Realistic Romance

There seems to be a very common problem in fiction pertaining to romantic relationships. Authors create characters who are supposedly meant to be together and fall in love, but their interactions are bland and boring (honestly, that protagonist had more chemistry with her sandwich). Yet for some reason, this is incredibly common.

I didn’t really understand it until I started writing my NaNo MS. Ceri and Bel are meant for each other. They would be great together. But for some reason, I couldn’t get their chemistry on the page, and I couldn’t figure out why. Now that I’ve changed Cheri’s gender, they definitely have a lot more chemistry (Bel is sexless and genderless, but Cheri’s personality went through a huge shift, which certainly contributed to better interactions), but there’s still that strange awkwardness of building their relationship throughout the course of the MS that I can’t seem to get right.

So, of course, I did some research.

Continue reading

Well, that’s only a little bit of change.

When I wrote my NaNo MS, my main character was a guy named Ceri (which I later found out is a real female name, of Celtic origin, I believe) who was from Rwanda. His mom was basically nothing, just a character in the background. He was a university professor and had no friends (or at least, none that I fleshed out).

After doing some editing and plot overhaul, Ceri is now Cherifa, a half-demon lady from Morocco whose mother was in love with theater and revolution, aiding in the Nationalist fight against French control by writing propagandist articles that were distributed by her theater troupe. Cheri lives in NYC, working as a docent at a small art museum in the Upper East Side, and makes a living off of identity theft and what little she gets from her job.

And wow do I love her so much now.

The whole time I was writing the MS, I just kept thinking, “Ceri doesn’t feel like a guy. Xandamore feels like a guy. Mezolet feels like a guy. Ceri just doesn’t.” And making the switch in gender of my MC helped me so much in uncovering her back story, her relationship with her Mom, and also what kind of relationships she has now (spoiler alert: she actually has friends now).

I’m really excited about writing it again, because now that I’ve gotten the base plot out, there are so many details and new chapters I want to add because I actually know the path the story is going to take, how the relationships will form, and everyone’s backgrounds.

I definitely should have planned for NaNo; it would have made editing this monstrosity a lot easier. But either way, my MS has a lot of potential, and I’m super, super excited.

I did it.

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I actually did it.

I wrote 50,866 words in a month. I wrote a novel. A splendidly craptastic, awful novel, but a novel nonetheless.

And damn, does it feel good.

Yeah, it might be filled with clichés, bad writing, and predictable plot points. But you know what? That’s all mine. There are billions of people who go their entire lives never writing a book. This might not be the longest thing I’ve ever written (I’ve written a 63k fanfiction before), but this is 100% completely my own, my own characters, my own settings, my own style.

And you know what? I think it has some gems in it.

So congratulations to all those who won this November. That’s freaking awesome! Go get some ice cream or other delicious treat and celebrate! You’ve earned it.

Those of you who didn’t win? Well, you at least gave it a shot, and that’s more than most people can say. Don’t let this discourage you. Writing a novel in a month isn’t an easy feat. Just be happy in knowing that you at least gave it your all and, most importantly, remember to finish.

Congratulations, everyone! I’m going to go have a bowl of double chocolate ice cream now.

Tuesday Tropes: NaNo Edition #1

Because of NaNoWriMo, my posts are going to be pretty short this week, since I’m trying to devote more time to writing my novel (and still have time to sleep, eat, and do fun things). So what I’m going to do is identify possibly problematic tropes in my story for the month, talk about them, and write ideas for how to fix them (and maybe, in turn, give you guys some tips on how to fix your own bad tropes).

This week: I Owe You My Life

This is a trope that gets used a lot – Character A saves the life of Character B, and Character B feels indebted to Character A, pledging his life and loyalty to A.

That’s the very first thing we see in my NaNo story. Ceri saves Belkor from being hit by a car, and Bel says they’ll stay with him until it’s been repaid. Pretty basic plot, right?

Well, it’s already complicated by the fact that Bel will never be able to save Ceri’s life because Ceri can’t die, at least not permanently. In fact, Ceri saves Bel’s life by pushing them out of the way of a car, which ends up hitting Ceri and killing him. Moments later – tada! – and Ceri is a-okay, one-hundred percent healed.  Also, while Bel does feel a certain amount of responsibility for taking care of Ceri and repaying him, they also selfishly want to follow him because, well, he’s a half-demon who can’t die. What’s more interesting than that?

In the end, it’s not as simple as, “You saved my life and now I owe you.” It’s a giant mishmash of “How do you repay someone for saving your life when you’ll never be able to save theirs?” as well as giving loyalty for your own selfish reasons and indulgences.

Are any of you using this trope? How’s it going? Are you following the usual pattern, or have you found a way to make it different?

Writing Exercise

“-2psd” by hoooook

Lady Hala was a woman as beautiful as she was dangerous. Ceri remembered the feeling of weightlessness she gave him the first time she ever touched him, the mental connection that sparked between them as she rooted through the crevices of his mind and searched for answers. He remembered how lonely he felt when she released him, as if he had just lost some part of himself.

Decades later, she has aged. Her skin, the color of warm clay, sagged with small wrinkles. Stretching out from the corners of her eyes were crow’s feet, and her hands were dry on his face. The power that came from her, however, had not disappeared. She held herself with rigid strength, all pent-up fire and rage that burned from her core. Her eyes were still white voids, and he couldn’t stop staring into them, he couldn’t stop staring at the huge, white horns that curled from her temples and announced her as a divergent hero, a rebellious hero who would not let herself be scared into mutilating her own body for the sake of social safety.

For the first time in years, they were joined again by unseen strands of memory and thought. He felt a familiar pain in his chest, the same he felt while he watched his mother die, and he couldn’t tell if it was because Lady Hala still felt so much like his savior, his parent, or if because she still saw him as her boy, her son.

Whatever feeling it was, it didn’t stop her from breaking his neck.