Tag Archives: love

Whole Lotta Love (in Books)

It’s nearly Valentine’s Day, a holiday that tends to divide most of the population. Those who love it do so either because they enjoy the romantic elements, or because they are madly in love and appreciate a reason to celebrate that feeling. Others hate it, for reasons as diverse as single-dom to the commercialization of love. I myself always fall with one foot in either camp—while I tend to be fairly evasive when it comes to relationships, I’m also a giant mushball when I’m actually in one.800px-Antonio_Canova-Cupid's_Kiss-3-Hermitage

So, in the spirit of all things loving, romantic, heart-filled, and Valentine’s-oriented, I figured today’s post should address love. Specifically, love in one’s novel.

Once upon a time, I thought I wanted to be a romantic fantasy writer. That is, I wrote Kyresa, a romantic fantasy novel. I’m quite proud of that little baby, and still aim to find her a home, but in the time since finishing the book I’ve stumbled upon some darker roots. This could be a combination of bad love memories, or maybe just an imagination that lends itself to sinister undertones, but dark speculative fiction is the direction of my next novel.

And yet to my surprise, as I set about outlining early last week, I discovered…my story had an embedded romantic plot line! At first, it felt counterintuitive, but the more I thought about it, the more I figured most everyone experiences love, is in love, or wants to be in love, thus making it a natural element for even the least likely of tales. In fact, when I got right down to it, I realized that most of my favorite books included a romantic plot or subplot: The Black Jewels Trilogy, Jane Eyre, The Robber Bride, and The Demon Lover, for example, all have romance weaved into the tale (or as the main tale). The little anti-romantic in me took a pause after that discovery and screamed, “But I like my stories really dark!” Yes, indeed, they can still be dark, but even the deadliest of creatures needs love! 🙂

The element of romance in one’s novel is of course dependent one how big a role it will play in the tale. Is the relationship already established, with the two characters bonded and holding strong together as they face the real essence of the plot? Or, will they meet in the course of the tale, taking the reader along the romantic journey with them? More questions arise as you delve into fictional romantic elements—will their love be traditional or not? Will they fight their romance, or will they fall epically fast? Will their love carry through the whole novel or will the breakup happen in the tale? And of course there comes the big authorial decision (heck, the big romantic life decision)—should they have sex?

While I knew before ever starting to write Kyresa that the romance would begin with a meeting and transform into a full-blown, serious relationship, I’m not as certain where the love story in my current book will lead. Will there be a meeting? Yes. Will there be a love affair? Yes. Will there be sex? Uh, with a succubus as a main character, I’m pretty sure the answer to that is straightforward. Still, do I have any idea what will happen in the long-term? Not a clue. I guess at this stage in my writing, I like my romantic journey to be as mysterious as it is in real life!

So what about you? When you write, do you tend to include romantic plot lines or subplots? Do you have the entire relationship mapped out before you go, or do you sit back and let it unfold as you write?

For those of you who do tend to weave romance into your tales, I’d like to refer you to a lovely little post on romantic plots by writer and blogger Katherine Checkley. It’s an oldie but goodie, and I think worth a read here. Speaking of love—I’d like to thank Catrina Barton, since she kindly nominated me for two blogger awards, the Versatile Blogger and the Very Inspiring Blogger! I’ll try to address both in a future post, but for now, thanks so much, Catrina!

Don’t forget to share your thoughts on writing romance in the comments section below…and in the meantime, love, kisses, and romance to all—in your books and in real life. 🙂

800px-Heart_of_the_Milky_Way_-_Valentine's_Day

 

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Blogging is Like a Love Affair

In my last post, I wrote about why I started blogging and what it is that my blog is about. I guess I’ve been thinking about my blog a lot this week, because this morning it occurred to me that I consider it a bit of a love affair.

To be fair, I think this idea formed as a small kernel a few months back, when my blogger pal Vanessi Grassi mentioned she thought of her blog as her boyfriend. It probably sounds weird out of context, but as soon as I read the sentence, I found myself nodding along. Over the months since, though, I’ve discovered that blogging may be more of an affair than I originally suspected.

I’m not talking about the kind of love affair that only lasts for one night—clearly I talk too much for this blog to have ended then, and that wouldn’t make for much content anyway. I’m thinking more of the long-term love affair, one following the ebbs and flows of a relationship that will last for many, many years.

Blogging begins with that initial rush of excitement one might feel at the start of a relationship. That oh-so-sweet captivation when you think, Oh my goodness, he is so amazing! Except here, it’s Oh my goodness, I’m running a blog! Everything you see stirs the thoughts up in your head that you want to share. Ooh, we can talk about this, and that, and oh that over there—won’t he think that’s so interesting? There seems an endless supply of things to talk about over wine and perhaps the occasional dinner.

Next there comes a period of adjustment—no two people ever fall into step perfectly, you know. It’s the same with blogging. You set a schedule, and then maybe you change it up a bit, blogging four days a week instead of two, but then maybe five days a week instead of three. It’s much like those first few months of dating. Should we see each other this much? you may ask. Should I leave my toothbrush…er…all my personal thoughts in the sidebar? Hard to say.

How sick of each other might you become?

And BAM. You overdo it. All this mushy lovey dovey business is getting out of hand, and all of a sudden it’s time for a blog break. (All the big name couples are doing it, by the way.) There may have been a misunderstanding. Or he got a little smothering. Who knows. Regardless, we’re on a break!

But over time, you realize how much you liked blogging. Sure, it’s hard to cram it all in. Life is busy. There’s work, and the home life, and maybe kids, or 8,000 hobbies, and all of it is taking up your every breathing moment, but still, that blog was great. That blog understood me. That loyal and faithful sweetheart—it brought out the best in you, giving you leeway to explore on those days you weren’t blogging…so you come running back. (Plus, he even takes out the trash with his nifty spam sifter!)

The two of you grow together. You compromise and create a new schedule, one where both of you can have your personal time. You also decide that there are things you can do to strengthen the foundation of your relationship—whoops, I mean your blog. You don’t need to take Tango or cooking classes to do this, you two are so amazing together. Heck no! Instead, you work on improving what you are. You may even come up with a new blog feature that allows both of you to flex your creative muscles at the same time!

You discover you’re in it for real now, and when you’re a real blogger, you’re not only running one yourself but reading up on others. But you and your blog are a team; you want to share this experience as one. (It’s called polybloggery, folks, and it’s 2012. Don’t be so close-minded!) You and your blog hold hands and check out other blogs. You click on all the tempting links over at that one flashy site. You read all the words together, a sexy new game to kickstart your relationship. You comment on how hot their thoughts are, and both of you feel like a better match because you’re able to hear each other’s inner fantasies.

Maybe you even start “the list”—the infamous list of people everyone has for the day they’re trapped in an elevator and cheating just naturally happens. Listen, if for some reason I can’t write with you, it’s because so-and-so caught me alone [by email] and asked if I wanted to do it [guest blog] and of course I had to say yes because she [awesome blogger!] is on the LIST! 

Which of course leads to the day when you have to come home to your blog and confess that you’ve been cheating. In fact, every single day, you’ve been cheating, because you’ve been writing on the side—but it’s the way you were before you started this blog, dammit, and your blog has to understand. Baby, I’m a writer! I can’t be trapped in just this blog! I have to be appreciated for all that I am, for every word coursing through my skull!

And while it’s hard for your blog to adjust, it gets it. It gets you. Because this blog, folks—it’s the real deal. It loves you no matter what you are, who you are, or where you’ve been. Sure, you have some flaws (I mean, really, you’re following what other blog about nail polish and shoes?), but overall you are still the same loving person you were. Your blog can take it. It’s true love. It’s the kind of love affair that will last a lifetime.

That is why, on mornings like today—when I woke up and thought Oh my god! I have to blog tonight! I have 80,000,000 things to do and my blog wants me to rub his feet again?—I eventually crawled out of bed with a smile. There may be a lot to do, but I sure do love blogging. We keep growing and exploring together, and most importantly, writing together.

So for being that great of a companion, this blog is worth every darn character on the page to me.

🙂


Anatomy of a Broken Heart

All right, time to get back onto my more traditional blog schedule…and today I’d like to take a slight detour from my usual themes.

I’ve come to learn a lot of things about myself over the years—I can talk a lot, I can be impatient, I have a slight flair for the dramatic, and I can get a little snappy on occasion, et cetera, et cetera (who needs to hear more flaws, seriously?)—despite all this, there is one thing I know for certain: I’m incredibly protective of my friends, and when they hurt, I turn all mama-hen and want to take care of them. It can be as simple as an ear on the phone, or maybe it’s an ongoing attempt to supply cookies everyday for a week. Others it’s heavier-duty, requiring me to threaten to throw myself in front of an oncoming bus or duke it out with a 6’5″ male (I should mention I’m 5 foot 6 and a measly half)—the point is, I’d do just about anything to help a friend in need, because watching the hurt of someone dear can often be more upsetting than hurting for your own reasons.

So, you may ask, where is this going? Since I’m not a fairy godmother with the ability to wave my wand and fix things, I can want to make it better…but it is also important to recognize that everyone must experience his or her own pain, even if it’s something we’ve already felt ourselves. And though there are many shared experiences among us humans, one of those emotional things we all eventually have to trudge through is the end of love.

Crushes, puppy love, teenage love, casual love, tragic love, transformative love, or just true, real love—we all know about it, we’ve felt it, we may even hunt it. There are thousands of songs written about it, stories told about it, movies made about it, and dreams formed over it. Love, the power of love, the ache of love…all of it can be momentous, deeply gratifying, and ever so joyful. Remember that first crush? So sweet, so real, but eventually, it ended. And then there was the next one, and the next one…many of them ending and mourned, and then of course followed by the oft bitter sting of a broken heart.

Sometimes it’s just a headache, others, it’s a 2×4 with a plethora of jagged, rotting nails slammed painfully into your gut. Repeatedly. It hurts! It stinks! It can make you wail into your pillow, slam a fist into a wall, eat more garbage than one should possibly, reasonably consume, or even just wish you’d found a better brand of waterproof mascara. The anatomy of a broken heart is a mixed and troublesome one, eventually marking us with something unforgettable: that one time, that one person, that one deeply horrible pain that left us grieving for too many days and nights…

But from darkness springs morning, and there comes that one day where we wake up, stretch our arms gleefully above our heads, and climb out of bed thinking that today is that day. The day that we can learn to smile again. To embrace a new future, a new happiness, and to forget all that pain and agony we just felt. Each time, the end may have hurt even more—but every time, we recognize the sensation and may get over it a little faster, or grow from it a little sooner. We begin to identify the things that didn’t work and how to avoid them in the future. We find a way to take what went so, so wrong and use it in the future to make something so much more right.

I am by no means an expert on love. Far, far, far from it. (Did I mention far?) I’ve been kicked in the teeth like all the rest, sometimes so badly I didn’t think I’d recover, others so terribly I’ve been scared away for a long time—but truth be told, all of those bad experiences were something I learned from, trials that made me who I am and what I want to be. They made me embrace what I really want, whether in life or in love, and to let go of all the garbage that didn’t work in the past. There is no dismissing the pain of a broken heart, its pulsing, beating agony spreading tainted love through your veins and making you sick with hurt and anger—but eventually, it all melts away and leaves you anew, fresh to find something better, more wonderful…and, first and foremost, seeking that peace in yourself to love you before anyone else.

We’re all searching a little something in this world, our own happiness and contentment, joy and love. There are definitely some bumps and detours along the way, tiny spikes in the road that cause us a bit of agony—but eventually, we’ll find our way there.

In the meantime, we may just need to remind ourselves to keep our chins up, our friends close, and a big, delicious pint of ice cream in the freezer.

Much love to all, and a giant hug for my friend.


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