Friday, February 29, 2008
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Monday, February 25, 2008
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
It seems there's a contingent of readers out there who are sick and tired of the heroines in romances novels always being stunningly beautiful. On one forum, they even list their gripes and ask authors to please not write these types of heroines anymore. Here's just an example ---
- No more blondes, please
- No more redheads
- No more blue eyes
- No more green eyes, or amethyst eyes,, or violet eyes
- No more unrealistic figures, such as melon-sized boobs, or impossibly small waists (you know, the ones a guy can span with his hands and have his fingers touch) LOL!
Get the picture? It appears this (very small, I would think) contingent of readers wants us to write heroines with bad hair, preferably brown. They'd also like brown eyes, I'm guessing because that's the only color they didn't ask us not to write. They'd also like the heroines to have average figures. By average I'm thinking anywhere from a rack of bones to a plus, plus size.
Hooo-kay. I guess these readers don't realize that romance heroines do actually come in all shades and shapes. They only seem to be paying attention to (and griping about) the ones who happen to be beautiful.
On the other hand, these same readers had no complaint whatsoever about the stud-muffin heroes we write. I guess they kinda like them tall, and with all those ripply muscles, not to mention certain other exaggerated (ahem) endowments. They definitely want a hero who's drool-worthy and will play into their fantasy. Go figure. Looks to me like there's a bit of a double standard going on out there. What else is new?
Monday, February 18, 2008
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Thursday, February 14, 2008
I used to be a pantser. No, that doesn't mean I went around jerking down people's pants and exposing their hineys to embarrass them. It means, I wrote by the seat of my pants, just flew into the wind and wrote whatever came to mind for my characters and that's what happened next. Just so you know, pantsers are often known to paint themselves into a corner, even though they start off with what they think is a thoroughly great story idea. Hey, it happens.
Then... I learned about a marvelous, and hair-pulling, little thing called "craft of writing."
Now, I'm a plotter (and, yes, oft-times plodder). Now, my story must have an inciting event, a first turning point, a black moment, a happy and satisfying resolution, etc. etc. There also must be solid goals, motivation, and conflict (both internal and external) for both my primary characters, and sometimes even a couple of the secondary players. And all the goals (ideally) must somehow conflict. All of which sometimes makes me wonder if there are any sane people writing genre fiction.
Ahhhhh!!! (that was a scream, in case you're wondering.
Okay. Plotting aside, let's move on to craft itself. Now, when I begin a new manuscript, everything I've learned about the craft of writing a novel all leaps out at me and starts screaming to be heard. Sometimes the din is so loud and confusing, I can barely think, much less string together a coherent sentence. There are soooo many things to remember and constantly think about.
- Have I started in the right place?
- Am I bringing out the emotion?
- Are my characters sympathetic, someone a reader would care about?
- Am I showing, rather than telling? Which goes hand in hand with, is my writing immediate? Does it pull the reader into the scene?
- Am I using all five senses to add detail and texture?
- Am I using active verbs?
- Am I upping the stakes? Must keep upping the stakes!
- And what about sexual tension? Good Lord! I need to go back and layer in some more tension!
Arrrhhhhhhh!!! (yes, that was another acream -- more like a roar)
(taking a deep, relaxing breath) Ahh, the joys of writing. Sometimes I long for the good old days when I wrote simply for the fun of it, wrote from pillar to post, whatever popped into my head, and hoped it all worked out.
There is some good news in all of this. Yes, craft does drive me nuts sometimes, especially when I'm beginning a new manuscript. But once I get into it, and settle into my rhythm, it all turns into second nature and just falls into place as if by instinct. Lovely. And the best part is, I never paint myself into a corner anymore. I know where I'm going before I begin because I have a plan. So, it's all good.....
And in case you're wondering.... Yes, I've just started a new manuscript and I'm in that insane place where the craft is all screaming at me to pay attention, and I'm wondering if my narrative has started to sound choppy because I'm slipping in and out of deep pov within the same paragraph, and I'm sweating pulling off a heroine with a handicap without having her come across as an object of pity to a reader, and I'm wondering if my hero can get away with some of the things I have planned for him because the heroine is handicapped. And I'm wondering why I even chose to write a heroine with a disability, but, damn, it makes for some great conflict!
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
I think one of the biggest nail-biters an author has during the publishing process is waiting to see what her cover will look like. When I saw this, my heart sank down to the floor because it's neither western looking, nor does it look a bit historical. My first thought was, "Oh my God! How will I ever sell this to anyone as a western? It has absolutely nothing to do with my story. And what's up with the bald woman and the door!" Now, don't get me wrong. It's very nice cover and the artist did a great job, it just wasn't right for my book.
Fortunately, I didn't have to say a thing. My editor took even more exception to it than I did, and she went to bat to have it changed. You can see the final result over in the top sidebar.
Here's something to consider, if you're thinking of publishing with a small press. Your cover won't be the result of John DeSalvo and some gorgeous female model dressed in period clothing and posing amid the correct props to match your story. The cover artists at the small presses use stock photos and Photoshop them. The results are pretty amazing, considering they only have a limited selection of shots to work with.
Within just the past few months, I've had two writer friends contact me with panicky pleas for help. They'd gotten their covers and hated them. Even though I couldn't help, I did try to lend moral support. I'm happy to say the issues were resolved in both instances and they ended up with covers they're very happy with.