1. stormcat
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    stormcat Active Member

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    Limerance

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by stormcat, May 12, 2014.

    I need help describing how my MC pines for her missing husband. I don't want it to sound too sappy. Her husband's in the hospital and my MC can't contact him.
     
  2. Catrin Lewis
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    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

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    How does it feel for her in her body? Start there.
     
  3. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    How do you feel when you pine for someone? Draw from your experience.
     
  4. Catrin Lewis
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    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

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    You can also work from what she misses about him. Does she long to protect and comfort and succor him, or does she wish he were well and strong enough to do that for her? Or a little of both? Why can't she see him? Do something with that, too.
     
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  5. stormcat
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    stormcat Active Member

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    I unfortunately have never felt this way about anyone before, at least not as strongly as my MC does for her husband.
     
  6. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I like what @Catrin Lewis said, flesh out the specifics: You miss the person's company, their comforting body next to you in the bed, they hate the empty house, the security of their presence, and the little things: the smell of the coffee they make, that stupid shirt on the floor that says you're home...
     
  7. stormcat
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    stormcat Active Member

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    Here's what I've got so far...


    "Chelsea, why are you crying?”

    Chelsea wiped away a stray tear. “I was just… just thinking about him. This is all his work after all.”

    Anne-Marie offered a soothing hand. “I’m sure he would’ve been proud to see you like this.” She though Chelsea was thinking about (deceased character) “But he gave his life for you, you must go on, to honor his memory.”

    “What? No! I’m talking about David!”

    “Oh! Well then, you should still carry on as if he were not there.” Anne-Marie sighed. “You do not have the luxury of a partner any longer.”

    “I know, I know, but I miss him. I miss the dinners we shared, I miss the feeling of him next to me in bed, It’s no longer a matter of someone, it’s a matter of him!”


    Does Chelsea's description fit the definition of limerence?
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    it doesn't, really...

    do you really want her to be in the thrall of 'limerence'?... or is does she just love him and miss him, in the 'normal' way a wife/mate would?
     
  9. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I have to echo this. Limerence is an obsessive state, not an aspect of a normal loving relationship. Is Chelsea a stalker?

    If her husband is in the hospital, why can't she contact him? Even if he were in a coma, she could go see him (and most spouses would). Also, the snippet of dialogue above gives the impression that he's dead.

    All in all, it strikes me as if you are writing about things with which you have no experience, which is often dicey.
     
  10. stormcat
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    stormcat Active Member

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    Well, I don't want her to be obsessive about it, but I don't know how else to describe what she is feeling.

    David is in a hospital, in another country. Chelsea can't just pop in when she pleases.
     
  11. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Let's just say that in a genuine loving marriage, she would do whatever she had to do to go to him. And if it was still not possible (is he a prisoner of some kind?) it would only be the coldest of individuals who would suggest that she act as if he were dead and she certainly wouldn't be likely to take such advice.

    Edit: I recall an episode in the old series "Upstairs, Downstairs" in which James was wounded in action in France, and Hazel arranged (with the help of his grandmother and over the strident objections of his father) to go over to France with a private ambulance and bring him back. True love doesn't take no for an answer.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2014
  12. stormcat
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    stormcat Active Member

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    This is impossible.

    Chelsea already knows her husband is in the hospital, as it was from his bedside he ordered her to go into hiding from a crazed stalker. Anne-Marie is serving as the only line of communication between the couple, and even she can't get up-to-date information without exposing Chelsea's location.
     
  13. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Well, don't you think it would have helped to know that up front? But then, the idea of a friend telling her to act as if he's dead is even sillier.
     
  14. stormcat
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    stormcat Active Member

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    Well, what advice should she offer instead?
     
  15. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    @stormcat - I see a problem that is much more fundamental than what advice should be offered or how to express what your character is feeling. You are attempting to write about an emotional situation with which you have neither experience nor understanding. The former, alone, would not necessarily be a problem but the two together mean that your imagination is not helping you. Getting advice here on how to tweak your plot or your characters will not, in the long run, help you.
    You need to fill in the gaps in your imagination.
     
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  16. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Yes, @EdFromNY is right. MOST of us write about things we haven't directly experienced. Experience is great, but so is imagination. I think maybe you need to take time to let yours run free on this issue.

    Don't worry so much about getting it written. Get it well and truly imagined first. Pretend you are in Chelsea's shoes. Pretend David is somebody you love. It's part of a writer's job to put themselves into other people's shoes. You won't get anywhere asking the forum what we think. It's your head that needs to do the work here. Don't be afraid, just settle in and think about it. Picture what Chelsea and David are like—I don't mean hair and eye colour, I mean what they do with themselves, how they think, the kinds of things they say. Picture what they were like when they were actually together. Picture what is happening to David in hospital just now. If you can do that, you can make Chelsea picture it too. And with that picture will come understanding of how she feels.
     
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  17. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    You also need to be able to understand the emotional reactions and the way that drives decisions. For example, Chelsea might decide that, stalker or no stalker, she cannot stay away from David.
     
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  18. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    listen to ed, he's right on all counts!

    and what you're describing is certainly not 'limerance' by any stretch of the imagination, so i suggest you lock up your thesaurus till you don't need one, if that's where you got the inapt word...

    if you've never loved anyone in the way a loving man's wife/lover would, i don't see how you'll be able to write this story in a convincing way... research can help fill in the gaps in your experience only so much and in re so many situations... having emotions this strong is not one of them...
     
  19. stormcat
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    stormcat Active Member

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    I have asperger's syndrome, Emotions are extremely difficult for me to understand.

    Chelsea is not stupid, she would honor her husband's request to stay hidden for not only her own safety, but for the safety of those around her. Emotions can't cloud her judgement in a situation like this.
     
  20. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    My daughter is on the spectrum, so I understand.

    What is your purpose in writing the story? Some of us on this forum - myself included - tend to approach every question with the assumption that the person asking ultimately intends their story to be published, but there are many other reasons to write. I once wrote a story about a group of middle aged musicians as a way to cope with having been dumped by a band I was in. People write to explore ideas, to discover something about themselves, or just for the sheer pleasure of writing. None of these reasons are inherently any better than the others. But before I endeavor to answer your question, I need to know what you are looking to do, because that will shape my answer.
     
  21. stormcat
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    stormcat Active Member

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    This story I intend to have published. It is actually more focused on a group of rebels seeking to overthrow the tyrannical government (David, Chelsea and Anne-Marie are among these rebels) All three characters will place the needs of the "revolution" above their own, so Chelsea's feelings towards her absent husband are more side effects than driving plot points.
     
  22. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Then to a great degree you've answered your own question. All needs are subsumed to the needs of the revolution, and this will strike the reader very differently from what one might expect of a marital relationship - more partnership than anything else. In such a situation, you can paint Chelsea as inherently conflicted (and emotionally overwrought), which I think is where you were going in the OP. But you can alternatively show her as so consumed by her cause that she isn't devastated by the hospitalization of her husband. Since that is what you see to be more comfortable portraying, I would go with it.

    It's not a concept without a real-world reference. In 1953, Fidel Castro was just a fringe leader, but he organized an attack on an army facility. His group included only two women. One of them, Haydee Santamaria, was interrogated by Batista's forces. At the same time, they were interrogating her brother, who had also been captured. During the questioning, they showed her one of her brother's eyes, which had been plucked out, and told her that if she didn't give them the information they wanted, they would pluck out the other one, too. She didn't.

    Not a marital relationship, but a family one.
     
  23. Alix465
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    Alix465 Banned

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    How do you feel when you pine for someone? Draw from your experience.
     
  24. stormcat
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    stormcat Active Member

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    Have you been paying attention at all?
     
  25. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Hmm. Why does this post seem so familiar? Oh, that's right! Because it's mine!

    Seriously, you can't even come up with your own posts?
     
  26. TDFuhringer
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    Oh no. I'm beginning to wonder if this Alix is a bot. *facepalm*
     

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