How to Write About Mr. Right–And Mr. Wrong

What do you do when you are asked to write for a specific magazine, newspaper or website? Or when you set a goal to writing for a new venue?

Follow the form. That means that you have to follow the style of the publication.

I had this challenge when asked to write for Fresh Fiction Blog. First, I read through the site, which features a lot of romance novels. Not exactly my style, but I thought, hey, why not? So I wrote an essay about writing about Mr. Right and Mr. Wrong.

Our style is uniquely our own, of course. I am not saying to write like someone else. But I am saying that if we want to get published in a specific place, we need to match that style. It is like following a dress code. We wouldn’t wear a prom dress to compete on “Survivor.”

So here’s the essay from Fresh Fiction:

My novel, A REMARKABLE KINDNESS, tells the intertwined love stories of four American women who, for various reasons, all wind up in a small beach village in Northern Israel. I knew that this faraway, rugged place would be the perfect setting for this novel which explores completely unpredictable loves romance and passion.

There’s nothing like a good romance to get your heart beating really fast. In real life as well as in books, who can resist a love story? I especially like love stories in which two people who are not meant to be together overcome all odds and follow their secret dreams— and their passion.

In fact, each of the four unique women in A REMARKABLE KINDNESS finds an interesting twist on Mr. Right. Emily, for example, is an artist from Charleston, West Virginia, who lands in Israel after her first husband dumps her for a “thinner woman with legs like stilts.” After a time, she falls in love with someone who is Romeo to her Juliet. Not only are their families at war; in Emily’s case, she and her true love are from different sides of a serious conflict. This would make for great fiction! As Emily confides in her best friend, Lauren, “What happens if Mr. Wrong really is Mr. Right?”

I decided to give her best friend, Lauren, a different challenge. She’s a maternity nurse who fell in love with the perfect guy—a doctor. The catch for Mr. Right? He wants to move back to the Israeli village where he grew up and Lauren is a diehard Bostonian. Lauren is faced with a tricky dilemma: how far do we move for someone we love? Should we step out of our safety zone and travel halfway around the world? How far would you go? How much would you sacrifice? These are important questions I wanted to write about.

To prepare for writing my novel, I re-read two favorite romance novels of all time: Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre. No matter how many times I’ve read both books, I still feel on edge with suspense leading up to when Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy finally confess their love for each other. And I can’t sit still until Mr. Rochester declares his unbridled passion for Jane Eyre. . .

Part of what makes reading about love so special is because we become so involved with the story, we just can’t wait another moment for it to resolve itself. Well, writing is the same way! While writing the love story of Rachel, a recent college graduate, I found she was hesitant about falling head over heels with a very special young Mr. Right. As the author, I wanted her to speed things up a bit. But I’ve learned that characters (like our friends, husbands, parents or children!) need to move at their own pace.

Writing is like passion. It is about letting go. . . And the best part of writing this novel is the startling moments when the characters became so real that they ended up doing things that even surprised me!

P.S. Reviews for A REMARKABLE KINDNESS have been great. If you’d like me to speak via Skype to your book club, please let me know.

About dianabletter

Diana Bletter is the author of several books, including The Invisible Thread: A Portrait of Jewish American Women (with photographs by Lori Grinker), shortlisted for a National Jewish Book Award. Her novel, A Remarkable Kindness, (HarperCollins) was published in 2015. She is the First Prize Winner of Moment Magazine's 2019 Fiction Contest. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, tabletmag, Glamour, The Forward, The North American Review, Times of Israel, and is a reporter for Israel21C, and many other publications. She is author of Big Up Yourself: It's About Time You Like Being You and The Mom Who Took off On Her Motorcycle, a memoir of her 10,000-mile motorcycle trip to Alaska and back to New York. She lives in a small beach village in Western Galilee, Israel, with her husband and family. She is a member of the local hevra kadisha, the burial circle, and a Muslim-Jewish-Christian-Druze women's group in the nearby town of Akko. And, she likes snowboarding and climbing trees.
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1 Response to How to Write About Mr. Right–And Mr. Wrong

  1. Rhonda says:

    Very, very, very provocative piece Diana. I’ve returned to this several times…

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