Wednesday 30 March 2016

Abnormal Service

Apologies to everyone for the interruption of service. I had surgery at the beginning of March and am not yet functioning on all cylinders. Progress is being made, but it is slow. If I sit down for any length of time, I fall asleep. :(

Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible. Next week, I hope.

Wednesday 23 March 2016

So - what did you think?

Reviews - when you, the readers, tell authors what you think.

Power. Don't you just love it? And why not - readers are the ones shelling out good money to be entertained. And authors really do value the feedback. Really.

Writers always have a love/hate relationship with reviews. Love the good ones, hate the bad ones, right?

Well? Did you enjoy it?
Actually, it's not as simple as that. We've all read the glowing super enthusiastic review that makes the writer unfurl like a flower in the sunshine, but also wince slightly because it incidentally gives away some of the plot. And the thoughtful low star can be painful but useful if it makes some valid and interesting points that give an author food for thought. You can't change the book in print - but you can bear it in mind for the next one. (Thanks to a disgruntled reviewer, I now know how to spell 'breathe'.) We won't mention the one stars allocated because of a deficiency in the packaging or delivery. Those really do hurt.

We writers have to be brave. And it does not come easily. A book is a personal thing and often takes a long time to produce - almost certainly longer than it takes to read. Criticism always hurts - even when it is useful. But if we don't know about likes and dislikes, how can we produce more of the good stuff and improve the not so good.

So, if you have just read a book that you loved, and want to say thanks to the author for the time you have spent with their characters - leave a review. Tell your friends. Tell your enemies. Tell everyone.
And if you have not enjoyed your experience, well, you had better tell us about that too.

Leave a review. Please.

And know that your effort is appreciated. If sometimes through gritted teeth.

Wednesday 16 March 2016

The triumph of hope

Every year, in October/November I plant bulbs. Every year I do it rather grudgingly, as it means sorting out pots and compost and other stuff in the cold and possibly the rain. And, let's face it, a bulb
does not look like a very promising thing when you put it in the soil. But I do it because I know that in a few months time I will be very glad I did. If for no other reason than that I get flowers that come out before the snails have woken up. After that, it's a lottery.

I did it last year, and now that they are starting to flower, the few hours in the cold were worth it.

The triumph of hope - putting that small brown globe into the earth and getting back something that looks - and often smells - heavenly.

A lot of people a rather snide about romance books with happy endings. They are unrealistic. They raise unreasonable expectations. They do not reflect real life. They do not prepare the readers for the ups and downs of sustaining a relationship.

Yes - all that is probably true, But we like them anyway. The naysayers don't really get the point - that we, the readers, do understand all that, but that we want some of the good stuff too. Want to believe in love and happy ever after. It lifts us up. Life is not all about sorting washing and school runs. Alright, it is the romance that gets us into the sorting and the running. But isn't it that which makes it all worthwhile?

When you get to the end of a romantic novel it has to leave you with something positive. Something that will get you through the day.

The triumph of hope?

Wednesday 9 March 2016

Whose head is this?

When you write from multiple points of view as I do - both the hero and heroine, the villain/s and sometimes minor characters, if I can slip them through without the editor complaining, then choices have to be made. The villain's Point Of View is easy. The Work In Progress has two villains, with very different motives, and I am enjoying both.

But what about the protagonists? Whose head should we be in for this scene? Most of the time it comes naturally. If hero and heroine are apart then it's easier still, although then there is a decision on who you stay with and when you swap between them. I try to balance the time between H and H. But what about scenes when they are together - whose POV should it be then? The standard advice is to write from the POV of the character with the most to lose, but it's not always like that.

OK, the grass is green, but not the sea.

Take a recent scene I was writing, which is actually what got me thinking about this. I'd expected us to be in the hero's head at that point. Then I realised that I very much wanted to describe the colour of a dress as being sea green. And no way was that going to happen while I was in Matt's head. Very few guys would contemplate a colour called sea green. Some of them would struggle with green. Then there are the quibbles about the sea being various shades of grey, not green at all. At least it's not green around here. So it was change the dress, or change the POV. I started to change the dress, then realised I wanted that more than I wanted Matt's take on the scene, so Emma got it, and everything worked out fine. At least I hope it has.

This writing stuff - there's a lot more going on than you think.

Wednesday 2 March 2016

A suitable job for a heroine?

While heroines don't often get involved in a great deal of housework (See post 13th January) they do usually have a job. Which means that the author gets to chose a career for them. I like something interesting, that sounds like it would be fun to do, so I am always looking round and storing up ideas. (If I was not a writer, this would be called 'being nosy.')

I've recently had to find homes for a lot of my late mother's possessions - which means that some of my dad's stuff that she had kept has also found it's way to me.

One of these was an old step ladder. My dad made it a very long time ago  and it has been very well used. Now I have a big butch metal step ladder that has plenty of space to grab hold of when I'm trying to hang light bulbs from Victorian ceilings. Dad's ladder is small, to be easily transportable and doesn't. And if I'd know how scary it was to use, I'd have kidnapped it from mum a long time ago.


Anyway. I wanted to keep it for sentimental reasons - it's part of my child hood and it was my DAD's. But I didn't want to use it for the purpose it was intended. So - I've painted it and now it is going to be a bookshelf.

Which has given me an idea for a heroine who does that sort of thing for a living. Now she just needs a book.