Skew to the positive: Another reason to write romance

A Facebook link posted by writer friend Tawna Fenske to the Dove “Real Beauty Sketches” campaign on the same day as the Boston Marathon bombings at the same time I’m reading a writing book called Wired for Story: The Writer’s Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence made me think about how simultaneously wonderful and scary is our power of perception.

As a writer, I’m taught to create a storyworld for my reader using their senses and emotions. We use techniques like showing instead of telling and archetypal imagery to incite visceral responses that build Technicolor, 3D, surround-sound, smell-o-vision experiences out of a black and white page.

It’s magic, I tell ya.

But magic — like all powers — can be used for good or evil. The Dove campaign shows women seeing the evidence of their own perceptions of their beauty played against the perceptions of others. Just like a writer builds a storyworld out of the senses and emotions of the reader, we real-life people build our real-life world out of OUR senses and emotions.

And sometimes that world is so, so wrong.

The Dove example might seem petty — so some lady thinks she has more flaws than she really does; wash with mild soap and it’ll all be better — but what other, more debilitating flaws in imagination lead someone to place a bomb?

Use your power for good

I write romance because I believe good triumphs, love wins the day, and we can all strive to be better people. And that is the world I want to build. Meanwhile, there are dark souls out there seeking to build a world that reflects their own skewed perceptions.

Don’t let them win.

Use your power of perception to find the real beauty (even in a silly ad). Seek the truth (even though knee-jerk conspiracy theories). Believe in the potential for happiness (even when it hurts) because that is the definition of hope.


6 thoughts on “Skew to the positive: Another reason to write romance

  1. Great thoughts, Jessa and I completely agree with you. If you can’t wake up every day with hope it makes getting through the day far too horrific. I choose to be hopeful every day, even when dark things happen.

    I feel truly sad for those dark souls. It must be extremely painful to get up every morning and believe the world is out to get you or life is better off dead than alive. My Polly Anna self wishes there were a way I could take the hope and optimism I feel and wrap it around a dark soul. If I could do that, would it change? In my novels it does. But in real life, I’m not so sure. I believe it can, over a long period of time. Unfortunately, we (meaning society) don’t have the time–spend the time–get the time.

    I still believe more people are good than bad. I still believe that those who write fiction or non-fiction with the desire to make the world better DO make a difference. I still believe love wins in the end. What I have to accept, and it’s really hard, is that I can’t save everyone. I can’t even save everyone in my little square of space on the planet. But I can wrap my hope and optimism around a few, and they can do the same, and others after them. I DO believe it makes a difference. I DO believe if we keep at it, love will win in the end.

  2. I agree. I write romance and hope my stories can pull people out of any bad times they are having even if only for a few hours. If only we could find a way to put sunshine and light in everyone’s life. Yes, that’s my Pollyanna, head in the sand coming out. Great post, Jessa!


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s