Thursday, May 24, 2012

Writerly Musings

My first title was released in July of 2011. Since then I've become very familiar with reviews and readers' reactions to my work. I've met other readers clamoring for "different" stuff. I've learned there are professional reviewers, neutral reviewers that focus on craft, mean reviewers that make authors reconsider whether they're cut out for writing or not, passionate readers that offer their opinions in the form of a review, reviewers that have such firm ideas of how a story should go that they pretty much tell us how we should've written the book, reviewers that—

I'll shut up now. I'm pretty sure you all get my drift, and this post is not about reviews. It's about my personal journey and individual style as an author, but before we reach that point, I need to get back to basics.

I've been reading fiction forever. I adore doing so. It's been my favorite hobby my entire life.  If I remember correctly, I discovered the romance genre when I was only eleven. A battered Harlequin copy was mixed in with a bunch of magazines my aunt gave me. I read it and I was hooked. Not to Harlequin, but to reading romance.

As a reader I don't like gratuitous anything. Books with misunderstandings that go on for at least four chapters, silly bickering written in an attempt to replace real conflict and too stupid to live characters that should not be allowed out of their houses are, in my opinion, a waste of precious reading time and an insult to my intelligence. And boy, don't get me started on the sex. I mean, I most definitely enjoy a hot sex scene, but it'd better not be the only thing happening in the book, and it better mean something. Porn without plot and stroke stories are not for me. When the only thing growing between the main characters is their erections I cannot help but to feel turned off and frustrated.

I want a solid plot. I want realistic characters and situations. I don't want to escape the world. I want to see how these guys who become real to me the moment I start reading deal with every day issues. I want to get emotionally invested and cheer on the guys until they find their way to happiness.  And you know what? That doesn't always happen within 50,000 words and fifteen chapters.

If you've been following my "career" you know I'm a rookie author. To date I have three published stories: HeatstrokeSouthern Winterland and Six Degrees of Lust, and if you've read my work then you also know I don't stick to any specific formulas. There are two reasons for this:

1. I write what I like to read, and
2. early on I decided to let the characters do the talking.

Every one of my stories, both published and WsIP, began with just one character. Some times he turns out to be the MC, but not always. He'd much rather be in the background and wait until the time is right for him, but that doesn't mean he doesn't have lots to say and things he needs to bring to the table.

He demands his POV is included. Then another character appears with the same behavior. And another. And another. And what they have to say needs to be said on their time and on their own terms. I need to listen because if I don't, their story won't be the same. And that, my friends, is how I ended up writing an ensemble serial with unresolved situations. 

Several unresolved situations.

This, of course, will change as the series advances. Sadly, it just could not happen in one book. Not unless I wrote a 2,000-page saga.

Six Degrees of Lust has received wonderful reviews. Some readers loved the format and the build up and appreciated the fact that every character has a distinctive voice. Others readers hate the cliffhangers and would've preferred the book didn't have as big a cast, and focused on Sam and Mac's POVs.  Both opinions are valid and appreciated. It is a matter of personal taste and to each their own, yes? 

But those opinions got me thinking hard and carefully. Should I not write ensemble novels? Should I find a way to silence all those voices even though I know why their story needs to be told a certain way? Should I stick to conventional formulas so that I don't upset the readers that know what they want (only the MCs) and how it should be (no cliffhangers or open storylines, please)?

Some one told me I need to write more sex. I've been advised to stick to a proven, successful formula. I've been told I'm better off not including kids in my books. I've tried to decide the kind of readers I want to reach: the escapists or the hard-core realists... and I've decided that the best thing I can do is to remain loyal to my characters and their journey, however long and bumpy it might be.

My other stories, and this includes Disasterology 101, my next title to be released,  focus on the main couple. But when/if the time comes for another big cast, I will welcome it with open arms, because they have a right to be heard even if they aren't the norm.

Just like I'm not.

But enough about me. I want to hear what you guys have to say about this. Readers, authors and reviewers. Are you willing to read out of your comfort zone, or do you prefer to stick to stories similar to the ones you've liked the best so far? Why do you feel that way? Could I change your mind? Just kidding on that one ;-)

Come on, guys. Discussion time. Inquiring minds would like to know. :-)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Avengers

Sick as I've been the past few days, I dragged my butt to the movies yesterday. And boy, was it worth it. Not only was The Avengers flick action packed and full of amazing special effects. It had a good plot and was inspirational as well. VERY inspirational.

Allow me to tell you in how many ways:

1. Chris Evans in frigging Spandex
2. Robert Downy Jr. and his particular brand of sarcasm
3. The homoerotic vibe between Steve Rogers aka Captain America and Tony Stark, aka Iron Man.
4. Twenty other ways, but seriously, can't remember the particulars right now and, who cares anyway?

Now, I'm not sure if it is my slashy mind catching up on all those little moments or if the general public was able to see the same things I did, but I tell you guys, those two were ready to go to town. The looks they shared were so sexually charged it would've been totally embarrassing had I happened to be a man... if you know what I mean *wink*.

You might think I'm making this up, but I assure you, I'm not. Professor Xavier and  Magneto of First Class fame have nothing on these two. And if you haven't watched X-Men First Class, you should be ashamed of yourself.

Now go. Hurry. Go catch the next show of The Avengers and then come back here and tell me what did you think about Captain America and Iron Man together. In the meantime I'm going to go see if I can find me some fanfiction.