No More Drama! (Except a little bit)
|(Evidence of our girly life)|
75% of the time, chanting this will get the girls giggling, making them forget whatever petty molehill they had just turned into Mount Vesuvius. The other 25%...well, Mark and I can only smile at each other and think, "Yes...3 girls. At least they're not 3 teenage girls yet."
Anyway, this is really about writing, I promise. :) Because if there is one thing I have a hard time balancing in my own writing, it is drama and melodrama. "We all know" drama = good and melodrama = bad...but where do you draw the line? And what about the fact that certain characters are naturally melodramatic? (Anne Shirley) And some are so stoic (um...can't think of an example off the top of my head...) that even average drama seems like too much?
I guess the answer is that the line is a very fuzzy, twisty, spirally one. It's going to change for every book and character you write. Personally, I naturally lean toward melodrama in my writing. Remember Anne Shirley's writing club, and all those tragic deaths? The scary thing is, when I sit down to write, my brain still jumps to such situations before I stop and think. As I remember it, about half the critiques of my first manuscript were suggestions to tone down the drama, make things more believable, less purply-prosy, and so on. So on my second novel I did a 180. I banished the words "feel" and "love." And a lot of the earliest critiques amounted to, "I think this needs a little more emotion."
After trying to revise that second ms, I found my solution (at least for now). Because it's a lot harder to add emotion than to tone it down. I may be able to decide off the bat that the tragic death is not the best way to infuse the middle of my book with drama, but I also don't decide to make my characters heartless automatons. I let them love and emote and dream...and, yes, I have to cut 50% of that out during the revision process, but that's what revision's for.
Of course it's still a struggle--so I'd love to know any tips you have!
On another note, thank you all for your prayers for my family last week. My nephew made it home for Christmas and is more or less back to his happy, smiling self. We're so grateful for all the prayers and good wishes that pulled us through a difficult time. I hope your Christmases were lovely and that the rest of the Christmas season holds many joys and blessings!