Friday, January 27, 2006

Post 200

I feel like I should do something special for my 200th post. Have a party or something. I kind of blew off celebrating my 1,000th visitor a few weeks back, so don't feel right skipping another milestone.

Hmmm....

Okay. Party at my house. You're all invited! Bring chocolate.

On another note:

Yesterday threw me for a loop. Got bad, bad, very harsh feedback from a couple of people on Liv Leigh. Once I pulled the knife out of my gut (not my heart, it wasn't a killing blow, but man did it hurt! It's like someone looking at your baby and saying, "Man, that is the ugliest baby I have ever seen and it's stupid, too!"), I tried to dig down underneath the blunt words and get to the heart of the problem. And I did. And, in a way, I think both folks are right, to a point.

One complaint is regarding whether my character would go into a strange man's apartment. I think she would, but I am going to change it a little to give her extra motivation to go in there.

The second was that, in their opinions, her instant attraction to him was too overt. Here's my problem with this one -- neither of these people read romance. They are, predominantly, mystery or literary readers and writers. So... is it that Liv's attraction was too overt OR is it that it's romance "lingo" and they just aren't used to seeing it?

As a way to test things, I grabbed some romance books off the shelf and started reading the first two chapters to see how overtly (or not) the mutual attraction was portrayed. Here's what I found:

With the exception of Romantic Suspense, all of the books indicate a VERY strong attraction and most include fantasizing -- stuff along these lines: She looked at his capable hands on the steering wheel and imagined them on her body, strong and firm.

I'm thinking that I'm not too far off the mark. I did get one suggestion that I think was valid (this from my mom) -- make Liv embarassed or uncomfortable with her attraction to this strange man. She is, after all, engaged to someone else.

In a nutshell, I think I'm in a better place this morning. Thanks to Charity, who asked if the feeback I received took genre into account (and hugs across the miles always help, too), and to my mom who sat in her chair and let me vent all over the place.

Are all writers emotional, or is it just me? Man, I hate the swings from euphoria to despair. Gotta go write!

3 comments:

darcy said...

Maria,

Got my computer back last night but we had a birthday party here. Tonight is a basketball game. Tomorrow -- tomorrow I SWEAR I'm getting feedback to you.

And yeah, I suspect the genre thing will trip me up a bit too. Is there a site where I can see how the rules of romance work?

-d

Judy said...

I think the genre thing is right on the money. A romance, even if it's suspense romance, will be more blatantly... well, romantic and sensual. It's the nature of the beast.

Six Ingredients of a Sensual Romance Novel

Knowing Where and When to Have Love Scenes in a Romance Novel

Charity said...

I’m so glad you’re doing better today. One thing about genre conventions is that they often don’t work for people who don’t read/have never read within the genre. And conventions are more like shorthand motivation so readers can get to what they consider the good stuff.

In amateur sleuth mysteries, motivation for the sleuth to start investigating needs to be there, but it’s generally presented quickly and as close to the beginning/murder as possible. And if you get into the ultra-cozies, readers have no problem with cats solving crimes, so really, why the issue over instant attraction in romances? It gets the readers to the place where they want to be, front and center in the romance. If you want to get really picky, I think instant attraction between two people is more likely than a Siamese cat solving a double murder.

Still, I’m more of a mainstream/romantic elements girl, so things like:

She looked at his capable hands on the steering wheel and imagined them on her body, strong and firm.

Don’t really do it for me. I’d never think something like that. Kit would never think something like that about Mark. And, the sentence itself is vague. What’s strong and firm, his hands or her body? Hmm. Maybe both. Inquiring minds want to know. ;-)

The hardest thing to do in this game of pleasing and publishing is staying true to your vision and your story. Feedback is great, but if you write to please everyone, you’ll end up pleasing no one.

Gah. This is long. Sorry. I should make it a blog entry.