Tags: snake_easing


Discussion: Tell Me That You Love Me

I've been thinking a lot lately about how we show that characters love one another. I find that love is one of the hardest things to write, because it runs up so hard against "show, don't tell". Sometimes it's appropriate for the characters to say (or think) "I love you" or "You'll always be my Clone Boy", but mostly it's not. Mostly that's superfluous at best.

This is true of any kind of love, not just romantic. How do you show familial love? How do you show friendship so deep that love is the only word for it?

Sometimes comics makes it easy. Obviously saving each others' lives is a great demonstrator of feelings. It's not like we need to be told that Batman and Robin would die for each other, or Superman and Wonder Woman, or [insert names here].

Batman must die!

But what happens when you can't rely on deadly peril to make the point for you? Few of us face so much deadly peril in our day-to-day lives. How do you demonstrate love?

I got started thinking about this when I read a fic in a different fandom that tried to demonstrate love through a break-up. Character A walked out, and Character B completely fell apart. And I mean completely. Stopped eating, stopped sleeping, the works. And I believe that this was meant to demonstrate love. But it didn't read as love to me. It read as need. Which is a different animal entirely.

I suppose it depends a lot on your definition of love. My favorite working definition is one I nicked from Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land:
'Love' is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.

Hug time!

Happily, this kind of love happens to be ridiculously easy to demonstrate in fiction, especially if you choose the right POV.

(Of course there is another, broader definition of the word that encompasses spite and vanity and revenge. Under that definition, even the Joker is usually motivated by love—love of life or love of death, if nothing else.)

How about you all? How do you define love, and how do you write it?

Empathy for the Devil, by snake_easing

Empathy for the Devil

Or, Shamelessly Manipulating the Audience and You

My gratitude goes to mithen for her suggestions and comments; they led to significant changes and additions.

Stop me if you've heard this one:
You've always wanted to be part of something larger than yourself. Starfleet was a way to do something worthwhile and make your mother proud. You got through the Academy okay because your friends always had your back. It didn't matter whether it was hiding your Romulan Ale or brawling with arrogant hicks in bars—you knew you could count on your friends.

When the emergency call went out and the whole fleet mobilized, you were assigned to the flagship, the USS Enterprise. Your friends weren't so lucky. They were on the Farragut and the Hood. They arrived at the emergency before you did. Their ships were destroyed before they knew what hit them.

Like you, everyone on the Enterprise is reeling. Everyone has lost someone. Nothing's okay, but the Enterprise is still here. There's still a chance, however slim, of doing something worthwhile.

There's not usually that much for security personnel to do in-between catastrophes, but you do get the chance to arrest that jackass who started that fight in that Iowa bar. He managed to get aboard the Enterprise on false pretenses. When you think of the good men and women who could have been here instead—when you think of your friends floating out there in space—it's all you can do to bring the jackass in unharmed. You do it, though, with no unnecessary roughness. You know what your duty is. You are part of something larger than yourself, for what it's worth.

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Workshop: "The Inciting Incident" by Snake_easing

The Hook 

People will tell you that the crisis/climax of your story is the most important part, and they're probably right, but if your inciting incident doesn't hook the audience, it probably won't stick around to see what else you can do. 

This is one disadvantage that print has over the cinema—when people pay their ten bucks, they usually stick around until the end.  Online, if a story hasn't grabbed me within the first page or made it clear that it's going to . . . well, life is just too short. 

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