Wednesday, August 22, 2007


And I don't mean General Motors.

Good old Goals, Motivation and Conflict. How I've scoffed at them, disdained their relevance, pshawed the very idea. How they've come back to bite me in the butt.

I mentioned a dream I had last night in a reply to Sidney from my previous post. Before I went to bed, I'd been wondering what to do about a WIP, how to fix the fact that it seemed a little dull. I proceeded to have a dream where one of the main characters spoke to me. Although he spoke about himself and the heroine in third person, his advice was "Send them on a quest."

He told me they needed to do something. Search for something. He said even if I just sent them to the grocery store, they needed to be looking for something.

I woke up and realized "he" was right. They weren't doing anything--mainly sitting around thinking about each other. Their motivations weren't clear, their goals nebulous at best. Conflict--not so much. Sure, there was some, but none of it was earth shattering. There wasn't much action or growth.

Who knew these things were important to a good story? :P

Sigh... now I have to go back and figure out what these people really want, why they want it, and how they might try to get it. Maybe even throw in a roadblock or two. And I here had a hard enough time just giving them names...

Meanwhile, back on the ranch, C.S. Harris has a great blog about "punching up" paragraphs. Well worth the read. (Of course, her blogs always are.)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Turn on King of the Hill voice... "Dang it Dale!"... Turn off Hank Hill voice....

So, I mentioned in my Barbara Cartland wannabe post that I was working on a short story that I liked. A story whose characters made me smile.

Well, I'll be darned if I didn' t come across an email ad today from a publisher offering a story almost exactly like mine. The age difference between the characters was even the same! (Older woman/younger man) Actually, it was like mine only flipped - she works for him, instead of he works for her; she's domineering instead of timid. Just different enough to make it look like I'd tried to copy hers without completely plagiarizing it.

Hmph and double hmph. I've had that happen before too. I get an idea for a story, only to go to the bookstore and find it on the shelf already.

Has that happened to you? I was almost put off finishing the story, but after reading an excerpt from the one advertised, I felt our "voices" were so different that even though there are many similarities, they will still be two distinct stories.

Still... I'm going to sit here and pout a while. You all go on and have fun without me.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Second Chances

A few nights ago, I couldn't sleep. I don't know why - could have had something to do with getting a call after midnight from the police department a few towns away to come pick up my daughter - my daughter whom I had naively thought was spending the night with a friend a few blocks away. It seems she was found in a highly dangerous, gang infested area out past curfew with a couple of her friends. (Long story about the why of that)

Anyway, once she was home and in bed (her second chance used up there - I let her live) I found I couldn't go back to sleep. I had been on a reading spree, but had nothing new around, so I decided to pick up some books from our condo building's library in the lobby. As I rifled through them, I found to my surprise an old category romance by Maggie Shayne. I didn't know she had written category before (I discovered her after her single title series had taken off.) I took it upstairs with me, though I don't often read category, I decided to give it a chance. It was Maggie, after all.

The book was called "The Littlest Cowboy". Sherriff Garrett Brand finds a baby on his doorstep - a baby he's sure isn't his, even though the note attached says the baby was named after him. Chelsea Brennan arrives at the ranch in search of her nephew and answers about her sister's death.

Sounds like normal category fare, no? In many ways, it was. But I also saw glimpses of what made her so popular in other genres. Parts of the book tugged at my heartstrings even when she wasn't trying, some made me laugh out loud. The hero was lovable, the heroine a little hard for me at first, but I came to care about her at the end for her bravery.

I've read a few categories lately and have been happy to give them a second chance. The Silhouette "Raintree" series is another example of category that I really liked.

Another second chance book for me was Nora Robert's "Morrigan's Cross." I'd tried to read it a few times since I'd heard such good things about it, but couldn't get into it. In desperation one night because I had no new books, I decided to give it another go. I didn't reread anything in the first few chapters even though I didn't remember any of it because I'd never made it beyond that point before. So, I started around chapter 3 or 4 and ended up really liking the book and look forward to reading the rest in the series.

I don't often give books a second chance. In fact, if a book does anything to seriously annoy me in the first few chapters, I'll usually toss it aside never to look at it again. (See Marcia Colette's funny take on this issue.)

Now I'm wondering if perhaps I've been too hasty. What about you - are there any books you decided to give a second chance and ended up liking?

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Identity Crisis

I recently purchased a Katie Melua CD and like it a lot, but I found a review of her music on the web that struck a chord with me. (no pun intended :)

The reviewer mentioned that it was obvious by the several different styles and covers of her music that she was still trying to find her niche.

Hmm.... I went. Hmmm....

Last night, after transcribing handwritten chapters of my latest short story targeted to Ellora's Cave, I had a dream that I was still writing that book. Now, I know I've posted on here before that I think I'm probably not the best person to be writing erotica, and in the dream, I was writing happily away, then became sad when I noticed that the story didn't have enough sex and that the sexual language wasn't graphic enough. I was upset because I liked the story as it was and didn't really want to change it. My characters were sweet, and I really liked how they were coming along.

I woke up realizing that must have been in my subconscious as I wrote because I reread the story, and while there are some graphic details and strong words, it's still pretty tame for erotica. I started wondering if I should just stay true to the story and characters as they present themselves and have to target another publisher, or try to force them to fit the style for Ellora's Cave.

Woe is me. I really wanted to do this for EC - I'd like to have something published by them, I just would. However, not sure if this one will make it. Sigh.

Have you ever tried to force your writing to take a turn to satisfy a publisher/editor/"the market" and if so, how did that turn out?