Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Apology

Ever say you're sorry when you didn't mean it?  If you’re like most of us, I'm sure you have.  There are times we’re asked for an apology, and we don't even know what for.

The stereotype dictates Canadians as saying I'm sorry more than most, and I testify to the fact that I may be inclined to say it about minor things that don't even matter, even about things that are not my fault.  You didn’t hear what I said?  Oh, I'm sorry.  You didn’t get the email I sent you?  Oh, I’m sorry.  (You get it…we're sorry for everything, even when it’s not necessary! Lol)

But, in all seriousness sometimes as the human race we apologize to get out of an awkward situation.  Sometimes apologies make us negate our pride.  And just because we speak the words I'm sorry, it doesn't mean we're forgiven.  Then there are people who rarely apologize.

See, apologies are complicated, and not only for the person speaking the words, but the person receiving the apology.  We are complex.  We rarely ever experience just one feeling at once, normally we’re a tangle of them, and this transfers to the speaking of and accepting two little words:  I’m sorry.

How can we use this in our writing?

Have a character demand an apology from another who may have insulted them in some way.  Make it so the character doesn’t know what for, or want to.

Maybe you have a “Canadian-type character” who apologizes a lot.

Have a character who never says the words “I’m sorry” and provide a reason for it whether it’s due to pride or indifference, or something larger.  Maybe they don’t really see what difference an apology makes.

Maybe have a relationship hinge on one character needing an apology, and the one who owes it is too proud to speak the words.  It can be a conflict that drives them apart until things happen in the book that convinces the one to apologize.


Possibly a character offers a sincere apology to another but it's not accepted. 

What about you?  Have you been able to incorporate the aspect of an apology into your writing?