Saturday, January 26, 2008

Be Unique

Never underestimate the power of atmosphere in your writing. Using unique items to show a character's style reflected in the furnishings of a room are as important in a novel as they are in your own home. If you have a fun-loving bachelor you might even have a beer pong table in his living room. Describe it, and have him use it, and you might even introduce your readers to a brand new sport. At the least you will give your character a flair he might have not otherwise had if you just had him sitting on a worn out couch surrounded by three-month old laundry. Don't settle for the mundane old cliches of a typical bachelor, give yours class. Do the same for any of your characters and you'll build a universe that is fun and exciting, but most of all -- unique.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Taking Stock Of What's Inside

With it being winter and doing more inside the house than in the summer I think a lot about our interior decor. I did a lot of redecorating last winter/spring and must not have paid attention during the summer but I realize now that we have modern furniture in the living room but nowhere else in the house, and it kind of looks out of place. I like it though. Maybe I'll have to re-do at least the kitchen and family room to match. The furniture, especially in the family room which is directly connected to the living room is especially out of sync because it's dark and heavy. It's the only room I didn't do anything to last year in my decorating because the furniture in there matched the room, and I didn't give any thought to how it went with the rest of the new stuff I bought. The kitchen's not too bad. It woudn't take much to make it look right with the living room. It needs some more modern lighting. I'll be happy when spring is here. I don't examine the furnishings nearly as much when I'm outside all day.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Women are Easy

Oh never in our novels, that isn't the ticket to a good heroine, right? Of course not. Knowing how women think and react to situations is easier than knowing how men react since most of us are women. That makes sense, but it isn't always true. It is not just as easy to write women's emotions and responses. While we think like women, it's easy to make them whiney instead of strong and reasonable.

Showing a woman's attitudes and responses isn't as easy as having her kick back over her wine of the month clubs wine list after a hard day's work. We know that. Somehow getting the fine line of a woman standing up for what she wants and believes, and being a whiney little witch is a toughie though.

Sometmes it's just a matter of opinion too. I have one favorite series that I read often and have seen comments on various of the book's pages saying the heroine is whiney, but I never see her that way.

Then again, I've had a few readers say my heroines are whiney. Maybe I just like them that way.

The Male 'Man'

Men are different from women. Okay, I doubt anyone would argue that point. One look under the covers would confirm it pretty fast. However, men are vastly different from women in much more than an anatomical sense. While some men are the can crusher type, and others the three piece suit type, and everywhere in between they simply do not think like women. Still, in many novels, especially romance novels -- even professionally published ones -- it would seem as if since most writers are women we attempt to make them rationalize everything from raviolli to relationships the same way women do. We make our 'men' very feminine.

Maybe it's because it is the way we'd 'like' the men in our lives to be. It is simply not realistic. I've gotten more and more aware of this phenomenon lately and am starting to feel uncomfortable with it. I've seen it in books I've read and in my own work as well. What's wrong with a man being simply a man? The hard part of changing such a common thing is writers actually trying to understand how and why men think and act the way they do. Maybe there wouldn't even be a romance story if we actually did accomplish this trick. Sometimes I wonder how we manage to develop relationships in real life considering the difference. Then I think about the basic of most relationship (at least at the start) and I realize that the romance industry would probably become even more closely tied to erotica if we did manage to convey the realistic side of relationships and have men acting just like men.

It kind of brings to mind the one-liner from the 'Good Luck Chuck' trailer where Chuck asks his friend 'what is sex without love?' and his friend replies...'it's still sex!'

Not much to build a romance plotline on. I guess we'll forever be glued to novels where men think like women.

Saturday, January 19, 2008


Branson Missouri is one of my favorite vacation spots and not too far from where my sister-in-law lives. She was just up here last week and I got to see some new pictures of her farm. The last time we went to Branson we stopped in by her but it was in the spring. Sort of muddy, and not quite the summer look yet, but in the winter it has s completely different look still. I love seeing the way other parts of the country change during the season. There are so many things that make one spot look like any other place in the country, but the way areas in the different sections (north, south, east, and west) handle seasonal changes really can make a difference in the way they feel. Even Southern California where I spent some time a few years ago is much different than Missouri. Same types of climates in a lot of ways, and yet so different in topography that the changes are radically different. I think I'd like to take a trip down to Branson, and over to my SIL Cheryl's place in the winter. It would be a LOT better than northern Illinois in the winter, that much I can almost be assured of.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Baby Cribs and More...

I bet you thought I was going to suggest that you put a baby in the mix in a romance story? It would be par for the course for most 'formulas' for successful romances it seems, but that's not why I'm posting this.

You see, today this post has nothing whatsoever to do with my writing but with my personal life. Yep, there just may be baby cribs, forumlas that don't involve novel structure, and diapers in my future. I'll find out more for sure this weekend, but it seems pretty much a given that I'm pregnant.

Last year I suprised a friend when I said I had to give my 'kid a bottle'. At that time I was speaking of one of my goat babies that was being bottle fed and living in my house. This year, along with all of the animal babies on our farm, come September 5th or so, there will be a two-legged human variety baby here too. To say the least it is a bit of a surprise, but a very very welcomed one.

Considering my age, and the fact that I have two grown children already, and two grandchildren as well I never thought I'd once again be shopping for baby furniture for another of my own children.

So if I seem lately as though I'm 'not all here' it's because my mind is rather pre-occupied with thoughts of bibs, high chairs, and tiny little fingers and toes. It's a lot to get my mind around as I walk through the house and see my twenty-two year old son on the couch watching TV all the while knowing I have a brand new life in me and soon will have an infant to cuddle and hold.

Life is sure full of surprises. One of my favorite old sayings is 'The surest way to make God laugh is to tell him your plans.' I think God decided it was his turn to make me laugh.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

To Do The I Do

Now that I've lost quite a bit of weight my hubby wants to go shopping for wedding rings as an anniversary present this year. Being the 25 year anniversary it's kind of a biggie, lol. My rings don't fit anymore, and his hasn't fit in quite a few years so it would be nice to get a new set. My only hold up is that I still plan on losing quite a bit more and I'd hate to have the same dilema next year too. Although I suppose buying a new band each year wouldn't be all that bad. haha. I do love variety. It could be kind of an annual renewal sort of thing. Redoing the 'I do's'.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Interesting Imagery

Being a woman sometimes I forget to include jewelry in my description of men's appearances. Depending on the character there are a few items that can really define what type of character the man in question is. If Michael adjusts the cufflinks on his sleeve as he studies his taylored Italian cut suit in the vanity mirror--maybe he's a dockworker, but he's a dockworker with some class and style when he wants to 'clean up'. Or maybe he's an international finance broker and cufflinks are a part of his everyday dress code. It can make things really interesting though, and adds a touch of character rather than just saying he straightened his tie and studied his clean cut suit in the mirror.

Maybe he's a heavy duty thug and adjusts fifty pounds of metal around his neck... hey, there are lots of ways to incorporate some sense of character in interesting ways without really coming out and telling the reader exactly what a person is like. Using such imagery is not only more interesting for the reader, it's a lot more fun to write.