The power of guilt……
Most movies are somehow based on a love story. Good and bad, crazed, unrequited lovers, affairs, tragedy and good old fashioned, sugar coated, manufactured popsicle hollywood romance. The story is the same whether its humans, aliens, werewolves or vampires.
I watched The Reader (based on the book of the same name by Bernard Schlink) for about the 8th time on the weekend and am always drawn into the characters lives, I care what happens to them as if somehow I know how they are feeling. Am I a 15 year old boy seduced by a 36 year old woman in post war Germany? Or a 36 year old former SAS member who let 300 Jewish women die and still found time to fall in love wtih a schoolboy who read to me? No. Obviously not, but there are moments. Looks, feelings and words said that cut a little too close to the quick.
The movie has a love story but I don’t believe that emotion is the driver here. Its guilt. This got me thinking that it’s an emotion that is so powerful its worth exploring from a writing perpective.
Guilty for loving someone you shouldn’t, guilty for a secret kept, innocence taken, a life changed by your own hand to make yours a little easier. We carry guilt for others too, people close to us that have behaved poorly. We absorb it and carry as a monkey on our backs. Then there is the heavy layer of panic when the secret is close to being exposed or the wet, sad eyes of a lover you let go look back at you with pleading eyes. They are the moments we (or your character) makes the choice to become weak or hard and thats where the chance to write something true and engaging happens to keep your readers turning the page on that journey whatever or whoever they are, as its these feelings that weave a reader into background of your story.
So this week I am going to explore all those other feelings and see what happens, and if I write something good I may just post it.