I posted this at Clare London's blog but why not post it here? *thumps forehead*
I’ve discovered something weird about how I handle relationships and love in my scribblings. At some point in the story, a character always acts obsessive about their object of hot desire. Characters always begin worrying that something dreadful will happen to their lover.
Granted, my characters own a perfect right to worry. Something dreadful always threatens to attack their lover. It might be a penny dreadful instead of a hundred dollar dreadful, but it will happen on one page or across twenty pages or in every other chapter. Romance writers, or maybe I should speak for myself, act brutal in the zeal for whipping characters through the nasty angst paces.
Still, I wonder about my character’s obsessive romantic qualities. What a pack of worrywarts! Of course the easiest thing is to blame my bizarre muse. Wonky Diva Faboo has been with me for some time in both my visual and written work. The muse is a sloppy mess mainly because she refuses to clean up her empty bourbon bottles. Worse yet my muse is a controlling fury who excels at biting ankles. Faboo is capable of biting me elsewhere, but her half passed out position on the floor is more suited to ankle biting. When she reaches full creative froth, her long tongue lashes higher. Wait, when isn’t she in a froth? Oh right, when she’s passed out during the daylight hours. Yep, carousing Diva Faboo is a dreaded night muse, helpful only after sunset. No wonder a few vampire WIPS lurk in the wings.
Right on cue Faboo’s influence sneaks in when someone falls in love, because they instantly fear that said lover will fall down the stairs, be captured by corporate villains or be tortured by a high Duke of Hell. The Hell torment is a legitimate worry. That is nasty stuff. Time after time Diva Faboo enjoys making a character’s mind snap, crackle and pop from romantic stress. Mental torment is her supreme amusement.
Diva Faboo also enjoys forcing characters to internalize their obsession. She compels obsession to leak out in little places, like checking to see if the apartment door is locked, or if the seat belt is fastened. My characters want to keep their lovers safe from harm. Inside them lurks the knight in shining armor prepared to battle potential dragons, even when they arrive in the unassuming form of a cranky, bigoted grandparent. Face it, those monsters are worse than dragons.
Sometimes Diva Faboo surprises me and lets a character sing out his obsession. In a shockingly understanding moment, Diva Faboo allowed poor Alasdaire, Canes and Scales’s half Elf, half human love slave, to enjoy a grand emotional outburst in the following scene:
Glass walls sequestered me away from my torment until they shattered in silver truth. My Linden needed to stay here. I lunged forward and reached for him. “My Prince, no!”
My Prince whirled from exiting into night’s bleak control. I ran toward my lover. Guards grabbed me. “Let him go!”
Arms dropped way. Linden accepted my frantic embrace. My arms pulled his head toward my lips. I whispered my words to him. “Lover, there’s something wrong.”
The pure sympathy in Linden’s eyes asked me to stop hurting him. “Alasdaire, please, I know you want me to stay here with you but…”
How could I make him understand what dread I felt? “Linden, I feel danger around you. I don’t know how it is possible but I know what I feel. Do not leave the manor. Please listen to me!”
Wow, Alasdaire was lucky to enjoy such a big-scale emotional release. Diva Faboo must really adore him.
She raised the ante in Temptation of the Incubus. Amando, my wild and wonderful hybrid demon, is so obsessed by his lover that he dies for him. Honest. Faboo forced his decision:
After I cursed vengeful Hell and the obviously not keeping track Cloud Party, I stared at my lover's pale, beloved face. His noble heart continued struggling within his firm chest like a frightened mouse clawing for final freedom. His heart halted struggling. I screamed in agony. No, please, anything listening, anything owning an ounce of compassion, no, let him live! To my relief, Mads's muscle flickered on for a few more seconds of life.
Suddenly I knew what to do. How utterly obvious. Why did I delay the process? I was such an ancient dolt!
My trembling fingers caressed Mads's thick blond hair one last time. My choked voice whispered free. "Goodbye, my eternal love. The world is a better place with you in it. You are fine, sweet and good and I will always love you no matter what happens to me. If I can, I shall watch over you for eternity."
My tawdry existence meant nothing. Mads deserved what I gave him. I hoped my demonic power proved potent enough. I hoped I wasn't too late to the rescue.
I panicked, pressed my lips down against Mads's cool perfection and freely gave. I opened as wide as my ancient being allowed and directed myself into Mads's primeval universe. His downed body possessed enough life awareness to accept my stolen force. My plan would work. Epic relief coated my tortured mind.
My revitalized demon allure snarled in competitive fury. I smacked the force down and ordered it to focus on healing Mads. My love-bound will refused to be denied. My feeble new humanity surged forth and ensured my final act. Lord Death needed to back the fuck off.
As you can see, wicked Diva Faboo burped, tossed a bottle aside and told Amando, "Go ahead, sweetie, obsess love to death in a extremely real and morally binding way." Yeah, I just watched Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Their silly influence on my writing is a whole other wheelbarrow of words.
Too many other examples of Diva Faboo’s obsession with obsession infect my writing. In my dark romantic comedy To Save a Shining Soul, demon Marius obsesses about protecting Tristan, the unfairly damned divinity student, from the referenced Hell torment. Divine Devine’s Love Song finds hacker Sam Devine obsessing about protecting himself, his friends plus the entire city of Manh until he falls in love with the warrior Po and gains someone new to worry about in life. Living in a post-apocalyptical world adds extra spicy worry to a character's mind. Damn, someday Faboo will learn how to spell apocalyptical in less than four tries. Oh, she’s still sleeping. No wonder she’s no help. Then again spelling isn’t her thing.
When my new romantic comedy An Elf for All Centuries arrives in May, kidnapped supermodel Elf Prince Fabion (gee, wonder how he received that name) turns epic self-obsession into obsessive love for a sexy Elf King. Granted Fabion obsesses over surviving in an ancient age sans hot water and facials, but at least he learns how to love someone else in an obsessive manner. He had to or else Faboo would have conked a bourbon bottle over his thick skull.
I do believe I understand why poor Diva Faboo obsesses over life. Hold on, wait, good, she’s still snoring. You know what, I think too many frustrated writers grew sick of her woozy midnight musings and tossed her aside in writerly snit fits. That’s why obsession haunts the poor old dear. She’s worried about her current musedom position. Her under confidence leaks into her writing advice. She sucks at editing. Her notion of editing is to add three paragraphs of description. No wonder she keeps being tossed.
Still, here the crazy muse doesn’t need to worry. I’ll take a sloppy, obsessive muse over a practical, play by the book dullard. After all, I need someone to keep me company at 3:00AM. But I do need to introduce Diva Faboo to the wonderful world of recycling. Wish me and my ankles luck in that upcoming battle.
Well, better to pick up after her. Faboo does work hard for me.
I owe the poor dear a few favors.