Friday, June 27, 2008
I've had a face-lift... well, actually, my website has had a face-lift. It's beautiful and fresh and young again, thanks to the skills of the multi-tasking Ally Blake -- author, new mother and website guru. Check it out!!
Meanwhile, I've been reading a very interesting book -- A Short History of Myth by Karen Armstrong, which examines the way human beings have been making meaning of their lives through stories since Palaeolithic times.
I find it very helpful, every so often, to dip into theory. So much of what we do as writers is instinctive. We, like those storytellers who sat around fires in caves, often don't know why we feel compelled to tell the stories we tell. And although that doesn't matter... I find it also doesn't hurt to reflect and analyze from time to time.
I haven't finished the book yet, but this quote about heroes got me thinking.
"All cultures have developed similar mythology about the heroic quest. The hero feels there is something missing in his own life or in society. The old ideas that have nourished his community for generations no longer speak to him. So he leaves home, endures death-defying adventures. He fights monsters, climbs inaccessible mountains, traverses dark forests, and in the process, dies to his old self, and gains new insight or skill which he brings back to his people."
Of course, in romances, particularly the Romance line, we focus mostly on the heroine's story. Her monsters and inaccessible mountains are the personal problems she has to face and at best they become a source of tension between her and the hero. The knowledge or skill that she learns is often about herself and she brings this enlightenment to their romantic relationship.
I guess the point I'm making is -- if you're a beginning writer, don't be afraid to give your characters difficulties and big problems. It makes the romantic happy ending so much more powerful!