Summer is here, and today I’m sharing a few thoughts on using details to spice up your summer romances.
Close your eyes and imagine yourself at the beach. The ocean waves are rolling into shore… you feel the sun on your skin and the warm, gritty sand beneath your toes… the air smells like salt water mixed with coconut suntan lotion… You open your eyes and see a tanned hunk standing in front of you. A bead of sweat drips down his six-pack abs….
Did it feel like you were on the beach? Could you sense everything happening around you? Good, because conveying sensory details to readers is an excellent way to draw them into the book and make them part of the action.
More than anything, readers want to get inside the story, feel what the characters are feeling, and live vicariously in the world the author has created. When writing a summer romance, authors can make the most of sensory details to bring the story alive.
An author can (and should) explore all the details of a scene to give the reader the experience of “being there.” Here are a few examples of how you can bring everyday surroundings to life and enhance the senses:
What’s the weather? What time of day have you set your scene? Early morning sunrise? In the blazing afternoon heat? A cool summer night? Does a sudden thunderstorm send everyone at the baseball game running for cover?
Liven it up with color! Summer colors are usually bold and bright. Describe your heroine’s hot pink bathing suit, the hero’s cherry red convertible, or the vibrant turquoise beach towel they make love on…
Add some flavor: The sense of taste is usually hard to work into a romance, but you can get inventive. When the characters kiss, what do they taste? Zingy lemonade? Beer? Mint chip ice cream? Spicy BBQ? Does she taste like the strawberries she’s just eaten?
The sounds of summer: People spend lots of time outdoors in the summer, so what do your characters hear in the background? People talking? Kids yelling and playing games? Splashing in a lake or a pool? Carnival-ride sounds from a boardwalk? Sea gulls calling? Lawn mowers buzzing?
Look around: What do your characters see or notice as they go through a scene? Fireflies? Bees buzzing around flowers? A tattoo peeking out from under a bathing suit? Her long legs? Are people watching them kiss on the beach?
Breathe deep: The sense of smell isn’t always crucial to a romance, but having your character follow his nose to the smell of burgers on the grill or relaxing in the comforting smell of smoke from a campfire can enhance a scene. Maybe your heroine is turned on (or off!) by the scent of suntan lotion. Don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers. Flowers are blooming all summer, and your heroine can be an avid gardener who loves the scent of roses, while your hero has allergies!
Reach out and touch: Summer is a great time of year for your main characters to touch each other. Explore the feel of a shirt stuck to her body, sweat trickling down his back, the brisk coolness of walking into an air conditioned room, jumping into a cold lake, what it feels like to touch the other person’s hot, sweaty skin…
Authors can work “summer details” into a romance in countless ways. In Trust with Hearts, I had the hero and heroine have sex in his car after going to a drive-in—and get busted by the cops! I also had Curtis rescue Sherrie when she got overheated while gardening. He was worried she had heat stroke and brought her inside to cool down. (And that’s when they shared a kiss!)
My summer paranormal romance, Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover, is set at the beach. I used a variety of details to describe the hero’s obsession with the sun, sand, and surf (or as he put it: wax, water, and waves). I contrasted that with details of being with the vampire heroine at night (moonlight reflecting off the ocean, making love on the deserted beach, and swimming at night). By enhancing the details, I showed how Brian and Cassie lived in completely different worlds (literally, night and day!) and still found summer love.
The next time you read a summer romance, pay closer attention to the little details the author has added. Notice how they draw you deeper into the world of the characters and the story. And don’t we all want to get swept away into another world for a while?
Whether you’re writing a summer romance, or losing yourself in one on a lazy afternoon, enjoy the rest of the summer!
Kelli A. Wilkins
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 95 short stories, 19 romance novels, and 5 non-fiction books.
Her newest book, You Can Write—Really! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction was released in spring 2015. This fun and informative non-fiction guide is based on her 15 years of experience as a writer, and is available exclusively on Amazon.
Kelli published three romances in 2014: Dangerous Indenture (a spicy historical/mystery), Wilderness Bride (a tender historical/Western/adventure), and A Secret Match (a gay contemporary set in the world of professional wrestling). Her romances span many genres and heat levels and yet she’s also been known to scare readers with a horror story. In 2014, her horror fiction appeared in Moon Shadows, Wrapped in White, and Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine.
Kelli posts on her Facebook author page https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins and Twitter: http://www.Twitter.com/@KWilkinsauthor. She also writes a weekly blog: http://kelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.com/. Visit her website, www.KelliWilkins.com to learn more about all of her writings, read excerpts, reviews, and more. Readers can sign up for her newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/HVQqb.
Here are a few links to find Kelli & her writings on the web:
Newsletter sign-up: http://eepurl.com/HVQqb
Amber Quill Press Author page: http://www.amberquill.com/store/m/149-Kelli-A-Wilkins.aspx