Writing Romance the Old-Fashioned Way

2014 is halfway over. Or we have half a year left. (I don’t know about you, but I have a lot of living to do between now and 12.31.14, so we have half a year left.)

We are twenty-six weeks into my #TheYearToBe___ blogging/mindful living experiment. This week, we have to pull out the big guns: the zed. Well, arguably, it was a lot easier to find “z” words than “x” words, so I suppose X is the biggest gun in the alphabetic arsenal. At least in English. (I’m pretty sure I won’t be organizing 2015 around any type of alphabetic system. Maybe colors?)

At any rate, this week, Z is for zany.

I could talk a long time about how zany isn’t just an adjective used to describe children’s cartoons and screwball comedies; it’s also a noun, taken from zani (or zanni), the trickster servant stock character type in Commedia dell’ arte. I could dig out my old Sony Vaio laptop from college—no wait, I think my first laptop from high school was a small-giant Toshiba—and publish the papers I wrote on the subject. And somewhere, I’m sure one of my classmates has video footage of one of our movement classes dedicated to commedia.

But for the purposes of my sanity and yours (I mean, my theatre history professor told me those papers were brilliant, but, honestly, how much brilliance can come from a freshman theatre history course?), I won’t. I’ll just give you my favorite zani: Columbina.

She is a stock character, the female counterpart to Arlecchino (the harlequin), and she is often the smartest character on the stage. She observes and plots and schemes to help her mistress, the innanmorata, gain her one true love.

Now, I’ve been known to matchmake a time or two—with varying degrees of success. (So far we have two marriages resulting from my meddling/helpful matchmaking. And a 50% divorce rate. Moving on…)

This week, though we are early in the week, I’ve already thought quite a bit about the art of writing. This is a carry-over from my mind exploding seeing both Diana Gabaldon and Graeme Simsion last week at their respective author events in Dallas*. (Throw in my local RWA meeting on Saturday and a marathon lunch with Ophelia London and Lindsay Emory, and it's a wonder I have a functioning mind.)

See if you follow my semi-functioning mind here, and feel free to weigh in:

Like Columbina, Lexi, the writer, observes and plots (er, pants) and schemes to get her mistress (the heroine) together with her one true love (the hero). But unlike my half-disastrous real-life success rate, my heroines live happily ever after with their heroes.

It’s quite satisfying.

(And if along the way I am utterly ridiculous in the pursuit of my goal, well, I’ll just blame it on the audience expectations for the zany.)

Speaking of ridiculous, I'll be in San Antonio in a few weeks for RWA's annual conference. If you'll be there and haven't experienced my own brand of zany in person, please schedule a meet up with me. I'd love to chat! 

*If you'd like to see my tweets from these events, click DIANA and GRAEME, respectively.