Ally Blake Romance Author - Blog

Latest news from Australian romance author Ally Blake, writer of fun, fresh flirty romance novels.

Saturday 17 February 2007

between the sheets: motifs

I love a good motif. I never set out to have them in my books, they just seem to evolve out of thin air. And I don't even know that they will be motifs until suddenly they are!

I’m sure it was Trish Morey who recently said on a loop somewhere (and I’m sure she won’t mind me quoting her here) that she loves it when those lines or moments appear at the begining of a book and you have no idea what they mean, or what they will allude to later on, and suddenly when you’re three quarters of the way through the book you realize that that one moment, that one line has such an important resonance it could almost be the fulcrum from which the whole book balances!

Or words to that effect ;).

For me a motif that has come into its own today. Henry V. Yes, Shakespeare’s Henry V. And yes this is a contemporary novel. Of 50,000 words. And in the middle of nowhere a couple of weeks back I had my hero quote from it accidentally.

Or perhaps I should say I quoted it accidentally.

'So how about we clap hands and a bargain.’ He held out his hand to seal the deal.

My heroine recognized the words immediately. Even before I did.

“Henry V,’ she blurted out, her eyes lighting up.

At that point I had to back up a step. And headed off the Google land to check that I had any clue that was the correct reference. And what do you know what? It was. Yay me! It comes from the proposal scene near the end of the play. I love this play. Adore it. Kenneth Branagh’s film would have to be one of my favourites. And the proposal scene is a delight. It's hilariously funny (especailly after coming directly after so much heartache and pain and blood and gore and loss in the great battle scene) and sooooo moving.

Now, from that one accidental quote I have since discovered that:

My heroine has a double English lit major

My hero’s house has a massive library that he loved trawling as a kid (mostly because he loved pushing himself around on the ten foot ladder on wheels mind you ;))

And while rediscovering the library today Hud stumbled upon a copy of Henry V and while reading the proposal scene he discovered amazing things about himself, his place in the world, and what he has to offer a woman

I can already see how this motif can play through the rest of the book – lightly, gently, sometimes in ways that nobody may even notice bar me, but I can even see how it will make an appearance towards the end of my own book.

Kissing a Fool, the George Michael song is still beautifully evocative for the feel of the book, but the title no longer resonates. I feel like I need a line from that scene to lock it all into place. Even though the title WILL change if the book is bought, I need to have a working title that takes me directly to the heart of the book.

Some ideas floating around in my head:

Rhyme and Reason (not quite magical enough)

Canst thou love me?

Take Me, Take a Bachelor (a modern spin on a line I can feel is going to be important later in the book)

Broken Music (pretty huh?)

The Voyager and the Mermaid (nothing to do with Henry V though it has a lot to do with the story)

Watch this space for the winning title. And if you haven't see the movie - DO! And now. It came out before Braveheart, before Narnia, before Lord of the Rings, and to my mind the battle scenes in this movie are far superior (and much copied). And as Kendall says:

It’ll make you laugh, and cry, and your heart go pitter pat. And if it doesn’t, well then I fear you’re just not human.

For the journey of writing a Harlequin Romance from initial idea to 'the end', check out the whole Between the Sheets series

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