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  1. #1
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    What do you think?

    Been wrestling with a scene for the past three days. Cant decide weather to cut it, disperse it, or temper it. I don't know if I like how I handled the situation, but dont know how I want to fix it. It has to do with a romantic relationship. I basically assumed that because both are rational, intelligent and centuries old, they could argue, talk it out, and come to an agreement. I feel that is how these two practical people would handle things.

    Simplified scenario: She turned him down despite her own feelings because she did not believe they could actually be a romantic couple (age differences, cultural issues, ect). After years of him being turned down they had a huge blowout fight and he left. By chance (ha) they meet again a long time later and have to interact. After some coldness from him, they argue, talk things out a bit and she admits that most of the reasons she turned him down are no longer valid. She asks if they can repair what they had, and he eventually relents and admits he is willing to try.

    This all happens spread out over about 10-15 pages revealing some personal backstory and intro-ing some new chars (the woman's sister and uncle, ect). Relationships are rarely this rational however. A point to note is that the characters only agree tentatively to try and see if they can make a relationship work. I fully plan it to be difficult, rocky, and conflict filled, and their relationship is in no way guaranteed to succeed.

    My question I guess really is: will a reader buy a rational, if heated, settling of differences? or do I have to take a flamethrower to their lives and my chapter to make this believable?

    (Note: the reason I don't bring up changing it is that I like the opportunities this sort of surprising and upsetting meeting game me to really reveal something about these characters right off the bat.)

  2. #2
    KMTolan kmtolan's Avatar
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    I'd think she'd be over him by now since we're talking years going by. That said, I'm betting nobody here's going to give you an answer that will fit as well into your story as what you will inevitably come up with. Your being troubled about this is simply an indication that the current path you're heading down isn't going to work and you know it. You might just not want to admit it, heh.

    I've twice had to delete a scene where my main character beats the crap out of another person simply because it made absolutely zero sense for either person to head down that path - part of me just thought the idea would be some cool drama. Then my brow wrinkled.

    Kerry

  3. #3
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    True, Kerry. I dont mind it from a theoretical stand-point, I have adequate explanation and backstory to rationalize this stuff. it just comes off a bit...clean. On the other hand, these are two very straight-forward individuals; neither is afraid to say what they mean or hit on difficult subjects. Most authors and stories would bilk out this "give us a second chance" thing for all its worth, but I just dont think that is what the characters would do. The plot leads them into leaving a city together to investigate a recent (basically terrorist) attack. These two are one of the 5 primary groups/character units in my WIP.

    Maybe I can delay reconciliation and resolution for awhile, and simply have them back on civil terms. **** I HATE REVISING. It is not even a full edit, just trying to beat the first chapters into something vaguely solid.

  4. #4
    KMTolan kmtolan's Avatar
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    Well, assuming this is a first draft, just jot down some notes and move on. You'll keep your momentum, and hate yourself later in the second draft.

    Kerry

  5. #5
    Registered User StephenPorter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hobbles105 View Post
    Most authors and stories would bilk out this "give us a second chance" thing for all its worth, but I just dont think that is what the characters would do.
    This puts a different spin on things. You should ask yourself just why you feel the scene doesn't work. If it is because you genuinely feel like something is wrong, then it probably does need to change somehow. But if your problem with the scene is entirely due to fears of how others will respond to the scene, then don't worry yourself. Write the story that you need to write.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hobbles105 View Post
    **** I HATE REVISING.
    Well, I have some bad news for you. The majority of writing is revision. Very few authors get away with little revision. I'm afraid you'll have to get used to it.

  6. #6
    sf-icionado / horr-orator Andrew Leon Hudson's Avatar
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    I think the fact that there is something unusual to the situation you describe could work in its favour. The way you describe it here, it sounds like a quite important part of a story - the driving event, philosophy even, which their relationship is powered by; for this to be a step away from the traditional thundering pulses of lit-romance might make it stand out to useful effect.

    That said, there are plenty of parallels in fiction and life of relationships forged on rationality rather than passion. Game of Thrones starts with Ned and Catelyn Stark very much in love, but we learn that theirs is originally an alliance marriage founded on duty. Similar arranged marriages crop up in all sorts of historical fiction, not just "medieval" fantasy (although, to take another example, I've just finished K. J. Parker's Engineer trilogy, which effectively contains three, all of them compromised in different ways, all of them vital motivating factors of the action).

    My point is, I don't see any reason why two people (as opposed to two families, or kingdoms, or cultures) couldn't rationalise a relationship and progress it in that fashion - the drama will surely be in discovering whether and in what way it proves "successful": do they achieve true love, or not? do they achieve a fruitful alliance on some other level, or not? There's plenty of potential there to draw a reader along for the ride.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hobbles105 View Post
    My question I guess really is: will a reader buy a rational, if heated, settling of differences? or do I have to take a flamethrower to their lives and my chapter to make this believable?
    I think that's the wrong question. The answer to your question is: Some will and some won't.
    The real question is (imho) : Do you think it's believable?
    Because if you don't think it's believable, you won't write it in a way that other people will believe.
    What you're putting down on paper is a little bit of you. There will always be somebody who'll hate it - there will (generally) be somebody who loves it but at the end of the day, what you're writing there is how you feel about that situation.

    Follow your own instincts on this one.

  8. #8
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    I like what Peter and Andrew have to say on this.

    One thing I would like to add is the possibility of introducing another, more emotional character who can occasionally comment on the uniqueness of this relationship. By letting the reader know you're aware of the strangeness early on they may be willing to give you more time to convince them these two are making a go of it. Additionally, a sappy friend, relative or co-worker might give you the opportunity to explore the relationship more deeply.

    One question I would ask is this, are these characters generally rational in other aspects of their lives?

  9. #9
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    Really good points, one and all! This is why I love feedback: really good points all around. I will leave the scene as is for now, maybe tweak it later on as their story plays out. Thanks guys!

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