Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Selling a romantic on a fantasy/romance novel

I'd been all kinds of up and down on my writer's blog. I don't think a lot of it is going to go on to its intended purpose, making me look bad instead of good.
This place was meant for self-promotion and all it tends to do is bring me down.

But I've got a twisted way to putting a twist on an attempt to get this story across to more people.

I have someone in mind that one day, I might send this pitch to, just to get her thoughts on the whole idea. I wrote this way back when during a time when I believed in love, wanted love and went out of my way to write about it coming true. I'd had my fair share of unrequited love in high school.

As far as Jonas is concerned, the only part of him that belonged to that unrequited love was his eyes. For maybe, let's see September to March, about 6-7 months, I sat lunch across from this guy I had the hugest crush on. He wasn't your typical guy that any girl would find herself attracted to. His kindness, I interpreted as being something else entirely. But again, in the words of Justin Long "if a guy wants a girl, he will make it happen."
"David" never made it happen. I thought there was a reason why he insisted he and his gang hung out at my lunch table. He didn't want to hurt my feelings, assuming I'd interpret them moving to another table as something to do with me. Instead, the bunch of them stuck around. I hardly got a word out, nor did I really want to. I was too preoccupied with the hilarity of boys being boys.
But with "David," his eyes stood out for me and for the longest time, they were all I could think about. I wrote dozens of poems about what I saw when I looked into them. They were a pale blue unlike anything I'd ever seen.

At the same time, I was trying to get a story together. I entertained the idea of this fantastic epic where elements like fire, lightning, wind and water had importance, where there was this ancient tale of good verus evil, where there were mystical creatures. I wanted to combine all of that into this story, but nothing quite came together.
A few elements started to make their mark on me. Things I was experiencing, things I saw. The good versus evil was something that Harry Potter was the final thing to start to impress on my head. A lot of fantasy-driven stories had that struggle because good vs. evil goes back to the very beginning of time.

Then there was the romance of it all. I didn't expect any of that to come about. I think what started to do it for me was the Miyazaki film "Spirited Away." Initially, I was pissed off that it won the Oscar for Best Animated Picture when I had seen and heard of every other nominees. I had to see what the fuss was about and perhaps wanted to disprove it was worthy of winning the prestigious award.
I couldn't have been more wrong.
That movie presented an entirely different world, something I scarcely imagine in my dizziest daydreams. A few things that hit home for me were the characters, how memorable a couple of them were. One of them turned out to be the finishing piece to the puzzle of my hero

So that afternoon after watching the movie, I wrote the prologue. An angel comes down from heaven to defeat this being of evil and the elements manifest in mythical creatures that reincarnate him into his next life. You always have to leave that pretense: in the even that evil should return.

I started to have a little something to go on after that, but I didn't plan any of it to come together the way it did. I was writing and it all happened the way that it did. Bits and pieces of details showed what was in my mind at that time. High school was a nature setting for a lot of it to take place. One of the characters, she was in my head from another show I was watching at the time. And the name Nina was just a name I loved. I didn't have much in my head except that she was the new girl, and she was blonde with brown eyes.

The last thing I thought I'd put in the story was a love story, or what would become a love story. I didn't know what Jonas was going to be like until I started writing. An undeniable impression I had in the movie was that the boy who befriends Chihiro is good, even though he has this reputation and a girl that takes her under her wing says he's bad news. I didn't doubt it for a second. Maybe it's because I'm a little too trusting of people or rely a lot on first impressions. He went out of his way to help Chihiro get into the bath house, how could he possibly be bad? As it turned out, Haku was under a spell made easier because he couldn't remember his name.

I started writing about love a year ago today. I'd been doing it ever since. Strange as it may seem, I've never been in love. Not actual love. I don't believe love is true unless it is returned and made equal between two people. When I was 13, I saw love a lot differently than I do now. A lot of other elements are in my head these days and the thing about finding a place in this world is among the biggest themes I'd worked with lately. No matter how tiring and pointless it is, it's the truth for me right now.

I drew on love from an unconventional source in a time of isolation. I was recovering from surgery and wouldn't return to school for a couple months. Not that I needed to be around people to thrive, that year I made a couple of good friends I got very close with. But the theme became that deep down, I wanted love and that love to be felt on both sides, so I wrote about having an imaginary boyfriend who loved in another world. Long story.

I used to think I needed love to feel complete, to just feel normal. If someone loved me for me, thought I was prettier than all the other girls, that justified that I was worth something to somebody. It's a complicated thing to explain when you don't have any experience with it in real life and without making it sound like you're living out a Greek tragedy. I always worry about saying the wrong thing and having someone interpret it to the point they look at me differently, as if there's something wrong with me or they don't want to provoke me.

I felt like there was something missing in my life that kept me from feeling whole. I thought that missing thing was love or having someone see me as more than I saw myself. It was often the case that the prettiest girls got the cute guys and popularity, both things that anyone would want in high school.

What began between Jonas and Nina was friendship. He chose to spend his days alone because he didn't want certain things about him becoming well known by his peers. It was easier to cut himself off from everyone else than to risk being cut off for being himself.
If whoever reads this wonders what Nina was like before Jonas... What were her hopes and dreams? What did she and her friends like to do together? I never gave full thought to putting her together as a character. She was just a person whose eyes we saw Jonas through. She saw him as being a good person that was misunderstood and there was more than meets the eye. She's good-natured and likes to believe the best in people. This is shown a little bit when she turns down a guy who expresses his interest in her because she's interested in someone else.

I didn't even imagine it becoming a love story. It was just a friendship Jonas really needed in his life. He might deny it, but for years, he'd wanted acceptence from at least one of his peers. As luck should have it, it was the new girl who could have a fresh opinion on him without being influenced by the gossip. She sticks by her convictions and beliefs. Even after hearing her new friends going on about why Jonas isn't normal, that doesn't deter her from wanting to get to know him. He did, after all, save her from a world of embarassment after she bumps into him, an incident that leaves her temporarily blind and uncoordinated.

When it comes to love, it's always going to be the thing I dream about having come true, something to strive for. But these days, I don't care whether or not I find it right away. I just don't want it to be in control of my life. I don't want to feel like I did in high school, that I needed a boyfriend's acceptence for me to be cool with myself.

The love that blossoms between Nina and Jonas is like this. He has been alone for a long time, never felt he needed anybody. But when he meets Nina, so much changes in him. He feels more confident with his peers, able to make friends and relate to people more than he ever had. With that confidence, he starts to rediscover his past life, a destiny he must fulfill later on in the story. Nina knows that Jonas is extraordinary and begins to discover why she got that vibe from him. In Nina, he finds acceptence, someone he considers his equal and someone he would give his life for. A little melodramatic for a 14-year old boy, but what the hell, it's a fantasy/romance... I'm a sucker for that sort of thing.

But what does she get out of his friendship? It's hard to really say at this point. I never really thought about it. She gets the satisfication about helping someone overcome their hindrances, their fears. She knows he has a lot to offer and wants him to feel free to live the life he wants to.
In a twisted sort of way, his story is something like my own, but I didn't go to such extremes to avoid people the way he did. All it takes is the trust and friendship of another person and so many doors can open.

I'm not sure if this came out right, but that's somewhat of the angle I was going for.

As far as the idea of the relationship goes, my mind is dwelling on unknown territory these days, having more to do with what happens behind closed bedroom doors. It took me a long time, but my 25-year old mind started to get curious. I don't think I'd be comfortable with anyone seeing what I'd written about THAT yet, but it isn't super obscene or profane to that extreme, promise.
But with love, I see it as one person meeting another and they recognize a piece of themselves in that other person. They were a complete person before them, but after they meet, they can't imagine being apart, as if something inside clicked. As if you were put on this earth specifically for that other person. And certainly I don't believe love is something you need to have in your life to fill a hole within yourself. If you go into things with that in mind, you're going to end up getting hurt. You have love yourself first before you can let anyone else in.

My story kinda disproves that case, but whatever, my characters in high school, real-life details don't apply.

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