Romantic Fiction, Reality Shaping and The Work

Truth&Forgiveness

Dagobah Resident
Finished Survivors' Club #3, Escape by Mary Balogh, few days ago.
When started reading it, it seemed a bit boring, especially compared to first 2 books in the series, and then 'life' intervened putting reading romance novels aside for several months. :-[
After little encouragement from fellows forumites (thank you @drazen & @Anthony), I got back to it ~2 weeks ago, and boy, it really has had an impact on me, my self-understanding and (probably) emotional center.

As the story evolved, I could see some traits of Samantha in myself, although at first I wouldn't have even thought so, expecting (anticipating) to 'connect' more to characteristics of main male character, Benedict, something similar to what happened with Hugo in The Proposal (SC #1). One of the first 'traits' I saw in myself was her being triggered by anything resembling a command directed to her, 'thing' that made a lot of my personal close interactions somewhat difficult.

I've admired her courage and will not to succumb to what other people, apparently in position of power over her like her father-in-law, had set for her and her life; courage to go into the unknown however that might have looked horrifying to her at the moment, courage to go after her freedom. Also, I've admired her will and pursuit for truth regarding her and her mother's past, opening the Pandora's box as she expressed it, despite all the feelings (fear, resentment, ...) she had about the issue and already set opinions/views. She really has been a heroine/role model to aspire to, for me.

I'd love to have had a person like Ben in my life; someone 'strong' enough to go after his/her dreams and adapt accordingly to new life circumstances, to new reality, not just stubbornly hold to the past that's not there anymore and never would be again; someone to rely on in difficult moments; someone to connect to on deeper, emotional, intimate level; someone to lift me up and make me smile/laugh when pressed down by life events; someone not afraid to express his/her feelings although not sure about mine.

My 'emotional internal reaction' to Samantha not expressing her feelings at the time when Ben did that and was about to leave for the job her grandfather had offered him, might have transferred itself into the dreamland, as described bellow when talking about dreams that accompanied reading this book.

Apart from the dreams, there were few other 'coincidences' when reading this novel. One of them was that while doing EE, I was thinking about the emotion of freedom, feeling free and how liberating that is, and later that very night in the novel I came to the scene where Samantha and Benedict had their first beach walk.
“Oh,” she said, wriggling her toes in the mixture of grass and sand
on which they stood, “that feels lovely. But it does feel sinful to be
unshod outdoors.”
They walked through the gap onto a wide, flat beach. Sand
stretched to right and left until it met outcroppings of rock that
enclosed the area into a private beach. Rocks rose behind them on
either side of the gap to provide further privacy. The tide was low,
though the breakers along the edge of the water indicated that it
was coming in. The breeze was fresher here, though at the same
time the sun was warmer. Seagulls cried overhead.
Ben’s canes sank into the sand, but he found walking here
somewhat easier than on hard ground. Samantha ran ahead of
him a little way and then stopped and turned, her arms stretched
out to the sides.
“Freedom!” she cried, just like an exuberant child. “Oh, tell me this
is no illusion, Ben.”

The dog pranced about her, barking.
“This is freedom,” Ben said obediently, grinning at her, and she
tipped back her head to look at the sky and twirled about in three
complete circles while he laughed. Her dress billowed to the sides,
and her bonnet brim flopped about her face.
Was this the austere, black-clad lady he had first met in County
Durham?
There are such moments, are there not?” she said. “Oh, I had
forgotten. It has been so long. But there are moments of pure,
unalloyed happiness, and this is one of them. I am so glad I waited
for you to come, for such moments need to be shared. Tell me you
feel it too—the freedom, the happiness.
” She stopped spinning to
direct a look at him, and he read sudden uncertainty there.
But he did feel it too. As if for this moment the world had stopped and
they had stepped off and nothing would ever matter again except this
stopping place.
“I am glad you waited for me,” he said.

I also like the grandfather character, how he accepted the consequences, whatever they might have been, of his earlier actions, and how he managed to rise from the emotional self-pity mud pit where he wallowed when his darling Esme abandoned him and left him alone with Samantha's mother. Also, even if he kind of manipulated Samantha and Ben when offered Ben a job as manager of all his enterprises, he did make it clear to Ben what and why he was doing, thinking also about them and Samantha's reputation as a women in mourning.

The very next morning, after restarting with reading it, I was woken up after only one REM/sleep cycle (~1h45min in my case) by a strange, vivid and emotionally charged dream. Waking up by dreams after only 1 or 2 REM cycles after going to sleep, which is highly unusual for me, continued every other morning in average, til the end of the book.

Dreams weren't erotic/sexual in nature (which sometimes happen after taking melatonin before going to sleep), but sometimes just bizarre and strange ones leaving me wondering what that was about, like attending the conference/summit of professional hitmen where in the auditorium some guys suddenly stood up with AK-47 looking as to begin something that resembled mass school shooting and me running at one of those guys with a broom with broken handle. :huh: Then a "break", I stand at the bottom of the aula, looking at girl at the top of the same classroom, to whom I had a crush for in early years of my high-school, asking myself (thinking) why I hadn't at that time expressed my feelings to her.

At other times, dreams were more "mundane-like", with few features that could be found to have some "meaning", like undertaker's vehicle passing by which usually means that person dreaming it has been thinking about transience of life (which I have), or seeing an umbrella (usually represents defense, especially emotional one, since rain can stand for emotions) on the nearby tree when signs of storm approaching appeared (which again can stand for emotional turmoil) and feeling angry with my GF about it (and there were few arguments with her in last days, where I got emotional).
Later in that dream I went after the umbrella, only to see my car parked on the edge of the street and had a feeling that hand break wasn't pulled up so that it would slide back to the street/traffic. Going towards it, I found myself next to some red car with people laughing in it (red color again can represent emotions, anger for example), kind of stuck in the mud and going even more into it, rotating its wheels in opposite direction only to scatter a lot of mud pieces in the air and on me (strangely, I wasn't stressed about it, thinking "it's only mud and that can be washed away"). Next scene was that I'm opening back door of my car and assembling/closing my blue umbrella, although looking a bit shaky and beaten, that I keep on the back seat of the car.

All in all, a great novel, more than great in fact, at least to me, with many scenes, dialogues (internal and external), descriptions that can leave the reader thinking and pondering about life, personal and interpersonal dynamics, limiting and liberating emotional states.
Thank you very much for recommending it, it has been a great source of insights and learning. :love:
 

primeaddict

Jedi Master
FOTCM Member
Matching Heroes and Heroines: By Mary Baloqh said:
Posted May 10, 2021 In Blog 141
When I am getting ready to begin a new book, the first thing that is likely to come to my mind is either the hero or the heroine (not, alas, both together). If I am in the middle of a series, this step is relatively easy as there will be a number of ready formed characters waiting for their stories to be told. Even when a series is finished, there will often be some minor characters within it who would very much like to have their own stories. Failing either of these options—or if I am beginning a new series—I will let my imagination roam until a promising character comes to mind, almost entirely unformed and undeveloped, but at least there. I can often picture that character in a vague setting or a vague situation and in dire need of a whole story. Yes, it really is that vague when I begin to dream up a new book.

And of course that character has to be matched up with a suitable mate. This can be hard. Occasionally the perfect match comes easily to me, but more often it does not. So how do I do it.
Her method sound like she is surfing the collective unconscious then through the magic of focus creativity, she materializes the story.

Are we always surfing the collective unconscious with either self-aware focus or Karma, to materialize our story? Or, does our karma attracts the elements of the unconscious to challenge us to focus on a better story?

Is this the finer point of this exercise to learn how to use our imagination to create the story that will heal our brokenness?

Just thinking here!
 

primeaddict

Jedi Master
FOTCM Member
Finished Survivors' Club #3, Escape by Mary Balogh, few days ago.
When started reading it, it seemed a bit boring, especially compared to first 2 books in the series, and then 'life' intervened putting reading romance novels aside for several months. :-[
After little encouragement from fellows forumites (thank you @drazen & @Anthony), I got back to it ~2 weeks ago, and boy, it really has had an impact on me, my self-understanding and (probably) emotional center.

As the story evolved, I could see some traits of Samantha in myself, although at first I wouldn't have even thought so, expecting (anticipating) to 'connect' more to characteristics of main male character, Benedict, something similar to what happened with Hugo in The Proposal (SC #1). One of the first 'traits' I saw in myself was her being triggered by anything resembling a command directed to her, 'thing' that made a lot of my personal close interactions somewhat difficult.

I've admired her courage and will not to succumb to what other people, apparently in position of power over her like her father-in-law, had set for her and her life; courage to go into the unknown however that might have looked horrifying to her at the moment, courage to go after her freedom. Also, I've admired her will and pursuit for truth regarding her and her mother's past, opening the Pandora's box as she expressed it, despite all the feelings (fear, resentment, ...) she had about the issue and already set opinions/views. She really has been a heroine/role model to aspire to, for me.

I'd love to have had a person like Ben in my life; someone 'strong' enough to go after his/her dreams and adapt accordingly to new life circumstances, to new reality, not just stubbornly hold to the past that's not there anymore and never would be again; someone to rely on in difficult moments; someone to connect to on deeper, emotional, intimate level; someone to lift me up and make me smile/laugh when pressed down by life events; someone not afraid to express his/her feelings although not sure about mine.

My 'emotional internal reaction' to Samantha not expressing her feelings at the time when Ben did that and was about to leave for the job her grandfather had offered him, might have transferred itself into the dreamland, as described bellow when talking about dreams that accompanied reading this book.

Apart from the dreams, there were few other 'coincidences' when reading this novel. One of them was that while doing EE, I was thinking about the emotion of freedom, feeling free and how liberating that is, and later that very night in the novel I came to the scene where Samantha and Benedict had their first beach walk.


I also like the grandfather character, how he accepted the consequences, whatever they might have been, of his earlier actions, and how he managed to rise from the emotional self-pity mud pit where he wallowed when his darling Esme abandoned him and left him alone with Samantha's mother. Also, even if he kind of manipulated Samantha and Ben when offered Ben a job as manager of all his enterprises, he did make it clear to Ben what and why he was doing, thinking also about them and Samantha's reputation as a women in mourning.

The very next morning, after restarting with reading it, I was woken up after only one REM/sleep cycle (~1h45min in my case) by a strange, vivid and emotionally charged dream. Waking up by dreams after only 1 or 2 REM cycles after going to sleep, which is highly unusual for me, continued every other morning in average, til the end of the book.

Dreams weren't erotic/sexual in nature (which sometimes happen after taking melatonin before going to sleep), but sometimes just bizarre and strange ones leaving me wondering what that was about, like attending the conference/summit of professional hitmen where in the auditorium some guys suddenly stood up with AK-47 looking as to begin something that resembled mass school shooting and me running at one of those guys with a broom with broken handle. :huh: Then a "break", I stand at the bottom of the aula, looking at girl at the top of the same classroom, to whom I had a crush for in early years of my high-school, asking myself (thinking) why I hadn't at that time expressed my feelings to her.

At other times, dreams were more "mundane-like", with few features that could be found to have some "meaning", like undertaker's vehicle passing by which usually means that person dreaming it has been thinking about transience of life (which I have), or seeing an umbrella (usually represents defense, especially emotional one, since rain can stand for emotions) on the nearby tree when signs of storm approaching appeared (which again can stand for emotional turmoil) and feeling angry with my GF about it (and there were few arguments with her in last days, where I got emotional).
Later in that dream I went after the umbrella, only to see my car parked on the edge of the street and had a feeling that hand break wasn't pulled up so that it would slide back to the street/traffic. Going towards it, I found myself next to some red car with people laughing in it (red color again can represent emotions, anger for example), kind of stuck in the mud and going even more into it, rotating its wheels in opposite direction only to scatter a lot of mud pieces in the air and on me (strangely, I wasn't stressed about it, thinking "it's only mud and that can be washed away"). Next scene was that I'm opening back door of my car and assembling/closing my blue umbrella, although looking a bit shaky and beaten, that I keep on the back seat of the car.

All in all, a great novel, more than great in fact, at least to me, with many scenes, dialogues (internal and external), descriptions that can leave the reader thinking and pondering about life, personal and interpersonal dynamics, limiting and liberating emotional states.
Thank you very much for recommending it, it has been a great source of insights and learning. :love:

Speaking of dream relating to this exercise, I have notice that I will dream about a conflict that the next story that I read will tackle. It seems that my dream maker is into this reading project too :lol: Or the dream stone is plugged in this project.
 

Ennio

SuperModerator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
Is this the finer point of this exercise to learn how to use our imagination to create the story that will heal our brokenness?

Just thinking here!
This is a good question I think. So far all I'm fairly sure of is that these stories serve as models for the process of healing and of helping the object of one's love to heal; and in doing so coming together stronger, more 'whole', and more joy-filled as a result. To some extent we, the readers, are finding love for ourselves, albeit vicariously - through our identification with the characters and an understanding of their attractions, programs, thoughts, feelings and probably even 'higher centers' of motivation; to truly love someone. In so doing, I think that what may be occurring within us (in part) - is that the experience of these stories sort of lays down the tracks and the 'wiring' in our hearts and in our minds for a greater capacity to love. And a greater internalized openness to the possibility of a 'happy ending' for ourselves.

More to your point though: Our imaginations may not be completely self-directed or autonomous as we usually conceive of our imaginations to be, but the fact that we're being guided through a writer's imagined story - and follow along using our own facility for imagining scenes, characters, feelings etc. - doesn't make this practice any less useful, productive - or imaginative! In this way I think that these stories are kind of like 'training wheels' for our imaginations, and assist us in growing our potential for greater being.
 
R

R o l a n d

Guest
I think relationships where lighter and more supportive with family structure to maintained in the era of curricles. Any other society take for example ours, place under the stress and demands for living a comfortable life is much more worrisome including the stress of responsibilities, distractions from technology and society moral grounds shifting away from normal into the bazzaro ranks of diverse contradictory thoughts. Not to mention sophisticated propaganda tools and politics ran amuck. Perhaps, the ideal romance era is the seventeen century right after a cold welcome of the late fifteenth and early sixteenth century. Where everyone felt more incline to be nicer and keep relationships that lasted a life time. The life of friendship and relationships had taken on a much more valued quality where listening to each other and the focus of attention wasn't so fragmented nor cut short due to the economic stipulations related to an individual or group living. Communities were less likely to fall apart due to difference of thought patterns and beliefs. There were more birds and less city life to make simpler. Their reality was not the same as today. This reality is supportive of mass distribution of books or it's rivial or opposite film productions. Pros and cons to every era, supposing.
 

thorbiorn

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Is this the finer point of this exercise to learn how to use our imagination to create the story that will heal our brokenness?

Just thinking here!
More to your point though: Our imaginations may not be completely self-directed or autonomous as we usually conceive of our imaginations to be, but the fact that we're being guided through a writer's imagined story - and follow along using our own facility for imagining scenes, characters, feelings etc. - doesn't make this practice any less useful, productive - or imaginative! In this way I think that these stories are kind of like 'training wheels' for our imaginations, and assist us in growing our potential for greater being.
That is one possibility. Earlier this year, February 12, Mary Balogh in one of her blog posts wrote about the "Emotional bond between reader and character" in which she describes what distinguishes a good romance novel and what is involved in the process of writing it. In it there are a few observations about the emotional engagement of the reader, that may be relevant for answering the question.
A good novel of any genre will almost certainly have a compelling plot. Of greater importance for a romance novel, however, is the development of a relationship between two people, very often from indifference or even hostility through liking and friendship and attraction to falling in love and, ultimately, to the fullness of total and unconditional love itself. For a love story to be truly satisfying, the ending should leave the reader sighing with contentment (and perhaps also with a little sadness that it is over), convinced that these two people share the sort of unbreakable love bond that will last a lifetime and even forever. It should give the satisfaction of happily-ever-after yet the conviction too that these two people are going to have to work on their love every day for the rest of their lives if they are to remain happy.
Then Balogh explains how the imagination and emotional engagement of the reader are needed to bring about the conviction "that these two people share the sort of unbreakable love bond that will last a lifetime"
In order to come to this conviction, the reader has to be drawn into the world of the story and into the minds and hearts and very souls of the two lovers. Readers need to be emotionally engaged in the journey to love of these two, to the degree that in their imagination they almost become these lovers. It is the writer’s job to make all this happen. But how?
This strong emotional engagement on the part of the reader, may not happen all the time but when it does, "being emotionally engaged in the journey to love" also would include following closely the process of the healing of their wounds, some of which may stir our own to the level of being acknowledged. This again supports the idea that reading the novels helps:
to learn how to use our imagination to create the story that will heal our brokenness
As one reads novel after novel the imagination is trained repeatedly along similar parallel paths where the hero and heroine achieve love after having completed enough of their journey to allow them to stay together on a more permanent basis.

Still, I am not sure the possibility "to use our imagination to create the story that will heal our brokenness" can be more than a possible outcome. Much depends on the perspective and the reader. In other words, not only is my interpretation colored by the novels I have already read, my knowledge in general, and my frame of mind, it also matters how I read a story. Do I read as much as I can as quickly as I can, or do I read until there is a serious situation that will be solved within the next few pages, but which in the life of the characters would only happen tomorrow and only after they have had a sleepless night? Do I in such a situation close the book and wait until later to endure their uncertainty of the outcome, before having the solution? Could healing of some of my own wounds benefit from time for reflecting on a difficult situation for the character and imagining what he or she might do?

If you have wondered along similar tracks, the imagination to come up with answers can be stimulated through a fictional interview with the character. It is of course an interesting question whether allowing the imagination in relation to the fictional characters to move slightly beyond the strict words of the story could assist one's own imagination to dare move beyond one's present life story. Or is it that one will read a novel and recognize where one is in one's own plot and dare imagine more readily what could come next?

While the comments above might be sufficient as a response, the whole post by Balogh has many fascinating points and rather than closing the post now, I will simply add the rest with comments.

Balogh goes into the details of how the writer achieves this goal by writing stories with main characters, "with whom the reader can relate and empathize".
The characters have to seem very real. Whether the hero is tall, dark, handsome and charismatic or something quite different, whether the heroine is charming and beautiful or something else entirely, they must seem like real people with whom the reader can relate and empathize. They cannot simply be cardboard characters with little depth beyond some life history and personality traits the writer has created for them. They must give the illusion of being living, breathing humans with strengths and weaknesses, triumphs and defeats and problems, as full of flaws and contradictions as real people. But no matter what, the reader has to want to root for them in their struggles and must fall in love with them in their vulnerabilities. The reader must passionately want the love story to work and to end happily.
Since every novel has different heroes and heroines, with different backgrounds, some of the wounds of some of the characters may be similar to those of someone one knows, including oneself. Maybe reading a good number of "cases" helps us to be able to relate to the emotional wounds of more people.

For characters to be real, the author has to know them very well indeed.
In order to make characters real, the writer has to know them soul deep. It is possible to know a great deal about other people without really knowing them to their very core. Sometimes we do not even fully know ourselves. Do you ever find yourself saying or doing something that takes even you by surprise? Do you really know exactly how you would behave in some unexpected circumstance, a life-or-death emergency for example? When I am writing a story, I find over and over again that I have to stop, go back, find out just who this character is, and rewrite certain episodes because I have learned more about her or him and need to adjust the story accordingly. Certain things I wanted them to do can no longer happen because they are no longer the people I thought they were. And never tell me that as the writer I am in control of who my characters are. Not true!
Healing and growth of a character to a certain point precedes the ability to "settle to a lasting, meaningful love relationship". It is not only a matter of individual healing, "[t]hey must somehow help bring each other to completeness and love and ultimate happiness."
This deeper knowledge of my characters comes to me, however, only as they speak and think and react to one another in the unfolding story. I find it impossible to know everything in advance. Crafting a whole story never comes easily to me because I am not satisfied until I feel I have the hero and heroine absolutely right. They are rarely willing to give up any of their secrets early or all of them at once. Sometimes, if all else fails and the story (and the romance) is stalling, I end up asking them, often aloud, where their deepest pain lies hidden. There is always something. Once I know that, then I can set about bringing the character healing so that he/she can reach the point of being able to give love and to accept it and settle to a lasting, meaningful love relationship. And this must happen for both main characters. They must both be involved in the revelations and the healing. They must somehow help bring each other to completeness and love and ultimate happiness.

Merely knowing the characters as they are at the start is not enough, then. There has to be growth in the author’s understanding of them, and there has to be growth in the characters if the reader is going to invest time and emotion in their story.
This is not necessarily true of all genres of fiction. In some, very little emotional involvement with the main characters is necessary. But it is essential in a love story. If the hero, for example, is gorgeous and sexy and does nothing but macho things throughout the story—well, the reader might enjoy reading about him but there will be little emotional empathy with him. There can be very little conviction that he will be capable of a lifelong love commitment.
Balogh uses what she calls "third person deep interior point of view" because "If their story is told from deep within them, then the reader will be there too".
One way to delve deep into heroes and heroines and pull the reader in emotionally is through a careful use of point of view. Point of view is the eyes and mind through which a particular episode of the story is being told. It is possible to narrate the whole story in the first person, told by one of the lovers, though in that case the events can be experienced only through the mind and emotions of that one character (just as happens in our own lives). Or the whole story can be told by the author as narrator. She can tell the reader what happens and what her characters are thinking and feeling. I prefer to use what I call third person deep interior point of view. I alternate between the hero and heroine, telling one episode from his point of view and another from hers. The reader gets to experience the story through the minds and hearts and viewpoints of both main characters, but not at the same time. If you think about it, everything that happens in our lives has an emotional component. We are the ones who experience everything that happens to us and in the world around us, and everything that happens is colored by our own character and values and experiences and emotions. Especially our emotions. Very little happens to us that does not carry some emotion with it. The aim of the writer should be to duplicate this reality with fictional characters. They must come across as living, emotional beings as they experience the events of the plot. If their story is told from deep within them, then the reader will be there too, experiencing everything with them and feeling what they feel—living and loving with them.

Creating this emotional connection of writer, character, and reader is one of the greatest challenges in the writing of a love story. It is also, I believe, the key to its success—or failure. The author must be able to make the reader laugh with the characters and cry with them and feel the whole gamut of human emotions with them—and fall in love with them, as individuals and as a couple. The best and most memorable of love stories ought to be for everyone—not just the two fictional characters experiencing them, but also every reader living them vicariously with the lovers. It is the writer’s job to make sure this happens.
 

treesparrow

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Reading Truly by Mary Balogh did not give me the answer, but made me think. It is a historical romance that takes place in Carmarthenshire in Wales and builds around the legends associated with the Rebecca Riots of the 1840ies named after the biblical character Rebecca the wife of Isaac.

Fwiw, this was not about the Rebecca riots in west Wales. It was about the Chartists movement and in Wales was concentrated in the newly-formed industrial areas (and basically concerned workers rights). It is set in the county of Monmouthshire (now Gwent) in south east Wales. See Newport Rising - Wikipedia

The Rebecca riots were a response to unfair taxation on agricultural workers - that is, attacks on toll gates.
 
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mkrnhr

SuperModerator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
Finished the Chance Sisters series. In some aspects it's similar to the Westcosts series, and without becoming a caricature at the end. The old lady and the butler are great characters. The fifth book (christmas bride) is short and some passaged felt a little rushed. It could have been better if it were as long as the others.
 
R

R o l a n d

Guest
I found a consistent quality about these recommend romance novels. Not that I can compared them with other off-the-list-novels of romance because I haven't read any other, that is, off the list. This ability in the romance novels of how delicate a possible right relations, or a relationship is in the begining. They are volatile, judgmental, without much associations of the positive, dismissive, prone to arguments, denials, and haughtiness. Concerning the vulnerable foundation in the begining. The behavioral play that goes with the characters interactions such as misunderstandings, about why a man would not show up why a woman could not keep the meeting date. And then, no ability to convey why. The panick and anxiousness the sets in. The heart break on the temporary undisclosed communication. The energy is drained by confussion, upsetness.
About a persons past that may not have been resolved or the internal conflicts not being mitigated with healing. The rumors that spread and half truths and sometimes just a lie a small lie that one gets from somewhere or from someone whom wasn't completely there. The jealousy issues can be found out and can be obvious and dealt with. Unlike jealousy, a rumor a misconception a misunderstanding can be road blocks for a relationship. The thought that comes across to me is when a friendship or relationship can be incessantly doubted upon because of this. "to good to be true", is not always true.
Difficult to explain but an enthusiastic audience may get the positive reinforcement to desire justice, explanation, go the other way! go back, if only, if he had listen and not shouted and stammer off. What of she, she could had held on a little longer or if she didn't believe a half truth about the guy she adores. The stories in the romance novel takes the readers through the gamut of unsurerty the nervousness the lost, through plenty of examples. I think this complexion of interrelated social behavioral relations do give us concern to find out what's going to unfold, an understanding a less appeal for revenge or bitterness in the real world. A positive integration for reasons of the specific learning curve in the recommended romance novels gives an outlook a perspective.
 

mabar

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I had tried to post... something about the book I am reading but had ended several times with a... blank, I get stuck in my thinking glimpses of thoughts that leads to nothing in concrete and besides, had already checked out at the first list, second and last list that leads to a more elabirated website of the project... And, the tittle book is not even there, I have it in Spanish, The Albright Sisters III. Still will finish it, though. At least to get familiarized with the style of the writting of the autor
 

thorbiorn

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Fwiw, this was not about the Rebecca riots in west Wales. It was about the Chartists movement and in Wales was concentrated in the newly-formed industrial areas (and basically concerned workers rights). It is set in the county of Monmouthshire (now Gwent) in south east Wales. See Newport Rising - Wikipedia

The Rebecca riots were a response to unfair taxation on agricultural workers - that is, attacks on toll gates.
In the book Truly, which I intended to refer to, Rebecca occurs more than 200 times and I stopped counting at page 194 out of 294. Carmarthenshire occurred 11 times. Tollgate occurred 32 times, but the name Monmouthshire did not occur.
Are you trying to say the novel is not historically correct? Or are we just talking about two different books? Perhaps it is Longing, though I have not checked except that there is something about Wales too. Here is the description from Amazon:
Governess and mistress—he wanted her as both.…

The illegitimate daughter of an English lord, Sian Jones abandoned her heritage to live in a stalwart coal mining community in South Wales. Empowered by their cause, she’s engaged to be married to the leader of a revolutionary movement that is bracing itself against the tyranny of English mine owners. But Sian’s principles are unexpectedly shaken when she accepts a job as governess under Alexander Hyatt, the mysterious Marquess of Craille, the oppressive symbol of everything she has come to resist.

She never expected Alexander to upend all her expectations. He is sympathetic to her cause. He is a loving father. A man of wealth and position, he is fatally attractive. And he is offering his heart to the independent woman who has illuminated his life. Now, caught between two worlds, and between the promises and desires of two men, Sian must make a choice that will define her future—one that can only be made in the name of love.…
 

treesparrow

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
In the book Truly, which I intended to refer to, Rebecca occurs more than 200 times and I stopped counting at page 194 out of 294. Carmarthenshire occurred 11 times. Tollgate occurred 32 times, but the name Monmouthshire did not occur.
Are you trying to say the novel is not historically correct? Or are we just talking about two different books? Perhaps it is Longing, though I have not checked except that there is something about Wales too. Here is the description from Amazon:
Ah! You're right. I was thinking about the novel Longing rather than the one you referenced - Truly. I was unaware of that title which was another set in Wales and then jumped the gun with some assumptions it was the former title. Oops! Sorry about that. I can now look forward to reading the book Truly as it is set in my neck of the woods, so to speak.
 

gottathink

Jedi Master
FOTCM Member
That is one possibility. Earlier this year, February 12, Mary Balogh in one of her blog posts wrote about the "Emotional bond between reader and character" in which she describes what distinguishes a good romance novel and what is involved in the process of writing it. In it there are a few observations about the emotional engagement of the reader, that may be relevant for answering the question.

Then Balogh explains how the imagination and emotional engagement of the reader are needed to bring about the conviction "that these two people share the sort of unbreakable love bond that will last a lifetime"

This strong emotional engagement on the part of the reader, may not happen all the time but when it does, "being emotionally engaged in the journey to love" also would include following closely the process of the healing of their wounds, some of which may stir our own to the level of being acknowledged. This again supports the idea that reading the novels helps:

As one reads novel after novel the imagination is trained repeatedly along similar parallel paths where the hero and heroine achieve love after having completed enough of their journey to allow them to stay together on a more permanent basis.

Still, I am not sure the possibility "to use our imagination to create the story that will heal our brokenness" can be more than a possible outcome. Much depends on the perspective and the reader. In other words, not only is my interpretation colored by the novels I have already read, my knowledge in general, and my frame of mind, it also matters how I read a story. Do I read as much as I can as quickly as I can, or do I read until there is a serious situation that will be solved within the next few pages, but which in the life of the characters would only happen tomorrow and only after they have had a sleepless night? Do I in such a situation close the book and wait until later to endure their uncertainty of the outcome, before having the solution? Could healing of some of my own wounds benefit from time for reflecting on a difficult situation for the character and imagining what he or she might do?

If you have wondered along similar tracks, the imagination to come up with answers can be stimulated through a fictional interview with the character. It is of course an interesting question whether allowing the imagination in relation to the fictional characters to move slightly beyond the strict words of the story could assist one's own imagination to dare move beyond one's present life story. Or is it that one will read a novel and recognize where one is in one's own plot and dare imagine more readily what could come next?

While the comments above might be sufficient as a response, the whole post by Balogh has many fascinating points and rather than closing the post now, I will simply add the rest with comments.

Balogh goes into the details of how the writer achieves this goal by writing stories with main characters, "with whom the reader can relate and empathize".

Since every novel has different heroes and heroines, with different backgrounds, some of the wounds of some of the characters may be similar to those of someone one knows, including oneself. Maybe reading a good number of "cases" helps us to be able to relate to the emotional wounds of more people.

For characters to be real, the author has to know them very well indeed.

Healing and growth of a character to a certain point precedes the ability to "settle to a lasting, meaningful love relationship". It is not only a matter of individual healing, "[t]hey must somehow help bring each other to completeness and love and ultimate happiness."

Balogh uses what she calls "third person deep interior point of view" because "If their story is told from deep within them, then the reader will be there too".
It has just occurred to me that Love might actually be important.
I mean I am realising that I have believed love and romance is for silly girls and it doesn’t really exist, not for me anyway, I am not worthy, Love is only for the select and privileged few.
It has just occurred to me that this could be my programming. That the opposite to my belief is “Love is important”. This may actually be true.
 

primeaddict

Jedi Master
FOTCM Member
This is a good question I think. So far all I'm fairly sure of is that these stories serve as models for the process of healing and of helping the object of one's love to heal; and in doing so coming together stronger, more 'whole', and more joy-filled as a result. To some extent we, the readers, are finding love for ourselves, albeit vicariously - through our identification with the characters and an understanding of their attractions, programs, thoughts, feelings and probably even 'higher centers' of motivation; to truly love someone. In so doing, I think that what may be occurring within us (in part) - is that the experience of these stories sort of lays down the tracks and the 'wiring' in our hearts and in our minds for a greater capacity to love. And a greater internalized openness to the possibility of a 'happy ending' for ourselves.

More to your point though: Our imaginations may not be completely self-directed or autonomous as we usually conceive of our imaginations to be, but the fact that we're being guided through a writer's imagined story - and follow along using our own facility for imagining scenes, characters, feelings etc. - doesn't make this practice any less useful, productive - or imaginative! In this way I think that these stories are kind of like 'training wheels' for our imaginations, and assist us in growing our potential for greater being.
In our dream world we are able to create on the fly our preferred story, although in most cases the story does not pan out to our total liking. Our ability to use our imagination may have been weakened after meddling of our DNA by the lizies in order to better control us. I have notice that with persistent attention to a idea or goal that eventually I will stumble upon the necessary information that solidifies the idea or in case of the goal, pathways open up and I will find my way through the chaos.

Seeing how the authors are able to channel the hearts and minds of their characters I realized there is something more to this than fantastic literature. The ability to channel characters into a living literary being just maybe child's play to what we are really capable. However, we just do not know how to connect the dots. There seems to be a natural force that we can plug into that can create a self directed story. It is close to wishful thinking but I feel that it is a natural energy that can be utilized with STO awareness.

I confess it is only a gut feeling, not a well understood concept.
 
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