Monday, September 21, 2009

Pulling for the main character

This posted on the wrong date, so I copied it again, and Jordan's comment--


Wes said: Many books state that writers should cause readers to pull for the MC. Well, duh......but few books if any discuss how to do it. I can see some obvious ones such as being an underdog, having a noble cause, being a likable guy/gal, having a lot to lose, but what are some other specific techniques?

I wrote a long article about this-- Sympathy Without Saintliness.
http://www.sff.net/people/alicia/artsympathy.htm

Okay, so I'm going to be difficult, which is, I know, a really sympathetic trait. I actually think nobility is NOT a sympathetic trait, and I don't think sympathy is very much connected to motivation. (It can be. And new writers should start there, maybe, so that they don't accidentally create unsympathetic characters. But let's let others address the newer writers and let's discuss this for more advanced writers, who already know that the character probably needs a past and a motivation. I say "probably" because I bet some of you could write a great character without either. :)

So what works? Well, many things do-- as I say in the article, I think "struggle" is the key-- readers sympathize with struggle more than success. This makes sense, because struggle implies conflict, and we all know: Conflict is the fuel for the plot, and for characterization too. It's also more interesting psychologically. You want a recipe for sympathy? Remember this: "I learned more from failing hard than I ever learned from succeeding easy."

I'm going to pose a question here. Can you come up with the same basic scenario of character action, but in the first:
Character does the wrong thing for the right reason (noble/sympathetic motivation).
Character does the right thing for the wrong reason (selfish motivation).

Choose one (or both). Can you quickly sketch a sequence of events/actions that will make a character sympathetic with either of those, your choice?

And think about whether one process is more appropriate for a particular type of book (for example, right thing for wrong reason is a great set-up for comedy-- can you make that work for a non-comedy?).

So you try it. Maybe take a character of your own and speculate about some action or reaction you're thinking about happening. How will this play out differently if it's wrong thing/right reason vs. right thing/wrong reason? Does this help with sympathy?

Alicia
at 7:38 AM
Labels: characters
1 comments:

Jordan McCollum said...

I can second that Alicia's article is GREAT about this! I also really found How to Write a Damn Good Novel II helpful on this. And a couple months ago I had a whole blog series on creating sympathetic characters: http://jordanmccollum.com/series/creating-sympathetic-characters/

I'm going to ponder your scenarios while running, and I hope I'll have an answer when I get back!
September 21, 2009 6:28 PM

49 comments:

Iapetus999 said...

In my current WIP, my character starts out with a preconceived notion of what's important. It should be obvious to any reader that this is not going to go well for her.
I'm hoping this will make her sympathetic, because we've all at one time held ideals that were dismissed once put to the test. Crazy notions, dreams, desires, none of which are obtainable can really endear a character (I hope).

Murphy said...

Alicia?

I think I cheated. When I put together a senario, I did a sketch and drew on typical sterotypes. Is that allowed? I mean, if you use a type of character that's easily recognizable it's like half the work is done for you - and if you can find a situation a lot of people can relate to - that's even better. Plug in a unique spin and it could work, right? Do you want us to post an example?
Murphy

Jordan McCollum said...

Hey, thanks, Alicia. I was dashing off to go running, or I would have remembered that in the series, I said that strengths and struggles were the two things that made characters sympathetic.

In one of the writers' groups I'm a part of, one person asked how they could make their character more sympathetic and nearly everyone said, "Make him have a bad childhood."

I am so freaking tired of hearing about how his mother never, ever loved him and his peers taunted him because he had no ear for music.

Yeah, you can work to make those things relevant to the main plot, but, man. Sob stories do not sympathy make.

So, I think a lot of thrillers involve forcing someone to do the wrong thing for the right reason—kill someone to save their family member. My WIP has the heroine held hostage. Her captor tells the hero, an FBI agent (and the heroine's fiancee--T minus 5 hours to the wedding), that to get her back, the hero must intimidate a witness and recant his former testimony. (And, naturally, if he does anything, the guy he intimidated will say he accepted a bribe.)

And then the struggle comes in ;) . I'm not totally sure what he's going to choose. I think after he makes his choice, he's going to get one more piece of information to change his mind.

I think if he just acquiesced, it looks like his morals and his career aren't that important to him. On the other hand, if he straight out refuses immediately, it's like he doesn't care about his fiancee.

(On the other hand, I'm worried about having him sitting too long contemplating it will show him to be too weak/indecisive.)

Let's go with some Indiana Jones inspiration for the other situation: our hero is going to rescue a relic from the hands of grave robbers, but he has every intention of selling it.

We may be inclined to sympathize with him if this struggle against the bad guys, just because the bad guys are so bad. Hm. . . can we think of something where there isn't an eviler person to compare to?

How about he's donating money to the hospital for the tax benefits? We could make him sympathetic by showing the struggle after giving the money, showing his opportunity cost, or (perhaps best of all), make it hard for him to part with his money, but he does look for something worthy for his tax shelter.

Hm. . . . does that work?

Murphy said...

Okay, I’ll do the right thing for the wrong reason.

A husband in a failing marriage receives a phone call from, Candice, his mother in-law. She tells him that her home has been foreclosed on and her bank accounts have been emptied, all by a man she foolishly trusted. She’s devastated and has no where else to go. She needs to move in with him and her daughter until she can get back on her feet.
Normally, Mr. Hero would have told the old battle axe, to go pound sand. She’d always treated her daughter like shit and demanded perfection from her. He struggled with himself not to hang up on her, when he spies his wife through the kitchen window. He watches her slam the car into park on their driveway. She gets out of the car and marches around to the back of it. He sees her pop the trunk open and yank his golf clubs out one by one. She makes a big, dramatic, show and hurls them all over the lawn.
He tells his MI to hang on and runs outside. He demands to know why she’s attacking his poor clubs? She screams in frustration, that he’s left the darn things in there for the last time! Once again, she couldn’t get all the groceries in and instead, she had to stand in the rain and stuff the sopping bags into the backseat! How many times did she have to tell him to take those useless things out of her car after he’d played his weekly game of golf on Sundays? She dissolves into a scathing litany about how lucky it was that she does the yard work during the week so he’s free to play on the weekends.
He’s doesn’t bother hanging around to listen to her complaints. Same old, same old. He heads back into the house thinking there isn’t another bitch like her in the world and then he sees the phone and thinks oh, yes there is...
He makes his decision and picks up the receiver. He’d been on thin ice with the wife for over a year now. Hadn’t she said, she didn’t want to invite her mother to the house over Thanks Giving Holidays because of the friction she might notice between them. How had she put it? Oh yeah, she’d never hear the end of it if she knew that her perfect daughter was going to see a marriage counselor. Well, he took a gander out at the wife drilling a new sprinkler hole in their lawn with his five wood and sighed. “Candice? Do you still have your car, or do you need me to pick you up?”

So, my hero should have helped a family member out who found themselves in dire straights because they were in dire straights - but this hero, has obviously, made his decision solely to get some leverage in the home front. The wife will have to play nice while her domineering mother is around and he’ll be reaping the benefits. Of course, if I were writing this (I’m bad at bad characters remember?) They’ll both learn a lot about the other, having to coexist with the battle axe. The hero would begin to see what makes his wife tick. He’ll come to appreciate things about her, that before, he had found annoying. And the wife? Well, she’ll be forced to get real over her preconceived notion of what success really is. You see? It isn’t until she sees her mother - the driving force behind her ambitions to constantly prove herself - alone, penniless and abandoned by everyone but her, that she understands that she’s been so busy pushing forward to the future and gaining success, that she’s never stopped to appreciate the present and what she already accumulated. And that’s the fundamental problem in their marriage. She felt her husband wasn’t working hard enough to attain the level of success she thought they should be enjoying and he always felt that he was never good enough, in her eyes, because she always wanted more. Hey, who knew that one gullible woman, who got rooked out of her life savings and went to live with them for a few months would straighten out all their problems? And to think they paid a therapist for over a year...Crap!

Jordan McCollum said...

I find it interesting that these situations we're coming up with are all the inciting incidents, or situations where people are forced to choose—not, say, the climax.

Do you think we could have a character do the right thing for the wrong reasons or vice versa in a climax? (I can see the wrong thing for the right reasons, but usually as a false climax.)

Word verification: dedude. You might not be da man, but you can still be dedude.

Edittorrent said...

I wrote a long comment and it vanished. Let's see if it shows up!

Great thoughts-- iapetus, I like the idea that "wrong thing/right reason" fits the thriller "Feel".
Alicia

Murphy said...

Okay, same situation, but flipped around so that it’s the wrong thing for the right reasons:

A husband in a failing marriage receives a phone call from his mother in-law. He’s surprised and upset to learn that her house is in foreclosure and her boyfriend has drained all her bank accounts. He listens to her woes and feels bad for her. She’s not a monster. Oh, she may treat her daughter like shit, but she treated him just fine. So, when she tells him that she’s decided she’ll move into their place because now is the perfect time, as she knows - he and her daughter are going to give a trial separation a go - and with him absent she feels like she won’t be intruding. She goes on to say that she doesn’t blame him. She completely understands where he’s coming from because she knows how difficult her daughter is to live with and that’s the one thing that’s got her so upset -now -she’s the one who’ll have to deal with her. She’s in the process of lamenting over this forthcoming situation when he looks out the window and sees his wife pull up in the car. He watches her get out and open the back door of their Mazda to systematically re-pack all the groceries that were scattered all over the backseat, before she grouped them in a cluster on ground. Damn, had he left his clubs in the trunk again? He tells his MI to hang on and runs out to the yard to give his wife a hand. Without a word he picks up the six pack of Bud and wedges it between his arm and his torso. He bends to loop a pile of the bag handles through his fingers and straightens. “Your mom’s on the phone, she wants to talk to you.”
He turns to leave when the wife calls, “Great, wait!”
He stops and looks over his shoulder. He shifts to allow better access as Maggie reached forward to grab one the cans of beer from him. She doesn’t say a word as she pops the top and takes a long pull - it’s only 11 am in the morning. Five years ago this might have been amusing to him, in happier times they occasionally did crazy shit like that. Now? He thought about all the pressure they’d been under. How difficult and strained the last few months had been for each of them. He thought about his MI and the nettling way she had of getting under Maggie’s skin. He went through the door and dumped all the bags on the table. He put down the beer, but not before he got himself one. He snapped it open and took a drink. He knew what he needed to do.
He picked up the receiver and said:“Candice? I’m really sorry about your troubles and you know we’d be glad to let you move in if the situation here, were different. But the thing is...” he paused and looked directly at Maggie who now stood owl eyed at the door. “I’m not going anywhere. We’re trying to patch things up and well...you understand. We’ll be needing a certain amount of privacy if we’re to give it a real shot.”

So, what did Mr. Hero do this time? He turned his homeless MI away on the grounds that his wife (who is going through a tough time right now - needed her distance from the added burden of all her mother issues) Now, this way could be interesting. Does the wife see his motivation as simply wanting to stay in the house? That he’s seized the opportunity and is wielding it like a stay of execution? Probably for a while, but then she’s bound to realize she was in no position to live with her mother at this emotional low point in her life. I think this could work too.
Murphy

Jami G. said...

Wow, interesting question...

I like Iapetus's comment about the wrong thing/right reason having a thriller vibe. It also often has an "appeasement" aspect. And this sets up an automatic conflict when the hero/heroine decides enough is enough - appeasement never works unless you have a plan to prevent it from continuing forever. After all, what's to stop the bad guy from making new demands now that they see how well it worked the first time. :)

Jami G.

Jami G. said...

Jordan,

Ooops, sorry, I think that was you that talked about the thriller aspect. (I was just reiterating Alicia... I blame her. :) )

Jami G.

Wes said...

How about a variation on the scenario? The character tries to do the right thing, but doesn't because he slips off his pedestal because the flesh is weak. Example:

A rico (rich landowner in early New Mexico with many slaves and peons {families who have sold themselves into slavery}) tries to win Kincaid's (MC) favor by sending a young peon girl to Kincaid's room. Kincaid tries to send her away, but she begs to stay and service him because the rico promised freedom for her family if she does. Kincaid allows her stay so she can claim that she gave herself to Kincaid. The night is long, and Kincaid's good intentions are overcome by his desire, and he deflowers her.

My critique group had a fit and professed that they had lost all sympathy for Kincaid. I felt pretty good about that, because it was the setup for the next chapters where Kincaid tries to redeem himself by aiding the girl and her family and ultimately making an enemy of the rico.

Iapetus999 said...

Jami-Yep, my comment was lame compared to some of the others that are pretty good.

Wes-I agree with your critique group. You've destroyed any trust your readers have with the character. He didn't just make a mistake, he purposefully did the wrong thing for the wrong reason, so now the readers may doubt that he's worth redemption. I do think there's a right way to do this so readers sympathize with him, but as you describe it, he just becomes icky and hard to root for, no matter what he does later on.
You'd be better off he just says "hey, kewl, let's do it" when she arrives and *then* finds out her circumstances and has a wave of consciousness and regret. Realizing a mistake and correcting it makes him a hero. Knowing he's taking advantage of a person's predicament makes him a villain.

Iapetus999 said...

Wes- The other way this would work is if Kincaid is an anti-hero. Then this scene makes sense if this is the last straw, the final act of self-hatred that forces him to change from anti-hero to hero. The moment he realizes that by taking the girl, he's no different than the Rico, and maybe in his eyes even worse. But you did mention "good intentions" which is not anti-hero-think.

Wes said...

Lapetus,
Interesting comments. I'd like to read more. You are right, it is the last straw. Since being dumped by his lady love, he's been on a downward spiral of drinking, gambling, blood sports, and reckless sex. But I'm more interested in the first issue. Is Kincaid's behavior so bad that readers will lose empathy for him? He struggled. He tried all night to ignore the girl in his room. Then in his attempt at redemption he endures the scorn of his companion, an ex American black slave, loses a lucrative business connection, risks his life to free the family, and incurs the wrath of the rico who soon will become the next Mexican governor.

Are great failures redeemable?

Iapetus999 said...

Wes-IDK if you saw the new House last night, but that was a great example of hitting rock bottom. A hero needs his failures shoved in his face before he can change his life.
The sticking point is the "good intentions" wording. I don't think he has good intentions at this point. He's demonstrating addictive behavior. You'll need to make this scene so truly horrifying that he has to choose a path of redemption or throw himself off the balcony to end the hurtful memories. It should be a morning after for the ages.
This is a hard scene to pull off. There needs to be a moment where he says, "wait, this is wrong." Maybe just as he's about to deflower her, a song comes on the radio that reminds him of his youth, and pulls him back from the brink.

I think failures are redeemable, but it's all in how you tell it.

Wes said...

I don't want my characters too sanitized. I'm searching for the right balance of Kincaid causing major negative consequences yet still retaining readers' interest.

Edittorrent said...

I think Kincaid is a bit of an anti-hero, so I'm okay with what he did. (Then again, I don't have many illusions about the human being's ability to withstand temptation, and I've given up being judgmental about that, so I'm easy-- not THAT way.) This is a character journey book, and I think he wants to do the right thing for the right reason, but he ends up doing the wrong thing (which is actually sort of the right thing-- I mean, really, getting the girl free is a good thing) for the wrong reason (lust). I like it. He sounds human to me. But I suppose that I'd be more okay with that in Chapter 4 than in Chapter 15.

Obviously I'm not one to expect nobility early in the story. And I wouldn't want to make rules about what's acceptable and what's not. (Ladies, most of us chose to get deflowered-- what a term-- at some point... do we think the men who did that-- with our permission, I'm assuming-- are bad? Actually, I would say that the young woman has every right to choose freedom over chastity and this man over some other man... female empowerment does occasionally require some action by men. :)

I think one question is, Wes, when does this scene take place. But really, there might be some problem with your scene, I don't know-- but I for one (and it looks like the only one) have NO problem with him acceding to her desire to share his bed. Don't wimp out too much in the aftermath-- that is, he can feel guilty, etc., but don't YOU feel guilty. In fact, if the young lady can finally exclaim with exasperation that he should stop acting like an early Christian martyr and moping about feeling guilty when she had a good time and she's FREE now and she thinks only positively about it, so he should grow up and stop acting like an ass. :) Really, let her show the spunk she showed in that scene, and let him learn from it. Consensual sex is a GOOD thing. (I hope he makes sure to make it good for her.)

Alicia the total reading slut, apparently! But Kincaid's my kinda guy.

Wes said...

Interesting, Alicia. I'm sticking to my position despite the grief I got from my critique group. The episode takes place about seven chapters into book two. He tells her to give herself to a boy she likes. She is torn because she can free her family, especially her two younger sisters who might be procured for the rico (He, the rico, is an historical character. His wife even helped him prey upon his peons and slaves.) Kincaid feels remorse, but he doesn't wallow in selfpity. In fact, this snaps him out of his funk. He concocts a plan to spirit away the girl and her family to Navajos, to whom many slaves and pueblo Indians fled to escape the Spanish and Mexicans. This shows the flip side of slavery in the southwest. In book one, Kincaid is seduced to go on a slave raid to steal Navajo children. He does a lot of thinking with his wrong head.

Edittorrent said...

Well, we don't write books about perfect people, Wes, so I'm okay with that. Sex is not a bad thing, and I think you've set it up that the girl is making a sensible decision based on her circumstances. Yes, he benefits from that, good. :)

But I think you ought to think about your target reader, and think about how that will go over. Romance readers might object, but not all of them-- Laura Kinsale, for example, has a hero start out finding out that his lover is pregnant with his child, and all he says is, "You better get your husband back here quick and take him to bed so he'll think it's his." It was bracingly REAL, given who he was at that time, and romance readers loved it. (The Greatest Romance Novel Ever, says I. Flowers from the Storm.)

I suspect Western genre readers don't expect entirely moral heroes either. Or general historical fiction readers. In fact, a great sin is "over-scrupulosity," which few of us are accused of, but it's sort of being TOO moral (and yes, it's a real sin), too self-righteous, and a lot of people would think that a man who turns away (repeatedly) a willing woman that he's attracted to, when he's not otherwise attached, is being over-scrupulous. To bring this back on-topic, how sympathetic would a man be who righteously refuses what's freely offered, "because it's WRONG"? I think it would be MORE sympathetic to have a guy who tries to do the right thing but just... can't do it over the course of a long night with a lovely willing woman. And he does try, right? Failure is much more sympathetic than success. :)
Alicia who hopes Kincaid gets and gives plenty of good lovin'

Jami G. said...

Iapetus,

Okay, you completely made up for any lameness with all these comments for Wes. LOL!

Wes & Alicia,

I see both sides here. In other words, there is a chance that this will hurt the character's connection to the reader, or it could help it. It all depends on how the scenes (including before and after) play out. If she's begging Kincaid to help her and throwing herself at him, that's a lot different than if she's sitting vulnerably in the corner. In the first case, I don't see how a reader could blame him. :) As Alicia mentioned, in that case, it is consensual on some level - even if external forces are forcing her to want it.

Jami G.

Murphy said...

Okay, I've read this scene in Wes's MS and I think it works. I knew what his critique group had to say about it - and yet, it didn't offend me as a woman or reader. I actually thought that it was appropriate given the time period and customs of the day. I think when you take this out of context it creates a problem with perception. When you read the story in its entirety, you see that poor Kincaid is in a downward spiral and our Wes? He might not be the nice guy we all think him to be! Poor Kincaid! Sometimes you’re just dying for the guy to catch a break.

You know? Wes, as a writer, might even be meaner than JG - when it comes to the treatment of their characters. Scary. What’s worse? I like them both! YIKES! Where’s Doctor Phil when you need him? ;D

Wes said...

Yes, Alicia, Kincaid tries to hold out so the girl can leave in the morning "intact" (yes, aren't the terms strange in this day and age?) yet convince the rico she completed her part of the deal, BUT desire is powerful, he slips in the readers' eyes, and she doesn't resist.

And yes, I'm not sure how my market will take it until I shop it around. This is meant to be historical fiction, yet I'm also experimenting with other stories in other genres. I think it will fly with readers of historical fiction. I want to shake up readers with raw, real situations, but not alienate them.

Wes said...

Murph? Meaner to my characters than JG? Huff!

Murphy said...

Wait! Wes? What? Is there a contest I don't know about? Well, if there is, it's not for me. I'm bad at bad characters, unless...(insert me thinking really hard here) Nope, it’s no use. I want everyone to have the prospect of being saved eventually. (I blame my Catholic upbringing and the nuns driving the point home. (you have to love the sisters) So, yeah, even if the bad characters of mine are on their death beds, dying with a combination of the worst case of swine flu and cholera combined, I want them to be able to be redeemed (hey, I didn't say I'm against suffering. I’m Catholic I tell you!) But, I do want them to be able to make peace with the world...although sweating in the throws between those two illnesses? I'd probably be too pissed off at the world to be looking for anything but a way out of it. *shrug* But um, me, the author? I have to at least give my bad guys the option of a decent way out - I might leave that door open and let the reader make the ultimate choice, but at the end of the day, they will know that there was a choice offered.

(head hanging dejectedly- my voice echoing from beyond a creaking, haunted, gate) A-l-i-c-i-a? Where do I sign up for that support group??????

Edittorrent said...

JG and Wes, mean? Surely not! I like to think that just as the nice Agatha Christie wrote diabolical killers, so they are creating mean situations because in life, they would never let themselves be that way.

Right?? Right??

Alicia

Murphy said...

Geez Alicia, that's soooo nice...NOT! Now, where's the number to the support group? I'm getting the feeling you threw it out. We needed that! What’s with the surely not, Hmm?! Surely not? My ass! You’re too good. :)
Says Murphy( who seems be toughening up trying to get that number – for the love of god! Hey, wait, is this a plan? I could be onboard with a plan or...an intervention. *shrug* I'm cool with either. If it’s an intervention are you serving martinis? Can I wear my red orthopedic pumps? Let me know...)

Dave Shaw said...

Making a couple of characters have sex is being mean to them? Sheesh! I have good (as well as bad) characters dying all over the place, my MC's downward spiral really hits its stride when she kills a friend in a fire fight (friendly fire - she was shooting at the bad guys trying to kill her, and he happened to pop up in the battle zone), plus she ruins her relationship with her best friend when said friend's boyfriend seduces her (guy's a jerk, but they can't help themselves - down side of genetic manipulation and psychological conditioning) and y'all think Wes is being mean by having his MC sleep with some more or less willing honey? Wow! Guess y'all don't read much military fiction, eh?

Jami G. said...

Oh Wes...

If you're abdicating the Crown of Mean-to-my-Characters, then by all means... Hand it over!!! LOL!

I take pride in doing mean things to them. Conflict drives stories, if I can think of something mean, something that can go wrong - I do it! (Hmm, I probably shouldn't admit to this but, let's keep it between us, okay? My characters argued with me to make the ending of my trilogy...meaner. Yep, that's right. I not only talk to my characters, I argue with them. I cry every time I review my synopsis for Book 3, but they insisted that's the way it had to happen. Who am I to tell them "no". Well, okay, I guess I am the only one with fingers to type, but... LOL! )

And Murphy, just because I do mean things to my characters doesn't mean that I don't believe in allowing them a chance at redemption. Two completely different things in my eyes. :)

Jami G.
(And don't worry Alicia, I don't go around killing people in real life! :) )

Jami G. said...

Dave,

Yeah, I hear you. Just because I kill my MC in Chapter One is no reason to say that I'm mean... LOL!

Jami G.

Dave Shaw said...

Jami,

It worked in Ghost, right? Are you meaner than those darn screenwriters? ;-)

Murphy said...

Dave, she is.............;)

em said...

I'm so depressed. I missed so much the last couple of days. Alicia, can I be a part of the intervention? I do have red pumps I can wear.LOL!
Em:)

Jami G. said...

Murphy,

I appreciate your support in First Annual Edittorrent Contest to claim the Crown of Mean-to-my-Characters. I hope you'll remember to vote for me on Election Day.

Jami G. :)

Wes said...

Jami,
Seriously, I believe you have the right method by putting your characters in very difficult situations and having them sweat it out. That's what hooks readers (he says like he knows what he's talking about): conflict, tension, much at stake, loss, failure, overcoming failure, etc.

There's a guy in my critique group who writes beautiful prose. I wish I could be as polished as he is. BUT he has difficulty putting his characters in conflict. So he ends up with lovely words with no tension.

Wes said...

Right, Alicia! I would never let myself get in trouble because of the things that tempt Kinciad: women, strong drink, fast horses, desire for prestige, falling for the wrong woman. (OMG, this reminds me of a song by Tom T. Hall "Faster Horses". I'm a fan of old country music. '.......I told him i was a poet, i was lookin' for the truth i do not care for horses, whiskey, women or the loot i said i was a writer, my soul was all on fire he looked at me an' he said, "you are a liar."
"it's faster horses, younger women, older whiskey, and more money"......')

Please, I know it's not PC. Don't beat me up.

Wes said...

Oh, fudge! I have a typo in my MC's name.

Anonymous said...

Murph,we can tell Dave wasn't raised Catholic. He thinks letting two unmarried people have sex is being NICE to them. He doesn't realize that it's making them risk their immortal souls. :)
alicia

Murphy said...

Alicia, LOL! And um, I don't know about you, but I'm going to heaven because I was pure when I got married. That is providing outright lying won't hold me back...do you think the lightning bolts raining down on me at the moment are a bad sign?
Murphy :)

Dave Shaw said...

No, Alicia, I was raised Methodist in a rather small town and came of age during the sexual revolution, although I can tell you plenty of interesting stories from my genealogy research about the things some of my ancestors did long before that particular era. Some of those colonial New Englanders, especially - wow!

Anyway, rereading what I said, I don't see where I said that was being 'nice' - I just don't see it as all that 'mean'. After all, aren't there ways to fix that eternal damnation bit, even for Catholics? Horrible deaths from weapons fire, hand-to-hand combat, and exposure to hard vacuum just seem so much meaner to me, but maybe that's just because I'm mostly agnostic these days.

Jami G. said...

Dave,

Yeah, those Puritans. Hah! The highest percentage of pregnant brides occurred during the 1770's, if I remember correctly - over 30%!

My hero is from that time and place, so I've done a bit of research. Not enough quite yet, but enough that I know about bundling. LOL!

Jami G.

em said...

LOL JG!
Murph, you're preaching to the choir.
Great comment. Dave.:)
Wes. fudge? ROTFLMAO how old are you?

Wes said...

em,
I'm the oldest person on this blog.

em said...

Wes,
That's a postive thing.:) I'm still looking for those Breaking Away comments. Which post was it under? A dialogue one?

Wes said...

em,
It's the second post under introspection.

em said...

No wonder I couldn't find it.:) Thanks!

Murphy said...

In Wes's word fudge. I believe the 'dge' is silent, but for some reason he left off adding the 'uck' suffix. *Shrug* Maybe he simply forgot. As he openly admits - he's old.:D

Murphy:D

Wes said...

Murphy, does your mom know you talk that way?

Murphy said...

Nope, and let's keep it that way. I promise to drop the subject YOU introduce (btw) if you agree not to break my Mother's heart by telling her that her good Catholic girl cusses on occassion...Geez, now that I think about, it's a shame she's still married to Dad - you two would really have hit it off!

Murphy:D

Wes said...

Oh, Murph, you got me on that one. I was reading your opening statement thinking you were being nice, then WHAM, you zinged me. As much as I hate to admit it, that was a good one. Dang it!

Babs said...

Murph, LOL! I agree with Wes, that was a good one!
Babs:)