Good Morning. I've been tackling a new project, part of the Regency series I've been writing for the last couple of years. However, with this book, I'm trying to introduce a new series that I WILL BE writing beginning next year.
I'm stuck. Not because I can't write. I have the words, the outline, and believe it or not, the time. I have just never encountered this particular dilemma in my real life so I have nothing to base my character on.
Let's call my character, Oprah. Oprah knows two very different men. Steadman and John. Oprah is in love with each of these men for different reasons. Here's the skinny and then I'll tell you my problem.
Steadman -- Oprah met Steadman when they were both twenty, two weeks before she was to marry Fitzhugh, an old man. She marries him because she has to. For her family. Steadman joins the Army. Oprah doesn't see him again for almost forty years, at a school reunion.When they meet, Fitzhugh is dead, Steadman is a decorated Colonel and Oprah is a billionaire. Steadman and
Oprah have a full-blown love fest for a year where everyone thinks by Christmas they'll be engaged, with a spring wedding. On Twelfth Night, when Steadman doesn't propose, Oprah gets all up in his face and storms out the door. (Steadman has amassed a small fortune from being in the Army, and also has about a billion dollar inheritance. Her family thinks he's a good catch.)
John -- So Oprah's family is related to some real gangster type people, and they put a hit out on another of Oprah's relatives, her dearest niece. So Oprah grabs the girl and flies cross country to Connecticut to hide
However, here's the kicker -- Both Steadman and John have been called up for one last mission.
When John tells her he's going away, Oprah wants to get married. She tells him she'll go to the JP and get the licence. John says no. What would people think? He's just a butler, married to a billionaire. That's like Liz and Larry. No thanks, says John. She argues it's not like that. He doesn't want to hear it.
But John also told Oprah that Steadman is going on this same mission and she must apologize to Steadman for running away last year. What if she never sees him again? However, when she apologizes, Steadman tells her what a mistake he made for not giving her a ring, he understands what happened and why she went away, and all is forgiven. He asks her to marry him. She's so overwhelmed, she says yes.
My character is in love with two men. At the same time. And is having a dalliance with each of them. At the same time. Yes, she has a perfectly good reason for it. Perhaps even somewhat selfless (if I wrote that scene the right way), but let's call a spade a spade here. She's being a slut. And selfish. And cruel. And conceited. And all these things that women hate about other women, because those kind of women always get what they want, instead of what they deserve. You know.
Well, in this case, that isn't so. Oprah will get what she deserves and then some.
My problem is I can't find the dividing line between the love she feels for each of them. Her cousin, Constance says to her, "What are you going to do, just wait until one of them comes back? What if neither of them do? What if they both do? What are you going to do then?" Oprah says it doesn't matter if they both hate her when they return, only that they both come back alive.
Oprah loves each of them for totally different reasons. And wants to marry each of them for totally different reasons. (There's more to each backstory than I've alluded to here.) The way I've written it so far, Oprah never really reveals who she wants more. And that's where I'm stuck -- Will my readers want Oprah to choose one particular man, or will they suspend their disbelief that she can love two men equally?
Tell me -- Should I be looking for the dividing line? Can a person be in love with two people at the same time? What would you rather see as a reader -- a firm decision in love, or ambiguity until the story plays out?
Anne Gallagher (c) 2014