Posted in Thoughts, Writings

Writing Relationships – Part 2

Maybe it’s becoming a series, I don’t know.

While my first post on this subject was directed more at TV shows, today’s complaint is mainly book-related.

Allow me to share with you an all-too-common sort of exert from the book I’m currently reading (Rescue Me by Susan May Warren):

Jess put her hand on his arm, squeezed, her beautiful eyes shiny, a deep aquamarine in the sunlight, the kind of eyes a man could lose himself in. Especially when her lips curled into a delicious smile.
For a second, all Pete could think about was lowering his mouth to hers, tasting that smile, letting it seep through him, fill him with her touch. He wanted a piece of all that sunshine, the way she could make him feel like he wasn’t the guy who broke hearts, but the one who fixed them.

I’m not trying to pick on this book specifically. I’ve definitely read worse. It’s just illustrative of a problem I find in way too many romance books.

I don’t have a problem with passages where the guy gets lost in the girl’s eyes (or vice versa), or wants to kiss her, of that sort of thing. The problem is that this sort of thing is pretty much the only way their growing feelings are described.

This is an issue because in and of itself, this is not love. This is physical attraction. Which is related and important and should probably pop up sometimes if you’re writing romance.

But if it is not layered over other things – emotions and comradeship and learning about each other – it just feels shallow. “Okay, you like her eyes, that’s nice, I guess, even though I’ve already heard it several dozen times…”

So writers… Stop. Use more variety. It’ll make your relationships deeper and more interesting. And a fun bonus: When you don’t use physical attraction to describe every emotion, it makes the times you do use it so much more impactful.

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Posted in Life, Thoughts

What Can Your Body Do?

It seems like pretty much everyone has insecurities about their looks, at least sometimes. “You’re beautiful! Everyone’s beautiful!” only goes so far in helping with those insecurities.

Another approach people sometimes take in trying to help with this is something along the lines of, “Your body is created to do all these amazing things – see and smell and hear and touch and taste, run and jump and climb mountains – and that’s more important than your appearance.” Okay. Maybe. But this is pretty generic and hard to connect to. And I don’t even like running, and I’m definitely not good enough at it for it to feel amazing.

So I have brainstormed a list of specific things my body can do. Right now. That feel amazing to me.

  • Knit socks for feet of all sizes
  • My favorite yoga transition: Warrior II to Reverse Warrior
  • Give hugs
  • Shelve books at the library
  • Play my favorite song from the latest Yellowcard album on the ukulele
  • Type quickly
  • Sing at the top of my lungs
  • Read good books
  • Pick up and snuggle small children
  • Make scones
  • Write by hand for long periods of time
  • Drink tea
  • Giggle
  • Look at the moon
  • Smell roses
  • Walk down the aisle as a bridesmaid at my friend’s wedding
  • Drive long distances
  • Text my friends
  • Relax into my blankets and pillows at night
  • Listen to chatty library patrons
  • Eat chocolate
  • Sit still and breathe
  • Wear clothes that make me feel pretty
  • Carry too much stuff upstairs in one trip
  • Edit pictures to make things like this:

What can your body do?

Posted in Christianity, Life, Thoughts

Sounds

Last week I spent a few days working at church camp as a counselor.

I work the middle school age week. This year I had the weird realization that I’ve been doing this long enough that all the kids I worked with the first year I did it are now college age, so that was interesting.

Anyway. Late Friday morning, I walked down to the girls’ village to inspect cabins for cleanest and dirtiest (which earn you first and last place, respectively, in the lunch line). Since I wasn’t needed for other duties at the moment, I hung around for a little while to have some quiet time, sitting on the porch of the lodge where I was staying.

It wasn’t raining, but it had rained all night, and so much water dripped off the trees that it sounded like rain. I could hear at least two different kinds of birds tweeting. Occasionally I could hear kids shouting from up the hill. That was all.

But the sounds were so pretty.

God didn’t need to make the sounds so pretty. But I’m very glad he did and that we get to enjoy them.

Posted in Life

Mawwiage is What Bwings Us Togeder Today

Or, rather, last weekend.

My friend Maria got married on Saturday. She was beautiful. The whole day was beautiful and special and emotional.

I got to be in the wedding, and it was wonderful to play a part in such an important day. I’m glad I got to be near Maria for much of the day (and give her lots of hugs).

I feel like I should have lots to say. But I think it’s one of those things that’s important enough that I haven’t processed it enough to have much to share yet.

There are many lovely professional pictures that I’m looking forward to seeing. But for now, have one of Maria and I that I snapped on my phone because the occasion seemed selfie-worthy.

Posted in Life

Happy 4th of July!

Allow me to present to you the two things I always think of around this holiday.

1. This quote:
You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. – Erma Bombeck

2. This Studio C sketch, because of the line, “I celebrate our breakup with fireworks, okay? I blow things up!” (Which kind of seems to contradict the first quote, but as explosions go, fireworks are relatively harmless.)

Posted in Christianity, Life, Thoughts

An “I Just Need to Write Something” Post

I have a headache. I need to do yoga and take a shower, and I would like to have time to watch a movie and do some fiction writing tonight. So overall I don’t feel like putting much thought into a blog post today. So have some random quotes I like.

 

Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read. – Groucho Marx

We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be. – C.S. Lewis

The most important things are the hardest to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them – words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they’re brought out. But it’s more than that, isn’t it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you’ve said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That’s the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a teller but for want of an understanding ear. – Stephen King

If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito. – Dalai Lama XIV

Out of the quarrel with others we make rhetoric; out of the quarrel with ourselves we make poetry. – W.B. Yeats

The true alchemists do not change lead into gold; they change the world into words. – William H. Gass

Everybody has a secret world inside of them. I mean everybody. All of the people in the whole world, I mean everybody – no matter how dull and boring they are on the outside. Inside them they’ve all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds… Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands, maybe. – Neil Gaiman

Without education, we are in a horrible and deadly danger of taking educated people seriously. – G.K. Chesterton

There must be those among whom we can sit down and weep and still be counted as warriors. – Adrienne Rich

There is greatness in doing something you hate for the sake of someone you love. – Shmuley Boteach

Good writers are monotonous, like good composers. They keep trying to perfect the one problem they were born to understand. – Alberto Moravia

We’d get sick on too many cookies, but ever so much sicker on no cookies at all. – Sinclair Lewis

The only way to make a man trustworthy is to trust him. – Henry Stimson

Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten. – G.K. Chesterton

Hope does not leave without being given permission. – Rick Riordan

God has not baptized us into the drama of Christ’s Body only to forsake us when we stumble over some of our lines. – Mark McIntosh

There is no thought, feeling,  yearning, or desire, however low, trifling, or vulgar we may deem it, which, if it affects our real interest or happiness, we may not lay before God and be sure of sympathy. – Henry Ward Beecher

So long as we love we serve; so long as we are loved by others, I would almost say that we are indispensable; and no man is useless while he has a friend. – Robert Louis Stevenson

Posted in Thoughts, Writings

Writing Relationships

I recently finished rewatching the TV show Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. It’s a spin-off of the show Once Upon a Time, but I don’t think you would need to be familiar with that show to enjoy the Wonderland version. It only lasted a season, but they gave it a nice ending, so it’s pretty satisfying.

Unsurprisingly, it’s inspired by Alice in Wonderland, but it happens when Alice is grown up, going back to Wonderland and searching for the man she loves, a genie named Cyrus who has been wrongfully imprisoned.

Now. Cyrus is exactly the sort of character I should have a fictional crush on. He’s kind and sweet and thoughtful and has a tragic backstory that has helped him grow and has the tall, dark, and handsome thing going on. (Actually, I guess he’s not all that tall. But the vibe is there.) He’s just adorable and regularly makes me feel all melty.

But… the fictional crush isn’t there. Or it’s minuscule. He and Alice are just so happy together and so cute that it didn’t develop.

The lesson to be learned from this (you know, for the many TV show writers who read my blog…): Stable relationships are interesting, too.

Many TV shows (and movies and books and what have you) seem to think that relationships need constant fights, on-again/off-again, will they/won’t they to keep the audience interested. Personally, I find it obnoxious. It’s much more satisfying to watch a couple loving each other and working together and supporting each other as they deal with problems.

Not that the relationships have to be perfect. But they can be stable without being perfect.

So, all you TV show writers, go watch Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. And take notes on how they handle the relationship. Copious notes.