Alyssa Alexander on Relationships

On February 14, 2015, CCWA will be offering a workshop on Writing About Relationships: The Tricky Bits.  Alyssa Alexander will be presenting “The 12 Steps of Intimacy…Modified.” In advance, we asked for her take on relationships:

What do you find most difficult when writing about relationships and intimacy between characters?

Alyssa: Avoiding cliches! I try to make each relationship and each moment new and unique to the characters and their arc, rather than falling back on formula or catchphrases, whether it’s romance or any other relationship.

Do you create a backstory for each secondary character that involves how they relate to and feel about the protagonist?

Alyssa: Alas, no. I’m a pantser (write by the seat of my pants), so I often don’t know a character’s arc until the book is almost finished. Then I go back and shore it up, once I’ve learned what happens in the end. It’s messy and not a pretty process, but I decided long ago not to fight it.

How is writing a love relationship between hero and heroine different than other types of relationships?

Alyssa: It’s not different at all. The interactions might be different, but the core is the same. Relationships are about emotion, intimacy, understanding and how each person’s wants, needs and baggage fit with the other person’s. Whether that’s a love relationship, two co-workers, enemies or a father and son, the basics of humanity mean at the most elemental level, we all want to make connections. It’s the little puzzle pieces that make it interesting.

We hope you’ll join Alyssa Alexander, Malea Powell, Isabelle Drake and Diana Stout on February 14! Click here to register!
Alyssa AlexanderDespite being a native Michigander, Alyssa Alexander is pretty certain she belongs somewhere sunny. And tropical. Where drinks are served with little paper umbrellas. But until she moves to those white sandy beaches, she survives the cold Michigan winters by penning romance novels that always include a bit of adventure. She lives with her own set of heroes, aka an ever-patient husband who doesn’t mind using a laundry basket for a closet, and a small boy who wears a knight in a shining armor costume for such tasks as scrubbing potatoes.