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Writer As Therapist? Discerning Emotional Patterns

July 2, 2010

I am still stuck on a particular scene in my novel, the one that takes place on the Elliot’s ‘garden patio’. It’s causing me problems partly because its such a large scene…I’ve 18 people I need to account for.

But mostly I’m fussing over it because something VERY IMPORTANT happens here.

This is where my heroine meets HIM.

This is where she meets THE MAIN LOVE INTEREST.

Now I have to take a moment to clarify. There are three love interests for my heroine in my story. Two of them are subtle…she initially doesn’t like them much, but there’s an undercurrent of attraction there which the reader is well aware of whilst she denies it…

But the third man. Well! Mr. Percy Elliot, newly returned from adventures in the Far East, is to be the most compelling, the most obvious, the most tantalizing & irresistible of them all…

My question, though, is: how do I play him?

I  mean, my heroine has an emotional history. She’s got a ‘checkered past’ with not much luck in the relationship department. Is Mr. Eliot a continuation of that bad luck? Or is he the one she resolves her issues with?

Out of the three men, who does she choose? And is it for good or ill?

It’s made me realize that on top of a plot graph there is an emotional graph too. My heroine has an emotional arc which follows the series of events, and ends, presumably, with emotional resolution of some kind. Lesson learnt. (And Happily Ever After? Learnt lessons, though, are not always happy…)

I just can’t decide. I’ve tried asking my character about it but am getting the cold shoulder.

I guess it’s a touchy subject.

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