Authentic Recipe (Watch the fish sauce!)


What I fear the most, and what I obsess over, is emotions that are not authentic. Despite my often questionable sentence structure I will pick at dialogue words, at phrases, time and time again, if I feel they do not fit the character. The problem is that I need to get an idea across, and simply stating it, through internal or interactive dialogue, is the easiest way to do so.

Now romance, romance is all about emotion, so I have to do this often. Romance is about chemistry and hormones, and sex, and good ol’ sparks flying. So there needs to be a great deal of ‘feeling’ going on, of ardor, of agitation, of sensibility in the most Jane Austen sense of the word. There needs to be more than there is in the average human relationship, to be honest, because we are attempting to create a sturdy and affecting escape from the day-to-day. Too Little emotion is not an option.

Too much, however, is a common issue. I re-read conversations I’ve written and wince at the naked need that my characters sometimes express; would, say, a stoic knight really be moved to talk like that? Does it take the reader out of the story to have him do so?

But I know that the need has to be bared. Love, and lust, must be clear.

So how do I bare them without betraying the character? How do I keep them authentic?

A fellow writer,LC Hu (To be found here: – do not ask why I am having linking issues this fine eve), was expressing her annoyance with how often and badly authors will break a scene to insert a flashback, and to have their characters ruminate all emo-like on their emotions. As someone often guilty of exactly that, it made me think of how to avoid such pitfalls. We were discussing movies, and how in a visual medium it is possible to express emotions and ruminations without nakedly stating them.

Can we do the same with writing, despite it not being a multi-sensual medium like film? Would it perhaps be even more authentic of me to slip information about a character’s state of mind through other means as opposed to simple, naked statements? Sadly we do not have soundtracks to our writing, but can mood music be slipped in to our fiction? Her and I were coming from different ends of the problem spectrum, but the need is the same – to express aspects of our creations while keeping the audience firmly in the moment and in thrall to the authenticity of our worlds.

I’m working on this. Insinuation is not native to me, but I believe it’s a skill I need to learn.

Also: I have a cat on my lap. He would prefer I was petting, not writing.

(Title explanation: I believe I was going for something in the vein of fish sauce = equals emotion, for like fish sauce thrown in to a dish with too vigorous a hand, add too much emo to a story and you’ve thrown the whole damn thing off, never to be redeemed.

If only one could delete too much fish sauce.)


Greetings and Salutations! Would you like some chocolate?


Oh, writing, you fickle bitch, you, I love you but hate you but love you more.

Someone – probably someone obvious, famous, and easily Google-able – once said that writers like having written, not writing. I personally don’t agree with this – I enjoy writing itself. I wish I was better at it, I wish my grammar was stronger, I wish there weren’t days where I quite simply can’t make any words appear that make even an iota of sense. Let’s not even discuss the sentences.

But in the end, I do this because I want to, because I love it, because there are all these stories scribbling at the inside of my brain that I need to express.

We’ll see if this ever goes anywhere; I would like it to. I’d say the journey itself will be worth it, but who knows if I’ll agree with that statement in, say, 7 years. (I’m allowed to get very, very drunk if I’m not published by 40. I find this reasonable, if immature.)

Currently I am working on my first full-length novel, a fantasy erotic romance called The Lady Fool. The story was originally meant to be a manga-style comic, back when that was my primary form of expression. I was a mediocre artist, however, and I found how slowly stories developed in comic form ultimately very frustrating.

The Lady Fool is about a woman, Cia, running away from her land to another, trying to escape the constraints that were being placed on her. In order to hide effectively she pretends to be less than intelligent.

The land where she ends up, Ryden, is on the brink of war with its neighboring vassal state, Soingale, and is using its order of legendary paladins to raid and harass the the smaller nation. This introduces us to the romantic hero, Vaers, a breathtakingly attractive but unfortunately jaded knight and healer.

We move forward from there. Or I move forward from there. Ideally. In all seriousness, I am enjoying the scope of the novel, which isn’t something I believe I could have done before now. When I first started writing about 5 years ago just the act of writing made my head spin – the thought of doing something with any complications whatsoever made me want to cry.

I am grateful that is changing, if slowly.

So onwards!