When the beautiful and equally talented, Minerva asked me to guest post on the blog, my first reaction was “Oh my God, what do I know about romance?” I was completely taken aback, but then thought, hmm, well, my books and stories do have some element of romance going on, even if loved ones end up dead.
So, now after much thought and procrastination, I decided to base my post on the importance of the loss of a loved one (or a most hated character) in a plot (but remember, this is me, and I tend to waffle, so God only knows where this post will go). Why? Because we all love a good heart-wrenching story were the reader can connect with that loss. We all at some point in our lives will experience the loss of a relationship, whether it be through death, the breakdown of a marriage, or whatever reasons people find to walk away. But come on, if you know me, I can’t just look at things so black and white. I like to delve into the psyche of my character. I like to find that pinnacle point, and rip their souls to shreds.
Because I want my reader to feel that pain, feel the anguish, and connect with the inner turmoil. There is no sense in sugar coating pain. I believe if you want a certain scene in anything you write to have a fundamental reaction, you have to make the feelings and emotions of your characters believable and real.
I am not one for happy endings and nine times out of ten, death or near death plays a major role in my work, and to captivate that, I work on the feelings of a certain character.
Sometimes I wonder is it because my mind is always in a dark place, who knows, but I can tell you this, writing scenes of loss can be somewhat soul draining.
I think to be successful at drawing your reader in, you have to use the right bait and I find using terrifying scenes of domestic violence, or rape quite a successful route (my own personal opinion). Now don’t get me wrong, I just don’t use these things for the shock factor, but more for the value and sensory vision for the reader. I like to pull them into that scene, experience the trauma first hand, and if I am effective enough, my reader will close the book and feel a sense of being overwhelmed. To me, that proves the job well done.
There is nothing worse than sitting down, opening a book, and being pulled into a certain scene and feel like you just wasted an hour of your life on drivel. As an avid reader, I want to be stripped bare, I want my insides to knot, I want to feel every toe-curling moment, and I want to be able to sit and think about what I had just read. I want to be satisfied. Not too much to ask, is it?
Now, don’t get me wrong. I am very well aware that many writers evoke these reactions in many different ways, but for me, I like to feed off the misery of my characters. If I want someone pushed through a shower screen, I bloody well make sure the reader can envision that in their head. Whether I describe the shards of glass cutting through bare flesh, or the feeling of warm velvety blood trickling down moist skin. I want my reader to experience that in their minds eye.
I enjoy writing about misery and loss, because it along with love, is the one thing that connects us as human beings. We all have the rawest of emotions running through us, and as much as we try to deny it, it is very much a fact. We either love, or hate. We grieve over the most simplest things. We as a race cannot decipher a way to control our emotions - unless your in a straight jacket and being fed liquid prozac (if it exists) to freeze your mind, and numb your soul. Yet, what do we do? We come back for more. Why? Because it is what we do best. We cannot live without some drama in our lives, and lets face it, what would life be like if there wasn't some kind of turmoil involved? It keeps us real.
And with those experiences, when you construct a piece of written work, you are qualified and justified in writing the way you do.
Who is to tell you how to write?
But remember not every love story is riddled with bunnies and flowers, and birds breaking into song. Real love is torture, it can be painful and more than anything, it isn’t always forever.
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