When I began writing, I told myself and anyone else who would listen, that I wanted my books to have more than good, entertaining stories. I wanted them to tell readers something they didn’t know.
The heroine in my first book, A Kiss of Cabernet, was a vineyard manager. As the romance developed, the reader also learned about what’s involved in growing grapes sold to wineries. In A Touch of Chardonnay, the heroine evaluates old buildings for historical significance. The reader learns as she goes about her business.
In evaluating my own books—19 of them now—I’ve changed my goal. I still want an educational tidbit here and there, but I also want pith and profundity.
So what the heck are pith and profundity?
Pith means essence, or core. A “pithy comment” according to several dictionaries is one that is concise and meaningful in expression. A profound comment is one of intellectual or emotional depth.
Does a romance need deep thoughts and memorable utterances? I think the best ones do. They have characters who occasionally make statements that make you think and consider and evaluate. Here are a few of the more famous ones from romance novels.
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” — Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
“Anyone who ever gave you confidence, you owe them a lot.”—Truman Capote, Breakfast at Tiffanys
“Do I love you? My God, if your love were a grain of sand, mine would be a universe of beaches.” —William Goldman, The Princess Bride
And my favorite (not from a romance novel):
“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” — Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince
When my story is complete, my character arcs are developed, and I’ve done a final polish I can go back to my work in progress and find places where my characters can search their souls for emotional depth. Will I be successful?
Probably not, but I can try.
What about you. Do you want light entertainment or emotional depth and memorable statements?
You can find me in these places, but I now have a warning. Someone cloned my Facebook page, so don’t accept any messages or friend requests from someone posing as me. You’ll be able to tell if it’s the real one or not.