Sunday, February 14, 2010

Heat #2: Curling (Around His or Her Little Finger)

Today is the High Holy Day of Romance, so of course our Heat must have something to do with twoo wuv. Everyone is eligible to play this Heat.

For Team Fiction, choose a happily committed character in one of your stories. Romantic leads are a good choice, but certainly not the only choice.

For Team Nonfiction, choose an interview subject you can easily reach for a brief interview. Got any elderly relatives who would appreciate a phone call?

For Team Submissions or Team Drama, choose whichever method suits your project best.

Your subject or character must answer two questions:
  1. What was the most romantic thing your lover did for you that nobody else would have thought was romantic?
  2. Your lover is charmed by a trait of yours which everyone else finds annoying. What is that trait, and why does it charm your lover?
You should be able to complete this heat in under 500 words. Feel free to post your answers in the comments, or if you prefer, just post an insight gained by this exercise. Everyone who comments will be entered into a pool of pen athletes to win a prize at the closing ceremonies. (Yes, this means that the more Heats you enter, the more chances you have to win!)

By the way, I must give a tip of the hat to Jenny Crusie and Bob Mayer, who inspired these questions with their brilliant romance, Agnes and the Hitman. Here's how Agnes might answer the questions:

  1. He bought me an air conditioner. I can't believe he bought me an air conditioner. He saw that I needed it, and he went out and bought it. Just. Like. That. I was trying to pretend that he wasn't the right guy for me, what with him being a paid killer and all, but I was a goner as soon as he bought me that air conditioner.
  2. Okay, so I have this slight habit of assaulting people with kitchen implements. Frying pans are usually pretty handy, but meat forks are a great way to make a, er, point. Usually people tell me it's wrong to bash cheating boyfriends and other reprobates in the head with skillets (even if they're not cast iron!), but Shane didn't mind. He did disarm me a couple of times, but that might have been just so I wouldn't get blood on my Cranky Agnes apron.

Your turn!


Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Ahh, this is one of my favorite things to do, actually. While I don't write romance, I do write romantic characters (says me). I like it when even not-terribly-devoted characters find ways to express a deep connection.

Holly Rutchik said...

Ok, this one was great for me as well. I'm not too into the romance with my writing (non-fiction) I don't share my own and I don't like to ask others about theirs - but, in the spirit of the games, I did. And, I won't share all of what I wrote, but I will share this:
Most romantic thing I learned from asking the questions:
"Real love is willing to share his toothbrush!"
Oh yes, that WILL be making a way into an essay of mine - stay tuned!

Dave Shaw said...

The couple, secondary characters in my current WIP, are the following:

Minelda Zambrevic, a native of the feudal-level reality called Wenden. She is a Master Mage, a ferocious warrior often compared to a female alpha wolf, and an orphan raised by her grandmother who grew up dreaming of eating the hearts of the three men who killed her parents and two siblings. She achieved her dream at the age of 19.

Jason Crenshaw, Ph.D. in physics from Cambridge University, late a lieutenant (pronounced 'leftenant, of course!) in Her Majesty's Royal Marine Commandos, a native of the city of York.

They are both reality walkers, currently working as inspectors for the Trans-Reality Justice Bureau.

Minelda's answers:

1) We were desperately outnumbered in a fight on Mondova. Enemy soldiers had my arms pinned so I was unable to escape, and were threatening to torture me to death with hot irons. Rather than see them kill me so horribly, Jason threw his last knife at me, planting it in my heart so that I died and took away their fun. He exposed himself to the fate they had planned for me, with no weapon to finish himself. The doctors were able to revive me because of his selfless act of love. Fortunately, help came while he was still breathing, after only ten or fifteen minutes of torture.

2) Most people, at least the civilized ones, find my interest in eating the hearts of my enemies raw somewhat unpleasant. Even my sister-in-arms Josey has suggested that they'd be better medium-rare. Jason indulges me, and even takes a bite himself now and then, although the amount of garlic and pepper he applies is barbaric!

It should be noted that Minelda's name means 'gentle angel', which in a slightly different form is the nickname of the Wenden version of the Grim Reaper. She's a little sensitive about it.

Jami Gold said...

My heroine discussing her husband:

1. "He married me. And believe me, no one in his family considered that romantic. Granted, I have this little history as a con-artist..." She winces. "And we met because he was my mark..." She raises a hand, as though to hold off my judgment. "But he believed in me, and he stuck with me - even after his family refused to have anything to do with me. His side of the church was packed and mine was completely empty, but it didn't matter because he was there. Ever since then, it's just always been us."

2. She cracks a grin. "I have a temper. Luckily, it doesn't come out very often, but when it does..." She shrugs. "For some reason, he's glad to see it. He seems to think that it means I'm strong inside - which I wouldn't go that far, but..." She shrugs again.

I thought it was interesting that she thinks she has a temper. Her perspective matches with her personality, but I'd always considered her outbursts as simple 'standing up for herself' episodes.

Jami G.

Evangeline Holland said...

My hero, Lord Dereham, discussing Bryony Pendleton:
1. "Miss Pendleton--oh damnation, Bryony (I think I can call her Bryony in a private conversation)--the infuriating minx, noticed the sorry condition of my Stetson and had it re-blocked and cleaned until it looked exactly as I bought it in Montana. That hat saw me through blizzards and my failing ranch. When it began to fall apart I blithely accepted it as part and parcel with the end of my foolish attempt to obtain riches in America, but when she had it repaired...I didn't understand how attached I was to the stupid thing. And she did it for me in spite of my bad temper and my blatant dislike of her...I am completely undone and undeserving."

2. "However grudgingly I give this compliment, after years of living in the States, I can't stand anything but plain speech--the affectations of my fellow aristocrats have become intolerable, and I've found myself in a linguistic scrape quite often. But Bryony finds it endearing and...dare I say home and her father."

Anonymous said...

My main character isn't terribly romantic, but my second hero is. Even if he has been turned into a slightly twisted, demon-haunted assassin... he's still the same kind, generous, caring person underneath. Just with a few more complications now.

1. I guess the most romantic thing Stewart ever did for me was separating me from my soul. It kept the demon from devouring it, and helped me find a purpose beyond just caring for him. He sacrificed a lot for me, and put his own life and magic in danger to try and fix my own horrible mistake. All because he loves me.

2. No one else can put up with my temper. But somehow he gets it. Maybe because I say all the things he wishes he could.

Riley Murphy said...

1. Here I was expecting the usual. A dozen roses, a box of chocolates or one of those ‘I heart you’ bracelets, that no one wears more than once. I mean, my guy’s the ‘strong I can’t say how I’m feeling’ type, so what did he know about romance? Not a cotton picking thing. Did it matter? A little, and that’s why I didn’t race to the door when he rang the bell rang. I didn’t want him to think I had high expectations or anything, even though my heart had skipped a beat when he’d called earlier, and for just a second I imagined whatever he had to give me was going to be something great. But then, I reminded myself, this was the same guy who bought a hard ass farm girl like me, a pair of polka dotted toe socks and bright red lipstick for Christmas. The combination of which, quite frankly, freaked me out, until he explained.

Apparently, he’d noticed when we watch TV together, I always pull the material of my pant legs over my toes to keep them warm and as for the lipstick?. He said my lips deserved the daring color because according to him, my mouth is awesome! That comment, by the way, made up for the less than stellar gifts under the tree last year.

I put my hand on the doorknob and for some strange reason a mental chant of: Leg warmers and hair gel, did a sing song in my head. It was only Valentine’s Day for cripes sake. I needed to get over myself. I opened the door and there he was, standing under the yellow glow of the bug light. His hair too long, his face unshaven and his eyes as uncertain as ever. I loved that about him, so it took me a second to spy the wrapped bundle in his arm. For one terror stricken moment I thought he’d bought me dog. Not that I have anything against dogs, mind you, but I have enough of them to take care of, and even if I didn’t, I wasn’t the adorable puppy type as those heartstring players, are easy to adopt out. My disappointment soared, didn’t he know this about me? And then when the blanket shifted and I saw the small horns, I couldn’t believe it! It was the lame billy goat we’d seen last week at the Strawberry Festival. I hadn’t said much at the time, about the feisty little goat with a limp, who I knew was destined to be slaughter for his weakness. I hadn’t said much and yet, somehow he knew...

It was the most romantic present anyone had ever bought me!

2. So what if the goat wasn’t perfect. I could hear my parents screaming now. ‘Another useless animal.’ But the animals weren’t useless. Not to me. They make me happy and besides, who else would have them? I used to worry that no one would understand this about me. That I’d always be labeled the crazy collector of needy and broken things. Was that what I was? Is this how he knew? Was he needy and broken? In his own way, I suppose he was. Was this why he loved me? Oh yes, he loved me! He loved me enough to ignore the fact that a lame Billy goat was snuggled in his arms at the moment, chewing the buttons off his best shirt and eating them. And if that isn't true love - I don't know what is.


Taylor Mathews said...

1. He and my dad worked on it the whole time I was in the hospital. And yes, it was really sweet and everything, but cows? Really? When I said he should stop hunting and raise cows, I was only HALF kidding. Not that I don’t appreciate the gesture--but you know who’s going to be out there feeding them every morning before school? Well, it’s not going to be my dad, that’s for sure. Yeah, I didn’t think it was romantic, either. Maybe it will seem more romantic when I get the cast off.
2. He used to yell at me every time I got the vacant expression in my eyes (the one that meant I was seeing something no one else could). Now he sort of shuffles me out of the way of oncoming people or traffic or herd animals and waits for me to come back to my senses. He says he’s taking care of me. I think he just likes standing there feeling important. In any case, it’s better than waving his hand in front of my face and shouting my name over and over. Now that had been an annoying phase.

Sylvia said...

1. He'd done his best to spoil me rotten: a night at the Ritz Hotel, a fancy dinner on the Strand, a velvet box on my plate which held a glittering silver necklace which suited me perfectly. I was thrilled, of course, flattered and happy and - as he intended - feeling very special indeed. But when the maître d' of that restaurant came over to me with a bouquet of daffodils, I melted. Everything was wonderful, I don't want to pretend I didn't enjoy being made a fuss over. But that special evening was also generic: he could offer exactly the same experience to any girl and she'd be thrilled. The daffodils, however, they were just for me. I'd stopped to look at them in the gardens, last week when they first came into bloom, and admitted they were my favourite flower. He seemed amused as I explained that I liked them all the more because they are only around for such a short time - just a week or two around my birthday. For a short time, the world is full of these splashes of colour, trumpeting the arrival of Spring. He shrugged, I didn't even think he was really listening.

Now, the maître d' smiled as he presented the bouquet with a flourish. It was from a street vendor,tied up in clear cellophane with a dark orange bow. The flowers probably cost less than I'd pay for a glass of water at this restaurant, but the staff fussed about putting them into a vase at the table for me like they were a dozen long-stemmed roses. And the man who gave them to me just watched the smile on my face and laughed. He knew he'd got it right.

2. I snatched the dictionary from the shelf and almost threw it on the coffee table in front of him. "Look for yourself!"
"Not that one," he said. "Get the old one. This one is wrong!"
I left it there, a testament to his stubborn ways: only a very specific edition of a very specific dictionary would be allowed as evidence in this argument. But I did grab the previous edition: even I I had to admit it was less likely to drift into ambiguous phrases when cornered on an important definition. I leafed through the alphabet, ignoring his wince at my rough hand against the brittle pages. I knew I was right! But so did he.

Anonymous said...

I'm only in the planning stage, but don't foresee any committed couples. Hum, will think about that and see if there should be.