Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Being my own leading lady = scary

Yesterdays post about my new favorite bad boy garnered some awesome feedback from my twitterati.  One of the most common pieces of advice was give the new female lead some of my own character traits.
I have to tell you that one is a little scary for me, let me tell you why.

My very first attempt at romantic comedy involved Peyton and Joshua.  He was a lawyer and she was a doctor.  They had grown up together and gotten married after they graduated from college-before law school for him and med school for her.  

Their relationship deteriorated after a miscarriage while she was interning.  The loss of the baby set off major insecurities and resurrected ugly things from her child hood.  She closed in and the marriage suffered.  It also didn't help that they were young, with no life experience outside of each other.

After the miscarriage, Josh took a job with a law firm on the other side of the country with the idea distance would help her heal.  All it really did was drive them further apart, which resulted in a divorce.  Something I am strongly against.

As I was writing the story of their reunion at a family funeral I found myself starting to distance myself from Peyton.  All of her insecurities started to bug me.  She had grown and changed in the years since her marriage, but I was mad that she had allowed something from her past, something that she had no control over to fester and ultimately be the thing that doomed her relationship.  

What I learned was that I had made her too much like myself.  The very qualities that I had given her that were mine were the very ones I had to work the hardest at overcoming.  While the manuscript ultimately sucked, I ended up learning more about myself during that process and the kind of marriage I wanted.  It was wholly refreshing and very cathartic at the same time.

Every once in a while when the hubs and I are fighting I will go back and reread something from that MS and remind myself how much I have grown.  As a wife.  As a writer.  As a friend and know that I am now a better person for writing that really awful manuscript that I promise will never see the light of day.

So, tell me about the really bad one that you wrote.  Come on, I know you have one.


Linda G. said...

Sorry. My drawer novels are too embarrassingly stinky to air publicly. But I bet if you sniff hard enough, you can smell them from there. ;)

[My verification word: "gulfing" -- seems appropriate for a Florida blog.]

Karla Nellenbach said...

My worst was also my first and it was terrible. Hopefully, I've gotten better in my old age :)

Alyson Peterson said...

Oh I've got one. The first novel I ever wrote. It is embarrassingly trite, cliche, and mushy. All in all, when I trashed it I could only feel relief!

Patty Blount said...

ah. There is...*blushes* um... fan fiction.

*runs, hides*