Thursday, July 9, 2009

When Fireworks Go Bad

Some writers complain they can’t torture their beloved characters.

Not me.

I’m the mean-as-a-snake punk who shoots bottle rockets at people.

In this PG-13 (mild cursing & extreme cheese) excerpt from my romantic fantasy, I’m finally letting my hero and heroine kiss. Let me tell you, it’s a hard-won kiss. But I just can’t let them enjoy it. Not yet. The reader knows from the end of the previous chapter that the third member of the love triangle, a real cherry bomb of a man, has followed them from the party. Their kiss ignites his fuse.

He’d taken her face in his hands, wiped her tears with his thumbs. Calluses ridged his palms, but the sides of his thumbs were smooth and his touch was gentle. She’d seen him fight, knew the strength in those hands, and it made her want to cry anew to know how sweet they could be -- and to think she’d never feel them again.

But his eyes locked on hers and told her not to think such things. Drawing her closer, his broad shoulders engulfed her. His eyelids drifted closed, his lips parted and daubed hers in a small kiss, barely a kiss, but it resonated a thousand times stronger through her.

She had to feel it again. She grazed her nose against his and met his lips with hers. Lingering on them, she mapped in her mind their warmth, taste, how their softness gave way to the rough, hard curve of his chin. He opened his mouth so slightly and she kissed him harder, pressing her lips to his teeth.

He pressed back, and then took his mouth from hers to kiss her chin and neck.

Her hand, poised on his chest, rose and fell with his heavy breaths.

“Can you endure the worry?” he whispered and brushed his lips to her ear. “I can’t forsake you.” He lifted her veil back and laid his face against her hair. His voice, sounding from his jaw into hers, seemed to come from within her. “Can you forgive me for thinking I could?”

Her body was turning into a million particles of shimmering white bliss. That was her answer. She was going to evaporate into pure joy. She had to stay real, had to hold onto him. She reached around his broad back, nestled her chest to his and drew herself tight against his beautiful hardness. Between her legs, the hollow space of her body ached.

She kissed him to quell that pain.

Something grazed her neck. Suddenly, Nan’s lips jerked away.

What was wrong? She opened her eyes.

“I’ll kill you, you bastard,” Donthan seethed. He had his arm crooked around Nan’s neck.

So, how about you? Are you a punk or a pacifist?Any guesses who my cherry-bomb character is based on? He’s my favorite actor.


Sandy Elzie said...

Great excerpt...great tease to make me want to read the rest.

If I'm writing "sweet", then of course I'm a pacifist. Romantic Suspense is definite "punk". I like to make 'em sweat and work for every moment together, then rip the mood away just at that instant when things could either stop...if they have the strength, or sky rocket out of control.

Great Post. Sandy

Sally Kilpatrick said...

Thanks, Anna. I wanted to keep reading!

I'm afraid I'm have conflict avoidance issues, but I'm working hard to learn to torture my characters. I want to someday be like mystery writer Patricia Sprinkle and declare, "I kill people for profit and fun." (Just to clarify she doesn't really kill people, just fictional characters. And thank goodness you can't go to jail for that!)

I'm stumped as to your cherry bomb--interesting turn of phrase BTW-is it Marcus Allen?


Susan May said...

Nice piece Anna. I want to read more. I like good conflict but find it hard to do in my stories. I'm doing better at it but still not confident with writing it.

Marilyn Baron said...

Cool. I definitely want to read more. I can't begin to imagine who the character is based on.

Marilyn Baron

Debbie Kaufman said...

Hey Anna:
Funny, but I'm better at conflict between characters than I am those tender moments.
No clue who your character is based on, but then I don't (gasp) do movies much!

Nicki Salcedo said...

I've been accused of torturing my characters too much (usually before the story begins). Now, I'm trying to learn to torture them during the course of the story. Much more fun..

"His voice, sounding from his jaw into hers, seemed to come from within her..." What?!? That is hot. I likey.

Linsey Lanier said...


Very nice excerpt. Great details -- you've inspired me. I'd love to read more of this story. And yes, it is hot. Can you tell us more about the characters and the setup?

In my books, I'm definitely a meanie to my characters. I like to make them suffer...


Tami Brothers said...

Ohhh yeah!!! Definitely a good excerpt....

I'm not the best with conflict. I tend to try to solve it all at the beginning. I definitely need to work on that throughout the story.

Great job and I too want to read more!


Cyrano said...

I wish I could be more mean to my characters.
Sandy had said, "I like to make 'em sweat and work for every moment together, then rip the mood away just at that instant when things could either stop...if they have the strength, or sky rocket out of control." That's awesome!
It's funny, I always hear authors saying I "Consciously" do this, or I consciously do that to my characters. I wish I wrote that way. I wish I could figure out the formula and use it to write a full novel. Then maybe I'd be more productive.
When I read a book, however, I love angst. I love to see the hero (a strong hero with alpha tendencies, a man's man, though he MUST have beta in him too.) break down because he's so in love with the heroine and can't live without her. I love to read heroes that would sacrifice their lives for her and go to the ends of the earth to just to be near her.
I'm not sure if that translates well into my own writing. Hopefully I can learn that skill.
Loved the excerpt by the way!
Have a brilliant afternoon,

Anna Steffl said...

Greetings from a coffee house somewhere in Omaha, NE. It is so nice to finally have the chance to read some PFHT...and hear about your relationships with conflict!

Hope you all make it to the Write-Inn and write some pages for me! I'll be so missing it.

Anna Steffl said...

Oh, sorry this post looks awful. It wasn't an unformatted blob when I previewed it a jillion times.