I read a lot. And I read in a lot of genres. But I’m going to talk about romance specifically. Part of this applies to all genres, but some of it is specific to romance.
I read quite a bit of romance, and I’ve read books I loved, books I disliked, and books that fell somewhere in between. The books I’ve noticed that fall flat for me and don’t entertain me like they should have something in common. There’s little or no real conflict. There’s nothing to make your heart hurt. Nothing to bring tears to your eyes or make you want to strangle one or more of the characters. Take Kait Nolan’s newest release, To Get Me To You. I wanted to slap both the hero and the shero for being so stupid. Why were they both being so stubborn? Couldn’t they just get together and talk about it? This book made me FEEL. It made me feel invested in the characters. I wanted things to work out, and I was frustrated that they didn’t seem to be. Kait did her job as an author. She made me care. And that’s done partly with conflict. With romance, you know you’re eventually going to get a happy ending. But while you’re reading, there’s always that little niggling doubt. That doubt makes it interesting. You know a romance author is going to make things work out in the end. Right? *bites fingernails and hopes*
Now there’s external conflict and internal conflict. External conflict is when outside forces hinder the characters from getting what they want or need. Internal conflict is when something inside the characters is hindering them. In my opinion, internal conflict is much more powerful. But external conflict can be heartbreaking, too, depending on what it is. Kait’s book had external conflict, too. You need to read it so you’ll know what it is. 🙂
My Vampires’ Curse trilogy had both kinds of conflict. Libby loved Adam, but she couldn’t get past the fact that, as a vampire, he needed to feed either from her or from a blood donor. She didn’t want to share him, but she didn’t want to feed him. This continued through three novellas until it was resolved. It led to a lot of tension. Then there were external conflicts involving lots of bad guys.
What spurred this whole thing was a conversation I had with someone about lack of conflict in books. I started thinking about it. So if you’re a new author, think about what you can do to cause conflict between your main characters. You know, sometimes, this can be a lot of fun. Torture those characters! 🙂
Here’s where you can buy the two books mentioned in the post. *shameless promotion*
To Get Me to You
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There’s been some progress this past week. I finished the beta read and got it back to the author. I’ve made a lot of progress on my paid proofreading job, which is due the end of this month. Once that’s done, I’ll get the other proofing job started, because it’s also due by the end of the month.
Now, for my own stuff. I can’t believe it’s only nine days until my Facebook release party! That means I better get those edits done quickly! The major thing that needs to be done is adding the scene a beta reader suggested. I also got some writing done on my cozy mystery.
Okay, so here’s why I actually got some of my own writing stuff done. Kait told me I HAD to work on my own stuff for 30 minutes four days a week BEFORE I worked on anyone else’s stuff. And she sent a little animated pic of Dean Winchester watching me, so I have to do it. Kait and Dean say so.
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Posted in Uncategorized, tagged jimmy thomas, julian mora, justin tatum, kait nolan, lynn lorenz, michael hendrickson, michael mecucci, mr casanova contest, plotting, plotting with spreadsheet, shawn cunningham, susan bischoff on August 22, 2013|
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During lunch today, I took Lynn Lorenz’s spreadsheet template and started (oh my!) doing a little plotting. I actually filled in chapters and scenes that I had already done on my WIP and will work on the future stuff tonight or this weekend. I can already see that I’m going to have to tweak it a little and do it my own way. Lynn makes a great big cell for each chapter, and I have trouble fitting stuff in. I think I’ll make rows for each chapter and maybe have columns in each row for my scenes. I don’t know. I just love playing with spreadsheets. I do want to pay attention to her plot points, though.
I remember when I was eating with Kait Nolan and Susan Bischoff one time, they were trying to explain to me that plotting didn’t have to be scary. That I didn’t have to lose my creativity. That I could still be flexible. Then I tried it and failed miserably. Did I do it wrong? IS there a wrong? Was I just not ready then? Or was the thought of USING A SPREADSHEET what sparked my interest? I don’t know, but I was all excited after I talked to Kait and Susan that time, and then I was disappointed that I couldn’t do it. I think maybe we should have talked about it longer, and they should have beat me senseless so I could have awakened as a plotter. LOL. So let’s see how my latest venture in plotting will go. I’ll keep you all posted. 🙂
Now for something fun. These are the guys we got to spend time with all week at the RNConvention in Vegas. Four of them were the Mr. Casanova contestants, and the one in the middle is a Hunk-O-Mania dancer and a friend of Jimmy Thomas, who was the creator of this convention. Their names are Justin Tatum, Michael Mecucci, Julian Mora, Michael Hendrickson. and Shawn Cunningham. Shawn won the Mr. Casanova contest. The guy is 6’8″ tall! And all of these guys are really sweet and friendly. You know, because it doesn’t matter that they’re GORGEOUS.
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I want to send out a special thanks to Anya Kelleye and Kait Nolan for their generosity and time. They have both sent big shouts out to the world about my current predicament. But, please don’t think I don’t know that many more of you are doing things to help. There are so many of you, I can’t list you all, and I don’t want to leave anyone out, so I’ll just say, you know who you are, and I know who you are. Thank you.
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Kait Nolan once said the Black Dagger Brotherhood Books by J.R. Ward were like crack. I resisted reading them for a long time because, from what I’d heard, they sounded kind of silly. Not so! They ARE crack. Honestly, I can’t put my finger on the exact reason they are so addictive. I think it’s because they are so intense, and you get entangled in their world. And each book, although it’s about a certain brother, is a teaser for what might happen in the next book. You have to keep reading.
Anyway, I’m about an hour away from finishing book #3. I like to listen to the audio books for this series. The narrator is awesome. Anyway, this has been my favorite book so far. This one is jam packed with emotion. This is the only one so far that has actually made me CRY. More than once. There are a couple of things that happen that are so sad. One of them will stay sad. I think the other situation will work out in a happy way. But I don’t KNOW for sure. When a book touches my emotions like this, I feel like I really got my money’s worth in buying it. I plan on listening to all of them, if possible. I will have to listen to some other things in between because I don’t think I can just listen to them all back to back. My tastes are too eclectic to stick with the same genre for a long time. But you can bet I’ll be back to read the next one!
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I’ve been hearing a lot about how important a good cover is. And I agree. It’s very, very important. Many readers won’t even take a look at a book’s description if the cover isn’t appealing to the eye. But I’ve found that the cover isn’t what catches my eye first. It isn’t the most important thing in deciding whether or not to check out the book. For me, it’s the title. I don’t know why that takes precedence over the cover, but for me it does. I’ve been looking at a lot of free books lately because I get emails offering them to me. And I’ve found that even if they’re free, I pass them over if I’m not interested in the title.
So what makes a good title? For me, it has to be intriguing. It has to let me know just a tad about what I might find in the book. Or if it doesn’t, it should make me WONDER what’s in the book. For mystery titles, sometimes the name of the place sparks my interest. Many mystery books use the location as part of the title. If the name of the place sounds spooky, it’s going to catch my eye every time. Ruth Ann Nordin, a best-selling romance writer, just released a regency romance called “Her Counterfeit Husband”. Now that title draws me in. Why is her husband “counterfeit”? I want to know why. Susan Bischoff’s “Heroes Til Curfew” interests me. What about these people makes them heroes? And why is there a curfew? They must be young. Kait Nolan’s “Red” makes me want to take a second look because the title has one word, and I want to know what it means. This is what I’m talking about. The title makes you wonder. I won’t mention any titles that I think are terrible for the same reason I don’t do bad reviews. But I’ve seen some bad ones. And I’ve seen some very, very good ones.
This happens to be a real problem for me as a writer. Why? Because I’m terrible at thinking up titles for my books. I’ve actually had some help with some of my titles. I was very, very lucky with Soul of a Vampire. I thought of the title and the basic story at the same time. It just popped in my head. And I think it’s a good title. The word “vampire” still gets the attention of readers because the vampire craze isn’t quite over yet. Although, it’s never really completely over, because vampire stories have been around forever. And the word “soul” is intriguing to me. It would make me wonder what’s up with this vampire’s soul. Oh how I wish all book titles were this easy for me. I know I’m going to have a real challenge with that when I write the story my husband thought up. It’s kind of a complicated story, but I think it’s going to be a good one if I can write it properly. And if I can think of a good title! I might make him do the title. LOL
What about you? Is a title important to you? Or will the book cover draw you in enough to check out the blurb?
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