Contributed by MRW Member Katherine Laurels
On the advice of much smarter, more successful, and more experienced writers I let myself fall into a sea of knowledge for the taking. I’ve begun to swim around and pick up this bit and that. Upon excitedly discussing my newfound knowledge, I was disappointed that not everyone was as excited as I was.
We all see things in our own way and get different things from the same experience. I know this. Being the youngest of seven with an age gap even between myself and the next oldest, it was clear, early on, that I did not see things the same way as my siblings.
I tend to write love at first sight stories where the males are sexy, a little dark, and fairly possessive and start out by rescuing their damsel in distress. Granted, my damsels do not whine, are a little bloodthirsty, and like to kick butt when their people are threatened. (If you don’t know who Anita Blake is, you really should check her out!) My females like being in charge but don’t have to be. Having a car door opened for them is appreciated when it makes sense.
I really enjoy the “old fashioned” Disney movies where the prince comes to save the day and there is a happily ever after. Not that I don’t like the newer stuff where women are tough and self-sufficient, (Mulan is one of my favorites) I just really like when the men appreciate the woman’s strength and the women can step back enough to allow the men to treat them with love and affection instead of subservience.
After more than three years and several books shared among my critique group, I thought I was offering up a safe story. It is contemporary where a female firefighter gets custody of two of her half siblings. The hero is the closest I have ever gotten to an alpha-hole and I still think he misses the spot by a large margin. It turns out this was not a safe story for all in the group. There were moments that caused one of my partners to beg off, as the tone and a couple of scenes in the first few chapters triggered a terrible thing from her past. I feel badly about that and would have warned her, as I have others in the past about parts that would make them uncomfortable, but I had no idea that this tense, yet nonviolent, low on the sexual scale situation could be seen as too much. No one else thought much of it. My partner knows how I write, how my mind works, and she was still triggered because of her own perspective.
I do like this story and think it worthy of seeing the light of day. I will continue to put chapters out to the group in an effort to make it the best it can be. I will just have one less critique to work with and that’s okay.
The point is, we all have our own baggage, our own history that color our vision and our present/future experiences. In the world we live in we need to remember that just because I think something is no big deal, the person next to me might not agree. And the same goes that just because I am upset about something doesn’t mean the person beside me will be. Understanding that there are other viewpoints will make life much smoother even when we hit those proverbial bumps in the road.