Guest blog by Sharon Clare, author of Rhapsody
I’d like to thank Love Romance Passion for having me as a guest today.
I’ve had the pleasure of attending a couple Donald Maass workshops, and if I were to sum his message up in one word, it would be conflict.
Conflict deepens characters, enriches plots and increases pace. All the better when external conflict forces characters to deal with their internal conflicts. In my paranormal novella, Rhapsody, the heroine Isabelle struggles with an internal conflict that makes it difficult for her to solve the story problem. Sorry, Isabelle, but Donald Maass insisted I make your problems worse.
Isabelle vowed to work on a 12-step relationship rescue program during a tropical vacation. She agreed to the program requirements—sexual abstinence until she completes the course and determines why she dates the wrong men. But Isabelle may not be able to keep her vow if she plans to see the real world again. When Serenity Resorts disappears, she is caught in a Elvin game of seduction, a game she must play with a man who’s toxic to her relationship recovery.
Characters are people too, so when under stress Isabelle does what many heroines may do—she denies the unexplainable. Here’s an excerpt in Isabelle’s point of view as she tries rationalize both an internal and external conflict by believing the game that has suddenly appeared on the beach is a resort hoax:
Games were part of the resort culture. Didn’t it just figure that one of the event coordinators would arrange a seduction game? The tropical resort was a breeding ground for love affairs if one was so inclined. I’m not inclined.
On the other hand, she couldn’t deny that playing a game to stir up this opponent had crazy appeal. It would be nothing more than a game. A little arousal didn’t mean serving up her heart on a platter for goodness sakes. “Could you read a few more details? How does this game work?”
Jonathan’s eyes widened and fixed on her like a probe. “You’ve been complaining to someone at the resort because whoever orchestrated this game has insight into your personal life.” His gaze returned to the instructions in his hand as he read from the page. “Isabelle, you have chosen not to embrace passion. You deny yourself pleasures because of self–imposed boundaries. You shall learn to love your body, so your insecurities don’t limit your fulfillment.”
Humiliation rose to her cheeks in a heat wave. Deny herself pleasures? One year of abstinence was information she’d certainly not shared with strangers at the resort. Men loved her sex-kitten body, but as far back as high school she had learned big boobs were not an asset. Just once, she wished to meet a man more intrigued by her values or her interests or her aspirations instead of her body. “You’re making that up.”
“Read for yourself.”
She snatched the paper from his hand and read the paragraph. “Well it’s not true. I am passionate for the things that matter to me. I value a healthy body, so I eat properly and exercise. I don’t see how that translates to my not loving my body, and to suggest I have a deep-seated insecurity is just not fair.”
He shifted slightly toward her and looked her in the eye. “You have a beautiful body, Isabelle, and I’d love to learn more about the things that make you passionate.”
A comeback almost left her lips, but then she read the next paragraph and a soft snort escaped instead.
Unfortunately for Isabelle, the conflicts coming her way are only just beginning. Before the end of the game, she’ll be forced to face truths about herself, about Jonathan, about the laws of physics. All in good fun!
As a thank you for reading my words today, I’d love to offer one randomly selected commenter a small travel gift since Rhapsody takes place during a tropical vacation. Please leave your email address and if you’d like, please share a conflict that occurred during your travels!