There's nothing quite like realizing at 12:20 AM Tuesday night that your Wednesday post hasn't been written yet, and also that you won't have the chance to write it on the morrow. Not only that, but you have no topic, no ideas, no inspiration.
Then, you take a shower and feel the creamy soap on your skin, the delicate fragrance, the hot water flowing over your tired muscles, soothing the soul and freeing the mind.
And thus it came to me. My blog topic.
That's what we write about. Feelings, desires, attitudes, and beliefs. A friend of mine who is in the process of reading The Cat Star Chronicles series told me a few days ago that she was reading Outcast and was enjoying it even more than the previous three. She wasn't sure why, exactly, but thought it might be because the story had more emotions in it.
"Ah hah!" I said. "That's because it's written in third person. You're getting the male point of view, seeing Lynx's emotions along with Bonnie's, and understanding why he is the brooding, surly fellow that he is in the beginning."
She didn't disagree with me. The more emotion contained within a story, the more the reader can feel what is happening to the characters. This is what makes one book better than another. Did I laugh, did I cry, did I feel some little tingles running up and down my spine? If so, then the writer has done their job. Do I keep turning the pages? In short, do I CARE what happens to these people, or can I toss the book aside and never wonder whether they live happily ever after or not?
In a romance novel, it's a given that there will be a happy ending; that the hero and heroine will solve their dilemmas and find love everlasting. That ending may be preordained, but it's the ride that makes the story, and the more ups and downs, the better. I attended several workshops at the RWA conference on adding suspense and keeping the reader in the story. I learned some new tricks, but most of the time I actually feel what I'm writing--the tingles and the tears--and I try to convey those feelings to my readers. I may not connect with every reader, but, apparently, sometimes the magic works.
What keeps you reading? The twists and turns of an intricate plot? The dark, but compelling hero? Or is it that you care enough about the characters to keep going? Inquiring minds want to know!