Sunday, September 16, 2018
The perfect match
When people partner up, they often describe their mate as perfect for them. They use terms like soulmate, they say, we read each other’s minds, we complete each other’s sentences. Some even feel a calling to dedicate their lives to making their other happy. In this perfect match, this feeling is reciprocated. It’s not 50/50, it is 100%/100%.
The younger you are, the more obstacles there are to achieve this.
First, many younger couples don’t think too deeply on this subject, if at all. They’re in lust and this is love. For those who do think about compatibility, there are likely big disappointments ahead. Those who don’t, may wake up someday and declare they have made a big mistake, “she’s lost interest in me, sexually [Male POV].” “He’s not sweet anymore.” With an approx. 50% divorce rate, something’s wrong for any type of couple, whether they are thoughtful or not.
The problem for thoughtful couples is in the dedication. How can you dedicate your life to the other, like a Mother Theresa, when you have responsibilities? There’re the kids, the jobs, social engagements, family.
You’re older now, more reflective. You may have a lot more time to make someone else happy, and passionately.
The moral of the story for writers. Don’t forget all the issues that tear couples apart. And consider “second time around” relationships as an open field to explore the meaning of dedication.
It is my opinion that to find the truest love is to know one’s purpose in the universe. To be fulfilled in an eternal way.
Wednesday, September 5, 2018
The Five Love Languages
Here follows a short summary of Doctor Gary Chapman’s book which is also free as in audio for thirty days. I start with my commentary.
As writers we need every reference we can get to understand better our characters. This holds especially true for the male POV, the basic subject of this blog. Dr. Chapman published his book, The Five Love languages in 1995 but the way men and women love each other never changes. As a reference I recommend the movie, Alpha, about life 20,000 years ago.
Chapman. The five (emotional) love languages are:
1. Words of affirmation. If this is your love language, you feel most cared for when your partner is open and expressive in telling you how wonderful they think you are, how much they appreciate you, etc.
2. Acts of service. Ex.: If your partner offering to watch the kids so you can go to the gym (or relieving you of some other task) gets your heart going then this is your love language.
3. Affection. This love language is just as it sounds. A warm hug, a kiss, touch, and sexual intimacy make you feel most loved when this is your primary love language.
4. Quality time. This love language is about being together, fully present and engaged in the activity at hand, no matter how trivial.
5. Gifts. Your partner taking the time to give you a gift can make you feel appreciated.
Here’s his point. People speak different love languages. Couples might not understand each other until they discover and learn the other’s primary language and then speak their partner’s language.
To understand this better and more completely Google or Bing a summary of his work.
Regarding the male POV: it's a good bet that physical intimacy is a guy's primary love language.
Sunday, August 19, 2018
ABC’s Bachelor in Paradise is a popular attempt to entertain us. The audience is split between all-ins and the I’m-not-liking-certain-aspects.
The premise is simple: put a bunch of bachelors and bachelorettes together in a tropical resort. Ask them to pair up or risk being sent home.
Who doesn’t want a vacation with someone beautiful or handsome? This is how it starts for many who come on the show.
The controversy starts with the various strategies or lack thereof of the contestants.
The approaches are:
1. Just have fun.
2. Find what you hope is your life mate, stick to him or her, and hope for the best. Every year at least one couple gets married.
3. Keep your eyes open if someone more suitable shows up and dump the person you are with. (New people come every week.)
4. Be friendly and hope someone sees merit in you. This passive approach doesn’t usually work.
5. Bitch and moan about what others are doing on the show. Being negative usually doesn’t work.
6. Figuratively stab someone in the back. Being an asshole is a ticket to being shamed on social media and becoming undesirable. It is also unethical.
As always, watching or panning depends on the preferences of the audience.
Monday, August 13, 2018
There is the love of couples, families and love of all humans, often called agàpe. Of course, there is the love of pets, animals, the earth, the universe (but not spiders). Are these loves the same? Is love a perfect state in which the giver is in 100%? Are we evolving into more loving men and women through education and the love of others for us?
Writing romances, one needs to grapple with this subject, to create more believable characters. In the defects (lack of love or fatal flaws), lies the inner and sometimes outer struggles.
If love is indivisible, how can one love be greater than another? If you are physically close to someone, you may more often demonstrate your love. Does this mean you love aunt Mable, who lives in Sweden, any less? Consider the case where two lovers are separated through no fault of their own. Must drive them crazy.
Enough questions. As writers of any type of fiction, we need answers or at least I need them.
I’ll supply my answer, but I am sure there will be differences of opinion.
Placed in us by the universe or Creator is a pure drive to love. It cannot be divided. It is perfect. But, it is missing something. Energy. As a former physicist may I present a formula for love.
Love is the function of energy times proximity squared (of one person to another). Proximity is squared because the closer you are to the situation the more able you are to react.
Examples: of sacrifice:
Picture a white racist in Alabama diving into a raging river to save a little black girl. (May never happen except in your story).
A Victorian gentleman lays down his coat on a puddle for a beautiful stranger.
Examples of opportunity:
A guy is close to the object of his desire either on a computer or in real life. He overcomes his fear of rejection (due to their closeness) and strikes up a conversation.
A gal is at a rock concert and accidently on purpose runs into the Star performer (and the rest is history).
BTW: I just learned how to make the symbols above.
Using ƒ can be done by simultaneously holding down the ALT key and typing in 0131 on the num lock right side keyboard.
The square symbol, ² is achieved by holding down the ALT key and typing 253 on num locked keyboard.
Agápe: Paint the middle a and press ALT and 0225 as above.
More: ALT 0151 = emdash —
ALT 0150 = endash –
I’d love your examples of love or opinions on the formula..
Monday, August 6, 2018
Lately, Hallmark Movies is putting out location-vacation romances. Vicariously, I enjoyed a safari in South Africa and the beauty of Figi. The movies' writers made sure to highlight the local sights. Through the use of dialogue, emotion and great filming, Hallmark delivers you to this world we all wish we could visit.
In A Summer to Remember I was overwhelmed with a—let’s pack our bags—when I watched the actors snorkel.
In Love on Safari the jeep stops very close to a pack of South African painted dogs. These amazing creatures—who aren’t dogs and aren’t painted—immediately steal the show. Their rendition of barking “he he he, he he he” produces an unforgettable cacophony.Amazed, the heroine says, “What are they?” The hero goes on to describe their place in the world.
In A Summer to Remember I was overwhelmed with a—let’s pack our bags—when I watched the actors snorkel.
This brings me to writing techniques. Any writer would be remiss if they didn’t feature some physical highlights of their locations. Why? A reader wants to be there in your world and feel what the characters are feeling. Suppose you lived in a future world where tectonic plates brought Africa one mile from the coast of the Americas. Having a swim or a walk on this beach is an opportunity not to be missed.I’ve sat in critique groups and listened to people say what does this scene do to advance the plot? If you take out these scenes and it will leave your book barren.
In the painted dogs and the snorkeling scenes the heroines are reconsidering what they want from life.
Readers arrive at your story with their bags packed. Don’t disappoint them.
Sunday, July 29, 2018
Two guys are left on ABC’s The Bachelorette (finale on August 6).There’s a good chance that Becca Kufrin will end up engaged to a guy with more isms than you’d think possible.
Becca, a women’s rights activist said of Garrett (one of the two men) that she’d educate him. This presumes she’s not just a friend, lover, fiancée but and educator.
You can’t change a man or can you? This is a worthy premise or trope for a romance novel. I remember Governor Wallace walking into a Black church and asking for forgiveness. It took him 30 years. With Garrett, I hope for Becca’s sake that it won’t take long. In our romance fiction, typical alpha males don’t sit for being educated by their women, none. I’m not sure if Garrett is alpha. He has been burnt in the past (a two-month marriage) and may seek direction. He wants this marriage to work and will likely try to change.For those who don’t know: Garrett liked certain Instagram posts that made fun of Mexican children, women activists, LBGTQ people, and a post that said that the Parkland High schoolers who were marching for common-sense gun control were actors.
Nonetheless, you know me. I’m always hoping for a happy ending.Also, in these days of rampant hatred, it is good to see a liberal woman reaching out. Can’t we all get along? Shouldn’t we all get along?
Sunday, July 22, 2018
“Why can’t a woman be more like a man?” [Henry Higgins, My Fair Lady]
This is so culturally loaded that it shouldn’t be touched. But I will.
Before I start I want to differentiate between how men and women act in the workplace and their love, friends, social and family lives. In the work place, I have detected, being a long-time manager of many, no difference. For the rest of life’s adventures men and women act differently. This is possibly a mix of inborn and learned traits. It is also important to note that we are romance writers and must be shroud observers of how men and women fall in love.
Regarding non-workplace activities these are my observations once again: on average women seem more emotional. [Men hide their emotions better according to various studies.] Since emotions are more often the deciding factor as opposed to logic shouldn’t a man be more like a woman?
Let’s relate this to our craft.
1. Plotting in a logical manner may not lead to a human result, i.e. believable by your readers. This may create a boring lifeless story. Sure, plan, but get ready for your characters to interrupt you with ideas of their own. Remember a character doesn’t come to life if it ain’t alive. [Check out Plato and his philosophy about a world of forms. He stated that every thought has existence.]
2. No protagonist is perfect, right? If yours is, interview him deeper or start writing comic books.
3. There’s nothing worse than writing the predictable, trope laden, clichéd story.
Thank God, women and men are different. I think.