As writer’s we know that every character has their own unique set of aspirations, goals and personality. But those exist within a larger context. Every generation has its own set of expectations, shaping experiences, relationship with technology and ways of interacting that are norms among that cohort.
Marketers study these to hone messages to sell products and services. As authors we can use this information to shape realistic conflicts and build authentic multi-generational relationships among our characters. We’ll cover each of the generations living today—what experiences shaped them, what makes them unique, how their values conflict with other generations.
Jenna Grinstead is a whimsical Midwesterner with a penchant for magic and a deep desire for a world where the weird and different are embraced and celebrated.
She is a graduate of The Ohio State University where she studied journalism. She found a way to turn her imagination and creativity into a career in marketing, while writing contemporary romance, young adult and middle grade fiction. She often conducts workshops and speaks on writing, world-building, social media and marketing.
Jenna is a member of The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Central Ohio Fiction Writers, Romance Writer’s of America and Women’s Fiction Writers Association. Her young adult romance manuscripts have won several regional writing awards, including The Maggie and The Indiana Golden Opportunity.
When she’s not plotting her next story you can find her devouring novels and mint chocolate chip ice cream in her house with California Poppies painted across the garage.
Introduction of my characters’ relationship
Josie got out of bed and searched for her clothes. She found her muscle shirt and panties but the sweats and sports bra were missing in action. (Sure I could have said â€˜nakedâ€™, but I liked that the action implied that. This passage felt sexy to me) She shimmied into what she had, glanced at the picture of Lexi, Archerâ€™s dead wife, and then went looking for the man they shared. (This note creates an instant characterization of Archer as unafraid of commitment and Josie as a woman who honors his first love). She found him on the rooftop balcony, a perk of owning the building.
â€œMorning,â€ Josie walked up behind him and wound her arms around his waist. He was a big man; made her feel downright dainty. She loved the smell of his shirt. Starched and pressed by the man who wore it. (Archer is a guy who can fend for himself, something an independent woman would love. Josieâ€™s note about his size making her feel dainty, tells us that she is not a small woman and that she doesnâ€™t mind feeling feminine.)
â€œDonâ€™t move,â€ he commanded.
Josie didnâ€™t but only because she didnâ€™t want to. (Josie chooses to do what her lover asks.) She held her breath, loving the feel of him when he was excited by what he saw through his lens. His gut tightened beneath her hands. A solitary muscle rippled. Quick like a snake. A click. He sighed with satisfaction and stood up slowly, surveying the beach once more before turning around to kiss Josie. (To me, a detail is very telling. Her notice of the one muscle rippling speaks to how familiar Josie is with her loverâ€™s body.) She kissed him back just long enough for them both to be happy. (She cares about his needs). When she slipped out of his arms, he let her go. (He understands her.) No nonsense. No jealousy. No neediness. Respect. Affection. Comfort. Chemistry. It was the kind of relationship people who could take care of themselves did well. (Deep love in a nutshell).
Writing love scenes is as challenging as writing sex scenes. Sometimes they are one and the same, sometimes they arenâ€™t. The way to create successful, believable relationships between characters is to â€˜showâ€™ their reality and shade a your characterâ€™s lives with the extra notes that provide a background to the more prominent melody.
The end result of communicating a fabulous fictional relationship should seem effortless despite all your hand work â€“ just like real life love.
Happy Valentineâ€™s Day!
*Josie and Archer’s love has lived on for 4 books, the fifth is being written. I love lasting relationships!
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