Friday, May 25, 2007

I Think I Need a New Advisor

I'm not a good brain stormer. My ideas are my own and if I'm stuck, somehow I need to figure out a way to get out on my own...that's just how my brain works. If I try bouncing stuff off people or ask for ideas, more often than not, I'm shaking my head because that's not the way I wanted to go and I get frustrated.

On occasion, I will ask my husband for advice. Most times when I talk about writing, two minutes into the conversation, his eyes are glazing over. But I have a new project he's taken an interest in, so I tread carefully, hoping I can get a little help before the glaze begins. I found this a good learning experience, valuable, enlightening. My husband would not be a good romance writer. Here's why:

Me: "Honey, my hero needs to render my heroine unconscious for a short time in a non-painful way."
Him: "Can't he just hit her over the head with a gun?"
Me: "I said, "non-painful". Don't you think that would hurt her?"
Him, shrugging and showing not an ounce of concern for my heroine: "She'll have a headache for a few days, but she'll be fine."
Me, looking somewhat warily at the man I thought I knew: "Okay, thanks."

I gave him my synopsis to read. He took it and said he needed to read it alone, so he wouldn't have any distractions. It's 3 1/2 pages and I know he's not a fast reader. His years in law school taught him to read and weigh every word. Half an hour later, I'm thinking he should be through. I walk into the bedroom, he's lying on the bed, snoring. My synopsis is on his chest. Obviously it didn't keep him awake.

Me, standing over him, shaking his shoulders: "Did you even read it?"
Him, blinking at me and then scowling: "Yes, I read it. It's good." Closes his eyes, another soft snore.
Me, getting a little ticked: "But, why didn't you come and tell me you were through? What did you think about it when my hero said this, or my heroine did that?"
Him, his scowl replaced by a look of confusion...or is that guilt? "Maybe I need to read it again."

Five minutes later, he walks into my office. I look up in anticipation.
Him: "Did you make this stuff up?"
Me: "Yes. Why?"
Him, his expression a mixture of awe and confusion: "There's a lot going on with this. I thought it was a romance."
Me: "It is a romance. The other things going on are called sub-plots."
Him, shaking his head, still obviously confused: "Do people in your stories ever sleep together and not think it's a mistake?"
Me, grabbing my hard worked pages out of his hand, muttering: "They get together in the end."
Him, knowing he's not saying what he's supposed to be saying, but having no clue what he's supposed to be saying, offers weakly: "Well, it's really good."
Me: "Go watch televsion."

So, what about you? Do you have a trusted advisor that you bounce your ideas off of, or do you swing it on your own.


Anonymous said...

Both. I ask my husband about subplots but not the romantic part of the book. He's no good to me when it comes to romance (that sounded awful, didn't it?)

I'm sure you know what I mean.

Most of the time I come up with my ideas, and he lets me know which one he thinks will work best.

Karen Beeching

JoAnn said...

My husband is actually pretty good with the "technical" details (you want me to ask him about knocking out your heroine, Christy? :-).

But when it comes to the writing, like your husband, he just doesn't get it! On a recent car trip, I had the brilliant idea of reading to him while he was driving. I chose the first romance novel I ever read, a beloved book by a fabulous author with a brilliant opening chapter. But when I got to page 3, he put his hand out and said, "Stop. I'm falling asleep!"

Christy said...

Karen, I know exactly what you meant with this: (o;
He's no good to me when it comes to romance (that sounded awful, didn't it?)

Hey Joann, if your husband has an idea, let me know! I'm still stumped.

MaryF said...

I feel your pain, my husband just says "don't even bother." He is supportive of my writing, but I think he'd break out in hives if I made him read anything. (Perhaps that explains the huge rash--I've forced him to listen to my ideas...)

What I do have, and it has taken years, is find a good friend who is unafraid of telling me the truth, and is able to give me good pointers. It is hard, because no one wants to to say, "Hey this doesn't make sense". Truth and communication is hard...because writing puts you out there, reveals you. Perhaps thats why I keep trying to get my husband involved, I love him and trust him enough to give me input.

So, why do I get so mad at him when he does?

Well, instead of answering your question I have just added to it!