I've been reading (and commenting) on a lot more writer's blogs than usual, lately, which means I've been thinking even more about the particulars of my craft. One of the things I don't blog about often is relationships, mostly because I'm a semi-private person, but also because I don't consider myself a great authority on all things love. Recently, though, it occurred to me that there was one particular place where these concepts intersected.
A friend recently remarked that their relationship had evolved into sort of a one-dimensional one. Their significant other only had one thing they liked to talk about, and it wasn't how infatuated they were with this particular friend, nor was it (after a long time had elapsed) quite so interesting to talk about. At the same time, this sig. other was (and is) incredibly good-looking, and therefore still retains a good portion of the appeal they once did.
What a vague and pronoun-laden paragraph that is.
At any rate, I realized that my friend was, in a way, married to a mannequin. Their sig. other only had one gear, one focus, and getting them to deviate from that was far beyond difficult. I realized that I have read books (and stories) that were exactly this same way.
Think about it for a second. Have you ever picked up a book based on how attractive its cover or blurb was, then during the reading of said book realized that there wasn't a whole lot going on in the story? It's one-dimensional because the characters are cardboard cut-outs, or the plot is a paper-thin journey down Cliché Lane? I certainly have, and it's a pitfall I struggle to avoid with my own work.
Yesterday was a big day for me in terms of writing because I finished the first draft of my third novel. The fanfare was mixed, but mostly I celebrated this milestone in my head. One of the big support-drivers was that a (different) friend had agreed to read the draft once I had finished it, and I finished it far ahead of the schedule I laid out for myself. I emailed the draft to him yesterday afternoon, and it was brought up shortly thereafter because this particular friend has been instrumental in the crafting of that story.
He wanted to ensure that I had thoroughly used some of his ideas (those being a character-based twist, where someone in the story is revealed to be more than previously thought). I had. But I was also worried that, throughout the course of the 108,000-some odd words, I might have strayed away from the character development focus that I hold so dear. Had I, somewhere in this first draft, allowed it to evolve into a pretty exterior with only one gear?
I don't quote my WIP's very often in my blog but, after a recent post by Design Kitty, I feel encouraged to do so. Here's a spot of character development for your perusal, minus context:
Hours later, Tysane fell to the cot exhausted but overtly satisfied. His quick breaths eventually slowed and deepened, and before long Laurel realized she was just watching him sleep. She ran her fingertips over his scarred and muscled chest as it rose and fell, fixating over the power this man contained.
A deep sense of calm spread over her limbs and mind, but it shattered when Laurel started to wonder how long it would last. She didn’t hate this man any longer, but was that all? Were they still enemies, or had they become something different entirely?
What she felt for Tysane wasn't love; it could never be something as pure or natural as what others described, not if it was inspired by the Darkwalker's compulsion. Even so, Laurel treasured the feeling. It meant more to her than a mere coupling ever could.
But it was wrong. It could not last.
She stood only to retrieve the bottle and the cup. As Laurel poured the dregs of the blood wine, tears fell from her face to mix with it.
"We shouldn't be doing this," she repeated sorrowfully under her breath.
Is the situation too obvious? Is it one-dimensional, hollow, fake, or wooden? I know that sometimes life imitates art, but does life or art imitate crappy/classic 80's films where a mannequin comes to life only to care about one thing?
Have you seen this type of thing, whether in your own writing or someone else's?
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