Writing is, in a sense, a process of reinventing the wheel. All the book knowledge in the world means nothing unless you can apply it on the page. This is the sentiment reflected in the observation that “writing cannot be taught; it can only be learned.”
In addition, writing a novel is like making sausage: you really don’t want to see how it’s done.
However, today, I am going to share a realisation while trying not to squick anyone out with gross cartilaginous mechanically-recovered tissue being pumped into intestine casings. Because, yanno, why break with one piece of received wisdom when you can break with two at the same time.
So…a story I’m working on has a romance subplot. As I’m contemplating ceiling shadow monsters at 5 a.m. (as you do), I realised that romances tend to fall into two categories:
• those where the couple are initially mismatched/at odds, so you need plot contrivances to keep forcing them to interact until they realise they are in love (Pride and Prejudice, frex.)
• those where the characters are instantly attracted, and therefore the plot needs to keep forcing them apart until they “earn” the right to be together. In Romeo and Juliet, they earn this through being willing to run away together; the tragedy is in how their willingness to sacrifice causes fatal sacrifice by the other. In more light-hearted fare (for some reason all I can think of now is the film Serendipity, though my 5 a.m. brain had loads of examples. Absolutely brilliant, my 5 a.m. brain. Wish I knew where it hides the rest of the day), all sorts of misc. hijinx or capers can result.
I am, I realised, writing the latter. OMFG.
But it seems so simple! Yeah, before today, I knew this, but today, I grokked it.
And come to think of it, grok also sounds like something you’d find in a sausage. So there.