So…this is a writing post. Sort of. I spent the long weekend in Cincinnati with my parents. Anyone who knows my family would be thinking, “Oh, my. How’d THAT go?” Um, fine. They are getting older with every visit West (duh), and the bulk of the fetching falls to my older sister, who lives nearby. Occasionally, it is my pleasure to (wo)man up, drive down there and do stuff.
So I grocery shopped, pharmacied, cooked, cooked-ahead and froze, served and tried to rearrange the universe in a more orderly fashion for two people who insist on living in a raised ranch but are having trouble getting around. Which led me to my first realization:
1. I can only do so much. My parents are grown-ups, far more set in their capable ways than I am. Even though I think they should move to a place with a bathroom on the first floor, it’s not my call. And I am still their CHILD. I don’t get to rearrange things to my satisfaction. They get to lead their lives.
It was an eight-hour drive, one way, so I had lots of time to listen to Jennifer Crusie’s MAYBE THIS TIME. I’ve been her fan for at least twenty years now (cripes), and I realized a few things while listening:
2. I think a hero who is blocked at every turn but continues to act in the best interest of the heroine is HOT.
3. I also think a hero (okay, in this case a secondary character) who is the jester but can turn on a dime and become serious and formidable is also HOT.
4. It’s a neat trick to give the reader (in my case listener) insight into characters by desribing them in other characters POV. It does two things, characterizes the person DESCRIBED and characterizes the person DESCRIBING.
MAYBE THIS TIME is a ghost story, a mystery, and my brain doesn’t work like that. The pacing was skillful and I enjoyed trying to figure it out, but the plotting was equally skillful, so I didn’t. Or couldn’t because I really don’t roll the mystery way. I bet my Mom could have figured it out. Maybe. I’m sure there are bigger things I could have admired about the story, but it kept me going for 16 hours. I tend to fall asleep while driving long distances, so that is pretty darn amazing!
I did have one other thought, but it also ties in to EXCLUSIVELY YOURS by Shannon Stacey, which I read while I was down there.
5.Characters must change.
We know this. However, in both books the heroine changed in a gradual, well-motivated way. I went on their journeys with them and believed every moment. As a writer, I know how hard it is to do this when you are CREATING the story. Both Crusie and Stacey made me trust them. I knew I wouldn’t be rolling my eyes at the bottom of a plot hole. I could relax and enjoy the ride. Escape is good, especially in Cincinnati.
Both books also made me think about this:
6. There are two sides to every story – and both people can be right and wrong. It’s all in their perception of the situation.
This is complicated, and I know I will be grappling with it for a while. To explain how it applies to MAYBE THIS TIME and EXCLUSIVELY YOURS would spoil the story – I’m not into that. But wouldn’t it be fun to create a character who is both good and evil, truly? A man who truly did good in his life but has turned into a miscreant still did good in his life. He can’t be entirely condemned, can he? Something to ponder.
I know six is an odd number of epiphanies. I should keep thinking and do ten, but the last four might be lame. I won’t waste your time! I hope you all recover well from Thanksgiving, if you celebrate it, and shopping, if you do it. Have a great week! XOXO!
I interrupt my regularly scheduled programming to announce…
I FINISHED CRYSTAL’S STORY!
When I figure out what to call it, you”ll be the FIRST to know.
That is all.
‘Cuz I’m tired, and my brain hurts from writing all that hot psychic sex.
It’s always darkest before the dawn, the sun will come out tomorrow, just keep swimming - however you want to say it, I made my deadline. Of course, I forgot to include a subject heading when I sent the book to my editor, so it’s probably stuck in her spam filter but I DID IT!
And I said no to Total Domination October – just couldn’t make the switch between being in control of my lil engine that could and depending on my husband to know when telling me to get on my knees would result in a Lorena Bobbit situation. However, we did celebrate in style.
Can I tell you a secret? As soon as I sent the book to my editor, I opened Crystal’s book, Book Three of the Come Again series, the book I was working on before my other editor told me I’d screwed the pooch on Book Two for her. I discovered something wonderful. I love Crystal’s book. It needs about 15K, maybe more, but I love it! Here’s a peek, unedited, uncontracted, blah, blah, blah:
“Ryan looked directly at her and his emotions blasted across the room, burning through her defenses. Desire. Resentment. Heat. Longing swept through her again, stealing her breath. His dark eyes absorbed the light in the room and reflected it back at her. Mahogany eyes, warm, like bittersweet chocolate. He was braced over her, waiting, holding her gaze with infinite tenderness. Her soul opened, enveloped him. Her consciousness spun out around them.
Crystal jerked back from the memory. Her feet felt rooted to the floor. Her heart pounded as Ryan and Alisa moved toward them.
Beside her, Mark chuckled. She turned to give him a cold glare.
“What?” he asked. “I figured turnabout was fair play. You introduced Alisa and me, after all.” His usually reserved blue eyes were full of fun.
Maybe he didn’t remember. Impossible. She reached out. Mischief. Memory. Satisfaction. It felt like a cosmic joke that Mark had finally remembered they’d gone to college together just in time to reintroduce her to the man who had ruined her life. Crystal was grateful for the anger that reminded her she was wasn’t vulnerable anymore.
Mark cocked his head to the side, looking down at her, eyes suddenly wary. “I thought you might enjoy a blast from the past.”
The irony made laughter bubble up in her throat, so she released it in a breathy chuckle. Laughter was excellent camouflage, better than leather, ink and the color black. She slid one arm around his waist and leaned up to whisper in his ear. “I’m positively thrilled, darling.” Mark didn’t know, no one did – and if she could hold it together through the wedding weekend from hell, no one ever would.”
It’s going to be splendid! Have a great week, one and all! Mwah!