Thursday, August 11, 2011

Little Boys as Muses

I'm one of those writers who has always wanted to write. Not only have I always wanted to write, I've always wanted to write romance. Since I read my first Sweet Valley High and sighed as Elizabeth and Todd got together, I've been hooked. Then I read my first historical, in middle school, and I'd found true love.

But I always thought I wasn't ready to write a romance. I was in high school. Or I'd only had one major relationship. Even after I'd had a few relationships, they didn't feel like they'd been substantive enough to base a novel on. Then, I got married... then a kid. After I had my first child I realized I was making excuses. Fiction didn't need real life experience. I could take what I saw, what I knew, and lie through the rest.

For the most part, that's proven true. There are, however, times when real life experience has helped me write.

An example. There's a little boy in my current WIP. His name is Gregory. I've got two little boys. I may not know a lot, but I know little boys. (At least my two little boys.) So when I started writing Gregory, I leaned on my knowledge.

Here's a snippet:

"Gregory Richard." She cast him a warning look.

Gregory's mouth snapped shut and he recovered in time. "Excuse me, mother. Good evening, sire." He executed a bow worthy of court. Then, he ruined the entire picture by stepping forward and bending over to get a better look at Cass's wound. "You're bleeding."

Belle was sure he meant to temper his enthusiasm but such glee was hard to contain. "Gregory…"

"Well, he is, Mamma," Gregory informed her.

"I know, sweetheart," she said patiently. "But it's not polite…." She let her voice trail off. It's not polite to what? To point out the obvious? She sighed. "It's just not polite."

Gregory cast her a glance that was pure pity. Then he turned back to Cass. "So, does it hurt much? Because with that much blood, I suspect it stings quite terribly."


"No," Cass told her with a pained smile. "He's right. It is bleeding and it does sting. Quite a bit actually."

"I can't wait to tell Bobby. He's going to be so jealous." Gregory practically squirmed with joy.

"That's enough." Belle gestured toward the door. "It's time for you to find your bed."

"Mamma…." The whine was familiar but at least he'd stopped questioning Cass about his wound.

"Please. I'm exhausted. I'll be up in a little while to kiss you goodnight."

"If you insist." He deflated and trudged out of the room. At the door he turned back, though, and waved at Cass. "Goodnight, sire. I hope you don't die."

So, tell me. Do you think real life experience is needed to write good fiction? Has there ever been a time when real life has helped with your writing?


  1. *LOL* Yes, that sounds EXACTLY like a little boy. *LOL* That is where real life does pay. Some children in novels are a little too perfect, too perceptive. Sure kids pick up on things and know them, but most of them don't talk to you like your therapist.

    Love the new blog smell, Marn!

  2. That was delightful. :)

    I think we need emotional experiences to help us write fiction. I may not have experienced certain things in life, but I have experienced an emotion (pain, joy, etc.) that would be attached to that situation. And it doesn't hurt to be observers of everything too. :)


  3. Hells - Some children in novels are too perfect. I think because they suffer the fate of so many other secondary characters; they're used for a plot device and not developed completely.

    And thanks about the new blog smell! *dusts off the header* It's tough keeping it clean though, ya know?

    Donna - I completely agree about the emotional experiences. Because that's what people read for anyway, isn't it? We're looking to connect. Most details about "real life" can be found in books or research elsewhere. But emotion is the key.

  4. I know little boys too, Marnee, and the ones I know are major fans of gore and bathroom humor. Gregory Richard certainly rings true to me.

  5. Thanks Janga! :)

    gore and bathroom humor

    I think this describes everything about my house. Have you been listening in? LOL!

  6. I have a girl but I wrote a boy in my first MS. My beta readers all pointed out I was writing a 12yr old who sounded 6. LOL! Why I picked a boy instead of a girl, I don't know.

    Such a fun scene. The curiosity is too much for him, which is so true to life. I can't take gore or bathroom humor. So thankful I do have a girl.

    I think Donna is right. I haven't found my own HEA but I hope that's not required to actually write one. :)

  7. I think we definitely get what we can handle. I don't think I could have a girl. That whole tween/teen time with girls looks hard.

    Thanks! It was a fun scene to write. And I think Donna's right too; I don't know what it's like to married to a powerful, billionaire CEO but I bet I could imagine it just fine. ;)