnerabilities and faults.
Secrets and lies. It’s a common theme in my books. The reason is simple. Everyone lies. The darker one’s past, the deeper the deception. I’ve read a few reviewers saying – why don’t they be more honest with each other? That tearing-of-one’s-hair reaction from the reader is exactly what I’m seeking. You should ask yourself – why don’t they? The answers to those questions lie in the nature of the characters and the plot dynamics. If they were to have revealed the truth sooner in the story, it may have well resulted in more conflict, not less.
As a case in point, in ‘The Billionaire’s Secret’ – which I hope most of you have read – Serena is also hiding a secret, which when revealed causes the conflict. When Matias finds out Serena’s father is his financial backer, he’s quite naturally furious for her withholding the truth. Of course, he could’ve handled it better but then again, he’s just discovered that he’s in love with her and expects more from her. Again, it’s his nature. For those of you who like equations: Conflict = Nature x Nuance + Plot x (1 + RSI). RSI stands for Ravina’s Secret Ingredient, which folks, sorry to say is a variable. After all, I can’t reveal all my secrets. Except one.
Ah, and one of my secret ingredients is … wait for it … humour. In my first foray, Lex’s sassy dialogues are what intrigues Michael – her ability to make him laugh. There’s no rule that every argument has to begin or end in tears – some of them do, of course. I like my heroines to be funny – and our heroes to laugh – and vice versa. In my next book, you’ll find the thief cracking up the Italian billionaire with her antics. In ‘The Billionaire’s Secret,’ Matias’s twin sisters and their antics allow for humour within the conflict.
Thankfully, all the readers and reviewers have found the scenes enjoyable and flattering in that they add to the rollercoaster ride they’re on. And with that, this journey comes to an end here.
Sigh again. With a saddened heart, I bid you goodbye, but only for the moment.
Hope you’ve enjoyed reading this as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it. Talk soon.
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