I began my book Someday In Dublin with an entire chapter full of flirting. Eyes meet across a crowded pub, slide away, slide back again. Those same eyes look over a pint at her as she smooths her hair behind her ear and pretends to be reading. They play this game of moves and counter-moves for nearly the entire first chapter until one of them straps on a set of balls and makes the first official move.
I love writing scenes like that, because I love dramatic tension, and let’s face it – flirting with someone who caught your eye is a tense thing. Will they respond? Do I look foolish? Am I coming on too strong? Not strongly enough? So many unknowns, so many potential outcomes…it’s all just delicious to put into print.
Right now, however, I have to go the other direction. Since I’m writing a four-part series, I have decided to introduce a few of the characters from upcoming books in the first book, but keep them low-key. In one scene, I have a guy and a girl riding in a truck together. The guy is from book three, and the girl is book four, and they don’t fall in love with each other, ever.
So I have to find a way for them to interact in a warm and friendly way but keep it platonic, because the readers are going to automatically pair these two together in their mind. Hey, it’s romance and they’re both attractive people. It’s only natural on the part of the reader. So I make them both loners, and aside from a short, sympathetic exchange, they’re left to their own thoughts and finish the ride in silence.
There’s an art to flirting (in real life and in print) and if it’s done successfully….magic!
And sex. Lots of eventual hot, steamy sex. At least, in my universe.
I love flirting–the tension, the possibilities, the uncertainty. It’s difficult to pull off in a romance novel because when the girl meets the hot guy, you’re sure they’re going to end up together. But it’s much more satisfying to me when my expectations are shattered.
I like to shake it up. I had a very seductive flirt scene in Changeling, and blew it out of the water by having the girl laugh in his face. Of course, he got to her more than she let on….but that was the fun of it. He got his ego smacked and she got food for thought.
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