Thursday, 9 June 2011
Author Spotlight - Toni Noel talks about the many faces of love
Poets believe love makes the world go round, but that's too broad a premise for the novel I have in mind. I'm looking for a suitable premise for a Valentine's Day novel I hope to have published next year, so I turned to the bestselling book of all time, the Bible, for inspiration.
In First Corinthians, Chapter 13, starting with verse 4 I found inspiration for more ways to show love than I have room to list here. For instance:
'Love is patient and kind.'
I immediately pictured a young mother in the park, caring for her children, the youngest crying over a skinned knee, while at home her mother bathes her bedridden husband of sixty years.
Or a kindergarten teacher consoling the son of a fallen Marine.
And how about the mother of triplets spoon-feeding her brood. These are all excellent examples of kindness and patience, but those images didn't inspire a plot for a story that will jump off the page.
I read further.
'Love does not insist on its own way.'
A headstrong companion does, however, perhaps the first indication of a relationship on the rocks. When you truly love someone, there's an easy give and take, not a struggle for supremacy. I pictured a macho lover slapping around his mate while a toddler crouched in the corner, afraid to move, not the kind of story I want to tell.
'Love is not jealous or boastful.'
Another indication a relationship is in trouble. To truly love a mate is to give your companion room to grow. The man who boasts of his prowess in the bedroom is too dependent on the adulation of his peers. That's not the kind of hero I like to read about and I'm not anxious to write about him either.
'Love is not arrogant or rude.'
Someone who truly loves you does not put you down in public or symbolically step on your toes, hogging the conversation, or declare you don't know what you're talking about loud enough for friends or family to hear. It would be far too easy to nail this character to the page in just a few words, but that novel would only be about a page and a half long, and I doubt anyone would read that far.
'Love does not insist on its own way.'
How about the husband who tells you what to wear? The date constantly suggesting you change the way you wear your hair? These relationships are headed for heartache down the road, definitely not the kind of relationships I want to write about.
'Love bears all things.'
There are certain things a character may be certain he or she cannot bear: a child's lies, the running away of a child, an adult offspring on drugs. Infidelity. Now I'm getting somewhere, that's four possible story ideas right there.
'Love believes all things.'
... Even the things the heroine knows in her heart are not true. What if the character wants them to be true because she loves the one telling the lies. 'No, I didn't bite my sister.' 'My fifteen-year-old is still a virgin.' 'No, I didn't put that scratch on Dad's new car.' 'No, I am not having an affair.' Love blinds a character to another character's faults. This premise has merit. I might give it a try.
'Love hopes all things.'
Love forces us to hope when there is no hope. The week before a friend with terminal lung cancer died his wife said, "We can still hope."
Are good causes ever really hopeless?
Can this marriage be saved?
Will law enforcement officers find the lost child in time?
Is global warming reversible?
Can Japanese scientists find a way to stop that nuclear reactor from melting down?
If this blog has caused you to stop and think, please comment.
Did any of these verses give you a new idea?
What kind of love do you like to write about?
Which kind of love warms your heart? Fills you with joy? Brings you to tears?
Your comment might help some other writer see where her character has gone astray.