I don't put up with hysteria in my "real" life (whatever that may be).
If an argument escalates to raised voices, I walk away. (I've had bosses who were screamers, and I fictionalized that experience in my Figure Skating Mystery series. The louder they yelled, the quieter I got. They hate that.)
If my kids throw tantrums, I send them to their room until they can pull themselves together. (They hate it, too. Which is how they all learned tantrums don't work, and quickly stopped throwing them.)
And if I won't put up with hysteria in real people, I most certainly won't stand for it in imaginary characters.
Last week, I realized that the characters in the novel I'm writing live on-line (for your entertainment and educational pleasure) had pretty much the exact same argument twice, with the exact same consequences each time. I decided that was redundant, and so went back and cut the first argument. (Read all about it, here.) Cutting the argument meant changing the scenes that came afterwards, and the reconciliation that lead to the second argument (what's that saying about insanity equaling doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different results?).
I'm happy with the change (so far; I reserve the right to change my mind at any time), as it makes the story move faster and now has less filler between the "good parts." I'm all about the good parts.
I then spent this week writing and rewriting and rewriting again the argument that was left. It's a climactic moment in the character's relationship, and I wanted to get it just right. Four four days, I didn't feel that it was right.
Finally, I realized that it was too overwraught. The heroine gets upset early in the scene, and then it just builds and builds from there, until she sounds completely irrational. This makes the hero, who remains calm, seem like an insensitive jerk. Not exactly great character traits for the leads in a romance novel. (Though I do have the heroine call the hero out on it. And he does have his reasons.)
So, with every edit, I calmed her down a little, figuring Less is More. And More Less is Less More.
I'm not thrilled with the scene as it stands now. I am never thrilled with anything I write, ever. But I am okay enough with it to move on to the next chapter.
Then again, my opinion doesn't matter, only yours does. So tell me what you think. Does it work? Is it lacking something? Is it too much?
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