Well, it may be a mistake, but I’ve decided to post the opening of my WIP. It doesn’t currently have a title — it probably never will have one, since it would only need one if I ever tried to publish the finished product — and it’s probably going to suck just as hard as everything else I’ve written, but I feel like there are quite a few good bits so far, and I’m going to post those later on.
The opening…well, it’s not bad. Not by my standards. It’s a bit awkward, though, and a bit…almost argumentative. (Given my narrator’s character, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.)
I’m a little unsure about the way I handle the lists right at the start. Feels a bit cheesy, but “1. Once” would feel pretty cheesy, too…
1ce upon a time, there was a beautiful girl.
2 She was being abused and/or was very unhappy.
3 A handsome prince rescued her.
4 They fell madly in love.
5 The end.
There’s a whole slew of fairy tales that follow that outline, though sometimes steps three and four are reversed. The motif infected other genres, always following the two cardinal rules: the lovers must be young and beautiful, and they must decide they’re in love almost immediately upon first meeting. (And don’t think high literature is exempt from this dreck. How long did it take Romeo and Juliet to decide they were in love?) Hollywood inherited the outline and embraced it with considerable verve, though they did eventually add a slightly improved variant:
1ce there was a good-looking boy.
2 He set his heart on a beautiful girl way out of his league.
3 He almost won her love…
4 …but then he lost it again.
5 Then he decided he loved the girl next door better anyway.
6 The end.
Yeah, it’s better since “the girl next door” is often his “best friend” at the beginning of the picture, but it’s always hampered by the fact that she’s either so hot that it’s utterly unrealistic that he’d bother looking any further than her in the first place, or the filmmakers work to make you feel like he’s “settling” for her and could really do better. (Sometimes they break their backs to do both. And that absolutely should not be possible.) And, bottom line, it still gives you the message that love is based on physical attraction, and that you can decide you are or aren’t in love overnight.
Now, I won’t lie. Physical attraction is very important to love. Maybe it’s even at the center of it. But not everyone sees the same things as attractive. Sure, we follow what society tells us to a certain degree, but we don’t follow that far.
You’re probably wondering why I’m telling you all this. Well, it’s because I want to do my part to fight those outlines. I want to tell you a story where that isn’t the case. Love based on a moment’s glance at a pretty face is doomed to failure, but love based on a lifetime of friendship…well, that’s another matter altogether, isn’t it?
So if you want a story about a girl who sighs “I knew the moment I saw his face that we were destined to be together forever!” and is never proven wrong, I suggest that you put this book down and go look for another one. There’s lots of ‘em out there.
What kind of book is this? Well, it’s the kind filled with words. Currently in English. (I could translate it into ancient Greek or Latin, if you’d like?) And in those words is a story. Is it a true story? Well…basically, but in the Dragnet sense of “the names have been changed to protect the innocent.” And it was more than twenty years ago, so I’m fudging some of the dialog, I’ll admit it. Maybe a few people got combined into one, or split into mulitples. Or whatever. But at the core, it’s a love story. And an anti-love story.
And it’s a story about collegiate finances, if you’re into that. (Is anyone actually into that?)
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