Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Once More With Feeling

The relationship between my two characters is still in the early stages. So what did I decide to do? Separate them. Now, I don't know if this was a Good Move™ because I don't read romance. I don't know the rules.

"Well then, you should learn the rules."

Why you… you're absolutely right. So I've done a little research, grown a little as a person, all since the last paragraph, and I've learned one thing I'm definitely failing at here.

The reader is supposed to identify with the heroine.

This is a chick-centric genre, after all. You should feel for the heroine, as she goes about her… adventuring and romancing and whatnot. So she has to have *shudder* emotions. At the moment Catherine's upset and kind of pissed because she's all alone and Nick may or may not have gotten himself stupidly killed. But, boy, do I not know how to describe that without making her into a puddle of emotional goo. Like, she's either emotionless or pathetic. There is no in between.

I literally googled "how to write emotions." It did not help.

I might as well have searched "how to speak Chinese" where all the answers were "Understand Chinese. Now speak it."

The various "helpful" sites I visited said essentially "Feel emotions. Now write them." Useless. Well, it was more than that. One site recommended writing the outward effects of emotions. Another said to definitely not do that and focus on the underlying thoughts that led to the emotions. Both had examples of "good" and "bad" passages about emotions. All of them seemed terrible.

Now, this might all seem overly dramatic and me just being difficult on purpose. Why can't I just act like a normal person?

Well, let me tell you a story.

Imagine, if you will, that one day you wake up in a parallel world. It's very much like the world you came from. But there are a few differences. Little things. References you don't understand. Stop lights are blue. World War I ended on the 8th of November instead of the 11th. "Flagrant" is spelled with an E. It started out minor but it's becoming increasingly difficult to pretend that you've been there all along.

That's where I'm at, except the "references" are normal human behavior. I used to be a regular person, I swear. But then… I don't know. I forgot how?

So I'm trying to be human and write about humans doing human things. And it's hard. Maybe I'm hoping that by making these convincing characters that can make readers feel something… maybe I can be a convincing character myself.

Sorry, that got really existential. This is why I don’t write romance. I get too close to the emotions and the humanity and I get all confused.

And I still have to get these characters together, romantically. I'm sure they'll be plenty happy to see each other when they reunite here in a bit, but is that enough? Can you build a relationship on a foundation of "I'm glad you're not dead"? It's a start, maybe. But how you get those romantic feelings flowing? Maybe the stressful situation they're in will help.

Maybe I should have made a god damn outline.

I'll see you Friday.

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