Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Deafening Hug - in "How Not to Write a Novel"

I couldn't NOT share this. I was giggling so much tears sprang to my eyes.

In How Not to Write a Novel we learn many lessons. One that stood out to me the other day is known as The Deafening Hug. In this, as a writer, we need to be careful of creating an unintended love interest.

Author Howard Mittlemark and Sandra Newman point out three versions. I'll highlight two of the most  hilarious:

1. The Mayfly Fatale: A new character is described as a "handsome, muscular man with raven hair and a cheeky grin" or "a lissome blonde bombshell in a tight tank top." The reader immediately thinks this is a love/sex interest. While real life is full of attractive people who--let's face it--never look at you twice, protagonists live in a charmed world where it is assumed that all the attractive people they notice are already halfway to the boudoir.

And my favorite (having skipped the second version:

3. We're Going to Need a Bigger Closet: Male friends hug, toast their friendship, and later stumble drunkenly to sleep in the cabin's one bed. The reader is way ahead of you--they are secretly gay, and nothing you say later is going to change his mind. if you do not intend them to be secretly gay, let Alan sleep on the couch.

LOL. Yes. You heard me. I laughed out loud--really. The above pointers are so true!  Real life depictions can take stories in a different direction than intended. I think one of the biggest things I've learned from all of this is that writing what you see, hear, feel, in real life, needs to be carefully thought through.

Happy writing...

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