Tuesday, August 11, 2009

What Does She See In Him?

This is going to be an oddly rambling post, especially juxtaposed to the 2 on Scene structure and the Plot Vs. Story one on walking and chewing gum.

But trust me, all these rambling bits and pieces will eventually come together into something you might use to generate that elusive Mega-Alien Romance Movie-TV Series.

First I have to acknowledge that August 6th was a sad day for us as writers and as movie goers. Several of the Titans of The Biz passed away during that week, including the young and vibrant genius I keep quoting here, Blake Snyder.

Go to his website and drop a note on the blog at http://www.blakesnyder.com

His third book is due out this fall. I'm sure I'll be quoting it.

See a shortened list of those who've passed on at

I hope I don't have to add any more any time soon.

As I've said before, what I'm attempting to convey with these posts on writing craft and the internal dynamics of the PNRomance, is just the essence our common heritage of campfire storytelling art and craft passed down through the generations.

These losses just make our task more formidable but also more urgent. Techniques must be passed on, taken up, carried on, and passed on again. This is our legacy for the far, far future of humankind. Our job here is to infuse that legacy with love.

Don't think that because you haven't heard of or memorized some director's or writer's byline that they haven't been contributing to our success with this task of illuminating a genre.

We are regarding Alien Romance as a genre or a crossed-genre. Some people are using the term "Speculative Romance" but SF never succeeded under the title "Speculative Fiction." It makes dictionary sense, but somehow not commercial sense. But this post isn't about what we call what we do. It's about the components that will eventually generate a label that will carry the genre to prominence. In this case "What Does She See In Him?"

See my comment on Margaret Carter's August 6th entry on this blog about Lovecraft and Romance that somehow lacks a title and thus a specific URL.

So once again let's revisit several of the craft techniques we've been discussing and synthesize them, doing several at once, finding the connecting links among all these apparently different writing processes.

In this effort, we may be able to resolve some of the conflicts we see between ways of teaching and ways of learning the fictioneer's trade.

So, what the heck DOES "she" see in "him?"

The reason that obvious question (that every Romance editor reads MS's looking for the answer to) is so hard to answer (in a writing lesson, in life, and when writing a novel) is that it is incredibly poorly phrased.

A good half, maybe 90%, of the answer to any math problem lies within the statement of the problem.

This key question to the Romance Genre Signature is poorly phrased for the same reason I discussed in Plot Vs. Story


Writers who set out to teach writing all seem to use different words to refer to the same moving parts of stories because writers are mostly readers who are self-taught to become writers (since it's unskilled work, a hobby anyone can do, who would deign to teach it?) and have to make up their own vocabulary for what their artist's eye sees.

Yeah, it's not just the Romance or Alien Romance genres that are disregarded. It's WRITING that bears a stigma (not the stories produced but the craft itself). Ask any wife with a contract to deliver a book on deadline. Editors get more respect.

I have yet to cover in this blog the difference between an Editor and a Writer. These two skills require two totally separate brain functions which produce individuals with completely distinctive traits.

Producers and Writers likewise are distinctively different, which you'll see after you know a bunch.

But sometimes you get both in one package. Fred Pohl leaps instantly to mind. It will be a long post when I tackle that personality difference, but for the moment, let's focus on this nagging question that you, as a writer, must answer for the editor to decipher well enough to buy your MS.

What does she see in him?

To answer that question in your fiction convincingly, you must have an answer that makes sense to you, then you need to orchestrate a large number of these individual writing craft skills we've been illuminating, and you must do that orchestrating not with the conscious mind but with the subconscious.

That means "walk and chew gum," Or drive and sing along with your iPod, or cook and watch soap opera. Yeah, now you've got it. You must multi-task when you write.

You learn the procedures individually, then you combine them, doing two at once, then three at once, etc. until you're doing everything at once and don't even know it.

The typical daily 5PM routine of a Mother of small children comes to mind. You can do that; you can write a novel.

So using all these skills you have to convince an editor or producer that "She" does indeed see something in "Him," something that the READER/VIEWER will actually understand without having to think too hard, and that something explains why "She" does wacky things to be with "Him."

And you have to convince an editor your characters' actions make sense when the editor herself (himself sometimes) has no clue that the question is indeed poorly phrased.

What a tall order. (yeah, I love cliches)

So where to start figuring this out?

We discussed the construction of the HEA, the Happily Ever After ending that is so much a signature element of the Romance Genre that it must be the target ending for the Alien Romance, nevermind that not all SF ends happily.


The HEA ending has to evoke a certain feeling in a reader.

More, it has to ping that bell for a huge readership composed of a lot of different kinds of people who maybe have at most one or two things in common.

An ENDING can be factored into its component parts to create a BEGINNING, which is why some writers start by writing the ending first.

The ENDING (HEA or not) contains all the elements within the story. All. No exceptions unless it's a series, in which case the Story Arc overarching all the volumes is the DRAMATIC UNIT that contains all the smaller ones, and each volume is a dramatic unit holding up that arch.

The structure-within-a-structure motif applies to every genre. Nothing can be in the composition that does not figure into understanding the ending. That's what it means "end." It won't feel like an ending at all if there are pieces in the drama that are left out of the ending (of the novel or the series, whichever, but everything drives toward that ENDING). It has to be an ending to be satisfying to the consumer who paid you to do this. And "ending" by definition contains ALL the elements that went before it.

The HEA is an ending.

But the HEA is not the ending of the Plot. It's not the ending of the Story. It's the ending of a DRAMATIC UNIT.

We discussed The Scene as a DRAMATIC UNIT, but I don't think I pointed out strongly enough that the entire story is a DRAMATIC UNIT, and if the story is in a series, then the whole series is likewise a DRAMATIC UNIT. (I'm putting these moving-parts tech terms in CAPS for a reason. I'm not shouting at you. I want you to be able to find the section of this discussion that answers questions that will arise later.)

Think about what that "entire story is a dramatic unit composed of smaller but identical dramatic units" concept means in terms of this poorly stated question, "What Does She See In Him?"

A Dramatic Unit starts with a feeling -- ANTICIPATION -- and ends with a feeling -- SATISFACTION.

The little dramatic units all string together in a rising arc of tension, driving toward that ultimate satisfaction, but to get there, to "rise" in emotional tension, each small unit must deliver something, a teaser, a hint of how that ending will feel. (sound familiar? It is, pretty much, like sex.)

HEA is a type of satisfaction. It is primarily the reader's satisfaction. Readers pay the bills, and have to get what they thought they paid for or they won't buy again.

So something has to be satisfied.

Before you can deliver an emotion driven by anticipated satisfaction, you (as any salesman knows) must first awaken curiosity, desire, need, an awareness of the lack of something. But more than an awareness of a lack (at a friend's wedding, crying because you don't have anyone to marry), the salesman (i.e. the writer, in this case) must first awaken ANTICIPATION that the lack, whatever it is, will be SATISFIED at the end.

In general, the novel can deliver any sort of satisfaction.

A mystery delivers the solution, satisfying the need to know (and the best is when the reader gets their guess about the solution ratified, but it can't be too easy.) A Western or Action Drama delivers dead bad buys and righteous good guys surviving.

The Romance and all genres crossed into Romance (Vampire, Lovecraft Horror, SF, Paranormal, Action, etc) has to deliver the HEA. The HEA is an extrapolation into a SECURE and PREDICTABLE future.

So if the HEA is the defining element in Romance, why does "she" have to see anything at all in "him?"

Take for example the woman on the hunt for a man, let's title this story STALKING WOMAN.

She cries at a friend's wedding, bereft with loneliness. She spies a guy. She sets her sights. She executes her plan. She hooks him. She preens at her wedding. She has achieved her goal, totally triumphant.

Is that an HEA?

No, it's an Action Adventure ending, goal achieved. War won. Captivity escaped or survived. Or as a romance reader might assess that ending, it's trouble in the making. Therefore, in a Romance, that wedding would be the MIDDLE (down-point) of the novel, where her real troubles begin, with the stakes raised, maybe Mr. Right appears as a waiter at her wedding to Mr. Wrong? Or it might make a decent opening to something like MR. AND MRS. SMITH which I discussed at some length in


What's the connection (walk and chew gum) between the CAUSE OF THE ATTRACTION and the EXTRAPOLATION INTO THE FUTURE ending? Think again of STALKING WOMAN.

Where is the error in phrasing the question, "What Does She See In Him?" And vice-versa of course.

Your objective is to deliver an HEA to a reader you've never met and probably won't. How do you know what will satisfy that reader, what their idea of HAPPY might be? How do you know that your reader will be enthralled by a woman who sees heroism in a truck driver? They might be repelled by heroism in a truck driver. What kind of HEA can a truck driver's wife expect?

Does it matter "what" causes the attraction in "What Does She See In Him?" Will any human trait work as "attractive" enough for any reader you might reach to anticipate the satisfaction of a permanent relationship?

Next think about "See." What does she SEE in him (& Vice-Versa).

Does the character have to "see" something in another character in order to have their romance genes activated?

That is, "see" in the sense of be consciously aware.

Is it indeed the CHARACTER who has to understand why she is attracted to this guy, in order for the READER to experience anticipation satisfied?

Do people in real life know why they marry a particular person? Are they always right about that?

Does a reader have to know the exact and true REASON that one character is attracted to another? And does the reader have to agree with the character about "what" the attracting trait is? Might not the reader "see" a different attracting attribute than the attracted character THINKS is causing the attraction?

Who among us understands themselves deeply enough to articulate what it is about our spouse that attracted or attracts us?

Do you know why you dislike certain people? Or do you just make up excuses, rationalizations for a feeling you feel, but somehow need to explain because our culture demands that we explain ourselves?

Can a reader attain satisfaction and an HEA sensation if all you offer is a rationalization about why one character is attracted to another, knowing that what one person sees in another may not always actually be there?

Thus the dual-POV Romance lets the reader see what he sees in her, what she sees in him, and maybe that neither one is seeing correctly.

But then does everyone reading this know what is REALLY going on inside their own subconscious mind? As the writer, you need to do most of your writing work subconsciously, outside your own awareness, and you need to trust your subconscious to produce usable material. How much do you really need to understand about your own subconscious in order to achieve that? (Well, as everyone knows, writing is unskilled labor, you see. So easy anyone can do it.)

Remember, we're talking about SF or SF Romance, or Paranormal Romance, where the two characters involved might not be of the same species. There may be no "she" or "him" involved at all.

For me, that's what makes it interesting. (see my Dushau Trilogy - and if you can't find it at a reasonable price, I'm expecting it'll be available again in a new edition. Subscribe to this blog, or see my FriendFeed box for other ways to get announcements.)

So this discussion of such a simple question is getting really confusing. Such a mess.

"What does "She" see in "Him?"

When answering a question that is so apparently simple leads to a mess like this, it's reasonable to suspect the question was not phrased well, and so can't be answered directly.

We're juggling a lot of parameters here, all moving parts in the fiction delivery system.

A) The Editor
B) The Reader
C) The Characters
D) The Reviewer
E) The Writer

All of these have to achieve satisfaction at the end of your dramatic unit. Yes, you get to be satisfied, too.

All these people are all different. Three of them you'll never really know well, or at least don't know now. (even if you write a book on contract for a given editor, that editor may move before your book is turned in)

How do you figure out what all these people are anticipating and what will satisfy their anticipation and give them a sense of a secure future? And what has the answer to that question got to do with the problem of what one character sees in another?

I have an answer to that. It may not be your answer.

Some writers maybe shouldn't even know their own answer to that! Too much conscious input can ruin a story, which is another reason I use editingcircle.blogspot.com for analyzing THROW AWAY exercises at writing craft techniques. If you workshop a story you want to sell, focusing conscious critical attention on every moving part, you end up producing an unsellable mess that looks like an assignment for a writing course, not a story for publication. So you need to make up toss-off stuff to workshop and practice techniques, (doing scales at home) then PERFORM your actual story for sale and send it to an editor (dress rehearsal) THEN finally perform the rewrite to editorial specs for publication.

Now that you've gnawed on this problem set a bit, I'll show you my answer if you show me yours (that's what the comments section here is for).

If you've been reading my posts here for the last two years or so, you probably know my answer.


Philosophy is the carrier wave that you impress your information on, and it carries that information to your editor, reader, reviewer (me), and back to yourself, delivering satisfaction.

The carrier wave of the universe.

I hope you all understand radio and broadcast TV well enough to understand how a carrier wave works. It's like the dial tone you hear when you open your telephone and it's ready for a call. (but a dial tone isn't a carrier wave)

A carrier wave is a plain, simple, smooth, regular ripple, a hum underneath the universe. In STAR WARS terms, The Force which can carry A DISTURBANCE to those sensitive to the carrier wave.

In the case of humans and culture (yours, your reader's, your editor's), the carrier wave is our ambient culture's values. Our philosophy.

The USA is an amalgam of dozens of disparate and often conflicting cultural heritages, which is one reason some of our artistic products such as films do well in other countries. Most individuals in the USA partake of several conflicting philosophies. It's a wonder we're even a little bit functional!

The writer is a performing artist who selectively recreates the reader's reality (which is the carrier wave that connects writer and reader).

Your philosophy (you have one even if you don't know it) shapes what you "see" as reality. No two of us see the same reality. We filter whatever objective reality may be out there into a shape and color that fits our philosophy.

Philosophy comes first. Emotions are shaped by philosophy. Actions are powered by emotion. Results proceed to manifest - and this is the spooky part - to express in concrete, everyday reality, the exact philosophy the subconscious holds as that philosophy flows down through the lower 3 levels. The universe is all of one piece.

In previous posts here, I showed you how that works with the level of Actions and Material results, in the 20 posts on the Tarot.

http://aliendjinnromances.blogspot.com/2007/10/10-swords-your-chickens-come-home-to.html -- has an index of the previous posts

The levels of Philosophy and Emotion, Wands and Cups, are covered in two as yet unpublished volumes, but I'm hoping to have those available soon. Delays keep happening.

The artist selects carefully among all the bits of philosophy that she knows, to highlight and explicate those bits of philosophy that the writer, editor, reviewer and reader have in common. That's why a writer must know more philosophy than almost any other profession, philosophers included.

To create the bonding force between two characters, a romance writer selects bits of reality and leaves out other bits, to bring a picture, an image, a pattern to the foreground, a pattern the reader (and editor) will recognize only subconsciously.

When a reader recognizes some pattern in a story subconsciously, they "buy into" the premise of the fiction (believe six impossible things before breakfast). The World the writer has Built becomes real to the reader even if it mostly doesn't resemble their ambient reality.

The congruence between the reader's perceived ambient reality and the fictional built world becomes the CARRIER WAVE, the philosophical juncture between the subconscious of the writer and the subconscious of the reader.


The question, "What does she see in him" becomes utterly meaningless.

What she is consciously aware of, uses as an excuse, or rationalizes about him is NOT the source of the attraction, and satisfying that rationalization would produce no more pleasure than satisfying any other neurotic need ever does.

Neurotic need: take for example someone whose neurotic need is to be rich. Goes to school, gets degrees, works hard, workaholic trait busts up the family, gets HUGE fortune amassed, commits suicide leaving a note about misery. (notice that I told a story here in PLOT OUTLINE form)

A neurotic need is one that can't be satisfied by the apparent target of that need.

"What she sees in him" is that kind of illusion or twist. No amount of "him" will satisfy her need for him.

That's how it is in the real world. Our subconscious, true needs, bind us to each other, not our conscious rationalized needs (which often drive us apart - hey, guys, CONFLICT IS THE ESSENCE OF STORY).

Depict that subconscious binding force via your selective recreation of reality, i.e. worldbuilding, in your fiction, and your characters walk off the page into your readers' dreams.

Trying to answer the question "What does she see in him" creates what Hollywood calls "on the nose" dialogue and plotting. It just fails to communicate, or amuse, or to mean anything because it says what it means rather than placing the real meaning in subtext.

"On the nose" dialogue gets instant rejection in Hollywood. "On the nose" plotting gets instant rejection in Manhattan.

So "What does she see in him" becomes a totally new question. You should restate it for yourself, because your restatement may not be mine, and the stating is an artform in itself.

But mine is, "What subconscious element binds writer, reader, editor, reviewer, and CHARACTER together? What is the carrier wave?"

The carrier wave will be found in the philosophy.

Once you've sorted the carrier wave out of the background noise of our ambient culture, you can use it to carry your information (emotion is information). Then you will have the tone or wavelength that becomes your THEME.

How do you find themes? How do you figure out what themes will work for this or that story, plot or drama?

This subject is a big, amorphous mass of sticky stuff. How can you train your subconscious to sort through it all and find ART you can use to convey your ideas?

Remember, readers live in a big amorphous mass of sticky stuff that doesn't make any sense to them. They read novels to be shown patterns which they can later see hidden in the stuff of life. That's what artists do, find and display patterns that art consumers won't discover on their own.

So how do you train yourself to look at your world, the same world your readers live in, and re-sort the amorphous mass of reality into a pattern your readers will enjoy because you can make life make sense to them? (i.e. deliver to them an HEA that is plausible enough to feel in their bones)

Back again to PHILOSOPHY (my answer to most questions).

That big amorphous mass we call reality sorts itself very neatly into patterns of 10 compartments, and once sorted neatly enough, every living person on this earth will find something in it to recognize, and something to respond to emotionally because it communicates directly to the subconscious.

That pattern of 10 is most commonly and easily available as the Tarot.

One of the first things you learn when you start to study Tarot is that it pretty much pre-dates most religions and contains the recognizable basics of all religions. The understructure is the structure of the universe, and all religions are derived from ways that Avatars have used to explain what they saw when then ascended on High and viewed All Reality from the perspective of the Throne.

Thus, internalizing the structure of The Tarot, and using that structure as your carrier wave, can let you communicate with readers of vastly disparate religions, and even atheists and agnostics.

The Tarot is particularly well suited to communicating Love.

That's why, when this blog posed the question of why it is that Alien Romance is not a highly respected genre, and the question of what we can do to change that arose, I decided to finish my series of volumes on The Tarot and make them available.

The way of looking at the world through the structure of Tarot shows reality as iterations of a unified pattern of 10. It is just one of the many (MANY) philosophies extant in the USA nevermind the rest of the world. It's not a question of "right" or "wrong." It's a question of what we have in common, and of all those elements in common, what can be used in Worldbuilding.

This pattern of 10 method, and subsets of it, subsume religious and philosophical barriers, and can be accessed by any artist (you don't need a mathematical mind).

From explaining Tarot for writers, I went to giving a primer on Astrology in a series of posts starting 7/15/2008

There are 5 posts so far directly on astrology and a few other posts mentioning it in passing.

Astrology is also mentioned in the posts on Tarot because they are really the same subject, and if you know one, it's easy to explain the other in terms of the one. It doesn't matter which you start with.

These two esoteric disciplines, Tarot and Astrology, address the SYMBOLISM we all share as human beings. I've barely touched on how the writer can use symbolism in fiction. Academics write papers on it. I'm sure you've all studied it in college.

Tarot and Astrology are not separate and apart from Psychology, Sociology, Archeology, Anthropology, Linguistics, or even bio-physics.

If you know any of those academic disciplines, you will immediately pick up on the repetitive echoes of them in Tarot and Astrology. You may discover there's nothing left for you to learn from Tarot and Astrology. Most of your readers won't know these disciplines either, and you should never let your knowledge show through "on the nose" in your fiction.

As with the terminology of the difference between plot and story and drama, it doesn't matter what you call this carrier wave element of humanity that binds us all, and binds us into pairs, and then families. I call it philosophy. Invent your own term.

You don't have to be gnostic or agnostic or atheist or a follower of any religion to "get it" on the level an artist needs to have it in order to create with philosophy.

It doesn't matter what you CALL the human soul, or the way our souls connect.

It does matter that you have a clean, clear, operational, precise and accurate personal internal grasp of the moving parts and working components of the amorphous sticky-ball we are embedded in.

The ARTIST's job is to peel away the layers of sticky and amorphous slop in our universe and reveal the pattern underneath it.

That is what those who formulated the question "What Does She See In Him?" were groping toward without knowing it.

The question that the artist must answer for the reader in metaphorical visual terms, though the characters are ignorant and should remain ignorant, is "Which universal elements do "She" and "Him" share?"

Do they live in the same universe or different universes?

What two lovers believe doesn't matter. Look how many mixed marriages work just fine!

The binding force of the universe that rivets us into pairs is not affected by belief or rationalizations. It is a product of the carrier wave subsuming our reality.

The easiest and quickest way I have found for understanding the relationship between Philosophy, Emotion, Thought, and Deed is this Tarot Structure study that I walked you through on this blog.

But I only explored a single pathway connecting the 10 different states of mind. There are ever so many other ways to connect Her this to His that.

The interconnecting pathways between the 10 different states of consciousness sort the impossibly complex mess of reality into something even the human mind can handle and the human heart can respond to. All readers subconsciously know this pattern, and exult to see it depicted in art.

Tarot is the artist's filing system. It clarifies the subconscious and makes it accessible to your art.

It's not what one person "sees" in another. It's what one person responds to in another (CUPS - Romance is all about CUPS, EMOTION), and why that response happens.

Once you can parse the universe of your everyday reality into this ten-fold filing system, the binding forces among souls becomes clear. If you can show that clarity to your readers, they will respond with joy and relief and satisfaction of understanding that love is not mysterious nor bewildering nor crippling.

This 10-unit model of the universe explicated by Tarot corresponds to what the old time mystics called The Music Of The Spheres, and yes there is a relationship to the planets of our solar system. And you can learn it well enough to play that Music - writing is a performing art. Love, Romance and even Sex all have an analogue in Music.

So you take my 25 blog posts and amalgamate them, infuse the result with your OWN philosophy (not mine, for crying out loud!), select from that amalgam, and extract a theme you can build a world to showcase.

Then answer the question in your fiction: What note is "She" tuned to? What scale is "She" singing on?

She will bond with a lover who can play her as if she were the Stradivarius among women. He will bond with a lover who can play him as if he were a Steinway among men.

See? It's not "what" or conscious awareness of a trait. It's recognition of that 10-fold pattern underlying the Tarot, and the 10-fold variable model of human personality inherent in Astrology (9 planets, Sun and Moon make 11 just like Tarot's shadowy 11th Sepherah). Isn't it odd that Pluto was demoted from planet status, a shadowy 11th element in our Astrology?

Western music uses an 8 tone based musical scale. But that's not an intrinsic property of sound. It's a convention. Ever listened to Japanese music?

Analogy, archetype, meta-cognition, fuzzy math. Meat and potatoes for the writer.

Go listen to the Music of the Spheres and determine what scale you will perform your masterpiece in. Listen to some Opera duets between male and female singers. There's no "what" and no "see" involved. It's soul level attunement.

Jacqueline Lichtenberg


  1. Sorry I forgot to add a title to my "Lovecraft romance" post. Now that I know the lack causes practical problems, I'll try harder to remember to include titles.

    RE the different creative and producing roles mentioned in your post: It's very hard for me to keep my "editor" persona dormant while writing first drafts, probably one reason why I'm a slow writer. I can't help polishing as I go along. (OTOH, that means there's less work to do later.) I suspect my roots in academia also make it difficult for me to handle back story and information feed as gracefully as the writers I admire do. In academic writing (as in the article on BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER and the anime series BLOOD+ I'm currently working on), first you "tell them what you're gonna tell them," then you tell them, then you "tell them what you done told them." That doesn't work so well in fiction!

  2. Margaret:

    Actually the formula for academic writing (tell them what's coming, tell them, then tell them what you told them) works REALLY WELL for fiction which is probably why you're so good at fiction.

    The difference is that in fiction you have to disguise what you're saying, or in Hollywood terms, keep if "off the nose". You have to say it without saying it.

    Hence I used words like ANTICIPATION without a what that's being anticipation except "SATISFACTION" -- generic terms which have to be specified to genre and story.

    In fiction you use cute hints, innuendo, symbolism, veiled references, implication, and in-group references to indicate what kind of satisfaction this piece delivers.

    Then you deliver it.

    And somewhere just past the 3/4 point, you can nail the theme verbally, on-the-nose.

    In film, that point comes on about page 5, THEME STATED beat.

    But it can't be too on-the-nose.

    Jacqueline Lichtenberg

  3. On LinkedIn an answer to one of the questions (How do I write a screenplay treatment) in one of the Groups I'm in was to study the Treatment of MR. & MRS. SMITH which is cited in this blog post.

    Here's the precious link to the structural breakdown of Mr. & Mrs. Smith, a PRIME TIME ROMANCE MOVIE if ever there was one!


    Jacqueline Lichtenberg

  4. "So you need to make up toss-off stuff to workshop and practice techniques, (doing scales at home) then PERFORM your actual story for sale and send it to an editor (dress rehearsal) THEN finally perform the rewrite to editorial specs for publication."

    So, this is normal writerly behavior? Geez, I thought I was just stupid. I must've written at least twenty versions of the first act of SWEET, all Toss-offs, trying to figure out what worked. I didn't really analyze why or what. I just wrote it, went back, thought, "Nah, that doesn't work," hit delete and tried again, and again, and so on and so forth, until something worked, thanks to several of your articles pointing me in the right direction. I never thought about letting anyone read any of it. I just had this huge story in my head I was trying to get out with a metaphoric crowbar. SWEET has the most introcite set of Three - thesis, antithesis, synthesis - I've ever written and I think this is why.