Thursday, May 16, 2019

Even Romance Heroes Can Be Gaslit! #Amwriting #WIP #Romance #Gaslighting

One of the stories I'm currently working on has a subplot about gaslighting. This is a subject I've been interested in for a long time. It fascinates me that one person can mess with someone else's head so much that they end up thinking they're nuts. 

Hold up... I'm assuming everyone who reads this knows what gaslighting is--and you know what is said about people who assume! So, in the interest of not making a donkey of you or me, let me explain. Gaslighting is a form of psychological or emotional manipulation. In more extreme cases it would fall into the category of psychological or emotional abuse intended to convince the victim that they're going crazy. 

Have you ever been in a conversation with someone and they flat-out deny that what you heard them say is what they said? Have they made you so frustrated that you throw your hands up and say: "you're driving me crazy?" If so, then you've experienced the sort of strategy gaslighters use. 

It wasn't until many years after the fact that I realised, as a young teen, I'd been a victim of gaslighting. The perpetrators weren't my mum, dad, sisters or brothers, but they were people who I--and my parents--trusted. I'd say something relatively intelligent, then at a later date the conversation would come up again and I'd say something along the lines of: "I said...". And one of the people would say: "you didn't say that! I did!" Other instances went something like this:  "that wasn't your idea, it was mine". Or "I made this cake. You made that one." Of course, this person claimed the cake I made as theirs because it came out better. 

Or this person/people would say something, then deny they said it and proceed to tell me I was making things up. Another would ensure everyone thought I was a little unhinged and would tell my parents not to listen to me (when I tried to alert my parents to what was going on) because I was a liar. I knew the things that happened to me during that time was emotional abuse, but it was only years later that I realised it had been gaslighting. More than once I was convinced I was crazy. So much so that I attempted the unthinkable... I have my little sister to thank for me being here today. But that isn't what we're talking about. I simply wanted to touch on how serious gaslighting can be. 

Some people are very adept at messing with another person's head. The brother of my hero in my current WIP is very subtle in his gaslighting abilities. My hero doesn't even know that his brother is gaslighting him until the end of the book. Romance heroes are supposed to be alpha male and utterly capable, but what happens when the hero is riddled with guilt because of something he did years ago that caused his brother's bride to leave him at the altar? I think it would be easy for an alpha hero to overlook the subtleties of gaslighting when he's consumed with a mountain of guilt. And this is what happens to my hero. I'm enjoying writing this story and hope it wouldn't be too long before I'll be able to share exciting news about this book.

Have you ever been gaslit? Know someone who has? I'd like to hear about your experience.     

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

So...What Ever Happened to That Proposal? #writinglife #amwriting's your friendly sporadic blogger. I do admire my fellow authors who always seem to have something wonderful to say. Sadly, my chronic introvertism (yes, I know I keep making up words!) keeps me imprisoned, and I never know what to talk about, sure that none of you wish to hear what I have to say anyway!

All that aside, I thought I better blog about something before I wake up one day and find that the blog has shriveled up and died a painful death. 

Speaking of subject today is a little painful for me to speak about. Last year, a few times on social media, I mentioned a proposal I had with HQ Desire. I was very excited about that story and waited a long time for a decision. Sadly, while the editor liked the story, HQ wanted changes that I felt I couldn't, in all honesty, pull off. Perhaps I was way too close to the story, but in the end, I withdrew the proposal. Thankfully, the editor was sweet and understanding and asked me to send any other ideas I had. Well, I did, and now I've begun work on a new story to submit.

The thing that shocked me most was that I used to be able to easily write 3K words per day, and still do everything I needed to do as a wife and mother, but after my experience last year, I now find myself holding back so much that it has taken me a full week to write the Prologue. A totally shocking experience for me. I'm not sure if it's fear that this new story will take another year in the system before it's finally rejected or I withdraw it. Or have I simply lost my confidence as a writer? Whatever the reason, I know deep down I'm worried that I'm wasting my time because, in the end, this new book may come to nothing. 

I can't tell you how many times I've decided that perhaps it's time to walk away from targeting HQ. I'll usually take a few months off, then something would always draw me back--often the quiet conviction that maybe...just maybe...this time I will do it. I'll finally hit the right story and nab that coveted contract.

I have no idea if this new story is going to be The One, but I'm hoping it is. 

Am I alone in this weird obsession?