Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Obviously, it's true love. But why?

Have you ever read a book (or your own writing with a subjective, critical eye - yeah, right) and thought...what great prose, love the language, but I'm just not buyin' this?

Motivation. Seems everyone talks up GMC, or goal, motivation, conflict, but the middle child always seems to get the least attention. Goal is a given, for me. If I'm drawn to read or write something, it's generally because there's this terrific set-up, a story that must be told or read. Somebody wants something. *shrug* Goal. That's not so difficult to understand. The biggest question remaining is whether or not they'll get it.

Conflict is also a given. How do we keep our characters from getting what they want? That one's not hard to understand either.

Then there's that middle thang. Motivation is what separates a good tale from a bad, the CSI from a low-budget hack piece. Without motivation, what's to believe? Or am I naive in thinking that readers & viewers want some meat with their action gravy? To me, the why is every bit as important as the what and how, but then I was also the kid who continually asked "why, how come..." and wasn't satisfied until I understood the reasoning behind The Big Deal everyone made over a dish of food, a movie, a book, a play, an argument, a war...

What would Gone With The Wind have been without Scarlet's desire to hang onto Tara? (I mean, that's one long-azz book anyway, and the book rambled for 1000 pages - apologies to Margaret Mitchell and her fans - so the selfish motivations of the primary character had to carry the thing.)

How about The Firm, without the protagonist's desire to keep his life, or Atticus Finch's need to remain true to his ethics in To Kill A Mockingbird?

"Why?" is the first question that pops into my brain when I'm asked to spend money, time, attention, or an emotional investment. Not because it's all about "What's in it for me?" - but because if I'm to care about a character or a situation, the question simply begs an answer.

Why are you blogging at present? Why did you have coffee instead of a soda or water instead of iced tea last time you took a drink? Because there was a pay-off. Why did you tell a white lie when the truth would have hurt someone's feelings, or why did you tell them the truth rather than spare them? Same thing--somewhere between your truth and theirs was a pay-off, be it good or bad. People stay in committed relationships in which they are miserable. Why? They get something they need out of it, whether it's affirmation that they're worthless without that other person, maybe they don't like making decisions and can't cowboy-up for a confrontation, or because they'll get something later on down the road.

Show me a pay-off, and I'm with you. Even if I don't agree with the decision, make me buy it that the pay-off was there. My redneck roots are showing with that philosophy: If you can't eat it, fight it, or f*** it, then piss on it.

(And you can click on that photo with your mouse to see a larger viewing. 'Proof' that it's true love.)



At 2:42 PM, Blogger Douglas Hoffman said...

Looks like we're both in a thoughtful mood today! Good discussion, Lyn.

As for the picture: that gold-digging vixen, taking advantage of that poor (wealthy) man right after his brain surgery for incurable cancer ;o)

At 2:44 PM, Blogger Lyn Cash said...


At 4:49 PM, Blogger Bron said...

Good points! Tied in with the motivation, and the thing I often find lacking in romances, is 'why this man and this woman?' (or man/man woman/woman or m/m/w or w/vampire or whatever.)

What is it about the person that attracts the other? Why does that intial attraction become deeper? Why does they feel so strongly about each other?

Too many books just rely on a physical attraction (including many 'sweet' books), which is fine for a beginning, but without going into the reasons why this man/this woman (or whatever) become so emotionally involved, they just don't work for me.

I have no objection to lots of hot sex, but I need to know that there's enough emotional bond to keep them together and in love when they're fifty, flabby and flagging ;-)

At 7:39 PM, Blogger Douglas Hoffman said...

Ooh. Bron says 'fifty' like it's old.

True story: when I was in my 4th year of residency, I had to do a pre-op evaluation on one of my dept. chairman's sinus patients. She was a good looking woman, athletic, great bone structure, fine upstanding hooters. I suppose I might have begun flirting with her -- nothing salacious, just the sort of mild flirtation that goes on all the time yet doesn't mean "sit on my face". At one point, however, she used the phrase, "When you're my age . . ."

So, for the first time, I glanced at her hospital card to check her birthdate. I was 32. I figured she was maybe 44 tops. She was 61.

But a mighty fine 61, so I didn't stop flirting. Hell, Lauren Bacall still turns me on, and she's what, 80? (*Flashing on Harold and Maude*)

At 8:49 AM, Blogger Amie Stuart said...

LOL@that picture...awful just awful!
Motivation--if I can't justify it in my mind (then get it on paper) it ain't right and I go back to the drawing board. Great post doll!

At 2:30 PM, Blogger Lyn Cash said...

that old fart is just WRONG, isn't he? - lol


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