The Power of Passion - Part I

The following is the first segment of a workshop I conducted at the Romantic Times conference in Chicago in April 2012 … 

Passion … the word is used in so many ways by romance writers and the industry as a whole – in our titles, our blurbs, our dialogue, our love scenes, our plots … and it is the basis of our dream to write – a passion for the art of writing, for our particular genre, and for our characters.

The word Passion holds power. And the power of passion can lead to terrible things … or to good things. Passion is the basic driving force in our lives…a passion for mommy and daddy and playfulness when we are little … a passion for certain hobbies and friends and teachers and school and sports as we grow … perhaps a passion for a high school crush in our teen years or for a rock star or movie star … for dancing and dreaming.

Often in our younger years we hold a passion for changing the world and finding ways to make a difference or be important and recognized. Sometimes later on that passion becomes directed at whomever we choose to marry, followed by a passion to become a mother, or instead perhaps a passion for a certain career. Later in life we feel passionate love for our grandchildren. However we turn out, passion in all its various forms usually plays a role in all our decisions. It is something to remember when plotting your stories, because passion is vital to the reason for decisions your characters make.

Though we are romance writers, passion is not all about romance and sex. It covers all aspects of life, and is the food for plot after plot. Passion can be the source of hatred and crime, crimes as devastating as assault and murder, even the murder of a loved one - or maybe for a loved one.

Passion can be the source of greed and again – the crimes that springs from greed – like theft, embezzlement, break-ins, and of course – and again – assault and murder, lies and betrayal.

Passion often leads to jealousy, gossip, and deliberate slander and misunderstandings, to cheating and adultery. Passion can also lead to loyalty and undying love, sometimes for people who don’t love us back. It can give us drive and energy, a purpose to life itself.

Passion has led to phenomenal historical events, like the American civil war, brought on by men and women who were passionate about a cause and their political beliefs. Just think of the kind of passionate devotion to a political cause it would take to fight against and alienate your own brother or father, or your closest friend. Along with that, it is easy to understand then that passion also leads to courageous decisions that can change our lives forever.

The physical passion between Anthony and Cleopatra left behind a story told and re-told for centuries. It was passion that brought about a revolution in this country in which people risked life and limb to be free from tyranny and ended up founding the most successful and richest country in the world.

Man’s passion to constantly go beyond the limits of the known world led to world exploration and eventually to numerous trips to the moon. The passion to help end diseases and find ways to lead longer lives led to the polio vaccine and thousands of other miracles in the world of medicine

The passion to make man’s life better in general led to untold inventions that continue to change the world and our personal lives in phenomenal ways.

There are people with a passion for war, just because they believe the whole world should live as they do, worship as they do, be under their control. And thank god there are people with a passion for peace, people who will go to the extent of risking their lives to help others far less fortunate, to help end wars, to do what they can to make others understand that it’s all right to share and accept our diverse cultures and religions.

Passion can be the source of endless story plots because of all the dramatic results of its power.

Passion can help our careers – the passion we all share for writing can bolster us when our careers begin to sag; it can bring new perspective to our work and our purpose; and it can carry us through dark times and keep us at the computer when writing is sometimes the last thing we want to do.

Watch this blog for Section II of my workshop, The Power of Passion.


  1. Wonderful excerpt of what passion truly is for us in our lives.