Saw your post about the internal dialog... Timely for me as I'm struggling with trying to figure out that fine line -- posted about it last week on my wordpress blog, trying to generate discussion and insight. Your post has added another layer to my understanding, thanks :) Good luck with revision!
I’m coming to the end of my current manuscript, and this is always the point where I start questioning whether I’ve conveyed the characters’ motivations and emotional journey well enough. I struggle with this a little, because I favor less information rather than more. I don’t like to explain the hero’s or heroine’s thoughts and feelings in an “I want A, but I fear B, so I react in this way when I feel threatened.” I don’t believe people think this way. People don’t understand why they react to relationships the way they do, that’s why love can be so difficult.
For example, with Talk Me Down, a lot of reviewers had a problem with the fact that Molly didn’t tell Ben what was going on with her ex-boyfriend, because Ben was a police officer and could’ve helped. Should Molly have told him? Of course she should have! Absolutely. But WOULD she have? (That’s a trick question. I’m the author, so I know the answer. Ha.) Nope. She would not have told him unless she absolutely had no choice. She’d already asked for help and been laughed at and patted on the head and portrayed as an unstable idiot. Yes, Ben is in law enforcement. So was everyone else she’d turned to for help. They didn’t care and they didn’t believe her.
And yes, she knows Ben, and he’s a good guy and dependable. But poor Molly… What if she’d told Ben and he’d reacted the same way everyone else had? Think about that would’ve done to her. To KNOW he thought of her as a stupid, fickle girl who might lie about something like that. She didn’t want to know that, even if it was the truth. She’d rather not tell him so that she doesn’t have to be disappointed in him and totally alone.
Now, in retrospect, I should have been more explicit about this. (Though I’m not sure it would’ve helped. Some people just realllly hated Molly.) But in my writer’s mind, SHE doesn’t know exactly why. Not in solid, obvious terms. She just knows she doesn’t want Ben to meet her ex and like him and take his side. She’s desperate for that not to happen, because he is a good guy and she’s always loved him, and if he does that to her…it’ll kill her. And she might have to hate him a little.
The problem is…I know everything that’s going on her mind. I know what her background is and how people have hurt her and everything she fears about love. Sometimes I forget that the reader doesn’t know all this, but most of the time, it’s just that the reader doesn’t need to know everything I know. There’s a middle ground and it’s hard to find. I don’t WANT to lay everything out as “If I tell Ben and he reacts this way, it will hurt me deeply because of these issues.” Because people don’t talk to themselves this way, especially about fear and emotion. They just react. So I’m walking a very delicate path as a writer. We all are. But even if we thread that needle perfectly, it won’t be the right balance for every reader. Some will feel they’re being hit over the head with introspection and some will feel like they’ve missed something important.
I guess, in the end, we can be comforted by knowing we’ve thought it out as carefully as we can with each book. And we can cross our fingers and hope to hell we pull it off.
Finally totally into this new book. I love my tough, edgy L.A. heroine with a chip on her shoulder. Love her. God.
The title will be CLOSE ENOUGH TO TOUCH. Because she’s right there, but he still can’t quite reach her. Not really.
Here’s my current favorite part:
Cole looked away first. Good. She didn’t know what the hell he was so upset about. She hadn’t taken anything from him. He was still at the ranch, still walking around in his tight, dirty jeans and button down shirt. Still wearing his scuffed boots and brown cowboy hat.
He glanced up and found her still looking, then tugged the brim lower before turning away.
Grace smiled and bent back to her task.
Did he think she couldn’t handle this? Sex without the niceness? Hell, that was the way she preferred it. He could call her anything he wanted; he couldn’t take back her orgasms.
I hope I don’t have to soften her up. She’s perfect.