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Anonymous

Hi Carolyn,
Thanks so much for posting. I think that Richard and Sarah sound very likable will be easy for readers to root for. I have a couple of questions: Sarah wants to travel, etc. Is there a trip she could want to take (maybe to Europe, which would be part of her doctoral work) which is the illustrates her success? Aside from falling in love, is there something else Richard wants? He’s a banker, maybe his bank holds the loan on the family farm, which will come due and he plans to sell the land to developers and then, retire himself. Or maybe his ex-wife holds the lean on the land, she plans to sell, and Richard has to decide if he’s more loyal to Sarah or his ex-wife. (It’ll be Sarah, of course.) But then, he has to out-maneuver his ex-wife, which will ostracize him from his past life. (And please don’t feel like you have to adopt either of my ideas, I’m just giving you examples of conflict to introduce that’ll give your characters and story more depth)
While both characters are incredibly sympathetic, which is great for you, I wonder if there’s enough of a conflict for a novel or even novella. Try to think of something each person wants that either puts them at odds or forces them to work together to attain that goal.
Let me know if you have any questions.
Jen

I’ve answered the questions for my work in progress – this is a parallel lives romance novel. The main character, Sarah, experiences relationships with two men in two parallel times. Richard is the first.
¬ Who are they?
Sarah is a 26 year-old girl from a small provincial area. She chose to return there three years earlier to support her father and help run the family farm after the sudden death of her mother in a car accident. Previously a university student, she had just completed her masters in history and was on track to do her PhD, but put that on hold for her family. She is bored and feels her life is going nowhere and realises she is not needed on the farm any more. Sarah is confident, direct and down-to-earth and inclined to be impulsive
Richard is a 43 year-old wealthy merchant banker. He grew up the son of a single mother without much in the way of material things, but worked his way up through brains and an astute study of the people he aspired to be like. Married young to the daughter of an influential business man, they did so because that was expected of them. He was young and let it happen, but it wasn’t a love match. Although they remain friends they divorced by mutual agreement five years earlier. He has two teenage daughters. Since then, although he wouldn’t admit it, Richard has been lonely. He mixes with a snobby wealthy elite, but finds them tedious as he is not truly like them at heart. He can be seen as intimidating by those who don’t know him, and doesn’t suffer fools.
¬ What changes?
Sarah goes to stay with her friend in Wellington. She is invited to a party at her friend’s sister’s new place. The sister is wealthy, married to an up-an-coming banker, who works for Richard. The party is very upmarket but Sarah and her friend know they won’t enjoy the guests but figure they’ll enjoy the food and champagne. Richard goes to the party as he feels he must attend but is as always bored with the same old social scene. He sees Sarah and decides to find out who she is. Sparks fly between these two people who are quite similar in personality although far apart in age.
¬ What do they want?
Sarah wants a life where she can pursue the things she loves, travel, have excitement and perhaps meet someone interesting. Richard wants a love match rather than the almost arranged marriage that he left behind.
¬ Why do they want it?
Sarah feels life has been passing her by for the past three years and that now she has done right by her family she can leave and live her dreams without feeling guilty. Richard wants someone he can be himself with, the man behind the hard-nosed businessman image, be playful rather than serious, be a little impetuous rather than conservative.

Goal statement for the sex scene
Sarah sees sex with Richard as an intriguing prospect. He’s good-looking, athletic, and she is attracted by his intelligence. She’s enjoyed sparring with him in conversation. She sees him as different to the farm boys and students of her own age she has known so far. Her impulsiveness tempts her to have sex with him on their first date, but she doesn’t take the opening to that when he provides it, unsure if it’s a good idea, and a little taken aback by her own lust. However, on their next date she gives in to that and her curiosity (given he is so much older).

Richard is captivated with her. He finds her physically attractive but it’s more than that. He hasn’t had women who challenged him, or said no to him. Because of his money and power he’s had no shortage of women wanting to bed him, but he’s found most of them unsatisfying, no depth to them. She is so different and he’s a little bit in love with her already. He wants to have sex with Sarah because the thought of this feisty, wild woman wanting to sleep with him is very arousing. In the back of his mind he’s hoping that a loving relationship will grow.

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