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annehart

How to write tag lines in novels to show healthy behavior and gestures

Adventures in my beloved medieval Alania and beyond.

Adventures in My Beloved Medieval Alania and Beyond: A Time-Travel Novel Set in the 10th Century Caucasus Mountains, by Anne Hart. Published January 29, 2009. Paperback historical time-travel novel.

 

This Medieval Princess in the Caucasus Mountains Seeks to Do Acts of Kindness

Here's an excerpt from my novel: My life adventure is resilience and to find a voice that resonates all of my confidence. Now in my youth just before I will become sixteen years of age, my confidence speaks all about lighting a wonderful brightness and walking out of the darkness of insatiable banalities. This is a time-travel adventure historical novel, not a romance. This novel features a traveling family walking from one homeland to another in the timorous 10th century.

 

With the renewal of spring, the world is repaired, and the gardens bloom in my magnificent Alania. I walk up steep hills and ride far to remember each intimate glimpse of blooms on trees and to listen as waterfalls whisper. We have come up here all the way from Sarkel to remain here in the mountains, close to my childhood home.

 

So you want to write tag lines to show behavior, gesture, and emotion in  your story or novel? You also can use tag lines to show mood, texture, and tone with words and imagery.

 

Here's how to write tag lines for believable romance novels that emphasize health not abuse, and compassionate behavior rather than unhealthy choices in life. The tag lines describe the dialogue, how the dialogue is meant to be experienced and perceived. Tag lines describe emotions, behavior, and gestures that speak the thoughts intended behind the dialogue. Tag lines make sure the dialogue is not empty or flat in tone, texture, and mood. An example would be the hero transcending past mistakes and moving on to healthier choices.

 

Tag lines portray eye, hand, or facial expressions and intent. Since in a novel you can't see pictures as you would in a play, comic book, or film, the tag lines help explain behavior so the reader can not only read between the lines and figure out the character's feelings, but also explain what the character means by the specific spoken words.

 

Writers of genre novels, including romance, romantic suspense, intrigue, romantic adventure, mainstream, historic romance, historic suspense or adventure, mystery, science fiction, adult, and all the other genres, playwrights, and biographers almost always ask how to write a tasteful, salable, and believable love scene.

 

When writing romance novels, in particular, the credibility of the love scene is important as the number of pages devoted to each love scene. In how many chapters would you place a love scene? Would you include love scenes at the beginning or at the end to make your book publishable? What do editors look for in love scenes? How do the characters drive the plot of the story through the love scenes? How many pages would you use in each chapter to describe romantic tension between two main characters in your book?

 

Writing the 14-page love scene in some romance novels using tag lines to show behavior and to make the words three-dimensional instead of flat. Tag lines keep the character's word from having another meaning from what you intend to for your character to say

 

Let’s work with the publishable romance novel and mainstream genre to see how the 14-page love scene is worked and re-worked with a goal of expanding the romantic tension and moving the characters forward so that they grow and change between the beginning and end of your novel, story, or play.

 

Put in a tag line with each paragraph that describes what each character does physically to show the emotion behind the gesture or stance. The tag line lends emotion or feeling to any objective act such as writing a list. While the person is carrying out the duty or job, he or she also is feeling a concealed emotion which is described in words by the tag line. Here are some examples of tag lines. You can also check out or browse this author's romance novel, The DNA Detectives: Working Against Time by Anne Hart, 2002.

The DNA detectives, working against time.
The DNA detectives, working against time. Anne Hart, novel.

Writing with tag Lines

 

Your first step is to write tag lines (lines of body gestures and emotions) before you describe any action or movement—what characters do as they work or live. Here’s an example of a tag line from this author's romantic suspense novel, The DNA Detectives: Working Against Time.

 

Here's how to write tag lines for believable and/or science fiction type of romance novels. Here's an example from my fictionalized science-oriented romance novel, The DNA Detectives: Working Against Time by Anne Hart, 2002.
Here's an excerpt from my novel: "His smiling face shone in her eyes, glossy with tears she tried to control. “I know how embarrassed you must be to barge in on a strange man in a medical school’s forensic DNA lab. What if your card is in my files just as my card is in your pocket?” He braided her emotions. She felt her knees cave, twisted feelings of trust and suspicion folding in on each other like the double helix of DNA."

 

Use tag lines when you want readers to experience what each character feels or to show the intended emotion, facial expression, gesture, or behavior

 

The tag lines are what make your romance novel salable. In other genres from mainstream to historical, adventure, time-travel, or science fiction, the tag lines also are used. It is a way of coloring your words to make them living structures based on showing instead of telling. When most editors are asked what makes a novel salable, usually they respond by reporting that believable tag lines are what they look for first in character-driven novels, regardless of genre.

 

In romance novel writing, tag lines can help a book to become character-driven instead of plot-driven. With mystery and thriller genres, characters may be more driven by the plot that unfolds and happens to them with speed and explosive velocity, but convincing tag lines are essential.

 

Keep your romance novels believable and your tag lines based on real emotions to which others can relate. The emphasis with romance-novel tag lines should be believability, commitment and universal values. When you write about peoples reactions to other people, keep it simple and universal—descriptions real enough that we all can experience and easily understand. Simplicity and commitment to real values make novels more salable.

 

Note how the tag lines insert emotion and passion or feelings and reactions to mundane work chores

 

In the sample below, two scientists are discussing the routine activities of their jobs, but the tag lines lend an ambiance of passion, emotion, or feeling that is concealed within.

Only the reader is able to get inside the mind of each character to know how they feel, even as they go about their routine work chores. In the example below, also from my novel, The DNA Detectives: Working Against Time, (page 33) the tag lines work to reinforce the attraction and pull.

 

Romantic tension is illustrated specifically by the tag lines. The novel becomes animated, vivid, and alive by showing instead of telling. Tag lines show the hidden emotions as the characters go about their usual work routine. Here in the example below, the reader is able to experience how each character reacts to one another in this romantic tension interplay.

 

Jim put his arm around her shoulders, and her heart slammed so hard into the wall of her chest that she thought she had premature ventricular contractions and should stop drinking caffeine-laced beverages and run from stress. Did he put his arm on my shoulder to dominate me as an act of one-upmanship, she thought? Or is he attracted to me? Please touch me, hold me, hug me, she prayed. I’m so desperately alone and scared.

 

She laved her hands over his corded calves working her way up his walls of muscle as he watched her groping at his thighs, delicious to her eyes. He pulled her against his chest and scrubbed her full lips with breathless kisses, grinding his tongue, teasing her closed eyelids, her earlobes. As she howled, his mouth drowned out the sound as he covered her mouth with his. Then he pulled away as footsteps approached his locked office door.

 

“Go ahead. You’ll have your privacy there. You make the first move. I understand.” She heard yearning building in his husky voice.

 

Tim knocked on the door. “I have to talk to you.”

 

Jim opened the door. And she finished closing the lid on the materials he gave her to work on. She turned as she was leaving the two in the office glaring at her.

 

Tim stopped her in flight with a heavy hand on her shoulder. “Wait a second, young lady.”

“I must have worked somewhere else, for a huge government laboratory or a manufacturer in the biotech industry here.”

 

“No, I overheard you on the intercom explain what you thought you might have done as a buyer. It sounds as if you’re a finder. You actually were locating oligonucleotides. You’d get them from commercial suppliers. Sit down and look up that word online. See whether it rings a bell.”

 

Your first step is to write tag lines (lines of body gestures and emotions) before you describe any action or movement—what characters do as they work or live. Here’s an example of a tag line from this author's romantic suspense novel, The DNA Detectives: Working Against Time.

 

"His smiling face shone in her eyes, glossy with tears she tried to control. “I know how embarrassed you must be to barge in on a strange man in a medical school’s forensic DNA lab. What if your card is in my files just as my card is in your pocket?” He braided her emotions. She felt her knees cave, twisted feelings of trust and suspicion folding in on each other like the double helix of DNA."

 

Note how the tag lines insert emotion and passion or feelings and reactions to mundane work chores. In the sample below, two scientists are discussing the routine activities of their jobs, but the tag lines lend an ambiance of passion, emotion, or feeling that is concealed within. Only the reader is able to get inside the mind of each character to know how they feel, even as they go about their routine work chores.

 

Tag lines can show behavior, gestures, emotion, mood, tone, and texture in dialogue, a story, a novel, or directions in a play or script

 

Writing the 14-page love scene in some romance novels using tag lines to show behavior and to make the words three-dimensional instead of flat. Tag lines keep the character's word from having another meaning from what you intend to for your character to say.
 

Let’s work with the publishable romance novel and mainstream genre to see how the 14-page love scene is worked and re-worked with a goal of expanding the romantic tension and moving the characters forward so that they grow and change between the beginning and end of your novel, story, or play.

 

Writers of genre novels, including romance, romantic suspense, intrigue, romantic adventure, mainstream, historic romance, historic suspense or adventure, mystery, science fiction, adult, and all the other genres, playwrights, and biographers almost always ask how to write a tasteful, salable, and believable love scene

 

When writing romance novels, in particular, the credibility of the love scene is important as the number of pages devoted to each love scene. In how many chapters would you place a love scene? Would you include love scenes at the beginning or at the end to make your book publishable? What do editors look for in love scenes? How do the characters drive the plot of the story through the love scenes? How many pages would you use in each chapter to describe romantic tension between two main characters in your book?

Romantic tension is illustrated specifically by the tag lines. The novel becomes animated, vivid, and alive by showing instead of telling. Tag lines show the hidden emotions as the characters go about their usual work routine.

Here in the example below, the reader is able to experience how each character reacts to one another in this romantic tension interplay. Also, in one excerpt from my novel, The DNA Detectives: Working Against Time, (page 33) the tag lines work to reinforce the attraction and pull.

 

Taglines reinforce the attraction, the pull of bringing the characters together. And tension in the novel or problems the characters must solve pull them apart. In romance novels, there's a series of push and pull, of bringing the characters together and of their choices or events, problems to solve, and experiences pulling them apart. In suspense romance, the characters drive the plot forward, often working with clues in the novel.

 

For example, this excerpt from my fictionalized science-oriented romance novel brings up  issues that the main characters need to solve in order to move the story forward while incorporating romantic scenes into the story:

 

Jim put his arm around her shoulders, and her heart slammed so hard into the wall of her chest that she thought she had premature ventricular contractions and should stop drinking caffeine-laced beverages and run from stress. Did he put his arm on my shoulder to dominate me as an act of one-upmanship, she thought? Or is he attracted to me? Please touch me, hold me, hug me, she prayed. I’m so desperately alone and scared.

She laved her hands over his corded calves working her way up his walls of muscle as he watched her groping at his thighs, delicious to her eyes. He pulled her against his chest and scrubbed her full lips with breathless kisses, grinding his tongue, teasing her closed eyelids, her earlobes. As she howled, his mouth drowned out the sound as he covered her mouth with his. Then he pulled away as footsteps approached his locked office door.

 

“Go ahead. You’ll have your privacy there. You make the first move. I understand.” She heard yearning building in his husky voice.

 

Tim knocked on the door. “I have to talk to you.”

 

Jim opened the door. And she finished closing the lid on the materials he gave her to work on. She turned as she was leaving the two in the office glaring at her.

 

Tim stopped her in flight with a heavy hand on her shoulder. “Wait a second, young lady.”

“I must have worked somewhere else, for a huge government laboratory or a manufacturer in the biotech industry here.”

 

“No, I overheard you on the intercom explain what you thought you might have done as a buyer. It sounds as if you’re a finder. You actually were locating oligonucleotides. You’d get them from commercial suppliers. Sit down and look up that word online. See whether it rings a bell.”

 

It's okay to insert a scientific word in your romance novel as long as you define the word for the readers who never were exposed to the topic

 

Why we never give up our need for a perfect mother.

Why we never give up our need for a perfect mother.

 

Is the world is divided between calm people with a long 5-HTT gene and anxious individuals with a short 5-HTT gene? Do people with a short 5-HTT gene live with constant electrical activity in their brain's fear center. Here's one life story presented as a novel chronicling the genetic basis of agoraphobia and panic disorder, one woman's war against the fear of going outside.

 

Tag lines describe the dialogue, how the dialogue is meant to be experienced and perceived

 

 Tag lines describe emotions, behavior, and gestures that speak the thoughts intended behind the dialogue. Tag lines make sure the dialogue is not empty or flat in tone, texture, and mood.

 

Proper parenting in ancient Rome.

Proper Parenting in Ancient Rome: A Time-Travel Novel of Love as Growth of Consciousness & Peace in the Home, by Anne Hart. Paperback novel, published 2007.

 

It's 150 BCE. Twenty-year old Quintus Cincinnatus Aemilianus arrives at his family estate in the Etruscan-farmed countryside an hour's ride from Rome to face adult

 

responsibilities. He's a world traveler, senator-in-training, and learned in architecture. But he has only one mission in life: to maintain peace in the home. He believes family harmony is a microcosm of all that exists.

 

Tag lines portray eye, hand, or facial expressions and intent

Since in a novel you can't see pictures as you would in a play, comic book, or film, the tag lines help explain behavior so the reader can not only read between the lines and figure out the character's feelings, but also explain what the character means by the specific spoken words.

 

How to start engaging conversations on women's, men's or family studies with wealthy strangers.
How to start engaging conversations on women's, men's or family studies with wealthy strangers. Anne Hart, photography and novel.

 

What's the novel about: Sicilian-American Women's, Men's, and Family Studies Professor, psychoanalyst, and night radio talk show personality, Anna Falco's dad always told her that the lower our self esteem, the more we want to be someone different from ourselves, and the more we want someone different from ourselves. He made a point that the higher our self esteem, the more we want someone like ourselves.

 

Anna Falco added something more to that: her belief that couples with self-respect will respect each other. Not one of Anna's clients came from families where the husband and wife or child and parent respected one another. That could be one huge reason why family wars grew into world wars.

 

Now family wars had become full-blown race wars in the streets of Los Angeles. Skip an octave, and old hatreds of differences fanned flames between the 'haves' and 'have-nots.'

 

She offered to trade the wisdom of age for the energy of youth. But it all boiled down to honor between family members. Anna explained the difference between self-esteem and self-respect.Being an older woman reminded Wrenboy (the troubled court-appointed street teen that she had adopted) of a mother hen capable of caging his freedom.

 

Her lined face reminded him of his own mortality at a time when he felt invincible and desperately lonely for a loving family. Would he fear her strident voice hammering him back into childhood? Or would he accept her globetrotting to repair the world with kindness? In his search for power and autonomy, he concluded it is easier to rebel.

 
Murder in the women's studies department: A Professor Sleuth Novel of Mystery.
Murder in the Women's Studies Department: A Professor Sleuth Novel of Mystery, by Anne Hart. Paperback novel, published March 3, 2002.

Murder in the women's studies department: A Professor Sleuth Novel of Mystery.

 

Put in a tag line with each paragraph that describes what each character does physically to show the emotion behind the gesture or stance. The tag line lends emotion or feeling to any objective act such as writing a list.

 

While the person is carrying out the duty or job, he or she also is feeling a concealed emotion which is described in words by the tag line. Here are some examples of tag lines.

 
Is radical liberalism or extreme conservatism a character disorder, a mental disease, or a publicity campaign?

Is Radical Liberalism or Extreme Conservatism a Character Disorder, Mental Disease, or Publicity Campaign? When The One Universal We Have In Common-Imagination-Divides Us. A Novel of Intrigue, by Anne Hart. Paperback novel, published April 19, 2004. Here's a sample excerpt from this novel:

 

There was a pause of silence. "I'm hiring you as my mentor even though you're a visual anthropologist and a journalist," Anna said in a throaty voice. "Do you mind?

 

"I'll squeeze you into my girdle," Consuelo said.

 

"Mentoring you won't work at this early stage. I'll put you down for one-on-one, starting this evening at seven in my office-without Sara." Consuelo jotted Anna's name and phone number in her appointment book.

 

"How do you like being mother to the world?" Anna asked.

 

"Someone's already asked me that before, when I wrapped a young woman in a blanket and asked her to tell me what she felt like as she confessed her anger at her betrayer."

 

What happens when an extreme liberal meets an extreme conservative? Are they diagnosed with a mental issue or a character disorder? Or is it all a publicity campaign?

In a novel of intrigue, will the anthropologist return a tougher soldier than ever? Two females pit their wits in a game and adventure that takes them half way around the world.

 

Use tag lines when you want readers to experience what each character feels or to show the intended emotion, facial expression, gesture, or behavior

 

The tag lines are what make your romance novel salable. In other genres from mainstream to historical, adventure, time-travel, or science fiction, the tag lines also are used. It is a way of coloring your words to make them living structures based on showing instead of telling. When most editors are asked what makes a novel salable, usually they respond by reporting that believable tag lines are what they look for first in character-driven novels, regardless of genre.

 

In romance novel writing, tag lines can help a book to become character-driven instead of plot-driven. With mystery and thriller genres, characters may be more driven by the plot that unfolds and happens to them with speed and explosive velocity, but convincing tag lines are essential.

 

Keep your romance novels believable and your tag lines based on real emotions to which others can relate. The emphasis with romance-novel tag lines should be believability, commitment and universal values. When you write about peoples reactions to other people, keep it simple and universal—descriptions real enough that we all can experience and easily understand. Simplicity and commitment to real values make novels more salable.