Of love and of worry, Part 3
In part 2 of these series, Of love and of worry, I discussed the real life consequences of Edward’s behavior towards Alice and Bella in one particular scene. I said that Edward’s behavior which was caused by worry could have led to Alice doubting his brotherly love for her and Bella fearing to tell him about his faults.
Are these projected consequences exaggerations? Repeated behavior shows character. Edward was always worried/afraid and his worry/fear always made him behave badly. (in New Moon, he breaks up with Bella because he’s, *big surprise*, worried about her safety and her humanity. In the same book, he’s afraid that she committed suicide, so instead of finding out more from Alice, he overreacts and tries to kill himself by going to the Volturi. This action exposes his family to the jealous nature of the vampire government; This is the source of most of their problems in the next two books.) I’ve noticed that some romance writers don’t really analyze the long term meanings behind their protagonists’ ‘romantic’ behavior. If these writers really did think through it, they would see that no one actually wants a ‘soul mate’ like the one they write about.
What did Edward achieve by worrying, only to hurt and put his family in danger? People may think that Bella saw his love for her through his worry, but how does raising your blood pressure and mistreating others around you, including the person you claim to love, show someone that you love them? If love is an action, then what did Edward’s actions show? A lot of books have characters who behave in similar ways. More dangerously, in real life, people expect their love ones to worry about them. It gives us pleasure if we know that people are worried about us. It hurts us if people don’t worry or fear for us; we would feel like they didn’t have affection towards us. (Carmen in the movie Sisterhood of the travelling pants, is an example). Once again, what does people worrying about us really accomplish for us or for them?
How can writers cut down on writing 3 pages of ‘I’m worried about my love interest’? what you can do is to have your characters think about how they don’t see the benefits of worrying, instead of worrying. So they could write something like:
*my rendition of the Eclipse scene I described in LOVE AND WORRY PART 2 above, but from Edward’s perspective.*
I felt fear’s cold, strong hands grip my heart. Bella was in danger, again. How could Alice have….
I quickly blocked that thought. What good did it do for me to get angry at Alice? Now was the time to be in one accord, not to be angry with the one person who could see the future. Besides, I wasn’t going to let fear win. I was no use to Bella if I let fear dictate my decisions like it had when I thought she had committed suicide.
I resumed breathing. Vampires don’t need to breathe, but doing so helped me to think, to be rational.
Writers, think through how your protagonist’s worry really affects those around them. Think through what it says about a person that expects others to worry/ be afraid for them.