I dwell on love stories, on characters who struggle hard to become the best people they can be, who defy the odds to grab the brass ring of honor, and earn their way to a committed, healthy, loving relationship.
This isn’t the blog post I set out to write. I thought it was going to be, as my now-weekly Tuesday morning meeting with local writer friend, whom we shall call N for now, lit a spark, and when she asked if I knew what I wanted my writing focus to be this year, I didn’t even have to think about it. Her Last First Kiss, duh. I haven’t loved a story like this in a long time, and haven’t felt confidence in my own writing in longer than that. I was going to write about focus and purpose, and then I put fingers on keyboard and it all fizzled.
My first instinct was to apply a favorite bit of writing advice, and change my seat. In this case, that meant switching from words to images and photographing the notebooks and legal pad I am currently using to work on this project. There were several pictures taken before the one I used, and no, you cannot see them. You cannot see the picture of my office desk that was fine, except for the jarring addition of two legs covered in light wash denim, because my computer tells me I don’t have permission to alter the picture I took with my own phone and emailed to my own account, so that I could crop it, but whatever, I will survive. You cannot see the beautifully arranged and edited shot of open notebook pages, which I really like, because that has text I’m not ready to share yet, and I am not opening my old laptop and doing the do-si-do of transferring the picture to jump drive, waiting for the old laptop to boot, blurring the text in Photoshop Elements, transferring that to jump drive and then uploading that. If I go through all that trouble to boot that machine, forget it, I’m playing Sims.
I am giving that serious thought right now, because I set aside all the resources I’d need to get the work I intended to do at the coffee house this afternoon done, and then left one hundred percent of them at home. D’oh. Including phone, for obligatory workspace picture. Double d’oh. Is it Friday yet? No? Phooey. I want Friday. I want Friday and a pizza and a bag of gummi bears as big as my head (the bag, that is, filled with regular size gummi bears, not one giant gummi, even if it is skull shaped.) A bottomless cup of Lapsang Souchong wouldn’t hurt, either. In short, I’m tired and grumpy. Best thing I can do at this point is to craw inside a good book and trust that I will un-grump in time. (Though the pizza really would help.)
I’m not sure how much I want to talk about Her Last First Kiss at this stage of the game. I’m not sure I’m ready to even “speak” my hero and heroine’s names here. That’s new for me. I’m a talker, and there is no surer way to kill a story than to not tell anybody anything. Not sure where the reticence is coming from here. Maybe they need placeholder names so that I can talk about them without talking about them. I may need to clear that with them first.
Both my hero and heroine have trust issues, and, as I often find true in my stories, there are a lot of identity issues for these two. Hero (will he let me call him Hero? He certainly doesn’t think he is one. He’s never done one heroic thing in his life. Really more the opposite. Not cowardly, exactly. He’s not afraid, in the usual sense of the word, but he does acknowledge that there isn’t a good reason for him to exist. He doesn’t matter. He’d like to matter. He’d like to belong.) and Heroine (Pfft. Heroine. Look at the romance writer, throwing around those fanciful terms. She’d think I would know by now, after the time I’ve already spent with her, that there aren’t any such things as heroes, of either gender. Heroes believe in things. Heroes have causes. All right, she has a cause, but it’s a moral obligation, not an ideal. There’s a difference. She’s protecting her own. She doesn’t have any ideals. She wouldn’t know what to do with them if she did.) collide in their first meeting, and the fallout is messy. It gets messier.
Hero and Heroine have, so far, dragged me places I never thought I was going to go. The new opening, the one I raced home from my from last week’s meeting with N to furiously scribble with pink fountain pen, very firmly pulled one of my own personal triggers. Not the place I had planned to start a love story, but that is where the story starts. If this book has begun the way it means to go on, I am fastening my seatbelt. It’s going to be a bumpy ride. Which reminds me, I have a carriage accident scene to write.