Sunday, January 25, 2009

I'm thinking about a lot of things lately, and it's kind of like Jack of All Trades, Master of None. Nothing has really been wearing my wheels out, you know? I've had a whole bunch of ideas for posting, but nothing really said "write me". I knew a few of them could turn into something, if only I started the spinning wheel turning- hey, maybe even gold- but I just never got the motivation to do it. I have been writing a story, and maybe that's where my energy has been going. When I was in art class in high school, I spent a lot of time drawing, and none writing. Like I have only room for one expressive medium- or better yet, to do one medium right, you have to focus on it, and it alone. It's like a language, in that to really be able to converse in it, you have to speak it more than any other.

So writing a story takes up all the space, it is far more fragile than blogging. Blogging can be hodge podge and sometimes it can be half-assed. A story will tell you right away if it's lying to you.

But that's a whole other post, isn't it? The fine and delicate art of fiction? Even cheap fiction, like "beach novels" or "Subway Reads" the kind of throw-away literature you can buy at the grocery store- even that is fine.

That's where I got my idea for this story- cheap fiction. When I was in Junior high and high school, I had a friend who introduced me to Romance novels. She had entire boxes of these books, pastel colored covers with elaborate fonts and the inner cover had a picture of semi-pornographic embraces. All the heroines were short, fiery/spunky/strong-willed/determined/hell-bent, and they all had hair the color of some kind of jewel.

My friend liked the western romances, but I fell head over heels( ha ha ha) for a writer named Amanda Quick, a period romance writer who stood out from all the others I had been reading, because she could actually write with some skill. The first book of hers I read was a sweet iced tea (even if it was the instant Tops brand).

I began reading these romances in short obsessive bursts, two or thee, one right after another. I usually had what I called a mourning period after books, especially good books, but I didn't need that at all with the bodice-rippers. I read enough of them to notice several common threads. The genre was extremely limited, it seemed, much to my eventual dismay.

I came to realize that a romance novel is a collective fantasy, a culture of women longing to be women ( short, spunky and with hair the color of sapphires- shoot, those are blue! the color of copper? too common, not precious...shoot! Hair the color of honey- oooh, yeah.) But seriously, folks. Fantasies are very specific- the wrong note and the whole song is ruined. And in this way, romance is limited. In fact, there's a definition:

"According to the Romance Writers of America, the main plot of a romance novel must revolve around the two people as they develop romantic love for each other and work to build a relationship together. Both the conflict and the climax of the novel should be directly related to that core theme of developing a romantic relationship, although the novel can also contain subplots that do not specifically relate to the main characters' romantic love. Furthermore, a romance novel must have an "emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending." Others, including Leslie Gelbman, a president of the Berkley Group, use a more shortened definition, that a romance must make the "romantic relationship between the hero and the heroine ... the core of the book."[2] In general, romance novels reward characters who are good people and penalize those who are evil, and a couple who fights for and believes in their relationship will likely be rewarded with unconditional love.[1] Bestselling author Nora Roberts sums up the genre, saying 'The books are about the celebration of falling in love and emotion and commitment, and all of those things we really want.' "
excerpt from wikipedia

So, like I said- Amanda Quick. It turned out all her novels share the same bone structure. In fact, some of them share the same sentences, just shift out one name for another. I do find that kind of entertaining, and highly encouraging, since I could make MILLIONS as a romance writer and not work hard at all, but that's not the point.

The point is I got tired of reading these stupid miserable fantasies that reflected
nothing of what I knew of human relationships, men, women, SEX for crap's sakes...oh the crappy bullcrappy sex....

They never acknowledged the dark side of sex, and maybe that's because everyone lives with it already, but still. I needed it to be said, and nobody seemed to be saying it
. The heroine was always a virgin, was always more intellectual than physically oriented ( though she has a great body...and usually she feels self-conscious about some part of it, if not the whole thing, but the hero assures her just how perfect she is to him, can you dig it.) and was always F@$%ing CLUELESS about everything and anything sexual. She'd maybe been kissed, but not so well, usually poorly enough to convince her that sex was nothing to compare to a good rousing debate!

And Quick's heroines are always being accused of something that they are innocent of, and need the hero's help (reluctantly asking) to get their name cleared.

I was so tired of innocent sexually clueless heroines. I was so sick and tired of everything working out just fine, of the emotionally stony hero with a broken heart (and usually some kind of very mild disfigurment a scar, a limp, whatever.) who is won over in the end by the heroine's sweet fiery independent nature (toss jewel colored hair over shoulder and lift tiny chin pugnaciously)

So I came up wiht this idea- I even had the title of the book-


to be continued.

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