Friday, November 7, 2014

So I’m Writing This Novel: Do You Believe in Soul Mates?

My friend likes to annoy me by being in love. Now, I have to clarify that by insisting normal love isn’t irritating. I like asking people about their relationships, and I enjoy seeing happy couples. But she takes it above and beyond the call of duty, which, honestly, annoying each other is kind of the foundation of our relationship, so who can blame her?

She has continuous long-term relationships—lasting years, and very limited in the space between them. She’s fun, pretty, and supportive, making guys flock to her like the damn bugs to my iPad. When she falls in love, she falls hard. Completely head over heels, ready to commit, she gives over to it wholly to whoever’s she’s with.

And so, whenever I ask her if she believes in soul mates, she answers (in a deliberately flighty, dreamlike voice) “Of course. I mean if I hadn’t found BLANKETY BLANK…”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah. But besides him.”

Despite my airs of great misanthropy, I’m a big romantic. I have always loved romance and the honest truth is I rarely find a story without it remotely interesting. I don’t begrudge my friend for being in love, I begrudge her because I’m looking for the truth:

Is love about finding someone you connect with, have fun with, and care about inherently?

Or, is true love about finding someone you’re willing to try for?

I know damn well there is some intangible connection, some electricity, some feeling, some unreasonable desire to just be with them—in so many ways—that you can’t control. It’s a connection you can’t force, you can’t logic into yourself. I felt it once, for one person. And it was that feeling that helped me get hurt when it went to hell. After that, I knew that I couldn’t love someone without it. And, honestly, I didn’t want to love anyone without it. I wanted that feeling back more than anything—I still do—and I’m not willing to settle.

So where does it come from? Is the feeling a sign that you’re meant for each other? That you should try harder to make it work? Or is it just a random act of the universe? Did I feel that way because I let myself, without thinking too hard? Or is it just something that you feel for some and not others? How seriously should you take it? And am I wrong? Can that feeling be created over time?

When I first started writing THE PLANE, I knew there would be a male and female character.

(Pronouns, baby. So much easier to write a scene between a girl and a guy.)

But also because of the romance angle. I’ve never written a book without one yet. Despite that, even as I developed the characters, imagined scenes in my head, and began plotting out the book, they never felt right together. They got along—in the sort of constantly bickering and loving it kind of way—but I couldn’t really see them together. Not as a couple. I couldn’t see them in love.

Why? Well, for Soel’s part, he’s not in the right place for love. For Sanya, Soel isn’t supportive enough.

Soel has developed into being a fairly selfish character. I don’t think that makes him unlikeable, (entirely) because he is, at least, not entitled. But sometimes he does and says things that really make me cringe. Unlike many of his male counterparts before him, each of whom have some sort of chip-on-his-shoulder, it’s-me-against-the-world attitude, Soel is the only one who is truly angry. He’s resentful. He’s struggling to keep his head above water, and he wants society to accept him. Most of my protagonists before were trying to escape it.

He’s not lonely. It doesn’t propel him. Security does, feeling safe—financially, physically—is his main priority. He doesn’t even seek pleasure, and I’m not just talking sex. All he wants is freedom, to not have to struggle anymore.

Normally I’d call bullshit on the “not being in the right place for love” crap. I know damn well when you like someone, the sensibility of it all goes right out the window. I believe not being in the right place can make something not work, but I don’t believe it can prevent you from falling in love. But I feel like love wouldn’t make Soel happy. Not now, anyway.

As for Sanya, I’m not entirely sure what she needs, but a part of it is unconditional acceptance. Soel is, considering how important status is for him, a judgmental whore. He cares too much about getting what he wants to truly accept her. He can accept her as a friend, as someone who understands him, who he can talk to, but as a committed life-long companion, I just don’t see it. She’s insane, she has baggage, she has severe impulse control. She’s hard to take. Soel doesn’t have the patience. And honestly, neither does she.

I’m seeking other avenues for love (in my book we’ll say), and I’m not ruling out that maybe when they get their shit together they might fit right. But as of right now, there’s a reason they’re not working, and I’m not going to force it. Maybe it’s because, though I’m doing great, I’m still not entirely over my last heartbreak. Maybe it’s me that can’t get them together. Or maybe it’s them.

We’ll say it’s them. That it’s just not meant to be. It seems to make things easier.

A Scene between the Two “Lovebirds”

Soel eyed the woman without hesitation, not even bothering in the slightest to be subtle. She raised her brows, but he didn’t stop. She turned back to the ocean.
            The sound of the water lapping on the deck beneath them seemed louder than normal. Soel finally glowered at Mavich, the bastard taking his time reading through the paperwork. He did this on purpose—to torture them both. Soel knew his first impression on Galdin was not a great one, and that Mavich was the sort to not tolerate the scum of the earth anyway, so combine the opinion of lapdog and master, the lapdog was going to bite twice as hard.
            But he couldn’t help blame this Sanya for her part in it. A part of him wanted to kill her too, and he didn’t give a shit if she worked for Galdin or not.
            She took a long breath from her cigarette before glancing to Soel. “Fine weather we’re having.”
            “Don’t talk t’me.”
            She held up her hands, amused. “Alright then.”
            “Hey, Mavich,” Soel shouted. “What y’doing? Can we get on with this?”
            “Cram it, mud.”
            “Why’re we here?”
            Mavich ignored him, pulling the paper up closer to his face.
            Soel crossed his arms.
            “We’re here,” the woman said in a demure manner, “Because they are trying to convince us that they own us.”
            He just gave her a dirty look.
            “You do own us. You have me by the nuts and y’know it. Just come on. What do y’want? Who is this lady?”
            “Sanya,” she said, holding out a hand.
            He stared at her incredulously. She withdrew it.
            “Sanya, this is Soel of Green Shore. Soel, this is Sanya,” Mavich said carelessly.
            The woman smiled at the pilot next to her.
            “What? You a transient? Ain’t got a hometown?”
            “I do. But I don’t see a reason to tell you.”
            “You could probably bribe it out of her,” Mavich muttered, not looking up.
            Soel looked to her for confirmation, hoping to legitimize his judgment.
            “A million drakma.”
            He rolled his eyes.
            “I can’t imagine what someone such as y’rself could be hidin’.”
            She stood tall, back arched, energy contained within her form. She was controlled, every movement intentional, else her body sat completely still. The way she gestured, arched a graceful brow, smiled only when she chose, suggested a woman of class, of one of the higher isles. But her dirt stained black pants and long leather jacket—patched in places—ruined the effect. Her long black hair glistened in the sun, clean and maintained. She wore thick make-up around the eyes, she had, at least, tried to maintain her appearance. Again, Soel knew nothing about guns, but the shotgun strapped one her back was obviously finer than most of what he’d seen. He was talking to someone of the greater stations, but, for whatever reason, she hid it. It gave him more reason to be mad than just his hatred of the situation.
            “If I told you why then it would just explain away the what.”
            “Y’don’t need t’explain anything to me,” he muttered.
            “Oh, but I want us to be friends. I have a feeling we’re going to be very close in the near future.”
            She and Soel looked to Mavich. The man pretended to ignore them for a moment, but finally raised his head.
            “Oh fine,” he sighed. “Yes. You both know that we are entering into contract, correct?”
            “Correct.”
            “Sure.”
            “Well, it would be foolish of us to send you off without a full arsenal.”
            “Oh, please tell me you’re giving me a gun,” Sanya moaned.
            Mavich’s eyes narrowed. “Maybe,” he said. “It’s a possibility. You will have to ask him.”
            “Oh, I will.”
            “Alright,” Soel snapped. “But what does that have to do with Trigger Happy over here? She’s not comin’ with right? I’m not gonna have t’be in the same space as her, right?”
            “We will be giving you everything you need to ensure the trip’s success. Food, gasoline, any weaponry Galdin deems fit.”
            “And so what? “You’re givin’ me a whore?”
            Sanya gave him a dismissing look. “You’re a lovely person, Soel. Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise.”
            “You will need a gunman. Sanya here is the best possible option you can have. You should be grateful.”
            She nodded at Soel in agreement. He scowled at her.
            “We have been trying to tie her down for a good while now. You should be happy.”
            He looked away, but he realized they were right. He’d seen what she could do, and he knew damn well that trying to shoot while flying had almost killed him several times before. He needed to suck it up and quit pissing off the one person who might be the difference between life and death.
            He just glowered at the dock.
            Meanwhile, Sanya glanced back to the plane behind them then to the scrawny man next to her.
            “Gunman, huh?” she said. “So I take it you think that I’ll be getting into that death trap.”
            “You will do what you are told,” Mavich explained, exhausted.
            “There’s nothin’ wrong with my plane!” Soel snapped.
            “Oh, I believe you. But it doesn’t matter. I’m not going to be a pilot’s gunman. I have never been a pilot’s gunman, and I will never be a pilot’s gunman.”
            Soel eyed her up and down. Mavich kept his eyes on the page.
            “And why’s that?” the lapdog asked.
            She shrugged. “I’m scared of heights.”

            Soel nearly tossed himself to the ground.