Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Writing Help

Anyone out there care to brainstorm with me?

I have a vague idea for a romantic novel, and I know its very, very rough outline. Two long time friends fall in love in college is step one. I've got some stuff written down in this section already. But then they are taken apart for, I don't know, 10 to 15 years before finally reuniting permanently. I can imagine the reunion scenes decently well for not having written them. And I kind of have a feel for the novel -- what I want the emotions to be like, what the moral struggles are about, etc. The main trouble is that I can never decide what takes them apart.

It's a contemporary novel, essentially, though it could move around a bit this way and that as needed -- 80s through 00s or even 10s. I have been watching a preview for the movie version of Nicholas Sparks' The Notebook, and it looks like he uses the old device of rich girl / poor boy with an interfering mother. I don't want to use that as it comes across as a cliché to me nowadays. However, the only thing I can really come up with is some sort of war; believe it or not, I keep coming back to war with aliens. But, well, that's got its issues clearly.

I know I don't want it to just be a misunderstanding. And, while I plan to make full, full use of the normal pressures of hometown friends moving in new directions with college and future jobs, I don't want that to be the whole story. I want both of them to always believe or at least hope that the other person still wants them desperately, but there is something stopping them from being together. In fact, I have a little bit of a Casablanca image where our loves and needs don't mount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Both the heroine and the hero are choosing to do the right thing, choosing to do some task, which keeps them apart. And at least the hero is starting to hate that he must do the right thing over and over while his life is slipping away.

When the wait is finally over, well, have you seen (or read) Like Water for Chocolate, where the two lovers set the entire room on fire? That's the emotion I'm going for.

So, any thoughts? What can keep two people who want to be together apart in the modern world? They are both American, but travel is okay.

7 comments:

Sammy Jankis said...

Ooooh, ooooh, her widower dad had sudden early onset alzheimers and she had to return to her home town in order to care for him. The guy's best friend since childhood went missing in Peru without a trace and the local police there are doing nothing to find him. It is a big mystery as to what happened and he travels there to find out. It becomes his obsession and he searches for 10 years before discovering the friend alive and well living in a remote village with a native wife and three children, herding llamas. He'd gone into hiding because he owed a large sum of money to some two-bit bookie back home. After the fellow discovers he's wasted his life looking for a friend who was alive but stupid, he falls apart and turns to alcohol. He finally meets back up with the woman and they make fire together. Oh, and the llamas are aliens.

ril said...

Are they still at college / college age when they are separated?

He or she goes on a back-packing trip to Thailand with a bunch of friends (girls only / boys only?). Is caught at the airport with drugs hidden in her/his backpack that were put there by some dickwit non-friend. Spends 10 - 15 in the Bangkok Hilton before proving innocence / getting pardoned / getting out for good behavior. Flies home. Other half is waiting with teary eyes at the airport.


Am I good, or what? (It's a rhetorical question.)

ril said...

Or how about this one.

She goes back to her dorm room and starts goofing around on the internet. She reads a fascinating thread on a blog and just has to comment. The blog owner has got the freaking word verification turned on. 15 years later, she manages to type in a combination of letters that actually work. Praise be!

In the meantime, he thinks she jumped town on him when she doesn't show up to join him for coffee and pancakes at Dennys. He gets on with his life, but keeps her memory alive inside his heart, and her coffee hot inside a thermos.

December/Stacia said...

Would it be silly to simply suggest that work demands separated them? Maybe one got a scholarship to Oxford for graduate work or something? And they figured it would only be a few months, but one gets evicted or something and now they have no way to find each other? Drug problems? Alcoholism? Dog attacks?

Anonymous said...

In this day and age, I think probably both start off following scholarships for graduate school, and/or career jobs which include either residency and/or lots of travel abroad. One could join the foreign service because there are some assignments where one cannot take family (single only posts). Jobs (non-academic) and university positions continue to call, each a step or 2 up the ladder. Do you remember a PNS program with Judy Dehcn about a couple separate by a war who meet and marry in later life? I cannot think of the title of the series. Or, perhaps one of your couple is kidnapped in Afghanistan and held for 10 years. Good luck. muffytrue

james said...

Thanks a lot for a bunch of good tips. I look forward to reading more on the topic in the future. Keep up the good work! This blog is going to be great resource. Love reading it.
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james said...

Thanks a lot for a bunch of good tips. I look forward to reading more on the topic in the future. Keep up the good work! This blog is going to be great resource. Love reading it.
................................
written term papers-Essay Writing Help