Lifelong Love - Carolyn

Now that it’s almost Labor Day, Memphis is getting the weather that we expect in July and August—that is to say, miserably hot and miserably humid and not fit for anything other than to sit inside and either read or write. I’ve been doing both, when I haven’t been sitting and waiting (forever) in doctors’ offices with George.
How do painters know when the picture is finished? Some never do, and keep touching up and touching up until what was glorious becomes merely mundane. Some writers do the same thing. I have plenty of problems as a writer. That ain’t one of them, although my editor probably wishes I were.
I have friends who plan out every scene, every character trait, every plot point and never deviate throughout a whole book. Their characters would not dare to rebel against them. They may fight for a little leeway, but they never, ever win. Mine get away from me all the time. As a matter of fact, I love the moment when they do something I had never foreseen, but that I know is right. When I get down deep into who they are, sometimes they’re not the people I thought they were at all. Usually, they’re a darned sight more interesting.
Characters must grow and evolve throughout the book. If you have read The Writer’s Journey, you’re well aware of the progression that characters make throughout. I always say that in the Inmost Cave the characters think that they experience the worst that can happen to them.
Oh really? Ah, and then we get the Big Black Moment. That’s when the REALLY worst thing happens to them. The one they never saw coming—losing the person they have come to love. Realizing that the big, fat goals that seemed so important are valueless without that love. Even worse, realizing that the loss is their own fault. They reverted one last time to the same ole hero or heroine they were at the beginning. And really got smacked down.
They must face the challenge they blew in the first few chapters of the book, and because of love, this time they don’t screw it up. This time they step up to the plate, make the right choice, and because they took the risk, they deserve the love that they have found.
I truly believe in lifelong love.  Hey, I’ve been married over forty years to the same guy. We haven’t killed one another yet, although it’s been close a couple of times. Romantic in the flowers and candy sense he ain’t. I had to have a baby before he sent me flowers, and I recently found out his secretary sent those. It wouldn’t have occurred to him. We both had to do a lot of changing before we could get this far. Otherwise we could never have become a ‘we.’  That’s what romance is all about, isn’t is? Taking two disparate people and melding them into a ‘we?’


  1. Oh goodie, on the holiday we get a twofer. I hope people who come to the blog see both Cynthia's and Carolyn's great blogs. It's easy to mess up a calendar. We're all busy people.
    I'm one of those people who like to have my characters wrestled into shape with a story before I start to write. However, my characters sometimes still have a mind of their own and go off on a tangent.

  2. Carolyn - I've always thought that the best and the worst thing that can happen to a writer is the moment her/his characters come alive. When it first happens, I always struggle with whether it's creative genius or lack of discipline. Then I just let it go and see where it takes me. And usually it's somewhere exciting I hadn't even imagined when I sat down to write.

    And that is what romance is all about - "And the two shall become one." Nothing like it in the world. There's a scientific term for that in nature - I think among lichen or something. Two things sort of merge to form something else while still retaining all their original properties.
    Heavy stuff for a holiday, Carolyn!

  3. Hi Carolyn,

    I once read that Debbie Macomber claimed she had the most unromantic husband in the world, but i challenge her on that when it comes to flowers and candlelight but to me that's not real romance anyway. Last week my husband fixed my hairdryer- preventing me from having to leave the house with crazy hair- to me that's romance at its best:)

  4. Hey Carolyn! There are so many ways to show love. Not everyone (especially guys) is romantic in the traditional sense, but those little acts of caring (like with Jennifer and the hairdrier ;) can mean so much more :).

  5. Liked this post and am glad I'm not in Tennessee--it's still unseasonably cool in Indiana and LOVELY.

    The writers who worry me--yeah, that's not too strong of a word--are the ones who continue to polish that same first three chapters for contests, who haven't grasped yet that they gotta finish the book.


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