Previous parts of the Dialogue series are indexed here:
We visualize the wedding moment as divine intervention to make life Happily Ever After - it is a supernatural moment.
A wedding is the beginning of a new life. It changes everything including your self-image.
Usually, all the Romance happens before the wedding -- the wedding scene may be the final scene of the novel.
Sometimes, the story is about what happens if the anticipated inflection point of getting married somehow aborts -- one or the other gets cold feet, one or the other is accidentally killed on the way to the wedding, one or the other is put in the hospital by an accident at the verge of death, or one of them is murdered or deliberately attacked and left hospitalized. Possibly, an ex or some jealous stalker emerges or a love-child situation is revealed during the ceremony.
Drama (Pluto is Drama) abounds at the peak pivotal moments of life.
The bigger the pivot the more spectacular and singular the drama.
For example, true Soul Mates rammed together by circumstances may experience Hate At First Sight. Most Romance readers do understand this dynamic -- that the intensity of the aversion can be the sign that these two are Soul Mates.
Not just lovers, or two people having an affair or a one-night-stand -- but true Soul Mates.
Months ago, there was an article posted online at mindbodygreen.com that pointed out what all Romance readers know.
Many years ago, I was sitting with a couple in my office, marveling about what a "perfect fit" they were: They were both into healthy living, rescue dogs, and hiking. They didn’t argue, their facial expressions were kind, and their nonverbal signals showed they cared.
Despite this, they were talking about ending their relationship. They couldn’t describe what was wrong, but both felt the relationship was empty. I followed the usual process: We looked for places of trouble, which were few, and explored the good parts of their relationship, which were many. However, it was as if a spark between them was never lit. In the end, they felt it was best to part amicably, which they did.
That session was followed by an hour with another couple who didn’t stop arguing from the moment they walked in the door. They had been waiting all week to "tell on the other," i.e., talk about the agreements each had broken and the far-reaching arguments about washing the dishes or sex, all with a plethora of eye-rolling and grimacing. However, the passion between them was palpable; under the power struggle, there was a lot of interest and passion. We worked hard for months, and they were eventually able to break their destructive loop and spend more time living with the pleasure they found in each other.
These two stories point to one of the most important truths my 35 years of working with couples has shown me. Though we know many of the qualities and skills that make a great relationship—most of which can be learned—there is no rule book for what makes two people work. Sometimes people just know their relationships are over; other times, even though it’s hard, they are willing to do the work to make it good again.
There are times you MUST leave ...
Read the article at:
It is full of great novel ideas about when to admit the "Happily Ever After" so anticipated at the wedding is not going to happen, and what to do about it.
As a writer, look inside yourself and then examine the people closest to you -- you will find an abundance of "internal conflict" which is the raw material of such drama, the kind of deep realization that your HEA didn't happen -- and won't. Many, in the grip of this realization or those suppressing the realization of this truth leap directly from "I don't have it" to "It does not exist."
What evidence would you accept that the HEA is real, possible, and you missed your chance?
Soul Mates are two individual, and very different, people who are two halves of a whole -- they become one at the wedding. That's what "wedding" means - it is a word used in wine making for mixing two wines, so you can't take them apart again.
But once married, building a life together -- jobs, commutes, buying cars, choosing a house or condo or apartment, furnishing it, having children (or deciding not to), thousands of individual decisions suddenly become joint projects.
The two become one.
What is going on inside one person splashes over into the inside of the other.
The more emotionally heated the anger, love, passion, offense, indignation, jealousy, resentment, and demands that YOU (not me) change behavior -- the more likely the two actually do belong together.
Their inner conflicts have crashed into each other, and shards of hard-headed rocks are flying everywhere. Bystanders can be sliced to the bone as collateral damage.
True Soul Mates rarely meet in tranquility and sail blissfully on into a calm life.
Depicting a pair of Soul Mates on their shake-down cruise is a serious challenge for a Romance writer who wants to explore passionate sex and carefree joys because after the honeymoon is over, the conflicts become riptides pulling the couple apart.
The inner dialogue - the unspoken thoughts - of such a pair differ as male and female differ, but reflect each other. Each seeks justice which means having their own expectations fulfilled. Or, with some, the inner dialogue is about fulfilling the expectations of the Other and having that fulfillment acknowledged in a specific way.
For example, the 2018 culture is grappling with the conflicts between the traditional image of "Being A Man" and a new self-image for healthy masculinity that has not yet crystalized.
It will take 4 generations for such attitudes to be "natural" to men and women, and the transition will be confusing.
Fiction writers can explore these options with inner dialogue -- and how what one person in the couple is thinking one thing, but forcing themselves to do another.
Last Spring a huge misunderstanding of a University of Texas program erupted around the idea that a University was officially regarding masculinity as a mental illness. (What A Theme!)
But that's not exactly what was really going on.
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The University of Texas is facing ridicule after a new program called “MasculinUT” was announced in a way that insinuated it was treating masculinity as a mental health crisis.. The university has attempted to explain the program as simply an effort to “bring more men to the table to address interpersonal violence, sexual assault and other issues,” but the reality is that UT is still promoting a facetious connection between masculinity and assault and violence.
When the program was originally announced, its stated goal was to help male UT students “take control over their gender identity and develop a healthy sense of masculinity.” as PJ Media reported:
The program is predicated on a critique of so-called “restrictive masculinity.” Men, the program argues, suffer when they are told to “act like a man” or when they are encouraged to fulfill traditional gender roles, such as being “successful” or “the breadwinner.”
Though you might enjoy “taking care of people” or being “active,” MasculinUT warns that many of these attributes are actually dangerous, claiming that “traditional ideas of masculinity place men into rigid (or restrictive) boxes [which]… prevent them from developing their emotional maturity.”
“If you are a male student at UT reading this right now, we hope that learning about this helps you not to feel guilty about having participated in these definitions of masculinity, and instead feel empowered to break the cycle!” the program offers.
As mentioned above, the program is also run by UT’s Counseling and Mental Health Center “[l]ike other UT programs related to sexual assault and interpersonal violence.” And the website’s stated “project goals and guiding principles” still focus on the idea that certain types of masculine emotions and traits are negative and connected to sexual assault and violence.
For example, they are making an effort to “[p]romote an ethic of care for men and masculine-identified individuals who cannot escape expectations of masculinity,” “‘[e]ncourage a wider range of acceptable emotions,” and “[d]ecrease excessive competition and increase empathy.”
Read the article at:
There is certainly enough material regarding the female self-image, and the idea that a woman "should be" this and never that (whatever the this or that involved in the current culture's demand might be) for writers to depict a woman's inner dialogue as bemoaning the requirement.
All of this raises the science question which makes the essence of Science Fiction Romance -- "what exactly is gender?"
And do Souls come in genders? Kabbalah says yes, Souls are locked in a single, specific gender lifetime to lifetime.
Science Fiction plays with the theory that Souls can reincarnate as human even if their prior lifetime was non-human. And the idea of a male reincarnating as a female is common. Most Science Fiction TV shows (including Star Trek) played with the idea of a male identity being trapped in a female body (or vice versa).
If you want to write a novel involving Soul transfers, be sure to do a state-of-the-art search and read up on what has been done -- there is much more to say on this topic!
Consider if reversing gender for a day would change the Character's inner dialogue. Is the inner dialogue a product of gender or of mis-match between Soul and body's gender, or merely of societal expectations?
What exactly is gender?
The question is relevant to the idea of "Mates" -- as we are currently challenging the age-old assumption that Mates must be a pair of opposite gendered people.
Does gender come in opposite? Is it this OR that but nothing in between?
Is gender optional? Are Souls neuter?
All of these questions must be answered only if the answers differ from your reader's everyday world. These questions frame the world you are building around your story.
Consider the example from the marriage counsellor noted above, where the couple arrived arguing the moment they walked in the door. If they exchanged genders, would they still be Soul Mates? Would they also exchange arguments and the fighting just go on without missing a beat?
Is the reason they are arguing simply that one is trapped in a gender whose expectations he/she can not meet? (Men to be the bread winner; women to bear and raise children).
Would expectations have to be adjusted in such a situation, to result in an HEA? What hammering drama would have to pound their heads together to create such an adjustment?
Find answers to those questions and cast them as simple statements -- and you've created a THEME. Telling the story may be harder than anything you've ever done.