Friday, November 2, 2018

Creating Romantic Tension & Conflict in a Novel - Part 1 First "Almost" Kiss

by Elva Cobb Martin

Most of us read romance novels to follow the romantic  tension and conflict progressing between hero and heroine. We might race over a lot of description of setting, clothing, and weather, to get to these compelling scenes. 

I work hard on description, secondary characters, plot and sub plot, but I spend lots of quality time writing, refining, the romantic tension and conflict scenes between the h/h because they are vital to keep reader interest.

Kisses and "almost" kisses make up vital scenes in a romance.

Below is an excerpt of that magic "almost first kiss" in my current wip, Marisol, which is part of an historical romantic series set in Charles Town and on the Spanish Main. Keep in mind, this scene might be further refined. In fact, I'd love your refining thoughts if you'd share them in the comments.

The hero is disguised as a priest and H/H are in Cartagena on the Spanish Main to seek the hero's captured sister. Marisol has just returned from horseback riding and dancing the flamenco with the trained Andalusian stallion on her aunt's estate. I am giving the romantic scene and the hero's response to the almost first kiss. We need a response/reaction scene from sometimes both h/h 's POV, but definitely from one.

On the way back to her room Marisol met Ethan in the hall. 
He pulled her into a secluded corner before speaking. “I haven’t been able to find out anything in the taverns, Marisol. Have you spoken to your aunt?” His brows knit and his breath fanned her face as he spoke in  a low voice. 
Her heartbeat skyrocketed at his touch on her arm, and she breathed in his manly scent that seemed so right. Even in his priest robe, he was the most handsome man she had known.  Suppressing that thought, she met his startling gray eyes. “Yes, Aunt Lucia is working on it. And she’s planning a celebration here to commemorate my arrival, sir. We will meet quite a few people, the kind who could have an educated tutor like your sister for their children.”
His countenance lifted. “Yes, that sounds like a good opportunity to ask a few discreet questions.” His eyes moved over her face and settled on her lips. For a moment she couldn’t breathe. Then he dropped his hand from her arm and walked away.
Ethan entered his priest’s room next to the chapel. He jerked the sash away, dropped off the robe, and flung himself on the narrow cot. What was he thinking? He must not let his heart get involved with his former governess. He tried to convince himself it was because Marisol was different since they had arrived at her aunt’s. She had a new peace and confidence. Where had she been this morning? Her cheeks were rosy, her lips…. He banged the headboard with his fist, then sat up. He must concentrate on the main issue. Was his captured sister in Cartagena? The coming celebration might be of help. He stood and paced the room. 

So there is my "almost first kiss" and the hero's reaction.

Thanks for stopping by. Do you have any refining comments on these two scenes? I'd love to have your comments. Please do share this blog on your social media by clicking on the small icons below.


Elva Cobb Martin is vice-president of the South Carolina Chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers. She is a former school teacher and a graduate of Anderson University and Erskine College. She has two inspirational novels published with Lighthouse Publishers of the Carolinas. Summer of Deception, a contemporary romantic suspense, and an historical romance, In a Pirate’s Debt. Both have spent time on Amazon’s 100 Best Sellers List for Women’s Religious Fiction. She has indie published a Bible study on Amazon, Power Over Satan, on the  believer's authority in Christ. Decision, Charisma, and Home Life have carried Elva's articles. Jim Hart of Hartline Literary represents her. She and her husband Dwayne are semi-retired ministers. A mother and grandmother, Elva lives in South Carolina. Connect with her on her web site,on Twitter; Facebook;  and Pinterest    
 Link to her romance novels and non-fiction works on Amazon: