Whispering sweet nothings

Whilst tender pillow-talk has its place, all the concerns, heartache, soul-searching and nerves that are part and parcel of forming a new relationship must be reflected in the dialogue.

If every conversation is dripping with sugary sweet declarations of love, it will not only sound unrealistic but also be utterly boring. In order to convey heightened sexual attraction between two characters, there must be an element of tension in the dialogue.

In novelist Patricia Burns' First World War saga, Cinnamon Alley, heroine Poppy Powers meets and falls for American serviceman, Scott Warrender. To complicate matters, she is already being ardently pursued by veteran Joe Chaplin.

The following short extract leaves the reader in no doubt about her feelings towards the two men:

Then Scott gave her a brief hug and let her go. 'I guess I better let you get back to work. But I'll be watching you, mind. I'll be watching every move you make.'

When Joe said things like that it irritated her. From Scott, it made her feel cared for and secure.

(Cinnamon Alley, Patricia Burns, Arrow Books)

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