Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Exploring the secrets of life through writing...

For those not attending the National Conference, this is a fun, experimental forum and I’m so happy to be invited to partake of your blog spot, Lucy! Thank you!

Today I’d like to blog about relationships. Anyone else find relationships difficult? What? Some of you find them easy? Ha. I thought so. Everyone else has the secret and I’m still trying to discover it…

I think that’s why I enjoy writing women’s fiction and romance so much. It offers a wonderful chance to explore relationships and work out different ways people can relate to one another. That way, I can find the secret of what really works in life… Maybe I can discover what really drives people to want to connect with one another, what pulls them apart, what makes them apathetic, what (or who) brings out the best in them, or the worst… :)

When I write a heroine, I try to think of the way she will relate to other people in the story, not only about how she will relate to the hero. It is fascinating to see the network or spider web of relationships spread around her, reaching out to pets, to other women, to children, to nature… This includes her relationships back through time, as well. I find the heroine’s history to often be a major influence on her. The more she can become aware of how her past choices have affected her, the better she can choose to act freely in the present. I think it is especially fun to find the unknown stuff in her head or heart that is driving her!

And when that exploration brings pain, or joy, well then, that is where I, the storyteller, come in. :)

Theresa Scott
Eagle Dancer
http://www.theresascott.com/

52 comments:

Maureen said...

The more I know a character in the book the more I like a book. It's not the action that interests me in a book, it's the people and what they are made up of and how and why they act certain ways.

Cryna said...

Relationships can be very difficult. There is a lot of give and take and comprimising that needs to be done.

Sometimes that comprimising is a little one sided, but then there are the times when it swings the other way as well.

With anything you have to work at it to succeed. When I read a book I like to see the characters coming up with ways to make things work.

Amy said...

I agree with you maureen, I am drawn to a book by the way the characters's act and they way the author pulls me the reader into the lives of the character. When I read a book I want to feel what the character is feeling.

Debbie E said...

The books I remember the most and enjoy the most are when you feel everything the characters feel. All the different range of emotions from laughing to crying.

I will admit that relationships take constant work because everybody is different and alot of the times we all think we are right and don't want to give in but to make a stand. Patience is needed in great quantities at times and is something I'm continually working at attaining.

Lois said...

Yeah, I agree, the more I know about a character, the more I'm happy. LOL :) I like mystery, but I always hope it doesn't last too long! LOL :)

Lois

Kate Davies said...

Hey Theresa! Great topic. Glad to see you here!

I love getting to know characters in my reading -- especially when I feel like I've "uncovered" something pertinent, rather than being hit over the head with it. Nothings moe annoying than reading endless variations of "His first wife was a witch and now he doesn't trust any woman" over and over and over and over.

And one of the most wonderful things about writing is being able to work thorugh difficult relationship situations on paper and find ways to make them work. I think it's made me a stronger partner in a lot of ways.

Cherie japp said...

Relationships are very challenging. Just when I think I have my husband and son figured out they do something to confuse me. Character development in any story is essential. I want to be able to relate to the characters i am reading even if there personalities are different from mine. When an author can get you to feel what the characters are feeling you know the book is going to be a winner.

Denyse said...

Hey, Theresa!

Interesting topic. Writing the heroine from inside yourself is a really neat way to approach everything that happens around her. While I don't actively "write myself" into the book, I've noticed over the years that every heroine I've ever created bears one of my personal traits, even if it's something as simple as the colour of her hair. But, once she's created, and her name goes to paper, then her life evolves and I watch it unfold. There's no such thing as a perfect relationship and the harder you work at understanding what your partner needs, the stronger the bonds that keep you linked and in love. Those magical words "I'm sorry." really need to be kept at play, too, though they're often the ones that are the hardest to utter.

Hugs to everyone...

Julie in Ohio said...

Wow, great topic.

I find relationships to be easy, as long as everyone does what I want, we have no problems what so ever. :o) (Yes, I live in my own little dreamland. Wanna visit?)

I love reading about others relationships. I find it interesting how they resolve their disagreement or misunderstandings. It may seem silly because we know there will be a HEA but it's the fact that the characters are "human" and they have problems, too. If they can overcome their issues then maybe there is hope for others.

Bonnie Ferguson said...

Learning about a character's history adds to a story and makes that character more appealing :)

Of course that can work in the opposite way for a villain, but liking that person less and less can also add richness to the story.

Jennifer L. said...

My favorite stories usually involve a great deal of character development. It draws me into the book more. I feel like that it could oftentimes be a labor of love for authors, but believe me, readers recognize and appreciate all their hard work.

robynl said...

I really get involved with the characters in the story; it's like being right there with them and experiencing things along with them.
One must always be working at improving relationships.

ShelMel said...

I agree with you Theresa - I love the journey. Seeing those relationships blossom and how they're connected... This is a great topic. It's cool to see how people relate to the characters in books.

Dannyfiredragon said...

I really love to dive into a story and completely forget the world around me. The more I know about the characters the easier it is.

Darla said...

I've been married for 27 years and still have to work at it every day...there isn't anything easy about it...but its more then worth it!!!!!!

Michele said...

I'm curious.
Do you write a little "bio" for your characters to help get a feel for them?

Does any writer do that? I DO you get to know your characters?
Just amorphous thoughts, little post-it notes to yourself or are they revealed as you write. I've always wondered about the background of the background, so-to-speak.

Like Lucy's books, relationships touch emotions where we are then able to place ourselved within the story or character and connect.
That's pretty powerful writing when an author can achieve that kind of reader involvement.

catslady said...

I too have to love the character, then anything can happen. I want a story that has me so totally in to it that I don't want to put it down and I never want it to end. Laughing and crying in the same book keep me wanting more.

Jenn said...

I like a book that I can really see where the heroine is coming from. Where I can really tell what she is feeling. I want the action to move the story on but I want to understand why the heroine and the hero really feel how they do.

Ali said...

Great insight, Teresa :-) Usually, people just focus on the relationship between the hero and heroine.
I've been with my boyfriend for five years, and our relationship with other people, past and present, definitely effects our relationship with each other.

Cherie said...

I think the main thing that really helped me was I usually went from one relationship to another until finally I was single for a while and actually got to the point I was fine and happy being single. Actually loved my self not depending on someone else to do it for me.

Then bam met the right guy, I just know I would have messed it up if I did not learn how to love my self first.

~Cherie~

readingissomuchfun said...

I like a book where I know more about a character. And about relationships I think most relationships have there ups and downs. But in the end you always kiss & makeup *G*

Linda.H.

bamabelle said...

Walking that proverbial mile in the character's shoes is a big draw for me. I want to see life through their eyes for the span of the book.

Kristen said...

I love books that detail the relationship between characters. It gets me more interested in a book. :)

AmberPackard said...

I agree with Maureen. I like to be taken over by what I am reading, almost like being drawen into a movie. I want to experience what the character is going through.

flip said...

There is nothing more important than love and relationships. Love can come in many forms. A lot of great romances feature a great friendship between women. Look at Jennifer Cruise....she writes about love in all its forms.

Heather Harper said...

I like to see relevant connections. They should reflect the theme of the story.

Amy S. said...

I agree with Debbie E. Relationships are hard. You have to work at them

Becky said...

The only relationships that have been difficult for me is the ones with the male species. lol I have had lots of chances to have dates and lasting relationships with guys and I they never work out. Either they tell me I'm too much of an ice queen or they say it won't work because I found it hard to talk to the opposite sex. I have no idea how to make my relationships with men work? Anyone have any ideas?

Jodi said...

I like to learn as much as possible about a character. It makes it seem like they are long lost friends that I'm catching up with.
Relationships can be hard, but as long as there is compromise, then anything is possible.

Jennifer L. said...

The way that an author can draw the reader into the story by characters and little details about them is amazing to me. They say that storytelling is an art, and authors such as Lucy and Theresa are true artists.

Meljprincess said...

Theresa, I went to your site and your books appeal to me greatly! I love anything and everything Native American. As an aspiring writer, I would love to write a NA story of my own. I'm teaching myself the Lakota language.
I'd rather not talk about relationships 'cause mine's not going so well.

Lucy Monroe said...

Can I just say that I love the thoughtful responses on this blog? You ladies ROCK...and you're awfully darn smart. No wonder you are romance readers and authors. :)

Tee said...

Any relationship is hard work. Not just marriage but friendships of any kind if the person is important to you. I have found that a true friend is one who will love you when you way down or on top of the world. All relationships are give and take and you need that to make it work.

Cathie said...

Nice to meet you Teresa. 23 years for me and my hubby. I know the beginning, I remembmer a few conflicts, but I believe love keeps growing over time and I wonder how much more love we could be in. We learned to laugh at ourselves and openly talk. I highly believe in not going to bed angry. Even if it takes the night to resolve. haven't had that in years, just wonderful joy, so I believe relationships can work and that they are unique together. Too what we do for it will be as unique too.

Evelyn said...

I think that as with real people what your characters expierence through thier life makes them the people they are.

Was it Michele that asked if there was an author that had a bio for thier characters. The answer from me is yes. I have a A4 binder and my characters have a section each. If I am thinking about a series then the main characters have a binder each.

You as the reader will not know everything that is in that folder but it shapes the way the character responds to the world around them.

Pamk said...

lol i love books that are detailed nice long ones that have fantastic stories. I have been known to skip the sex just to get back to the story

Rachael said...

I agree with Maureen about the characters being what draws you in. That is one of the reasons I love series books. It's nice to already have an idea of what the character is like in your head, then you can just dive right in.

Niny said...

Relationships are hard specially in real life. That is why in a book I enjoy the journey from that first look to the hapily ever after! I really admire you all writers that put so much into figuring out relationships for us readers and giving us so much fun in the process!

KarenG said...

Relationships in real life are difficult at times. I like the hero and heroine to work to build their relationship.

Pam P. said...

I like those extra details about characters and other relationships, it adds to the story and can help show why they are reacting as they are in the current relationship that is the focus of the book.

Annmarie Taylor said...

The challenge in relationships is two fold: to take the best of what has worked in your past relationships and apply it and the wisdom to recognize the things that don't work and change them. I love to see characters who grow and change individually and together.

Annmarie

Kiki said...

Sure, relationships are easy. As long as everybody does what I want them to do (which may or may not be the same thing as I say), things are peachy keen.

I agree that the relationship troubles are the one thing that's the most interesting about romance stories. You know they're right for each other, everybody else can see it, now if those two would just reailse that together, they can make everything work...

Kathleen said...

I think everything in a book has a balance..characters, plots, action, romance, suspense, ect. To me, it is the balance that can make a great book.

Marcail said...

I find the same relationship issue constantly arising--trust. I grow weary with it and long for the security of knowing deeply that the relationship is solid gold.

Amy said...

Relationships are hard but if you are with the right person they are worth the effort.

mammakim said...

I love getting to know a character. I want to feel like I miss the characters when I end the book.

Relationships can be very trying especially when you add kids, work and trying to juggle everything together without neglection one part of your life.

Theresa Scott said...

Wow, what a lot of cool insights! I see many of you, like me, are struggling to figure out relationships....its good to know I'm not alone on this.

--Theresa Scott

Theresa Scott said...

I agree with canadianfriend that some compromising is necessary in a relationship. Cherie Japp you are so right about family members. I think I know them and then they do something that totally surprises me... and shakes me out of my complacency... LOL.

It is obvious to me that many of you value relationships and want to improve them... I liked what Denyse said about incorporating forgiveness into a relationship. And Cathie--my gosh, girl--congratulations on being married for 27 years! I can see what a good thing it is to be willing to tackle your concerns head on, and not let the sun set on your anger!

Theresa Scott said...

Hi All,

Kati, thanks for your comments on writing... can't wait to read YOUR book when it is released!

Jennifer, thanks for the kudos to authors from readers. It reminds me of the time when I was doing a booksigning, and a man came by and stopped near my table. He took off his hat, made a sweeping, 17th century bow of the knee, and thanked me on behalf of all readers for all the pleasures authors deliver. I was astounded and it took me a moment to understand the lovely gesture. I will never forget it. Sigh...

I see that Michelle asked if I write bios on my characters. Yes, I do. I find it helps me remember who they are and how they've been formed as I write my way through the book. I keep a calendar too, so I don't mix up my seasons... :)

Catslady, I have to agree that laughing and crying over the same book is a wonderful experience! I like Lucy's stories for that reason. And Debbie Macomber's too. Both authors are wizards at tugging at our feelings! :)

-Theresa Scott

Theresa Scott said...

Many of you have observed how important it is to work consistently at a relationship... I find I have to work at it when I'm writing about a relationship between characters in a book, too. Sometimes the characters don't want to behave in the way I want them to. (Can we say 'control issues?' :) )But more often, I find those little ol' characters hold surprises that burst forth just at the right moment. It's so fun when that happens!

readingissomuchfun said...

Thanxs Theresa for being here. This was a wonderful topic alot of great things was said today :-) Hope to chat with you again soon :)


HUGSSSS
Linda.H.

Theresa Scott said...

Thank you, Linda, and every single one of you who so graciously wrote and shared your thoughts, opinions, and experiences on relationships. It was so nice to hear from you!

Thank you, also, to Lucy for throwing such a neat blogging party!

Happy reading to all of you!

Warm regards,
Theresa