Time to share some important writing lessons I've learned from reading great books! This time it's all about Captured by Love, by Jody Hedlund.
It is 1814 and the British have taken hold of Mackinac Island and its fort. American residents were forced to swear an oath of loyalty to the British crown in order to retain their land. Pierre Durant is a voyageur--a fur trader who left his family home to find freedom and adventure. He's been gone five years and when he returns, his family's farm is at the mercy of the British invaders.
Torn between the life he's grown used to and guilt over leaving his brother and mother, he's drawn back into the loyalist fight against the British--and into a relationship with Angelique MacKenzie, a beautiful local girl who's been befriended by the daughter of the British commander. As tensions mount and the threat of violence increases, both Angelique and Pierre must decide where their loyalties rest, how far they will go to find freedom, and how much they will risk to find love.
Warning: if you haven't yet read Captured by Love, and don't want to know any plot points, read no further!
- Open with intriguing action: The novel opens with Angelique on the run. She's barefoot, at night. The reader is instantly curious. Where is this girl going? Why is she barefoot? Who's chasing her?
- Reveal character with early action: Angelique is running because she's sneaking coveted food to an ill friend. This shows bravery and kindness from the very beginning.
- Bring on the love triangle: I'm a sucker for love triangles. In this case, two brothers care for the same childhood friend. If one of them was a bad person, it would be easy to choose sides. But that's not the case. They're all likable. Tough choices are inevitable.
- Love interest isn't just a pretty face: Too often romance novels feature a hunky love interest who's just eye candy without any depth. Not so in this story. Pierre is a nice person with conflicting loyalties. He's a double agent who's helping the Americans. His good character adds another layer to the love story because it's not just about love. It's also about duty and country.
- Create an anchor: Pierre is a young man who wishes to come and go as he pleases. But now he has an obligation at home--his ailing mother and her decrepit farm. This binds him to the island long enough to fall in love.
- Tighten the noose: Hedlund does a great job of creating several ticking clocks for Pierre and Angelique. The oncoming winter, when Pierre must leave to do his work. The threat of an American invasion of the island. The imminent arrival of Pierre's brother, Angelique's fiancee. These multiple ticking clocks add tension throughout the book.
I love Hedlund's books, and Captured by Love was no exception.
What do you think of these writing lessons? Have you tried any of them yourself? Do you like reading historical inspirational romance?
The second point is her 'Save the Cat' moment.ReplyDelete
Alex, exactly! Jody Hedlund is so good at these natural save the cat moments. I need to get better at weaving them in organically.Delete
I always love your writing lessons :)ReplyDelete
Thanks, Marcy! Might as well learn great lessons while I'm enjoying a wonderful book :)Delete
Ooh, two brothers who are both nice guys. Touch one, which makes for great tension.ReplyDelete
Writing lessons are always welcome for me!
Sheri, isn't that a great twist? It's not like one brother was good and the other evil, making her choice easy. They both had wonderful qualities.Delete
I don't read this type of story but it sounds good. And I agree, the beginning really makes us curious.ReplyDelete
I like your list and how you used a novel to illustrate it.ReplyDelete
I love a good love triangle too! And yes, tighten the noose, up the stakes, make your characters step into the sh@t and keep on walking.ReplyDelete
Strong post :)ReplyDelete
I haven't read that one yet - adding it to the list!!ReplyDelete
Great lessons!!! And I LOVE historical romance… love. It's what I first read when I became a reader, LOL… I've always wanted to write it… we'll see! :)ReplyDelete
I always love your writing lessons posts.ReplyDelete
I've followed Jody's blog for years, this looks like a great book!ReplyDelete
What an interesting bit of history to build a story around. I liked your advice about the eye candy. So often all you read is how gorgeous a guy or gal is. That's nice, but there has to be more to hold my interest in the romance element.ReplyDelete
LOVE Jody's books. Ah, the ticking clock!ReplyDelete