Monday, March 11, 2013

Groveling for Fun and Profit

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By Cassandra Dean

Quite a few blogs around the interwebs have been talking about the comeuppance, or the grovel. Well, maybe not quite a few…More like two…Still, totally counts. Anyway, the comeuppance. The grovel. The moment where a character has to apologise for the wrong s/he has dealt another. This is awesomeness.

The thing about the grovel, though, is previous to this you need the scene where you break people’s hearts, that wrenching moment when a character’s world falls around them, caused by the person they love the most. In a romance, to have the most impact, either the hero or the heroine will deal the blow. 

I have just such a scenario in one of my books—I know, shocker, right?
J In TEACH ME, the Earl of Malvern realises how large the heroine, Elizabeth, features in his life, such that he cannot imagine a life without her. Well. That Cannot Happen. I mean, bad stuff will definitely eventuate from such. Great and terrible things. Things that are shocking and scary and…and…Well. It Cannot Happen. *sigh* Oh, Malvern. Methinks you doth protest too much ;) Anyhoo, Malvern delivers a smackdown that breaks Elizabeth, destroys her and tears them apart.

I have Joss Whedon to thank for this. The man who is my Writing God facilitated this in his little-known TV show, Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. What? You have heard of Buffy? Really?? It’s actually quite well-known and studied in universities around the world? Oh my, I’m just covered in blushes *grin*

All joking aside, Buffy has been the source of so much writing hints and tips for me, none more so than the devastation of Buffy at the hands of her love, Angel. In season two, episode 14, Buffy and Angel finally consummate their relationship…only to have Angel completely emotionally devastate her the next day. Oh my god, my heart was ripped from my chest when I watched this, but I filed it away and used it in TEACH ME.

However—and this is the important part, peeps—the devastated party doesn’t let the devestator get away with it. Oh no, this is the other part of the smackdown—the non-doormat portion, if you will. This delicious bit is where the character dealt the blow won’t let the other get away with it. This can be done to the face of the blow dealer (heh, totally inappropriate joke there) or as a realisation within themselves. In TEACH ME, Elizabeth confronts Malvern and tells him she knows what he did, why he did it, and why he’s an idiot to have done it. In Buffy, Buffy realised the Angel she loved is gone, consumed by the Vampire Angelus.

You must always ensure that your grovel is commiserate with the damage done. There is no point dealing a relationship-ending blow, something so devastating the character can’t recover, and then have the person dealing the blow say a simple ‘I’m sorry’. NO ONE will believe this.

So break your characters hearts, destroy them, make them cry—and then have the person doing the bad stuff grovel. It will be worth the anguish, I promise!
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Christmas in Freewill

Christmas Eve, the Diamond Saloon is empty of its people, and Pearl la Monte has a hankering to retire early. A pounding at the Diamond’s door rids her of such a fool notion. Her irritation rises when she sees the prissy, polite-like Garrett standing outside.

Ethan Garrett has a powerful need to gain succor. When the saloon’s voluptuous redheaded singer scowls at him from the threshold of the Diamond, he doesn’t stop to think on how his ire at her has disappeared. Or how he just wants to spend some time in her company.

When a blizzard storms in, trapping them, will they spend their time arguing or find their irritation for each other disguises something more?

Available from Decadent Publishing


Turning on her heel, Pearl marched off toward the stairs.

A weird kind of panic jolted through Ethan, one he’d never felt before in all his days. It was…he didn’t…. She couldn’t leave him. “Where are you going?”

She whirled to face him, her irritation plain. “I was seeking my bed before your arrival, and now I’m seeking it again. Help yourself to whiskey this one time. I got better things to do.”

Shoving to his feet, he strode to her. “Don’t just walk away when we’re discussing things.”

“We ain’t discussing nothing. You’ll be down here, waiting out the blizzard. I’ll be in my bed, doing what I was gonna before you arrived. That’s the end of it.”

Taking a step, she made to leave him. Again.

He grabbed her arm. “Don’t leave me.”

“Don’t tell me what to do.” Glaring at him, she stood before the bar, her magnificent hair slipping from its pins, her breasts rising and falling.

Abruptly, his mouth went dry. Clearing his throat some, he said, “You’re supposed to offer succor to those in need.”

“We’re closed, remember?” Paint-less lips pressed tight together, she glared up at him.

They were so close he could see the faint marks of freckles on her skin.

Pearl La Monte had freckles.

A kind of haze came over him, tightening his skin and bringing with it something all-fired powerful and completely unstoppable. All the years he’d known her crashed through him, all the times she’d flirted with him and meant something else, all the times he’d seen her perform on stage and wished he could have held such fire.

Grabbing her upper arms, he hauled her against him and, ignoring her shocked gasp, he covered her mouth with his. 

  Cassandra grew up daydreaming, inventing fantastical worlds and marvelous adventures. Once she learned to read (First phrase – To the Beach. True story), she was never without a book, reading of other people’s fantastical worlds and marvelous adventures.

  Fairy tales, Famous Fives, fantasies and fancies; horror stories, gumshoe detectives, science fiction; Cassandra read it all. Then she discovered Romance and a true passion was born.
So, once upon a time, after making a slight detour into the world of finance, Cassandra tried her hand at writing. After a brief foray into horror, she couldn’t discount her true passion. She started to write Romance and fell head over heels. 
  The love affair exists to this very day. 
  Cassandra lives in Adelaide, South Australia.


Barbara Elsborg said...

Well that was a well timed blog for me. I've just had an editor tell me my hero didn't deserve forgiveness. I need him to grovel more. Sigh - so I've broken my pair up so many times, it's a wonder they're even speaking. now i need to come up with something to make their world right again - something better than I'd already come up with. Of course, i'd have forgiven the guy in a heart beat - but readers demand more!!
And dare I say - I've never seen Buffy!! Now I wish I had.

Cassandra Dean said...

Heh, I'm so glad this was fortuitous for you, Barbara! Hopefully it will help with your hero's grovel - may I suggest pushing right to the edge, so he doesn't believe the heroine will forgive him and neither does the reader? Then, at the last second, she relents and he knows how very lucky he is she did so *sigh* LOVE those :)
Also, I cannot recommend Buffy enough, esp seasons 2 and 3 :)