When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
I’ve always liked that saying. Lemonade is a summer favorite of mine, so the thought of turning something so sour into something so tasty always makes me happy.
But is life really that way? Truthfully, not always. Even though I’m a bit of a Pollyanna who tries to make the best out of every situation, I can admit that sometimes things are just…sour lemons and there’s not enough sugar in the world to fix it.
One of the things I have always struggled with as a writer is that I tend to make things too easy for my characters. Especially in the beginning, I ended up writing what I like to call “cardboard” characters. The hero was the perfect guy with few flaws. The heroine might face a tough time, but it was easily resolved.
These days, I tend to be a little tougher on my fictional friends.
While I’m admittedly a fan of the “happily ever after” ending for my books (because who doesn’t like that?), I know that in real life some things just don’t work out the way we want them to.
Last week on Facebook, one of my friends took an informal poll, asking people to post in one word what their biggest stress currently is. The answers varied, but there were some clear winners: health, money, career, family, relationships…it mainly boiled down to those.
It got me to thinking about my book characters. Should I be harder on them? Should I give them some problems that they just aren’t able to resolve? Because let’s face it, that’s the way life works. At some point or another, we’re all going to face issues that won’t be easy and sometimes they won’t have a happy resolution.
I’m working on my first full length Arcadia Valley romance now—On Board for Romance releases in July. And I’ll share with you that it is a little tempting to make life pretty tough for Riley and Blake. After all, the course of true love never did run smooth! But in the end, I just can’t help myself…my writing style is more lighthearted than it is tragic because at the end of the day that is the kind of story I like to read. So while Riley and Blake still have to deal with some obstacles in their lives and relationships…we get to see those things resolve through the course of the book.
Life is full of drama. Full of disappointment. Full of hurts that don’t always go away.
I (and hopefully you) rely on God, family, and friends to get me through those times. As for my characters…they will still face obstacles. They will still have bad days.
But their lemons will become sweet lemonade and hopefully my readers will come away uplifted and happy to have gone on the journey.
How about you? Do you prefer lighthearted romance? Or do you like reading things that are a little more tragic? The kind of book that makes you laugh? The kind that makes you cry? Or somewhere in between?
I’d love to know!