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Wednesday, August 4, 2010
7:48 PM | Posted by Marnee Bailey | | Edit Post
I mentioned last week I’d gotten a rejection on a full request. It was a great rejection (only other writers realize there is such a thing) with lots of praise and lots of great advice as well as an offer to read my next stuff. Very promising, as rejections go.
Something she said really resonated with me, though. She said that my story (this is my last MS) felt more like an urban fantasy than a paranormal romance but that she felt like it should have been a paranormal romance. My first instinct was to say, of course it was a paranormal romance and not UF. But then I stopped to think that maybe there was no “of course” about it. Basically, she was saying she didn’t get the romance in my romance.
It’s no secret I’m a plotter. I know exactly what’s supposed to happen in my story. I need to. I’m not good at filling in the holes later. But I started to wonder if maybe my plotting was getting in the way of my characters’ emotional developments. Maybe I’m spending so much time on external conflicts, I lose track of the internal emotional conflicts.
This is a fairly common problem for plotters, I’ve heard, one I think I’ve attempted to rectify this time around, with my new MS.
But as I thought longer, I now believe maybe that isn’t my only problem. I suspect there’s another more nefarious factor at play.
If I’m not close enough—really in my story and in my characters—I feel hokey writing emotional stuff. And I think it happens to me more often than I’d like.
I could feel it as I got further and further into my current MS. As I went along, I started to feel more and more like my characters were getting increasingly formal instead of less formal with each other. They weren’t loosening up the way they should be, the way they need to, in order to make their romance believable. And I think it’s because I can feel the “other eyes” on my story.
You know, the “other eyes”—the people who are going to read my story “some day.”
Sort of like when you were making out with your boyfriend in high school and you worried the whole time that your parents were going to walk in. A constant interruption, even if it’s only a perceived one.
I spend so much time finding a fresh word or deleting adverbs or “thats” or whatever, basically editing, when I should be focusing on their feelings. On getting in touch with how they’re reacting emotionally, on what is pulling them together or tearing them apart.
So this past week, I’ve been reading through again and really trying to get in there. Really trying to find out what it is that they see in each other. And what they think is ultimately not compatible.
It’s been a rough week.
Any advice, wenches, to get in touch with your characters’ emotional development? Anything that I can do to blind my “other eyes”?
Labels: Gunner's Grumblings (Marnee)