I have thrown myself well into this WIP this week and I don’t plan on doing anything else next week beyond tossing a few chemicals in the pool and maybe working a couple of days doing wellness clinics, so I don’t think a bullet list of my progress is necessary to explain where I am.
There is a whole discipline dedicated to the study of relationships. It is called Sociology.
Psychology focuses on the individual and Sociology focuses on how these individuals relate to one another, whether independently or in groups.
My apologies in advance to all of you romance genre writers, I admire you (more and more everyday) but I really don’t like reading romance novels. I know the romance genre is a HOT TOPIC, but most of them bore me. I will read them if there is meat to the story beyond the relationship…a political conflict, a societal issue, a history to be discovered. I want some substance in my reading that speaks to a higher intellect. I don’t mean to sound snooty, but I can’t deny that I prefer literary or historical fiction over genre fiction.
I actually enjoy high minded ideals dissecting the human condition or creating timeless portraits of complex and interesting characters — in other words, I’m talking about going out and committing “literature,” whatever that might be.
The good stuff almost always works, first and foremost, viscerally. We are drawn into it because something there speaks to our deeper selves, gets inside us and takes hold.
Fiction always has to sneak past the barriers our intellects erect, because (by virtue of the label “fiction”) we know that the stories we’re being told are fabrications. We call this feat of mental gymnastics “willing suspension of disbelief,” and good writers tend to help us accomplish it in two ways: by making their fiction as plausible as possible, and even more significantly, by blazing through the brain and going for the gut.
But I am not normal.
My relationships have not been normal.
After a bizarre childhood, I was in therapy with a sociologist from 1979 to 1996 coming to terms with being married to a gay man who had a domineering mother. I have no qualms about that relationship, I came out of it a whole lot better off than I was when I went into it. But it was different.
I am writing a novel about two sisters who are not normal.
They are coming of age, though, in a society that has emphasis on traditional values, and at least giving the sense of an image of normalcy.
I have managed, I think, to show the relationships of the sisters to each other, their parents and authority figures, their community, but now they have reached the point of developing intimacy with the opposite sex.
So far, going between the two points of view in a fused third person perspective has worked quite well, but it seems to be seriously slowing things down at this point. I am now boring myself with the mundane and somewhat tedious task of developing these romantic relationships.
I am recalling the words in a very critical editorial review of my last novel concerning Sybil and Nathan: That I, “Rushed plot development,” through their relationship. (Which was brief, and not the gist of the story line.)
The reader did not feel as if I devoted enough time and effort into developing a meaningful relationship between the two before they were intimately involved, and then terminated their relations too abruptly. God forbid casual sex occur a few times between two consenting adults in their twenties out of curiosity.
There was a reason for that in RC&R, because Sybil was Bohemian, a free spirit, independent minded, and non-traditional. Part of what was to make that clear was how she reacted in relationships. It was 1954, and her behavior in that community was not supposed to be what one would consider acceptable or correct.
Again, we are in the late 1950’s.
Now I have these two sisters. One is involving herself in what would be considered an acceptable relationship, albeit a bit earlier that her elders had hoped.
The other is involving herself in a relationship that is clearly inappropriate. It is part of what will define her as abnormal by those standards that were in place in her community.
My dilemma, you ask?
I am boring myself into tears with the tedious task of painstaking plot development that I don’t find pleasant reading or writing.
I don’t like romance novels.
They are in relationships.
There is—must be—romance.
I want the walls to come crashing down!
I want to get on with the story!
Anyway. That’s where I am.
I hope you had a good week and have a good week in front of you.