Honesty

Honesty.  I think that’s one of the things I like most about writing.  Weird, I know, since I write fiction.  But just think, I can make my characters be brutally honest.  I mean, lies are usually told to smooth troubled waters.  Either because the liar doesn’t want to upset someone else, or get in trouble, or to manipulate and get the things they want without looking bad.

Could you imagine if someone simply said, “I’m in love with your boyfriend. I want him.”

No, that wouldn’t be smooth.  It would cause a lot of conflict.  Which is what stories are about, right?  Conflict and resolution.  Whether it’s action, mystery or romance, there is a conflict needing resolution.

So yeah, we loose the tired story of the bitchy best friend who strives to break up a happy couple because she thinks she deserves him more ala My Best Friend’s Wedding.  That whole plot line is thrown out the window. 

So, tell me, what kind of story could you tell if one friend turned to the other and said they wanted the one’s boyfriend?  Would it result in a catfight?  The destruction of a friendship?  Or, would the one turn to the other and reply, “Thank God!  I’ve been wanting to get rid of him!”

Talk about a comedy.  Just reading that last line cracks me up.  J

I like to tell stories by being honest.  In your face, brutal honesty.  There’s not enough of that in the world, I think.  Here’s an excerpt from later in Betrayed that will show you what I mean:

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“What are you doing?”
Kalyss flipped the pages.  It was probably too late to call 911.  She needed a direct number to the police station.  “Calling the cops.”
“What are you going to tell them?” Baron leaned against a wall and crossed his arms.
Kalyss paused with her hand on the phone.  “The truth.”
“You’re under a thousand year curse and your personal serial killer attacked you again last night?”  Baron kept his voice carefully blank.  His words would irritate her enough.
Kalyss huffed and stared at the ceiling.
“He killed your friend and another man, who’s probably resurrected already and you escaped to break into a church and crash for the night?”
She rubbed the tension headache beginning at her temples.
“You woke to a statue, kissed him and are now waiting with him in a hotel for them to make sense of everything you can’t?  That truth?”
Kalyss glared at him, nearly exhausted from frustration.  “I was thinking more like ‘I’ve been attacked, my best friend killed and I can’t return to my business for mortal fear.’”
Baron smiled regretfully.  “And you waited how many hours to report this?”
She snapped. “What are you, a cop?”
Baron shrugged, his worried expression belying his casual attitude.  “Just trying to help.”
“Go back to being a statue.”  Kalyss snatched up the phone and dialed.  But he was right.  She couldn’t think of anything to say that wouldn’t point to her as Alex’s killer.  In the end, when the operator answered the phone, Kalyss was forced to give an anonymous tip and hope they didn’t consider her a crank.”
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Man, I loved writing this book.  It took 5 years and umpteen drafts, but I think I got my craft in order.  The hero faced the heroine and told her what she needed to hear, even though it wasn’t something she wanted to hear and he risked making her angry. 

Cinderella’s Shoe is brutally honest in a much more personal way.  Here’s a bit where the heroine is talking to her 14 yr old niece.

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Elizabeth shook her head and started putting together a fresh salad.  “I’m sorry.  I just can’t believe…”
“What?”  Shelly scoffed.  “That they care more for their addictions than for their kids?  Don’t stress, Aunt Beth, it’s not your fault adults are losers.”
“I meant I couldn’t believe he still thinks he deserves your respect.”  Elizabeth paused, looking at her.  “I’m an adult, too, Shelly.”
The teen didn’t say anything, just met her gaze in stubborn defiance.
“You think I’m a loser, too?”
Her gaze held, then wavered.  Finally, Shelly shrugged and stirred the spaghetti sauce.  “Doesn’t matter what I think, Aunt Beth.  Soon as you find a replacement, you’re gone.”
And that, Elizabeth knew, was what made her a loser in both their books.
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It’s fun to make everyone tell the truth despite the consequences they might face.  And then it’s fun to make them face those consequences.

Yeah, I’m cruel that way.  I don’t like being mean to my characters, but if there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that great strength comes from great struggle.  I want that strength for my characters.

Jamie

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