Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Elements of Modern Storytelling: Romance, A Guest Blog by Dellani Oakes

By Stephanie Osborn

Today we have another romance writer -- but Dellani Oakes writes romance/suspense/thriller/mystery crossovers! (Have you noticed a distinct trend in authors writing genre crossovers? I really think bookstores should look into this.) Dellani is an old friend and a skilled writer, blogger, book reviewer, and podcaster, with her own BlogTalkRadio show. This should be interesting.



I write romance. More specifically, I write romantic suspense. Why the blend? Because I like some spice to my mysteries and some mystery mixed with romance. I like the conflict in my stories to be between the main characters and an outside force. I don't like stories where the hero & heroine fight constantly. Where's the fun in that? It's much more entertaining to have the characters work together against a common foe. They grow closer to one another and find that they are better as a couple than they are on their own.
     A little romance can enhance any story. I don't mean that the plot should grind to a halt so the characters can have a hot love scene. That isn't necessary. Instead, the main characters can find their strength by way of their union. Certain action films spring to mind, such classic movies as Demolition Man, Total Recall or Commando. Although the main characters are fighting the bad guys, they fall in love. The conflict brings them closer together. They conquer the foe, accomplish their goal and go home for some hot sex—which happens off screen.
Stories needn't have graphic love scenes to be effective. Clasped hands, stolen kisses, furtive glances can all add to characterization and plot development. The main point of a
romance is having the characters fall in love. The wonderful thing about romance is that it can be an element of virtually any story, adding depth, without distracting from the the plot.
Not that there's anything wrong with having some hot sex in the story. My novel, The Ninja Tattoo, has plenty of spicy scenes. However, Indian Summer and Under the WesternSky do not. In all three stories, the main characters work together against a common enemy. They may have disagreements and misunderstandings, but they work things out—together.
Do my characters argue? Yes. Do they have misunderstandings and get their feelings hurt? Of course. That's human nature. However, they employ a technique that works well in stories and real life—they communicate. I'm sick of stories where the main characters have a huge argument, make assumptions and refuse to talk to one another for 90 percent of the book—unless it's to fight. But by some miracle, they discover they truly love one another and are miserable when they are apart. I can't help wondering how long their happily ever after lasts. I give it a year.
Whether it's a mystery, sci-fi, thriller, suspense or noir, romance enhances the story. The reader cares more deeply and becomes more invested in a character's fate if they like him. If he's a jerk to his friends and his women, no one is going to care what happens. (In my books, those guys are usually murder victims waiting to be killed.) Regardless of genre, a little romance can add depth and scope to the storyline.


I'm in firm agreement, Dellani! Well said!

Everyone be sure to check out Dellani's books on Amazon!

-Stephanie Osborn


Dellani Oakes said...

Stephanie, thanks so much for inviting me to visit! I'm delighted to be there and I'm so glad to have you as a friend!

Stephanie Osborn said...

I'm always glad to host a guest blog from you, Dellani! Thanks for joining in on the discussion!

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