Often in the stories I write, and other romances of a similar nature, the main conflict arises from a misunderstanding between the two lead characters. It could be anything, really, but it’s always something comes out that one wanted to keep from the other, or one betrays the other unintentionally – or intentionally. More often than not, it’s also the kind of conflict that can be resolved by just talking. Go figure. That simple, mundane task we do every day to so many different people, animals and inanimate objects. So why do the characters, when presented with the opportunity for love, keep secrets from the one they supposedly love?
OK, maybe that’s an over-simplification. Relationships are never as easy as one keeping secrets and the other finding out. Not everyone can just spill all their deepest secrets and thoughts at the beginning of a relationship. Over time, most people will tell their significant other all the things they think are important in their past lives.
In relation to my stories, I don’t write anything too serious, as you know. 😉 I still don’t mean to discuss the kinds of secrets that end marriages but sometimes, the tiniest secret or lie can have huge consequences. Look at my favorite romance of all time, Pride and Prejudice. While Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth aren’t exactly forming a relationship by modern standards, they were falling in love in their way. What would have happened if Mr. Wickham had never told the lie about Mr. Darcy? What if Elizabeth had not believed the lie anyway? How would that whole thing have turned out? Indeed, the entire story would have been different. The fundamental conflict arose because of that misunderstanding between them. Well, that and their equal amounts of pride and stubbornness. 🙂
In my stories, the conflicts are similarly minor, in the grand scheme of things. Of course, when you’re in the midst of a relationship and learning startling new things about each other, they sure don’t seem minor. A good example of miscommunication is in “A Feel For The Ice,” featuring Anna, the single mom, and Hayden. They develop a close relationship, something complicated enough for a single mom, I’d imagine, and a misunderstanding over the holidays leads to a big fight. Anna makes assumptions about Hayden, and Hayden takes her assumptions as a personal insult. They fight, and for all intents and purposes, they break up. Not to spoil it for anyone ( 😉 ) but they do make up and it’s because they – surprise! – talk to each other. I’m not saying one conversation is enough to repair everything in every situation, or that it would even be the last time a misunderstanding led to a heated argument. The talking can just never end.
On the flip side, what does happen between a couple when these secrets come out or after the bomb is dropped? In fiction, it’s easy enough to write our characters as working it out, at least for the moment. Sure, they fight, they go for a period without seeing each other until they realize they still want to be with that person. They talk, make-up, and voila! There’s your happy ending. Of course, in reality, it doesn’t always work out that way. Because you’re at that early stage of your relationship, the talking doesn’t always come so easy. So if you’re not talking before the secret’s out, you probably won’t be talking after. So what makes you give that person a second chance? What makes you think you can explain why you kept that secret or lied to them?
I guess the question should be more like, what is it about that person that makes you want to try again? Perhaps on some level you know it’s worth working out. Or maybe you’re the kind of person who just needs to know where it’ll go from here. For my part, I like to give people the benefit of the doubt. I think everyone deserves a second chance. What about you?
In other news… No. I don’t have any other news. 🙂 There’s a bunch more snow on the ground than there was last week, I’ve been a shut-in all weekend and I’ve been reading a lot. Some writing, not a lot. Sorry to disappoint. I’ll get there, I promise. Just not right now. 😉
Take care and happy reading.