Rambling Romance – Coffee and Conversation

Romance Stories
July 4, 2009
Paperback Heroes Week
July 6, 2009

Two weeks ago I kicked off this blog with the idea that I would write about romance, passion, writing, fantasy and pretty much anything that tickled my fancy. This morning, I’m going to write about the process of writing. Where does my inspiration come from? Why romance? Why not romance? Do you have to have romance to tell a good story?

I think some of my answers might surprise you.

Coffee and Conversation

Among my favorite activities is sitting down to chat over coffee. For more than twenty years, I also smoked so smoking and coffee went hand in hand to me. I would sit outside on the deck, patio or in my garage and have a cigarette with my morning coffee. I would spend long nights chatting with friends and other writers, smoking, drinking coffee and just generally sharing the companionship.

Over the years I encountered other writers like me and some who weren’t. Whenever we were together, we would inevitably talk about writing, creating, developing and the art that we all loved. We would ask about story ideas and where they came from. Some of the best answers:

  • From the back of a box of cereal. I saw kids, a maze and pitfalls all around it and wrote a story about a child who desperately wanted to be a magician and was willing to risk their life going through this insane maze to gain powers, but when they made it — it all turned out to be a lie.
  • Billboards, I always wanted to finish the conversations you could imagine that went into them.
  • Coffee – Remember the Taster’s Choice commercials? My first romance tale began with a couple borrowing coffee, eventually sharing coffee and romance — but it took really weird dark turns.
  • Headlines in the News – Every morning I would bring in the paper and I would write down the headline as the first line of my story — some took off, some just didn’t
  • High school — I wrote about all the kooks I used to know, tons of material.

Ideas that Stick

The next question that inevitably comes up is how do you keep going? How do you fan the flames of a story idea and make it stick? Well, I’m a pantser — so I don’t force it. For me, the story either comes or it doesn’t.

My husband described it once as lighting a firecracker — some are duds, some give you exactly what they describe and others really surprise you.

What’s the Deal with Romance?

I love romantic stories, I love funny romance, I love passionate romance, I love quirky romance and I love impossible romance. I think romance is probably one of the greatest single human desires that we all share and can relate too. We want to be loved, we want to love and we want it to be all the things we see in the books: larger than life, powerful, titillating and exhilarating.

We want to feel that orgasmic sensation that accompanies love in a novel. It’s like all basic instincts: we sob when a character we love dies, we cheer when they overcome, we get chills when they inspire and our hearts swell when they fall in love. Romance allows us to live vicariously through our characters both as writers and readers.

Do I think a story absolutely has to have romance to be good? Nope. Check out The Pelican Brief for a fantastic example of a powerful story, powerful emotions and powerful relationships that aren’t romantic.

I write because I can’t not write. I am alive when I write.

Why do you?


  1. Lisa Pietsch says:

    I write because I'm dying to tell stories but nobody will listen!

    And because I can't not.

  2. voncookie says:

    I write because I always thought life itself was a book that it was my job to capture… a harder task than I initially thought when I decided to become a writer at 6 years old… and I have yet to be published. Doesn't matter though– writing = living. As long as I am alive, I will write… and vice versa.

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