Friday, November 14, 2008

Writing About Love

The other day, Cara Putman posted about Defining True Love. In her post, she had a list of definitions for love as stated by young children. She stated that she posted it because one talked about a boy who climbed into the lap of a man crying after he he lost his wife. The boys mother asked him what he said. He said, "nothing, I just helped him cry."

That reminded me of a scene in For the Love of a Devil in which I had something of that thought in mind. Sara Dawson is a student of Geoff Mywell and her story is the B story of the novel. Geoff has lost his wife and his emotions are a mess. Sara comes to talk to him at church, just before the service starts. As Sara is walking away, Geoff notices a flick of her head that reminds him of Heather. This brings him to tears. Sara looks back and sees him crying. She goes back to assure him that everything will be alright and to offer him a handkerchief. I did that because I wanted to show the love that Sara has for her teacher. I don't mean anything gross. She is, afterall, only sixteen and he is thirteen years older. No, this isn't a schoolgirl crush or anything related to romantic love. This is a kind of love that will cause her to give up one of her greatest desires to help him get his wife back. I didn't want to say, "Sara loved her teacher." What I wanted to do was to make it so obvious that no one could miss it.

The B story is were we most often see true love. In For the Love of a Devil you have the strange love story involving Geoff and Heather in the A story, but you also have a love story between Sara and Geoff. The nice thing about the love story in a B story is that even if we make the novel a romance we don't have to have a happily ever after ending to this story. Though I don't think I'm through with Sara yet, Sara will never marry Geoff. It's doubtful she'll marry Kyle, though he was part of the B story in Searching for Mom. The B story allows characters to love each other without expectations of something more. Love here doesn't have to be concerned with how attractive the person is, how much money the person has or whether the person voted for the same person. In the B story, people can love people, just because they are people.