Author, Chicklit, Drama, fans, Fiction, Romance, writing

In the Interest of Drama

Whether it’s an argument or a stunning revelation, people especially women, love drama. It’s the reason the Housewives franchise of reality TV shows is ongoing and it’s the reason viewers flock to watch Scandal every Thursday. People love sitting safely on the other side of their TV’s or their books, watching the drama explode around them.

With out books, we can have all the paranormal activity, romance, and mystery you can think of, but what really makes a difference with our readers is the human drama. The best advice I’ve ever seen from a fellow writer was if you want to create drama, throw a character who has nothing to do with a particular situation, right smack dab in the middle of it.

As writers, it’s something we take into account with every project. Over the past couple months we’ve adopted the philosophy of making story decisions in the interest of drama. Say a character has an announcement to make, how would that announcement make the bigger impact? Who can we throw in the mix to shake things up? What if someone has a secret? Who would be the worst possible person to learn that secret? How can we make the biggest shock waves across our book?

When it comes down to it, people want the arguing, the fighting, and the conflict, with none of the real life stress. Give them what they want and you’ll be rewarded.

 

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audience, fans, molvies, superheroes, Uncategorized, women

Superheroes Aren’t Just for Geeks

thor

Last weekend, I went to the theater to see Thor. I grew up with my father reading his Silver Surfer and Spiderman comics, which got me somewhat interested in the genre. Its been decades since I’ve picked up a comic, probably around the last time I picked up a She-ra doll, but I’m very familiar with the characters. I may not read the comics anymore, but I like to watch them on the big screen.

It being the first week of release of this particular movie, I decided to get my seat early. Sitting there I had a ringside seat as the other film goers found their seat. I was quite surprised to find that probably half or over half of the patrons were women. True, some of them may have randomly picked Thor, but for the most part I think Chris Hemsworth and Idris Elba were the big draw. That would explain the gratuitous shirtless scene in the movie with Thor. That scene definitely wasn’t for the fan boys, it was a shout out for the ladies.

Going back over the super hero movies that have been released recently, the common factor is that most of them are attractive men. You’ve got Chris Evans, Hugh Jackman, and Henry Cavill as leading men. All of them good looking actors playing superheroes, all of them with a female fan base.

I for one have watched just about anything Chris Evans was in, years before he ever played Captain America. I happen to think he’s good eye candy. Anyone remember Cellular?

And the buzz with the Man of Steel from the ladies over the summer wasn’t about the action scenes, but how well Mr. Cavill looked in that Superman suit. I for one enjoyed the shirtless scenes with the manly facial scruff. ; )

My own mother practically swoons every time The Dark Knight Rises is on TV and she hears Bane’s distinctive voice. She was so crushed when I told her he wouldn’t be in the next Batman reboot.

The trend even spreads outside of the superhero movie genre. I wasn’t interested in The Fast and the Furious until they announced that The Rock would be appearing in Fast Five. As long as he’s in the franchise I’ll park my butt in the seat for every installment. Though Fast Six should be called The Fast and the Furious: Sexy, Sweaty Bald Men in Tank Tops.

I’m glad to see that film makers are paying attention to what women want when it comes to movies. We don’t all want the same predictable rom-com’s and period pieces. Sometimes we just want mindless action and a good looking man saving the day. And speaking of the Rock, he was also the only reason I went to see that awful GI Joe sequel and if he’s in the next one they can go ahead and take my money right now.

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audience, Author, Chicklit, Drama, fans, Fiction, Indie Author, Romance, Uncategorized, women

How Much is Too Much?

Last week while in the midst of writing the third book of The Body Hunters Series we had the discussion of how far we really wanted to delve into our mythology. Though our series is about a pair of detectives with extraordinary abilities which they use to solve mysteries; at its heart our story is about two unique people working together while trying to sort out the difficulties of their relationship. What we had in mind was creative and would have made for an interesting story, but was it so far into paranormal mythology that it would turn off the readers?

As an example we referenced the HBO series True Blood. Though I’m late getting into the series, starting halfway through Season 5, the common complaint I hear about it is that they got too convoluted. People miss the earlier episodes when it was a scandalous supernatural tale about who hooked up with whom. I can say the same about a show I enjoyed during its first season ABC’s Revenge. The first season was simple; a young woman with a list of names going after the people who wronged her. The second season of Revenge was too far removed from the simple concepts of season one. I gave up watching halfway through and to date have yet to even watch the second season finale.

Keeping these lessons in mind, we decided to scale back on the storyline we were planning. Though the storyline is still present, it’s not an all encompassing plot like we originally planned.

While it would have been a compelling story with deeper supernatural elements, we listen to our readers first and foremost. Though our superfans enjoy the paranormal activity that brings our characters together, the thing they enjoy the most is the human connections and relationships. We don’t want to alienate our readers by introducing concepts that are too out there. So using these TV shows as examples of what happens when you don’t give your fans what they want, we decided to ramp up the drama and a little boom-chica for good measure.

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audience, Author, Chicklit, fans, Fiction, Indie Author, Romance, women

Those Lovable Bad Boys

What is it about fictional bad boys that they can do no wrong in women’s eyes? What is it about the Han Solos and the Eric Northman’s in fiction that women can’t get enough of them?

I finally got a chance to sit down and talk with one of our readers, Karen, who’d completed The Body Hunters: Paradise Denied a couple weeks ago. Since I’d been on vacation from work I didn’t get a chance to get her opinion on what she thought. Without revealing too much about the story line, secrets between the two main characters are exposed. Karen goes on to tell me how the main character, Danielle was totally in the wrong for what she kept hidden from the hero, reformed former player Aiden. It surprised me because I thought she would at least take the woman’s side in the argument. The gist I got from my conversation with Karen was that if Danielle couldn’t treat Aiden right, then she would. Yeah, we’re talking about fictional characters, but this is the type of vibe I got and Karen isn’t the only one.

The opinions we’ve received about our good looking, rogue have ranged from an ‘I’d do him!’ to him being called ‘sexy’ and every thing under the moon. He’s the right combination of dangerous and loveable, with a little salty language mixed in. Even though the character is nothing but a compilation of ones and zeroes on a computer screen, women love him.

I think the attraction stems from the idea of the bad boy being able to be reformed, something that isn’t necessarily true in real life. If you meet a bad boy in real life, most of the time your best bet would be to turn around and run because you’re in for nothing but heartbreak. Most people aren’t that easy to change, which is why women love their fictional heroes. They can live vicariously through the pages of the book or on the television. The sexy scoundrel is their fantasy come to life.

I’m all about giving the people what they want and the jury has spoken, but as a writer I have my responsibility to keep the story fresh and unpredictable. So I tell Karen and the rest of our superfans to keep reading, we have some plans for Aiden Stone in the next few months.

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audience, Author, Chicklit, fans, Fiction, Indie Author, Romance

Are Manners and Chilvary Dead?

When I was coming up, my mother instilled in me and my siblings, proper etiquette and manners. Please, Thank You, No Thank You, Excuse Me, Pardon Me and all those other niceties are ingrained in my brain. There are some subjects that shouldn’t be talked about in public. I’m by no means bragging but i also have the good manners not to belch, foul language isn’t in my vocabulary (even though the characters I write use expletives at times), clean up after myself, and over talk another person. If you see someone carrying something, man, woman, whatever, hold the door open for them. Taking the lessons she taught me, sometimes I’m aghast when I run into people who don’t follow the same code of respecting and being courteous to others.

This blog came about because I was at the movies earlier today to see The Butler with my mother and sisters. The lights are dim and the theater is playing commercials until the trailers start. Mom is in the aisle seat and I’m about six seats from her with my sisters in between. A woman comes up the stairs carrying popcorn, nachos, and a large drink and trips up the stairs. She falls and drops her food and drink. Are you okays are going all around and a guy comes down from above us and helps her. The bystanders recommend she replace her food, which she does. The man who I assumed was also a bystander is really her ‘man’ if that’s what you want to call him, takes the drink and heads back to his seat. STOP the record.

Okay, it’s bad enough that this poor woman was carrying all this stuff by herself, while the man who’s probably snoring in her face every night is sitting on his butt, waiting on her to bring it. But the lady fell, probably hurt her knee and is embarassed and this Neanderthal sends her to get more food while he’s relaxing in his reclining stadium style chair. Okay, he may not be the most chivalrous guy, I’ll give him that. Go ahead and take chivalry out of the equation. Common decency would be for him to say: Hey honey, have a seat don’t worry about it. I’ll go replace the food. Needless to say, I was hoping she would take that as a lesson, get in her car and leave his trifling behind at the movies snackless. Unfortunately she did come back with new snacks. All I have to say is God bless her. Hopefully she wakes up one day.

That incident got me thinking about the lack of manners I see in people today, from the young to the old. I’ve been in stores sometimes and have some old lady just breeze right by me without so much as a pardon me. Or last week at the office I swipe my badge and open the door for some guy to basically try to bum rush me to get through. Hello! I opened the door for me, not you! There’s the girl at the office who drinks pop all day and proceeds to belch out loud when the need arises. Okay enough of that! How about my coworker who sits at my desk when I’m off and leaves questionable hair on my desk and coffee rings? Nasty. Or I’m taking my break and overhear an overly loud cell phone conversation involving a boyfriend visiting a strip club, punching his girlfriend in the eye and her shooting him in the chest. Okay TMI. I do not need to know this.

Having grown up with my mother’s lessons and going out seeing all this around me causes something of a sensory overload. Bad manners and poor etiquette are everywhere, making me grateful that I do know better. It doesn’t matter if etiquette and manners are a thing of the past in today’s world, I’m still going to hold myself at a high standard. Maybe me holding the door open for an old lady or saying thank you when the waitress brings my dinner will pass on the lesson.

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Author, Chicklit, Drama, fans, Fiction, Indie Author, Murder, Paranormal, Romance

Stop Reading Girly Books!

My co-author Von’s brother, a grizzled ex-Detroit detective recently completed The Body Hunters Paradise Denied and gave his critique. Being a sixty something year old male with decades of police experience he had issues with the mystery aspect of the story and an issue with the way the romance between the main characters, Danielle and Aiden played out. He especially took issue with the pet names. Von called me one evening after work and told me what he had to say.

Being used to getting good feedback from our mostly female fanbase I went through the three stages of emotion after a critique. First I wanted to fix the problem. Maybe we did something wrong. Oh my God, I’ve gotta go back and fix the problem. How many copies are out there? How long will it take me to do another rewrite and submit it to Amazon?

The next stage was me being defensive. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about! How dare he tell us about our book! We read and reread our book dozens of times and it was perfect!

The last stage was anger. Who does he think he is? What makes him an expert? What’s he doing reading girly books in the first place? You want a real police book go read a John Sandford novel and get outta my face!

I went to bed with his critique on my mind and it kept me up for a little while. The next day, I gave his opinion some more thought and picked it apart. Okay, for the next novel we’ll pay more attention to the police aspect. Writing a book about two psychics who solve mysteries, we make every effort to follow the law and police protocol; Von was a paralegal in a former life and she’s the expert on such matters. If she doesn’t know the answer than that’s what research is for. Since the book takes place in the real world, we’re as close to the law as can be, but in the interest of the story we may bend a few rules, but its all plausible.

Now as far as the romance, I can’t help him and he’s outta luck. If you don’t like Danielle being called ‘Nani’ and Danielle calling Aiden ‘Big Daddy’ then you need to be reading something else. Though its a paranormal mystery series, their relationship is the heart and soul of our books and that’s what the readers love. Each book’s mystery is what brings them together for them to have their relationship drama.

As if for vindication, that very same week, a couple of our readers told us how much they loved our sucker punch ending. The mystery, which kept them guessing until the very end was another reason their eyes were glued to the pages. We have another reader, who is half way through who keeps pestering us with questions and her hypothesis about how things are going to end and of course she’s very wrong. To sum it up, our intended audience loves it, and is begging for more. While I appreciate Von’s brother who has supported us with both novels, his opinion isn’t the end all be all of our publishing career. As long as the people we write the book for enjoy it, I’m just fine with that. In the publishing business you can’t cater to everyone. Besides, he shouldn’t be reading girly books anyway.

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