A Temptation So Beautiful


There are stories in my treasure chest that refuse to be completed, for one reason or another.  One, LAKE EFFECT, has bedeviled me for several years.  Gerald, the father, has never decided if he will be dead (enabling his rambling daughter to sell the house and move on) or alive (chaining her to a life of servitude, shuffling between the old house and the nursing home)?

Worse, what of my two lovers?  Nicole is a devoted girlfriend, with an overseas boyfriend.  She just doesn’t know he has wandering eyes.  Sam is being pursued by a girlfriend-wanna-be in relentless pursuit of his favors.  I’ve loved writing Desmond’s and Tara’s scenes – as the unfortunate foils for my hero and heroines, they’re both such worthless material as potential mates and so completely clueless.

Occasionally I struggle with midnight “monkey mind” as I wrestle again with the frustration of seeing this story complete and finding readers.  There are other stories I’m writing, or trying to write, but LAKE keeps rearing its head.  The one that got away.  It’s hard to let go, ya know?

So, this morning, I was helping Brain with his preparation for NaNoWriMo.  We found, and printed, a ten page document from Susan May Warren (www.mybooktherapy.com) outlining Ten Beats of a Romance.  In Beat 3, she discusses with the challenge of Why/WhyNot and WhyNot/Why in a blossoming relationship.  In one, the situation where I most often place  my characters, they understand why they can’t get together and gradually fall in love in spite of the barriers.  But in the WhyNot/Why, the characters feel an instant connection.  Only later are they aware of just how wrong this is.

Okay, my mind said.  Let’s play “what if?”  Nicole and Sam instantly hit it off.  They get each other, their little hearts go pitty pat, they’re a thing, they’re in it for the long haul.  But what about those inconvenient other lovers?  How do I move them aside?

I didn’t have any problems disposing of Desmond, the cheating boyfriend; he breaks up with Nicole before the story gets too far along.  But what about Tara?  She just wants to get married and make babies.  She has the rings picked out, the wedding party, rehearsal and ceremony planned.  All she needs is for Sam to pop the question and call the realtor.  How do I get rid of her?

So, friends, this is my question:  how do you give your hero permission to step out on his girlfriend when she has the noose as firmly tied around his neck (whoops, ring on his finger) as one woman can manage in 200 pages?  Mind you, Tara needs to make her not-so-graceful exit at the end of novel, along with Desmond – who makes a late  entrance to eat crow (happily, he is unsuccessful).

Is there a rule for a boyfriend whose heart has never been fully involved to be allowed to touch the goods before the others are returned?  How do we handle this?

(In another post, which I started before writing this, I’ll talk about characters that refuse to make up their minds – which happens all too often in this writer’s world)

About Susan Jeffery

I am loving the challenge (sometimes) of re-entering the contemporary romance market after a lifetime of raising two fantastic children (it never ends, btw). Just when I thought I was done with kids, I accepted a position as librarian to 900 boys in a Bronx private school. I'm a vintage published author, Harlequin American #206 Fair Game (1987). Winner of the Golden Heart, 1986. Currently exploring the possibility of indie publishing under my new pseudonym (see fresh name, above).

8 thoughts on “A Temptation So Beautiful

  1. Susan, I LOVE that last image and quote.

    As for Tara…what if he breaks up with her early on, and she’s crazy so she says “no”? So he breaks up with her one day; the next day she shows up with flower arrangements. He says, did you not hear what I said yesterday? She dismisses him and says she knows he’s just got cold feet, but their love is true and they are meant to be together, etc, etc… So his intentions are true — but she just won’t be broken up with! She just keeps coming around and around, like the Energizer bunny.

    Don’t know if this works or not, but Lake Effect sounds like an intriguing story and if it continues to haunt you, I think you should stick with it. Good luck!

    1. Pintip, I love this idea. Big love, darling. It’s almost like seeing the bunny boiling on the stove in that movie I won’t let myself see. Plus, in thinking of the title for this post, I may have finally renamed the book! Win, win for a Mermaid!

  2. Cool story, Susan! My brain is mush today from being away all weekend and traveling so I’m no help. But I know you’ll work this out.

    Love the quote at the end!

  3. Susan,
    I have a150,000 word epic novel under my bed that always calls to me. Unfortunately it requires way more work than I’m willing to put in. Yours sounds different in that it only has a few snafus. I think everyone has been in a relationship where they weren’t fully invested–where the other person has more at stake. Life and love can both be messy, and it’s a good writer who can show that. 🙂 I have complete faith in you, Susan! You’ll make this a story that people will love to read.
    Good luck!

    1. Thank you, Kim – it’s the first story I pitched when I returned to writing, the first story I sort-of-finished, and the one story that keeps me chained in frustration. Thanks for the encouragement, I’m hoping this new take on Tara’s character (thanks, Pin!) and the availability of more heat if Sam and Nicole are involved immediately will crank this into overdrive at last. Plus, the title change! Wow! Can’t wait to get going on this.

  4. It sounds like you’ve been well advised here fishy sister. I like the ideas offered up. I hope you are revved up and going going gone already as I type this! Good luck!

Comments are closed.