No, it's not a really redundant title for a romance novel... it's yet another blog entry wherein I try to figure out what I'm doing wrong.
I've been getting back into listening to Writing Excuses now that I'm no longer on break. (I'm still not done with 2016 and may never catch up.) The last episode I listened to was a deep dive for one of the hosts' books, Mary Robinette Kowal's Ghost Talkers (which is very good and you should read it), and one of the points that the hosts brought up got me thinking. They talked about the two main characters and their relationship being the emotional heart of the story, and about how important it was to have that heart, especially in a story that takes place during World War I.
This made me stop and wonder how many of my stories have been completely without this emotional heart.
To put it simply, I like writing adventure stories. I like writing characters who do awesome things, I like getting them into all kinds of trouble, and I like it all taking place in interesting and bizarre locales. But after hearing that episode, I started to think back on my more recent works, and it hit me that a lot of them just plain don't have that emotional center.
Then again, now that I think on this some more, it might be better to define what the emotional center is supposed to be. The podcast gave a relationship as an example, but not every book has one of those or needs to. It could be more about the feelings that grow and change along with the plot, or perhaps the feelings that don't change no matter what happens. I would think that it has to be something that happens between the characters, but it could also be made of one or more characters' dedication to what drives them. It could even be the situation itself, whatever happens that's pulled the characters together and keeps them going.
Maybe I was looking at this too narrowly. Trying to consider how to do something in writing with only one example is probably not the best idea. >_<
I guess I could call the relationship between Kris and Sarai the emotional heart of STARWIND, since the scenes with the two of them together are about the only times the story deals with that sort of thing. Or I could expand that and say the relations among the entire crew make up that heart, since there's a lot of friendship and trust there. And we do get to see the crew's genuine reactions to everything that happens to them over the course of the story, a lot of which isn't good - running the gamut from romantic interruptions to having one's gender identity denied to a fatal betrayal. So it's possible I'm not giving myself enough credit, as per usual.
Perhaps this is something I don't need to stress about. Characters and plot spring from and build upon each other, and the emotional heart of the story comes from all of that. And it's not like I could write something that had no emotional depth at all.
In conclusion: I might be doing okay, but I still have no idea what I'm doing. Nothing has changed. Carry on. :P