Sunday Synopsis: WIP

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.

Ghostwriters?

I hope you had a good week and have a good week in front of you.

Flowers from sky to earth just because it is springtime and they are pretty.

Flowers from sky to earth just because it is springtime and they are pretty.

 

40 thoughts on “Sunday Synopsis: WIP

  1. What about looking at it as something other than a romance? For lack of a better term, ‘bullshit’ yourself into taking a different perspective of the situation. Maybe as a sociological tour of their lives at a moment where they are involved with someone else. I don’t know. I’m not really sure about sociology, romance, and sociology.

  2. When your story of the two sisters is published, you will look back on these posts with mixed emotion, I’d guess, with relief and a feeling of accomplishment but probably not nostalgia.

    I agree with you about my reading requirements: I like literature that is meaningful, plausible and “blazing through the brain and going for the gut.” Like you, I willingly suspend disbelief if the book deserves it. My two cents: about your dilemma: Focus on the story, maybe don’t worry about the sociology of it so much, at least right now.

    • Thanks Marian.

      This too shall pass, its just where I am today. I would like to call on Ionia Martin, Helen Valentina, or Roxi St. Croix to write the next several chapters. Someone who has a way with romantic words and imagery. I have written several poems to get those juices flowing. We shall see where this goes.

  3. Why must there be romance? Is it relevant to the story? Is it relevant to your plot? Is it relevant to where things go from here?

    • It is. Very much so. Claudette, at seventeen, is involved with Paul, thirty three, who woos her with his romantic ways. She does not know he is married initially, but continues in the relationship after discovery. He is estranged from his wife who lives in Atlanta. The romance is very relevant.

      Claudette uses the romance to demonstrate to Carol the difference between a man and a boy. Carol’s relationship is more matter of fact, without such deeply romantic elements.

      That the sisters share on an intimate level is part of the social dynamics between them. Paul is out of the picture for a while, but comes back into it way later in the story. It is the remembrance of romance that lures them back together.

      • Then you just gotta suck it up and get it done. 🙂

        Sorry, I couldn’t resist. That probably wasn’t very helpful, but maybe it got a laugh???

        I know there are times when I get to a part of a story that I’m not comfortable with. For instance, when the POV is a female character. Well, hell, I’m not a woman. How do I know what a woman is going to say or do in the predicament I’ve put her in.

        But, that’s what we do though … as writers. Let go of the difficulty and just write it the way you see it happening. Best advice I can think of on this.

        • hahaha! That did get a laugh and is closer to the truth than anything else you could advise.

          I haven’t thought about that. Men writing the female POV being analogous, but it is probably true. Unfamiliar territory. Though you have many experiences and interactions with women to draw on, I’m sure. I have dated a hundred men in my past 12 single years and the years before I was married. I can’t think of but one of them who was what I would call romantic. (Most of them I didn’t date twice BTW) Funny thing is, he used to be a priest. I could call on some of that experience. He was also an artist and a musician in addition to being a Human Resources Director. My husband tries to be romantic, in many ways, with gifts mostly, but not with words and behaviors. That’s an entirely different ball of wax.

          • And I crave romance and have a wife who doesn’t know the first thing about it. ;). So you know what I do when I need to write it … Imagine what I need from her and write.

            • Now that imagination I could work with. What I need.

              As a writer, one of the most challenging things has not been the romance, but writing about the two relationships simultaneously. I don’t like to admit it, but this is hard work!

  4. I’m glad I’m not the only one who gets stuck in places. I like romance and find that it’s all in the eyes. Once someone looks into your eyes, you tend to feel vulnerable and naked, yet hopeful and invincible. Oh never mind, it’s wine that makes you feel that sh*t….Add wine to the story. That’s romantic.

  5. I’ve tried and failed to write romantic scenes – always come across as stupid and stilted, so I decided to just write what comes naturally to me. Your idea of having a ghostwriter write these scenes has got my attention though – that might work out well after tweaking them to match your style. It may be fun to try even if you didn’t use it, so consider your idea swiped. 🙂

  6. I am also interested in more “literary” novels, but good writing and interesting story are the key in any work. Oh, and characters you care about. I’m not a fiction writer, and I’m not certain I understand your dilemma. Doesn’t the plot advance through what the characters experience? I guess I agree with Marian above and say focus on the story, not so much on the sociology. Maybe get the first draft done, and then see how it works? I’m sure you will sort it all out–and perhaps just writing the post helped to do that! Good luck!

    You gave me a laugh with writing “bazaar” childhood. I wasn’t sure if it was a mistake or a pun. 😉

    • hahaha! that’s what editors are for 🙂 I have always had trouble with those two words. I fixed it. Thanks.

      I think getting the first draft done is key. I have already come to the conclusion that this is going to be a long range project.

  7. Your journey to right here hasn’t been easy, but that’s what writing is for.And by the way, you’re graciously talented in that vein. I always imagined that writing was my way of speaking up to the past that tried to kill me.

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