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"Chloe Harris" really is the pseudonym for two writers, Noelle and Barbra, who've joined forces to write intriguing and sexy stories. A quintessential eccentric southerner, Noelle seems to find a story in almost everything. Ever ambitious to change her stars, she has a degree in Communications. Barbra lives together with her cat ('Princess Mimi'), who isn't very happy that she is spending so much time on writing. But this folly of the living can opener with opposable thumbs is mostly tolerated.

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Thursday, November 1, 2007


Using the Oldest Motivations in the Book to Find Not Who Done It, But Why
By Noelle Henderson

So you’re plotting a romantic suspense or something else with a significant external plot and you’ve got a great story, a marvelous hero, the perfect heroine and you know who done it but you just don’t know why. What now?

Ecclesiastes 1:9-14 says “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun” That is absolutely true especially in writing romance. All you can do is put a new voice to it or find a new twist.

If you’re stuck trying to find motivation for your villain, why not try going back to basics and look toward the seven deadly sins which are, as I’m sure you know, Lust (excessive sexual appetites), Gluttony (over-indulgence), Greed (avarice), Sloth (idleness), Wrath (anger), Envy (jealousy) and Pride (vanity).

Let’s take the scenario of a man killing his wife’s lover. Why did he do it? Suppose he kills him out of Lust - The Man lusted after his own wife and killed the lover in hopes of bringing her back to his bed. Then there is Greed- She’d planned to leave him for the lover and he didn’t want to have to pay her alimony. Or simply he was too greedy to share her. A less obvious one would be Sloth- He kills the lover in secret because he’s too lazy to confront them.

You can always put a twist on some of the more obvious ones like Wrath – The lover was Jewish or Black and the husband was secretly a neo-Nazi or maybe he hated himself because he wasn’t enough for his wife. Or Envy- This could be very obvious so maybe he was envious because he’d wanted him for his own lover. Or he was envious they had a better relationship than he and his mistress did. Or it could have been just a matter of Pride – He was too proud for his friends or neighbors to know he’d failed at his marriage. Or what about Gluttony? Well, that’s a tricky one. Now that you have the idea maybe you can find a gluttonous motivation.

Of course it can always be a combination of any of the above. But see what I mean? Take your Who (villain) and the What (crime) and look at them in terms of the oldest vices known to man and I’m sure you’ll find the Why.

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