Romance is not about happy people in Happy Land, but courageous people in We Love Each Other Land.
Another Monday, another new week. I have no idea what I want to say in today’s blog entry, but it rankles that I still owe Wednesday’s post from a week (or two?) ago, and the stubborn, schedule-loving part of part of me is not going to create any more of a backlog than I already have, because such things annoy the heck out of me. All of which means you’re getting the rawest of brain droppings today, and fingers crossed that it actually goes somewhere. Only way to find out is to plunge ahead and find out what happens.
Right now, I am ensconced in my comfy chair, next to an open window, Skye curled in a ball at my feet, sound asleep. Mary Chapin Carpenter’s “Something Tamed Something Wild” is playing on my earbuds, while I plan out how I’m going to tackle the day. I know the things I want to get done, and I know the time in which I have to do them, and I know that I do best when I give my eyes a break and switch between digital and analog throughout the day. This past weekend, I had the opportunity to recap season two, episode seven, of Outlander, “Faith,” for Heroes and Heartbreakers. It is here, and looks like this:
To say that this episode hit me like a brick is an understatement. If I could breathe this episode, I would, because there is so much in there of what I want to bring to the pages of my own work that, even though a good chunk of my brain had to be focused on taking notes so that I could capture the salient points for the recap, the rest of it skipped happily through the angst and the opulence (possible book title in there?) of the costumes, the setting, the soul-crushing loss and the love that pulled it all back from the brink of despair. Yes. This. Oh so very much this that, two days after viewing and recapping, parts of me are still back there. It’s not a nice story, not a pretty story, and yet it’s beautiful.
That kind of stuff makes my blood tingle. The books I love the very best, both to read and to write, have bad things happen to good people, sometimes very bad things, and yet…and yet the love is bigger. It’s stronger. It’s beaten sometimes, bruised sometimes, dragging itself along by broken fingernails sometimes, but it’s alive, and it’s not going away. That’s one of the requirements of a romance novel, and it’s going to be there, whatever other flavors the author tosses into the mix.
This week, when I whined to another writer friend about being at the “I hate this, I can’t write, I should give up” stage, I got a reality check. Friend laughed at me, and reminded me that writing super-super detailed is something I do, it’s part of my style, so quit fighting it and do what comes naturally. That’s not going to change. Write. Tell the story. Tell my characters’ story. Tell it my way. Put in the details. Describe stuff. Work the angst. I should note that this is advice I find incredibly easy to give, but, when it comes to taking it, I need a lot of repetition. One of these days, I’ll get it.
What I do know for sure is that, when I try to rein myself in, I’m miserable, and it shows in the writing, or the lack thereof, (usually that one) but when I slap the duct tape on the mouths of the Hypercritical Gremlins and dive headlong into the angst and the opulence, that’s when I feel like I’ve come home. Still learning to trust myself in this whole writing of fiction thing, but the best way out is through, and so I have pretty legal pads and fountain pens and colored ink and if my “black on white” is actually “purple on paisley,” that’s not a bad thing.
My very favorite moment from the Meat Loaf (the singer, not the food) biopic is when he and musical partner, songwriter Jim Steinman, pitched one of their early efforts to a record producer, the reaction is first, silence, then the explanation that most songs have a verse and a chorus, maybe a bridge. These guys’ songs have bridges and tunnels and aqueducts. I want to write aqueducts, and so, those are what I need to be taking in. Something I’ve known for a while now, but, as above, something that also needs repeating, as does the actual writing. The more I write, the more aqueducts I get to build, the more movies I get to play in my head. The more lives I get to lead. Not a bad thing to start a new week.