Saturday, August 20, 2011

Relationship Saturday: Novel Spaces

I find contemporary relationships to be absolutely fascinating. After all, we're all here on this earth to love and be loved. Most of my books revolve around family, parents, children, etc., but mainly love and life issues between a man and a woman - some type of boy meets girl, boy loses girl, shifting to boy meets the girl next door scenarios.

Though my first title, May December Souls, was classified as romance, my books are now far from romance and are very unconventional. I'll take on the everyday dramas of real life that involve taboo topics, and twist them into couples's lives. I feel passionate about tackling the edgy characters who take a shot at things that make folks just a little uncomfortable, even the wife who physically abuses her husband - you hate her to no end, yet by the end of the story you understand her dimensions enough to feel sympathy and cheer on her success. And actually cry at her demise. Or the woman who dates her best friend's son, and the payback is for that best friend to date the friend's father.

On my Facebook page, I gather relationship dilemma questions from FB friends who inbox me in confidentiality, and post the questions for my other FB friends to lend their advice, instead of me lending advice (well in some cases I do). It absolutely fascinates me that while you would think most women would feel outrage over a new husband who still pays his ex-girlfriend's son's cell phone bill (not his biological son), you'll find other women who understand the bond between a man and a boy from a supportive mentoring standpoint and think it's okay, suggesting the woman not be so insecure. You might have a man who is upset that his wife won't take his last name once they're married, yet other men would have no problem with it. Every time I think I can predict the responses, someone posts an opposing view that makes you think. I even asked women what they would do if while making love to their husband, he told them it would be their last time together. The responses were shocking, hilarious, and passionate - some simply asking "why" and others ready to Lorena Bobbitt him in a heartbeat.

Love and relationships are complicated and what one person does in one case will be the complete opposite in another. I think that's why writing stories can be so entertaining to readers, yet frustrating as well. We have an opportunity to show them what can happen, and introduce them to the lives of people they otherwise would not have had an opportunity to experience, who might not think like them, but who are dealing with their drama based upon their own make up, issues and experiences. It's like getting dirty virtually without having to play in the mud.

I still believe that true life is stranger than fiction. What we write about has been done before somewhere, and some things we hear about we probably couldn't have made up in a million years. But the blessing comes once we create three-dimensional characters (knock on wood) and allow them to experience the friction of their journeys, even when we don't know how it will end.

Relationships - the heart of our works and the pulse of our passion. Seeing other sides and hearing other views, even on Facebook, has enriched my writing and my outlook on love and life, encouraging me to stay open-minded. On this Relationship Saturday, I just want to say, thank you to my FB friends for their invaluable feedback, and thank you to my readers, for reading the stories of my drama-filled, flawed characters who are just trying their best to, relate.


Jewel Amethyst said...

Kudos to you, Marissa, for writing outside the box. Right now I read many romance novels (detective novels too) that are just clones of each other. Same characters, different names, similar scenarios. I call it formula writing and it is what sells for the publishers and therefore writers are encouraged to stick to the formats.

KeVin K. said...

Brava, Marissa, for your willingness to challenge.

Jewel, big publishers stay away from romance/relationship novels that go "too far" outside the norm for the same reason Hagen Daz stays away from salmon ice cream. Not enough buyers to pay for their overhead, much less turn a profit. That's where small presses come in; they can survive on numbers a big house doesn't notice.

Charles Gramlich said...

I think that, though there are relationships in most of my stories, I hardly ever read books or watch movies in which the relationship is the key thing. Not sure exactly why.

Liane Spicer said...

I enjoy your relationship discussions on Facebook. Always entertaining and lively, and great real-life research on issues we might never encounter in real life but which our characters might.

Marissa Monteilh said...

Hey Jewel, thanks, can't say it's paid off yet, but I enjoy it. I'm patient, waiting for those #'s to hit a new level, and until then, I write. =)

KeVin, it is a challenge, though I haven't been reeled in yet. If anything, in one book I was asked to go further, though I stay true to the characters and who they are, above all else.

Charles, the themes are abuse, trust, infidelity, older/younger, parental issues, wealth, addiction, etc., and most times relationships are involved, though not the main focus. Even thrillers and adventures have couples, love, or personal interactions. I know some won't watch chick-flicks, and chick-lit is the same way, so I feel you!

Thanks, Liane. I find it so entertaining, and seem to get more and more people who want me to post their questions. Yes, most are issues we may never encounter - I love taking characters through the toughest of trials, and live through them. ==))