Friday, January 13, 2012

Breaking Up Is Hard to Write


I’m writing my third break up scene, and I am caught in the maybe-this-is-it, type-and-delete, it’s-all-trash, try-again cycle. Perhaps I’m spoiled. In The Long Way Home, I always knew how and why Max and Dori would break up. The black moment felt almost effortless when I wrote it. In Who Says You Can’t Go Home, the breakup is low key because all the drama involves a secondary character, and Saja just leaves.



But now I’m working on the break up scene in  Feels Like Home to Me, and I can’t seem to make it work.  I know what should happen. I know Caleb acts the jerk and Zan ends the relationship. But I can’t see what happens. One of the things I often do when I’m stuck is listen to music. Frequently something in the lyrics will spark an idea that ends the block. I've come up with a playlist of ten songs that cover the stages from fighting the idea of ending things through depression and you’ll be sorry to coming out on the other side believing that there is life after love gone bad. I'm listening to them, hoping for inspiration.

Here’s my list.




1. "Crazy," Patsy Cline
2. "Piece of My Heart," Janis Joplin
3. "Give Me One Good Reason," Tracy Chapman
4. "Crying," Roy Orbison
5. "Tonight I Want to Cry," Keith Urban
6. "Empty Chairs," Don McLean
7. "This Is Me You’re Talking to," Trisha Yearwood
8. "You’ll Think of Me," Keith Urban
9. "Red High Heels," Kellie Pickler
10. "I Will Survive," Gloria Gaynor

OK, heavy on country, I know. But I like country music, and country songs have given me some great ideas in the past.

What’s your advice for writing break up scenes? Do you have suggestions for my breakup playlist?
 



6 comments:

irisheyes said...

Conflict in my stories is always the hardest for me to write. Whether it is having bad things happen to my H/H or having them act like jerks, either one is like physically painful for me.

I believe it's all caught up in my distorted black and white thinking from my childhood! LOL Also my inherent people pleasing tendencies. It's as if my characters (and/or my readers) will be mad at me if I make bad things happen. Kinda need a way to get beyond this if I ever hope to finish my mss.

quantum said...

Janga, I think I would need to see more detail before attempting any serious suggestions.
Are you writing a 'Home' trilogy?

One or two voices that inspire me:

Nora Jones - Crazy
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzQyzZBMQ8M

Shirley Bassey - Big Spender
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8FlmXla0Pw

Diana Crall - Cry me a river
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9y1vGxPVAA

Good Luck! *smile*

quantum said...

I meant to include Shirley Bassey in more serious mode - If you go away:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwGUqx6vngY&feature=related

Janga said...

Irish, I sympathize. I keep a quote from Donald Maas on my quote board: "Make conflict deeper, richer, more layered, more unavoidable and more inescapably true." I too struggle to keep ratcheting up the conflict.

Janga said...

Q, I love the Diana Krall suggestion particularly. Thanks.

As for the Home trilogy, I have drafts of two mss. I'm still working on reaching full draft status with the third.

Janga said...

Irish, I sympathize. I keep a quote from Donald Maas on my quote board: "Make conflict deeper, richer, more layered, more unavoidable and more inescapably true." I too struggle to keep ratcheting up the conflict.