Thursday, November 17, 2011

Little White Lies

Regardless of the type of novel I am writing, the emphasis is always on the human relationships between the characters. Murder mysteries, spy novels, and all the rest would not be worth my time if the reader was not emotionally impacted by the relationships.

One of the best police procedural novels I am aware of involves the murder of a street person that seemed not to have a past. No one knew him, no one loved him, but his death affected the homicide detective deeply. The police officer’s marriage was falling apart and the author created a poignant contrast between his failures as a husband and the derelict on the autopsy slab in the morgue.

Human relationships are important, and I often draw from what I observe in the real world. Here is a recent incident that will probably appear in one of my novels.

Five young women, probably in their early thirties, were blocking the center aisle in Wal-Mart as I tried to squeeze past. The man with them said, “You girls take your time. I’m going to the automotive section and prowl while you’re shopping.”

Megan: “Rob, do you know how insulting that is?”

Rob: “What did I do?”

Megan: When a woman passes her twenty-fifth birthday she doesn’t want to be called a girl.”

Rob: “I thought you were twenty-four on your last birthday.”

Megan, with a smile climbing slowly up her face: “Just take your time Rob. I love you.”


Loretta said...

Cute blog, Joe:)...I think I've reached the age where being called a girl is great:) I only object to this in a work environment...otherwise, I'll answer to girl anytime!:)


Pauline B Jones said...

I love the Southern way of "baby" and "child." Have no problem with girl anymore. Just happy someone notices I exist. LOL!

Jacqueline Seewald said...

I'm with Loretta and Pauline on that. As for human relationships in a novel--if they're not present, the book isn't worth reading. Characters must come off as real. As Donne said: "No man (or girl!) is an island." And if a character can't connect emotionally than the reader wants to understand why as well.

Jacqueline Seewald

Cindy Sample said...

Cute blog, Joe. I'm fine with girl, gal, chick. Just don't call me Ma'am. That's for my Mom!

The Belle in Blue said...

As in most things like this, it depends on who says it and the spirit in which it's said. I don't have a problem with "girl" from a friend--male or female. But said by an arrogant man trying to "put a woman in her place," it could cause somebody to draw back a nub! :-O

Lisa Smith said...

I'd much rather be called "girl" than OLD LADY.

LJ Garland said...

LOL Great fun! The term girl doesn't bother me...tho according to those terms, I'm well past that. *sigh*

Betty Gordon said...

To be called a 'girl' -- Oh, my! Nothing wrong with that, 'sugar.'

JD Webb said...

Rob made a nice recovery without the loss of limbs. I've become very aware of the 'girl' term. My writing group has me and five women. Good post. said...

I'm with Cindy. Anything but ma'am. But when I was in an office in my twenties, "girl" made me cringe.