Musings, ideas, challenges, and victories on my writing journey.
When life gives you lemons, gather them up and build fruit stand. |
How many years have I been trying to write a novel? I have had so many ideas, so many stories which have played themselves out in my head, a place filled with filters of experience and dreams. The memories of which, like many of life's history, become faded and distorted over time.
The limited number of meanderings that have been rescued and restored leave me feeling like my hopes of completing a "New York Time's Best Seller" are just out of my reach. However, I wake up each day and a new dream, a new idea, a new story blooms in my mind, and I begin again.
Is there some special formal, some secret that I have not yet gleaned that would help me produce the novel of my life? Probably not. It was told to me once by a well know author that "if you want to be a writer, then write." So I begin again.
One idea so radiant in its simplicity, so bright in its complexity, so deep in the realm of human emotion has woven into my mind that I cannot ignore the call. Therefore, I begin again.
And I begin, I begin, I begin. The story, the novel, with no clear goal, only the beginning, the middle, and the end. The characters, protagonist and foe, antagonist and hero, play interchangeably. Who will win out? Here, I begin again.
|I am working on building my story and felt so satisfied when I decided on a guiding theme. The theme helped me to identify a conflict, but it is all subtext, subplot. Then, what happens once the 'shine is off the stone', I drop into the depression of reality. The story is turning out to be complex, maybe to complex, and now I question my abilities and sanity.
|Gripping stories all include an element of love within the tale. Even a middle school student would be able to see that without a theme of love, there is no story. That being said, love must be represented correctly and woven completely within the story to help push the plot forward step by step.
The classic love themes are built by introducing two people, giving them an obstacle to overcome, and watching as the events unfold until the conclusion. One of the most famous love stories written adds the element of tragedy. "Romeo and Juliet" tells the tale of two young people who meet accidentally, fall madly in love, are not able to be together because of a family feud. They are presented with an avenue to be together, a hope that their love will be fulfilled, but ultimately, that hope turns out to be another hurdle that must be surmounted. That hope, that avenue, that event turns out to be their tragic end.
My experiences with love are limited, as with most people, to the familial love of family, the unconditional love of motherhood, and the enduring love of marriage. While these are amazing and I can draw on the feelings evoked by these experiences, they do not create tension or suspense. So I must draw from my knowledge of the various love themes that exist in literature and the various language of love to present them.
The ancient Greek writers identified eight types of love; Agape (unconditional love), Eros (erotic/romantic love), Philia (affectionate love), Philautia (self love), Storge (familiar love), Pragma (enduring love), Ludus (playful love), and Mania (obsessive love). These can be easily identified in writing and usually exemplified to the extreme. Referring back to the "Romeo and Juliet" example, a cross section of Mania, Eros, and Agape are represented in the characters. Their actions are predetermined by these types of love, and the plot's conclusion is the result of the character's reactions to the obstacles they must face together.
What happens when the characters are in conflict? My story includes characters who embody types of love which are incompatible. Darya and Michael, epitomize Philautia (self love) and Agape (unconditional love) respectively. The conflict between them is amalgamation of their types of love and the obstacles they must face. The resolution can only be tragic, unless one or more of the characters transform. This growth is played out in the resulting theme.
With the decisions of including a theme of love, the types of love, and the resulting conflict identified, I want to identify how will I show the reader in the characters actions their respective type of love. The language of love is translated into actions; words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch. How a character/person acts or reacts to the language of love will help the reader to identify the type of love theme, allows the character to change over time, and propels the story.
Referring back to Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" example, love language is depicted in the actions and dialogue of the characters. The comparison of Romeo to a rose (words of affirmation) shows the type of love Juliet was feeling at that moment (Mania). Their inability to keep their hands off each other (physical touch) is a clear example of the romantic love (Eros). The last act of committing suicide in the name of love (acts of service), depicts the unconditional love that is felt between the two characters (Agape). The types of love and the actions convey that "love is a violent, ecstatic, overpowering force that supersedes all other values, loyalties, and emotions."
We can all agree that "Romeo and Juliet" is a gripping story with elements of love. If these were not present, we would not be studying this 400+ year old play in high schools throughout the modern world. That being said, a theme of love and the conflict which develops as a result of the incompatibility between these types of love, will be woven into the plot of my story. The conclusion of that conflict is to be determined by the character's actions/reactions to the love language. Will my characters grow, change, learn from the their actions? We will see. Stories have a tendency to surprise even the writer.