Lisa Ricard Claro – Author

Romance is good for your heart!

Perspective & Conflict: Life vs. Fiction (Wait! I want a do-over!)

Posted on Mar 8, 2017 by Lisa Ricard Claro   16 Comments | Posted in The Naked Truth

When was the last time you did or said something you wished you could take back? Have you ever had a circumstance where the thing you said or did created irreconcilable problems?

In my novels there is always at least one major instance, and other smaller ones, where a character says or does something he or she wishes could be undone/unsaid. This creates conflict which is, of course, the lifeblood of a good book but not desired in real life. In fiction, no matter what hell an author puts her characters through, resolution is guaranteed if that’s how the author chooses to write it. Unfortunately, in real life, things don’t always work out that way.

In my novel Love Built to Last there is a scene where Maddie, the heroine, experiences extreme emotional trauma and reacts with words that drive a wedge between her and the hero. Most readers sympathize with Maddie’s circumstances and plight, understand how and why she reacts as she does. The same is true for Love to Believe when readers come to understand why the hero breaks off his relationship with the heroine at the most unlikely of moments. In both of these instances, words cause the heartbreak and division. Emotional upheaval ensues. Ahh…romance!

Love to Win is different. In Love to Win the heroine does something she knows she shouldn’t. Actions, now, are much more difficult to explain away or overcome. The interesting thing is that what the heroine does in Love to Win has received mixed responses from readers. One reviewer thought the hero’s reaction to what Brenna (the heroine) did was extreme. “He overreacted,” the reader said. Polar opposite of this was another reader who was so upset she e-mailed me privately, saying, “I can’t believe you made her do something so unforgivable! How could you do that?” After my giddy celebratory dancing—when a reader gets that emotional, it means I’ve done my job—I considered the two different responses: one reader who shrugged and couldn’t see the big deal and another who came unglued.

Which brings me to the Big Thing I’ve talked about before in many blog posts (like this one, for instance and  this one


Those two readers carried a vastly different view of the heroine’s choices and the subsequent fallout. As long as I’ve been writing, it never occurred to me that readers would carry such opposing views of the same event. After all, the scene is written in black and white, right? It isn’t like real life where witnesses to events are famous for getting details wrong. No, this was in writing, with both women reading exactly the same scene, word for word. One shrugged. The other suffered an emotional bloodletting. I can only account for the disparate views by assuming their life experiences led them to their differing perspectives of the same event.

In life, as in fiction, perspective varies depending on the filters through which a person views an event or processes words. Our life experiences, from childhood on, mold the lenses of our perception. I’ve known people who became offended by everything, no matter how benign, and others who were offended by nothing, no matter how egregious. Do you know people who fall to these extremes? You know what I mean—the friend we all tip-toe around, afraid to say the wrong thing for fear of initiating some kind of drama, and the other friend, the one who, after discovering someone deposited a smelly pile of fly-infested horse manure on his front stoop, will take it as a positive sign that the delivery of a horse can’t be far behind.

Most of us fall somewhere in the middle, and that means that no matter our personal perspectives, it is likely we have, at some point, said or done something we later regret. Sometimes we get a pass, and at other times we don’t. Often we chastise ourselves when no one else does. But we deal with the fallout in one form or another. And so do the characters in our novels. The difference for those fictional beings is that a happy ending may be just over the horizon, author willing. For those of us breathing real air, well . . . it’s complicated. We never know how things will turn out. There is no flipping to the back of the book for reassurance that our regretted words/actions will clean up in the wash. All we can do is live, learn, and love deeply. And I guess maybe that’s all that’s required of us in the end.

If you read my novel Love to Win were you shocked by Brenna’s action, what she did to win the contest? Or did you think Dante (the hero) overreacted? And when was the last time you said or did something you regretted later? How did it turn out for you?

Thanks for hanging with me. See you next week for more of the Naked Truth.

Romance is good for your heart! To purchase your copy of Love Built to Last, Love to Believe, or Love to Win in eBook or print, go to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Black Opal Books, or Kobo. Or just click the book cover on the sidebar. That works too. And autographed copies are available for purchase on my home page. 🙂

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16 Responses to "Perspective & Conflict: Life vs. Fiction (Wait! I want a do-over!)"

  1. Comment by Karen Lange
    March 8, 2017 at 9:50 am  

    I remember my mom talking about differences in perspective. She’d witnessed a fatal car accident when she was young and had to testify. She pointed out how different people saw the incident, not just because of their vantage point, but due to their perspective. That always stuck with me, and my desire is that my perspective be as objective as possible. Good food for thought.

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      March 15, 2017 at 8:32 am  

      Witnesses are notorious for getting things wrong. I read once about a teacher who arranged for a stranger to come into the classroom for only a few minutes. After the person left, the teacher asked the kids to write down their description of the person—everything they could remember. The details were all over the place—red shirt, no blue shirt, no green shirt; black hair, blonde, brown. We fill in the blanks of our memories, and we aren’t always right.

  2. Comment by Pat
    March 8, 2017 at 1:54 pm  

    My mouth can sometimes outrace my brain. There are no sparkling unicorns or pretty rainbows found in the result.

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      March 15, 2017 at 8:32 am  

      Haha…I have the same problem, Pat.

  3. Comment by Linda O'Connell
    March 8, 2017 at 4:29 pm  

    Lisa, I love the horse analogy. Two people certainly do see things differently, and yes, it is all about persepctive. Just had this discussion today with another writer.

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      March 15, 2017 at 8:33 am  

      Yes, ma’am. Perspective—and attitude! 🙂

  4. Comment by Cathy C. Hall
    March 8, 2017 at 5:51 pm  

    Yep, it’s why one agent or editor loves a story and the next? Not so much.

    Writing is hard. 🙂

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      March 15, 2017 at 8:34 am  

      You’ve summed it up in a single word. Yep—hard.

  5. Comment by Sioux
    March 9, 2017 at 12:49 am  

    There was a Saturday afternoon I could have visited my mom (a 2-hour drive away) but put it off until later.

    Later was too late. That is something I wish I could do over.

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      March 15, 2017 at 8:35 am  

      I understand. There was a Friday night I could have called my mom, and I didn’t, figured I’d wait until Saturday or Sunday. Saturday was too late. *sigh*

  6. Comment by Theresa Sanders
    March 9, 2017 at 5:20 pm  

    Lisa, as always, you manage to convey a very poignant point with wit and humor (and yes, a horse will follow!). It’s always about perspective, and I also think most of us fall somewhere in the middle between being uber-sensitive vs. letting nothing bother us. I’ve definitely done and said things I wish I could take back or do over. One thing too: if I have a strong intuition about something but then don’t trust myself enough and fail to follow it, I usually end up regretting it. Another great post!

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      March 15, 2017 at 8:36 am  

      Thanks, Teri. And to the intuition—yes! So frustrating when I don’t follow my gut and later wish I had, and then beat myself up because I didn’t.

  7. Comment by ButtonsMom2003
    March 12, 2017 at 5:09 pm  

    I remember that scene in Love to Win. I don’t really agree with what Brenna did but I also think that Dante overreacted. I love your books for the way you always manage to work things out.

    I don’t think I’d be human or normal if there wasn’t at least one thing I wish I could do over and I have many so I must be really normal. lol

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      March 15, 2017 at 8:37 am  

      Haha! I’m really normal, too, apparently. lol

  8. Comment by Tomi Rues
    March 12, 2017 at 10:17 pm  

    I always enjoy your posts. It feels like you are talking to me, sharing your life experiences. You have a nice voice and you are wise (and fun!)

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      March 15, 2017 at 8:37 am  

      Thank you so much, Tomi! Those are kind things to say, and I’ll be smiling all day now. 🙂

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