I start reading novels but don't finish them. Maybe I miss the tightness and vividness I've found in the short form? Or am I just getting more critical, more demanding when it comes to novels?
I've only been doing critiques. Because crits draw on logic and analysis. And my problem is that I can't tap into the weird and fantastic. Or rather I can't find the creative links between all the stuff in my head - scenes, ideas, characters, themes, images.
This morning I was reading some-one's critique about a character in a story. And I suddenly got an insight into why I've stayed blocked on the 'Enlightenment' story. The MC is in denial that her boyfriend doesn't love her. And BF is in denial that his obsession with meditation is really a way to avoid emotional conflict. I couldn't find the words these 2 people will say to each other. I only had one scene - in an ashram. I've had all these fragments and endless 'maybes' I keep throwing away.
But this morning I realised that my MC is boring. She just watches him, desperately wishing the relationship will go back to the way it was. She's just waiting for the joy and romance to come back. I couldn't work out what she's DOING while she's waiting. What are the interactions and dialogue that happens between these 2 characters? My MC felt boring, so I felt bored and stuck in the writing.
But what if the MC isn't a sad introvert who pines away in silence? What if she's extroverted and even a bit bossy. How about flipping it around so that she's the more dominant personality? Now that I see the BF as the wishy washy and ineffective character it feels right. Well yeah . . . if the focus is on the woman, maybe it should have been obvious that she needs to be the one DOING stuff. Whereas a BF who wants to meditate all day works ok as the passive one who just waits for stuff to happen. DUH.
My stupidity, my inability to get out of a thinking rut, still amazes me.
All this time I was thinking that the story would finish with the woman having an insight and realising that he doesn't love her.
Now I'm thinking the story could end with them staying stuck. She doesn't understand why he can't see that the guru is clearly a fake. But she can't see their relationship is fake - while it's obvious to the reader.
This feels a lot more like a humorous piece now. The new problem is how to make the woman a sympathetic character. I don't want a shrill control freak.
So - the goal for today - write out what these 2 characters each need and how their conflicted needs could be shown in the way they interact.