The Beautiful Woman Has Come

The Beautiful Woman Has Come
A Historical Novel by Debra Giuffrida

Monday, March 22, 2010

Angst You Say?

The emotional angst of relationships, the real thing not the cardboard cutout version, that is what I want to put into my writing, the real feel of longing for your beloved, the real pain of uncertainty. But is romantic angst just a female emotion or do men also experience the pang of separation? I believe a well rounded story is told with several voices and the hero's voice, of course, is part of the story. Is it the same as the heroines or is it colder, more removed? So I guess I have to figure out how male angst feels in his heart, how it sounds in his head and how it shows on his face.

In my search I watched a PBS special which aired during a pledge drive. It was hosted by this man, whose name escapes me at the moment, who tried to show his audience the differences between the male and female brain. I say show because he used those silly Styrofoam wig stands, you know the ones, they're shaped like human heads and are totally featureless and stark white. Well, his description of the female brain was that of a monster super highway interchange, where everything interconnects with everything else. But the male brain on the other hand was composed of neat boxes that did not touch nor connect in anyway. He said that each box has it own unique function; there is the car box, the sports box, the work box and the mans most favorite box of all... the nothing box. Oh and did I tell you that a man's thoughts are in only one box at a time? Yeah... OK, I hear you, let's back up. The nothing box; that's right, there is nothing in it. Which explains the answer to the age old question: "Honey, what are you thinking about?" and his age old answer: "Nothing!"

So now I get back to my original question about male angst and is it the same as a woman's. How the heck do I know? Every time I ask my current he just looks at me with a blank expression on his face. Yeah, he's in his nothing box again.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

No More Boring Inner Voices

We are surrounded by sound--traffic, music, TV, computer websites, and electronic hums be they refrigerator motors or light bulbs. And that causes me to wonder does it block out our inner voice? Do some of us use these noises so we don't have to listen to the everyday hum drum of our minds?

I for one can not stand extra noise. When I am alone the only noises that invade my brain are the electronic hums and the sounds of my animals breathing, or in the case of the collie, her snoring. So that means I hear ever single word that my mind makes and that means I listen to a lot of boring stuff about housework and bills and dust and the list goes on. But when I write I have to remember that my characters don't have to have boring inner voices. They can muse about interesting things like war and the state of the union and helping the homeless and any manner of earth shattering things. Why? Because I can control their minds. Inner musings is what gives our written characters their dimension, their depth, their soul. That is also why I write in first person. I want to hear the inner voice, I want to hear the gut wrenching arguments that they have with themselves. Or I should say I want you to read the gut wrenching arguments. OK, I have to hear them first before you can read them.

Reading the newest installment in Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series has given me the push to really mold my characters, to give them a soul. Diana writes in the first person just like I do. She let's us see into the heart of her characters and that is exactly what I want to emulate. In fact I also believe Mary Renault wrote in the first person too. (Don't quote me yet, I am going to have to go check this out but it feels right.) Mary Renault is my hero when it comes to ancient historical fiction. She wrote about Alexander and she nailed it. She is truly one of the greats.

So I have decided to give my characters their own individual inner voice which will give them their own individual soul. Besides it just might help me learn to edit my inner voice, I'm tired of listening to myself think about laundry and vacuuming, I want to ponder world peace and grapple with the angst of love and life and death. Which brings me to my question today, do you have an interesting inner voice or do hide yours because it's dull and boring and if so how?