Sunday, October 16, 2016
I’m not going to dig deeply into religious faith, but to say, for most of us, faith is stronger or weaker at any given moment and for some nonexistent.
When our heroine and hero have faith in each other’s love, it is a beautiful thing. If only one has this faith, then it is misplaced or delusional. Most of us have insecurities that prevent us from ever being absolutely sure we are loved, like we love back. Isn’t it healthy to harbor a bit of skepticism? The return for allowing yourself to fall head over heels in love in the knowledge that your hero/heroine feels the same, is a deep sense of achievement and commitment. We are not meant to be alone so why think that way? Some say complete faith in the other is a sign of fanaticism/zealotry. Some portray a lack of complete faith by showing signs of jealousy, fear and pushing away.
It’s sometimes the arc and how the writer uses it to show growth or it can simply be a character trait. It could be that the hero or heroine sees faith in the other’s love as a mystical connection, making them greater than 1+1=2. They’ll believe in soul mates for the same reason. But, you don’t need these crutches. Yes, human beings thrive on fear. It is what keeps us alive. But don’t we aspire to more than survival? Can’t we touch the eternal truths? God blessed you if you (your character) have a love like this. If you write this type of character, your book might not be labeled inspirational, but it is damn close.
Some forms of love last forever.
Sunday, October 9, 2016
In the past, we have discussed logic and emotion as they pertain to making decisions and reached the conclusion that they balanced. NPR has recently broadcast, and various scientific communities have published, stating that emotion trumps logic. Humans are social, they contract with each other socially. They tend not to listen to a third person trying to correct something based on logic.
And when emotion is amped up, how will it affect your protagonists? Let’s take the case of exercise or sports (and there many more positive emotional situations). If the hero and heroine are finishing off a tennis match, dancing or walking out of an aerobics class, they are because of endorphins, more social, more bonded to each other. Whatever attraction there was is greater in these situations. If you write this type of scene, you may want to explore what happens to the wannabe or actual couple when they are down off their endorphin highs. How they progress, where does logic help them make decisions to move forward?
It is useful to note that heightened endorphin situations lead to sex and declarations of love. It’s hardly anything you need explain, but may want to, because not everybody gets it. I have to stop writing now, so I won’t be late for Zumba.
Sunday, October 2, 2016
Rich and Columbia were lovers. They were engaged. Rich started exhibiting strange behaviors or red flags. Columbia thought he had put his prejudices behind him. I know, romances don’t usually start after a promise to marry, so let’s call this one a possible tragedy.
The trouble started when Rich complained about Columbia, a gorgeous Hispanic woman, gaining a bit of weight. He professed his love for her was based on her wit, smarts, heart, and yes, her looks. But she still looked very good. She felt ashamed and tried to live up to his wishes and was winning the battle, in spite of being influenced now by a negative image of herself.
Rich’s pat phrase when pressed scared her, “He/she/they deserve it.” Columbia, a judge, heard this in court all the time when a physical or mental abuser would try to defend himself. She wondered how she could have missed the obvious signs that first showed as simple, driven to succeed, banter. She knew there was a fine line between success at work and ignoring ethical standards. She had at times struggled herself with knotty issues. But her faith and common sense always brought her back to the golden rule. He even suggested she couldn’t be fair because of her heritage. He Apologized,, but she was rapidly becoming completely disenchanted.
Then he started to complain about minorities of all types in an unending stream of insults. Talk about fatal flaws. Can Rich reform and really love Columbia, would anybody care at this point? Yes, Rich had many friends. They still cared, thought he could be saved. Wished him well. Will he change? Will he love her? You decide.
Sunday, September 25, 2016
Einstein said, Genius is …“regard(ing) old questions from a new angle.” Genius is not a know-it-all but a see-it-all. A true genius makes our lives more difficult, more unsettled. Said another way, it is not easy to change when a genius takes us down a different and new path. Think of how tidy the world was before Darwin. So we evolve.
In writing your hero as a genius be mindful of him earning it, and, of course, we as writers must show the process. Now, that’s tough, because change in a work of fiction must be believable and dramatic. Is your genius hero hard to live with because he is so focused on his creation [picture Doctor Frankenstein]? Must the heroine make him give up his contribution to humanity to love her? No, she should be a good partner and help. Even a genius can learn that one-plus-one is way more than two.
A heroine can be blessed with the same problem (genius). It’s all in how you decide to structure your conflict and characterizations.
The smartest person I had ever met was a secretarial school drop out [to be sung to Beauty School Drop Out], couldn’t do math unless it was home finances, and was “just” a mom. She seemed to read minds and mend hearts as if dispensing miracles. Her reaction time (quick wit & observations) was beyond scary. Say anything and it would be translated into what you really meant. She’d see what was missing from the equation or problem while the rest of us didn’t know we had an equation or a problem. I’m not talking male-female interactions exclusively. Her empathy for another human being gave her an EQ (and I suggest IQ) too high to measure. That’s the point of life, isn’t it? Love at work.
Don’t tell me your character is a genius, show me.
A rare Albert Einstein interview:
Sunday, September 18, 2016
Travel back through the mist of time to when you were dating. In that mirror, how had you seen yourself as qualified for a mate?
From the typical male point of view, the guy wants the most beautiful and loving woman that God had ever created. Any number of attributes can be added.
The average gal wants a man who will love her with abandon.
But it isn’t that simple. Numerous studies have shown that men and women access their chances either consciously or subnconsciously based on their own strengths and weaknesses. Their match is one who will most likely feel the same about them in the same way. That’s a match.
Were you a subconscious or conscious competent?
Step through the mirror as you create your hero and heroine. Now, the readers are looking at that mirror. Will they see themselves, someone real, someone they can relate to. Will the reader dream of your hero or heroine? More importantly will they see a good match in the looking glass?
Was Alice Through the Looking Glass allegory? Interpreting Alice as a look at impending adulthood may be a bit of a stretch but it's fun and thought provoking.
2016, Alice Through the Looking Glass Trailer:
Sunday, September 11, 2016
Here is a re-post commemorating 9/11 as requested
A wall of searing blue flames pressed Hussam to the melted and broken windows. He couldn’t breathe and the heat was hell.
“It’s you,” the pretty girl from personnel ran up and said. Over the months, he had stolen glances of her and she did the same, both gutless wonders.
“I’m Hussam Fayyad, your boss’s boss.”
“I know. Save your breath. I’m Sarah Bernstein.” He knew.
They locked their hands, tight. Leaned out and hesitated. Then, Sarah’s wavy auburn hair caught fire.
“Marry me.” She screamed from the pain, tears evaporating. Taking off his jacket, he wrapped her head.
“I will. … I do.” Holding hands tightly, they jumped out from the ninety-ninth floor.
“I do,” she tried to say—her breath pushed inward by the rush of air—not that he could hear her anyway. She closed her eyes, he held unto her like a vise, as if they were one. Perhaps now they were.
"Mom and Dad, I’d like you to meet my fiancée, Hussam Fayyad.” Her folks' home, a big split-level in Oradell New Jersey, had beautiful large tile floors, a modern kitchen, with a menorah on the table. The candles had pooled on the tabletop.
“I guess it’s stupid for me to tell my daughter she should have chosen a nice Jewish boy?” Sarah’s mom asked rhetorically.
“We’re soul mates,” Hussam said.
“We’re besherte, mom.” She put it in Yiddish terms.
He dared not open his eyes and lose this vision of her mom and dad. He had always thought about Sarah, trying to get up the nerve to ask her out. Worried of cultural, political, and religious differences. He didn’t believe in treating women like second-class citizens, not at work, not in marriage. His hiring practices and office policies touted the heart of a modern liberated Muslim.
“We’ll always love the thought of you,” her mom and dad said, hugging him.
“We have to go to the wedding now,” Sarah said, pulling his hand.
At the wedding, Hussam’s little brother carried the ring on a purple pillow. Sarah always knew Hussam would come by, lean on her desk, ask her out. They’d marry; have three kids, two girls, one boy, or the other way around. They both wanted to be outvoted in either case. These gorgeous kids would grow up brilliant and loving, real menches; oh yes, two dogs, just right.
“I am so happy to have you in my heart.” Hussam’s parents, both a little portly, hugged her by the orchids stationed at the first row of seats in their garden.
Tears turned to rivers. Images rifted through her of falafel, lamb kebob, along with gefilte fish, Manischewitz Blackberry for the toast. Bruce Springsteen’s band struck up, ‘Here Comes the Bride.’
“He took my hand,” she explained to his mom and dad by way of apology.
“Thank you, pretty Sarah. My son, he always work, work, work.”
Sarah wished the world a better place, maybe a little less work, a little more love.
“He needs a strong Jewish girl to love him,” his dad said. They kissed her cheeks.
“I always had and always will love him,” Sarah said. She had harbored a tiny love, like a seedling, hoping to water it. No doubt about her feelings, now.
Martin Luther King without thinking forgot to add one word, Muslim. “…when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews, Muslims, and Gentiles, Protestant and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: 'Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.'”
Sarah’s heart beat the rhythm of Martin’s words. She felt Hussam heard and saw Martin with her at the Lincoln Memorial, because he squeezed her. He’d never let go.
I am within you, Sarah.
I am within you, Hussam.
“Great Grand Papa.” Isaac Bernstein was gassed at Auschwitz, yet thin, young, suspendered, a silly fedora, munching on a pipe, his eyes opened to heaven.
“You bring the right man with you, mazel tov. Hussam’s great grand mom and pop are at the bridge table with your great grandma, waiting for me to come back. You see, I’m the dummy. Those two died in Gaza. Bam, to pieces.” He splayed his hands.
At the wedding, Cyndi Lauper spread her many orange, red, and yellow petticoats on the back step. With a sad face, she sang, 'Time After Time.'
The Rabbi and Imam smiled from under the canopy on this day of brilliant blue. They finished with one voice, “in death you will start, because love is eternal.”
Almighty God, Allah, blessed them, opened his arms, and said, “Kiss already.”
Sunday, September 4, 2016
Hardly ever is the hero of a romance a salesman. When writing a spy, cowboy, millionaire, soldier, detective, fireman, is it because we feel the audience would be more interested and that for all but the millionaire and cowboy, more heroic? Well, that’s the point. The millionaire has money and the cowboy has cows, but the writer has talent. It’s the development of the character and his backstory that make the story compelling. Does the writer rely on crutches or good story-telling? Will the crutch disguise, in the writer's mind, good story telling?
Which brings us to the used-car, insurance, door-to-door peddler of God knows what. Most people do not want to interrupt their busy lives to entertain someone who is trying to solicit them. If sold properly, the reader would become curious about a character they might find 'different' or one they don't understand. They'll feel safe, not having to buy anything but the novel. Understand your salesman if only to shut him up, LOL.
Generally, don't we say?
“I’ve got one already.”
“Sorry, I don’t want to discuss religion, politics…”
What if we could get into the head of a salesman and find out what makes him do what he does. I mean, it’s the characterization, right?
Some salesmen love their work, have empathy for people, hope to improve the person's—they are trying to sell to—life. What made them that way? Weren’t they smart enough to become a doctor or whatever else or maybe what they are doing is perfect for them. They meet new people, maybe make friends, share equal conversations on many subjects, find a kindred spirit…
How would they react if thrown into a life and death situation with the heroine?
On any romantic hero’s journey, he leaves his ordinary world for adventure and love. He might initially refuse the challenge. He will get advice. He’ll be tested, gather allies, mentors, enemies. He will approach the solution and seize the reward. He will travel back enriched by a new life changing experience. He may be rewarded with the lady’s hand.
The Death of a Salesman, Trailer, Play by Arthur Miller 1949, Movie & TV, various:
The Death of a Salesman, Trailer, Play by Arthur Miller 1949, Movie & TV, various: