Weekend Writing Warriors: Anti-Cupids (Relationship Checklists)

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I’m skipping over a couple of pages, a little past the point where Viv and Jack’s caffeine-fueled banter is interrupted by Jack’s phone.

It seems that he forgot he had a lunch date . . .

English: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:St...

Jack didn’t believe for a minute that this was the first time he’d irritated Renee since they’d started seeing each other, but it was the first time she’d let him know it. He’d normally take it as a good sign, except he couldn’t help wondering whether she was relaxing in his company, or following a relationship schedule.

Or maybe he was projecting. He’d dated a lot of women who pulled out the metaphorical training regimen and stopwatch after the third or fourth date, as if they’d stopped enjoying themselves and started recording distance, time, and pace. He knew perfectly well what they were expecting at the finish line, and he wasn’t particularly interested in crossing it.

It wasn’t that he was anti-marriage or didn’t believe there was a woman who was The One for him, but he assumed she would show up eventually and wasn’t particularly disappointed that she hadn’t. Until she did, he didn’t see why he couldn’t have mutual fun with the other ones—who were, he had to admit, usually tens.

Like Renee, a tall, willowy brunette with sleek cropped hair, intense blue eyes, and a wide smile that had sold a lot of toothpaste, floss, and whitening strips for Twinkleclean Holdings LTD, won the agency its second gold ADDY for the Beautystain lipstick campaign, and had captured Jack’s interest during the casting for the HappyCool popsicles commercial—though the client’s wife had vetoed her in the final round after viewing the video.


Not sure about the flow of the first two paragraphs, but that’s a second draft worry, right?

I’m also not sure I like Renee’s name—not that Renee isn’t a lovely name and that lovely people don’t go by it, but I’m not sure it’s right for the character.  Possibly because it’s a lovely name and the character herself irritates the bewhosis out of me.

I do know why Jack likes her—I swear I have no idea where the last phrase in that last sentence came from, Mom . . .

To attempt an awkward segue, I also know that if any of you would like to have a chance to win a $25.00  gift card to the awesome indie bookstore  Powell’s (good for online ordering, too), you have until Midnight CST tonight to enter my Second Annual Chrishanukwanzmadanfestivus Contest.  It’s a remarkable silly contest that goes great with spiked egg nog, so why not give it a go?

C’mon—it’ll be fun!


36 thoughts on “Weekend Writing Warriors: Anti-Cupids (Relationship Checklists)

    • You think so? Which part or parts strike you as terrible?

      The way he assumes all women want to marry him, his views about having fun before marriage, or what he admired about Renee?

      I want him to need growth, but I don’t want him to seem hateful . . .

      • He seems to be playing with other people’s feeling, to be calculating their behavior and to expect the girls to have a shift of enjoyment after 3-4 dates. It feels like he can’t actually see anyone for who they are but more how he is expecting them to be like. He is rather cold.

        • Agreed with Linda’s assessment. He’s taking women as a whole, rather than as individuals. And while that saves time, it means he may not recognize “the one” when she appears, because he expects her to be like all the others. If he’s not hit by a lightning bolt or a stream of magic he could very well miss her.

  1. I like that he admits that he usually only dates 10s… I’m assuming that the ones that aren’t 10s are 9 1/2s… At least he’s aware of it!

    And I loved this: “…he couldn’t help wondering whether she was relaxing in his company, or following a relationship schedule.

    Or maybe he was projecting. He’d dated a lot of women who pulled out the metaphorical training regimen and stopwatch after the third or fourth date, as if they’d stopped enjoying themselves and started recording distance, time, and pace.”

  2. Sounds like you might want a “harder” sounding name than Renee…something that grates a little over your mental tongue as you read it. I enjoyed this whole thought process of his. Looking forward to seeing how he grows up.

    • I’m told by an actual man that this philosophy is fairly accurate. In the actual man’s defense, he claims most men grow out of it. Eventually 😉

      (I think he is happy, Karen, but he hasn’t found anyone he wants to make happy, yet)

  3. I liked the way he thinks about the “dating schedule” some women might be on…I enjoyed his thought process because I’m sure there’s a heroine just waiting to bring him down a bit and make him work to be The One. Great excerpt!

  4. Poor Jack sounds bored and a little jaded with the whole dating business. Don’t really blame him, most folks do seem to have an agenda…

    My $0.02 about the name Renee: if you want the reader to see her as hard/tough/annoying I’d go with a name ending in a consonant. Names ending in vowels leave a softer impression. It’s like the difference between gau’oli and glücklich –both mean “happy” but it sounds sweeter in Hawaiian than in German. 😀

  5. I actually saw a TV show years ago where a woman had a schedule for gifts a boyfriend should give her, and if he messed up he had to go back to the beginning. It had to do with the level of intimacy so it wasn’t entirely arbitrary, but it was nuts. So I’m guessing there are women out there with schedules and even stopwatches. ;o)

  6. I love his cocky attitude, and his description of Renee. These kinds of guys can be so fun to write.

    If the name doesn’t feel right, you should go with your gut and change it once you hit on a replacement. I’ve changed a Casey to an Arcadia, and am going to change a Terri to something a little more stand-out. Nothing wrong with the names, but sometimes you want something that’s more than just “there.”

    • They are, Carrie-Anne! Though he’s still a good guy, really. Just . . . not deep.

      Generally, my characters name themselves, but Renee is being a pain in more ways than one!

    • That’s it, I think, Caitlin. He doesn’t understand why a relationship has to end in marriage or it’s considered a failure . . .

      Maybe he should have said that instead?

      • No, I love what he said.

        Unless you’re concerned about the feedback you’re getting, in which case, yes. That makes him much more likeable.

        What, are we supposed to get it right on the first try? Or just settle? Some failures have to happen–I think of them as practice.

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