Storytelling to Take Your Breath Away

storytellingAs I’m sure you know by now, this month our theme is “firsts”. I wanted to write about the first romance novel that made me say, “I want to do that!”

Naturally, there have been many novels since. Many, many. I often think about a book I loved after I read it to examine what about it touched me. Because those are the things I want to do.

That first book, though. It wasn’t a thoughtful examination. I didn’t know a thing about craft. I knew when I couldn’t put a book down. This particular book–Faking ItΒ by Jennifer Crusie–not only touched me, it also made me excited about storytelling.

There are spoilers from here on out, so fair warning.

Throughout the book, Matilda has difficulty achieving a climactic moment when she and Davy get intimate. (Don’t you love the classy way I phrased that? Don’t get used to it.) But, also throughout the book, Matilda is struggling very much to not be herself. She’s not comfortable in her own skin, she’s not comfortable with what her father convinced her to do (that was illegal, fraudulent, and,to her, immoral). And because she did this thing, she has to hide the thing she is most passionate about: her painting.

So, in the end, when Davy (who is a former con artist) sees the real Matilda (who did a bad thing) he likes it. And Matilda likes being Matilda. And bad. And not hiding what she is most passionate about.

When this happens, Matilda is able to become quite passionate. And finish up in an explosively hot way. (I told you not to get used to it.)

When I read that, after I finished fanning myself, I could see what Jennifer Crusie had done. She’d given us a physical, concrete way to see how deeply Matilda’s feelings were affecting her. And when Matilda resolved those issues? Wow, did we know.

Have any stories touched you in a memorable way?

EDIT: My mistake is your gain! I published this post with the wrong title and character names (but right plot, lol). To apologize for my error, I’m giving away a copy of Faking It on Kindle. I’ll chose from comments up until midnight tonight and post the winner in the comments tomorrow.

About Lori Sizemore

Lover of nail polish, pens, her Kindle, and fresh coffee. She likes romance filled with messy, real characters and lots of snarky banter. Reading was (and still is!) her BFF; when she discovered writing she fell in love. Sassy humor for the heart, captivating contemporary romance for the soul.
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16 Responses to Storytelling to Take Your Breath Away

  1. Jennifer Shirk says:

    Great example, Lori!! The first book I read that made me say, “I want to do that!” was SEP’s Nobody’s Baby but Mine. I think I actually was laughing/crying at the same time while reading it.

  2. Bethanne says:

    Nobody’s Baby But Mine was my first revelation as well. My first romance, actually. But it was a little later that I was inspired to write a story. πŸ™‚ The only book I can think of is Trixie Belden. She made me want to write her “grown up” story. That’s how my first ms came about.

    As a matter of fact, Unwanted Vows used to be number three in that series…and if you know Trixie Belden, you can see a few similarities. Morgan being the youngest brother character. πŸ˜€

  3. Jennifer, anything by Susan Elizabeth Phillips for me, too. I just hadn’t discovered her, yet.

    Bethanne, that’s seriously awesome. If you need a beta of that, give me a yell. πŸ˜€

  4. Great post. I think I started writing after reading Anne Tyler. She doesn’t write romance, but it’s amazing how real her characters become. I was also reading Anne Lamott’s non-fiction stuff. I think she made me want to write more honestly. Maybe I should dedicate my next book to all the Annes of the world. πŸ˜‰

  5. Nina Croft says:

    I love Jennifer Cruisie and SEP!
    But I think the first book that really made me think it would be wonderful to write was Dune by Frank Herbert. To have the ability to create whole new worlds!

  6. I can’t remember the name of it…but it was a Harlequin Historical and my aunt pointed out that my Native American ancestors were mentioned in the book. I was hooked. I had already wondered about the story of those specific ancestors and my imagination went wild. One of these days I’d like to find the time to finish the story. *sigh* Love your post, Miss Lori!

  7. Pingback: The First Time…

  8. Sutton Fox says:

    Mine came about more as a dare than inspiration. I won’t say the title because now that I’ve written a novel, I have a better idea how hard it is. And I won’t slam anyone’s story. But it was a wallbanger moment with me grumbling, ‘I can’t believe she wrote that.’ And my significant other looking directly at me saying, ‘If you think you can do it better, then do it.’ With me looking back at him saying, ‘You really think I could do it?’ Good man that he is, he didn’t hesitate when he said, ‘Of course.’

    Excellent post, Lori. I’m off to see if I can get Bet Me on my Kindle. Thanks!

    • Oh my gosh, it just hit me. It wasn’t Bet Me (which is also quite good). It was Faking It.

      And I would’ve realized that if I’d just looked on my bookshelf because my husband bought me a first edition hardcover because it inspired me so much.

      So embarrassed. I’m so embarrassed that I’ll buy it on Kindle for one of today’s commenters! Seriously, you have until midnight tonight. I’ll pick a winner in the morning.

    • Bethanne says:

      Wonderful, Sutton! πŸ˜€

  9. I’ve been lost in romance fiction since I was in middle school and haven’t looked back (OMG…Barbara Cartland anyone?) I think I devoured two or three of those books a week back then. I know they made my young heart beat and I remember thinking how wonderful it must be to transport people to other times and places with your words. I was hooked.
    What a great post.

  10. Deb, my grandmother loved romance novels. She devoured them. I would take her to the library (once I got my license) and she would trade the librarian 50 books for 50 of the books that got donated to sell.

    Growing up, I read lots of romances because I read so quickly (and so enthusiastically, lol) that I could only read what my family left laying around.

  11. Yay, David! You just won the wonderful novel Faking It for Kindle. I’ll email you your prize tomorrow. πŸ™‚

  12. Jackie Castellano says:

    Looks like I might just have to read this when I am done with Pat Summitt’s book. Yes, I am even reading a basketball book. I am that big of a basketball nerd.

  13. Moira says:

    Well, I must say that I can’t remember the books that made me want to write, as I’ve been writing on and off since I was younger. But the books that probably had me pushing for publication were any of the books by Vicki Pettersson, Laurell K Hamilton, JD Robb, Iris Johansen, well the list goes on really. But you ladies mention a whole lot of awesomeness up there. The one SEP book that I’ve never forgotten was my first read of hers, Natural Born Charmer. Loved that book.

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