Monthly Archives: June 2008

We’ve Only Got Four Minutes to Save the World…

Am I the only one who feels like there has to be some story behind that song by Madonna and my boy, Justin? Four minutes to save the world from what? Why four minutes? Why not twenty-six minutes or two days? Every time I hear that song I feel like I should be inspired to come up with a story to match it. I haven’t yet but someday I think I will.

Do you ever hear a song that inspires you to write a story? Not a song that reminds you of a story that you already have, but one that sparks the imagination. This actual happens to me fairly frequently. Like this one. http://youtube.com/watch?v=Sgo6O63U4i8 I heard it one day and I thought, “What sort of woman is this? What kind of character would she be?” And the result was Helen Harding who turned out to be the heroine of my Birdwell, Texas mystery series. I appreciate Billy Joel for that.

Or this one. http://youtube.com/watch?v=F8rHJrXgm7Y I heard it on the radio and totally latched on to the second verse about the man who’d had the accident. Thus was born Evan Quinn, or just Quinn for the most part, a man who’d had a promising career as a race car driver and who now has a prosthetic leg and a job as a pharmacist that puts him in exactly the right position to solve a murder.

Or this one. http://youtube.com/watch?v=CQ7aXV6xm3w This song inspired my one and only straight category romance, aside from the Presents I just wrote. A story of a singer hero and a heroine who was married to him for one week when he was a nobody and now has his son to show for it even though she’s never bothered to tell him. But they don’t still get together like the people in the G.B. song do. In fact, they never speak at all.

Anyway, do you ever hear songs that tell you a story. Granted, it may be a story that has nothing whatsoever to do with the real story of the song. But it tells you a story none the less. Tell me about them. Pretty please.

AJ

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Filed under AJ, misc., writing

What’s Not To Like

This will be my last entry at Tales for a bit. I’m cutting back on my writing to focus on the Stalkers and my ever growing non-writing project list. Blogging here has been a wonderful experience and appreciate The Tales Crew for the opportunity.

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 So I read this last month with a character whose only son was brutally murdered and the killer found not guilty. I could relate, empathize with the pain of her loss and her anger about the failings of the justice system. But I did not like her. If I hadn’t been reading the book for research purposes, I would have skimmed over her parts.

Another book I read opens with the heroine in jail in a foreign country and calling her husband to bail her out. He refuses to help her. I’m totally sympathizing with her. If I could have, I would I have posted bail for her. By the time I got to the end of the book– No, I’m lying. By the time I got to twenty, I felt her butt deserved to be in jail for being so stupid.

For me, relating to a character isn’t enough to connect me to a character. I’m a great empathizer. To keep me interested and invested in a story, I need to like at least one main character. I’ll struggle through a book or sit through a movie for that one likeable character.

I was trying to think of a character who I couldn’t relate to, but liked. The only character I came up with is Hannibal Lecter. Despite his cannibalistic and psychotic tendencies, I found him pretty likeable.  I still haven’t thought of female or non-villian character who falls into this category.

Have you read or watched characters you could relate to, but didn’t like?  If so, what was it that you didn’t like about them?  And what could you relate to?   Are there any characters you’ve liked, but couldn’t relate to?

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Filed under Kimberly, writing

I need SEX!

Cry for me, people. Sad really.

Yes I still have batteries and all that good stuff, but seriously, I want real sex. Real as in WITH A PARTNER! Wasn’t that supposed to be part of this marriage thing?

Okay, I NEED real sex by next Tuesday, period.

Why the deadline? Because in my estimation, that is when I will hit the BIG O chapter in my current WIP. For me, it is hard to write really intense passionate loving sex scenes when it has been waaaaaaaay too long in between marital cookies to borrow AJ’s term. My Hubby travels for work, I arrange my schedule monthly around his, ergo, we do not often have a night home together. Awful hard to have a mutual orgasm when you are in two separate places.

To try and relate this to writing, since that is what I am supposed to be writing on, it is awfully hard to write that same intense scene if your two main characters are not on the same page mentally or physically. In this WIP, although both H and h are lusting over one another, one wants the physical end more. And surprise, it is not the HERO!! Yup, I have a horny heroine who is doing her damnedest(is that spelled right?) to seduce the hero. He is holding back as admirably as he can, but, yeah, things are getting a bit HARD to handle. *snicker like a 12 yr old boy*

Among friends, some express concern for this heroine’s marketability. She has such, well, masculine, ideas on sex. I am still trying to figure out why men get to monopolize the corner on sexual urges. Hello!! They peak out at 18! Women hit their stride much later in life, when they understand their bodies more and appreciate the experience they have. Why should I curb my heroine’s normal appetites? It’s not like she is standing on a street corner with a mattress tied to her butt popping Spanish flies. She is an aggressive, sexually confident woman who has no issues with consenting adults behaving in a responsible and yet adventurous manner. She ain’t cheap or easy but there is no playing hard to get either.

How many of us loathe the timid virgin brides of romance yesteryear? They fall under the guiding hand of a sexually sophisticated hero and are suddenly tranformed into a sex kitten in bed. Uhm, yeah, sure, Okay, but…

What’s wrong with actually being that kitten? My character does face repercussions from her actions from peers, but she is unapologetic. She is who she is and since she doesn’t have to sit home watching reruns of Sex in the City unless she wants to, who cares? Her skirt is no shorter than yours, her blouse no more revealing. She doesn’t seduce or target married men and she does recall all her lovers names. There is a difference between confident and hooker.

With all the erotica and romantica being sold today, I refuse to believe that today’s reader only wants to read about strong sexual men. They have lived through the 60’s and 80’s and cut their teeth on MTV and Youtubes like I’m F**king Matt Damon. These are not the repressed flowers who wait for a knight on a white stallion. Today’s readers carpool six 5 years olds, mow the grass and fix the damn sink when their Significant Other is too busy or too preoccupied. They take their lives into their hands so why not their sexuality? They do in real life. So the heroines of romance whom they look to for escape should not be some nervous Nelly. If men have found the Bedroom Divas alluring for centuries, why should that woman be hidden behind a “nice” girl facade in today’s romance? Luckily this is changing although slooooooooowly. Very very few romances that I have read have a heroine who is unafraid to admit she has had more lovers than her partner. (I am open to suggestions for my TBR pile)

There is no connection between being “nice’ and expressing your sexuality. Or rather, there shouldn’t be. The two are NOT mutually exclusive. But so many times, the biggest complainers are other women. “She acts like a slut.” Does she really? Or is she just not afraid to show the same appetites as her male counterpart, the one you find so damned sexy? Why is the trait you despise in her one you admire in a man? Could it be that MAYBE you feel just a bit threatened by her? Hmmm, could you be projecting your insecurities onto her?

Should ALL heroines be like mine? No, of course not. Just as there are many many levels of sexual comfort for real women, the genre of romance should depict ALL types of heroines, from the (gag) timid virgin to the Sexual Goddess. A reader will seek out that which they are comfortable with or intrigued by. It is my job (pleasegodohplease) to provide those readers with a heroine I FEEL is part of today’s society. Do you have to like my heroine? Nope. I hope someone does. But if she is not your cup of tea, that is okay. All the flavors of the rainbow, ya know? Just let each color get equal representation.

Embrace your Sexual Goddess, however overt she may or may not be. Me, I am off to by more batteries and pencil in a quickie for Monday afternoon.

9 Comments

Filed under Inez, writing

Writing Software: Do You Use It? Why or Why Not?

In the midst of getting the initial chapters of my new WIP out of my head and into my computer, I’ve found myself fascinated by a discussion thread over at Romance Divas. The Divas are discussing writing software. Specifically yWriter and Liquid Story Binder. I’m not familiar with either, so I’ve been reading along, wondering what I’m missing.

I’ve written all my work to date in good old Word. I have two templates I move between with ease…one for novels, one for short stories. The main difference being the novel template includes a cover page. LOL

I write the entire manuscript in a single file, but then I usually write sequentially. The one time I varied from that pattern was Dragons’ Choice. I still wrote it all in one file, but when I finished I had to rearrange the chapters and scenes to weave an appropriate tale. Even so, I worked in Word. When it came time to move text around, I simply activated the document map and outline mode and rearranged to my heart’s content. Easy Peasy.

Still, I read these discussions and think, “Wouldn’t it be grand to have my character worksheets, research notes, miscellaneous plot musings, everything available on screen while I’m writing? Wouldn’t it be nice to have pictures of my H/h readily available to help me stay in character?”

I don’t know. If I had all those bells and whistles available, would I use them, or would I discover the lure of the time-sink? “If I could just find the perfect dragon picture, I’d be able to write this scene…”

What do you think? Do you use specialized writing software? Do you love it? Or have you found (as I’m afraid I would) that after the novelty wore off, you returned to your trusty word processor?

Decisions, decisions…or in my case, indecision.

—Debbie

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Filed under Uncategorized

My L key isn’t working

Every other key on the keyboard is working just fine. The L, however, requires a good hard shove, so every time I type an L word I have to back up and push down on the L. Sometimes it’s the A on my keyboard. Sometimes it’s the F. Sometimes all keys fire at normal – even stellar – speeds. If I could just predict which character (fictional and keyboardial) is going to be the troublesome one on a given night, before I sit down to start pounding out the words, I could plan ahead, be prepared for it, and skip the “Oh, come ON” frustration when it catches me by surprise.

My projects are full of unexpected holes ately. Reluctant characters (fictional), sticky keys, a mysterious dropped stitch that left a hole in the ankle seam of the footie I’m knitting. Let’s not even broach the topic of my holey memory…remember last week when I forgot to blog until Inez asked me, at nearly midnight, “Did you forget to blog?” Gah.

Maybe it’s the summer wave, and I’ll just keep on riding it through til fall. Summer for me means a complete inability to focus (as I replied to Haven last week). Projects that I could whip through in a few days are actually taking a few weeks. I blame the sunshine. Are the rest of you getting anything done?

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Filed under Emily

The relentless pursuit of average

This isn’t a cry to have people pet my ego, first of all.  I think that’s the most important thing to note here, lol.  So lately I’ve been having kind of an odd experience with writing.  Well, not with writing so much as it is the end result of my writing.  I’ve been getting rejections that are personalized and complimentary.  We liked it.  But the message underneath is, “We liked it, but we didn’t like it enough to publish it.”  And I’ve been getting things like third place in contests.  “It’s better than other things, but not quite good enough.”

I feel like I’m now in this weird place where I’m better than a lot of other people, closer to being published than I’ve ever been before, but still too average.  Have you ever felt that way before?  I don’t like being average.   I’ve been told I’m better than that for years but now I sort of feel like I’m on that mid-list area of waiting to publish.

So what do you do with this time?  I know I’ll get published eventually and I honestly think that any skills I get now will come from just more writing.  So what do I do with this, “You’re good but not good enough” time in my life?  Write more.  I’ve got a good eight finished novels already that I don’t know what to do with.  Of, course, I will keep writing.  It’s what I do.  But how do you break out of the relentless pursuit of average?

AJ

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Filed under AJ, writing

When Things Don’t Go Right

Right now I’m working on a website and it’s giving me fits! Yes, I know I could be writing, but hey, this is my day job. The problem is certain elements in the website just don’t want to fit correctly no matter how I wiggle, tweak or bribe them, they just refuse to work.

Then I noticed that it was nearly noon and today was my day to post. Yikes! With my mind cluttered full of coding mumbo-jumbo, it was hard to think of a topic that pertains to writing and then it hit me! Duh! What can we do with our writing to make things go right again? We tweak it, move stuff around and even beg the oh mighty muse to help us out. But what happens when it’s still not right? What do we do then?

Cry, scream and cuss at the screen? Maybe…

No, what we do is go back to when things were right and see how we managed to get off that comfortable path. For a pantster this is really difficult because we often go down several paths and never know what one might lead to. Now those of you who plot, plan and have glorious spreadsheets, I wonder how you got lost in the first place. But admit it, you have something to fall back on.

With websites you generally start to looking for little typos in your coding. Like those pesky semi-colons that always cause so much havoc if not there. Sadly this will not work in a plot. But you can look at your chapters and perhaps pin-point a paragraph or sentence that left you drifting in “I don’t know what’s going on” land.

Your turn to share: Have you got lost in your wip and something didn’t work? How did you might it right again? Readers, have you read a book where the author went off on a different plot line than you had expected? Did the book recover it’s storyline?

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Filed under writing