Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Assumption is Not Sustainable Conflict

I've been in the writing world for over five years now and I've known for a long time that if characters can have a good, honest talk and work out their troubles, then the plot conflict isn't strong enough.

But I hadn't thought of this in the form of assumptions until a reader made a comment about a book and how she enjoyed that the characters didn't just assume things about each other.

A character's goal has to be impeded by more than her thinking the other character (antagonist/hero) wouldn't like the goal. The internal conflict should be more than her thinking the other character will disapprove or hate her.

I adore internal conflicts but they have to have a concrete external conflict to make them believable. If the conflict isn't believable, or worse, could be cleared with an honest conversation, then this hampers the tension of the story in a big way.

The reader might not care about turning the pages to find out what happens.

I know for a fact that one of my manuscripts relies too heavily on assumption as the basis of conflict. That's something I need to change.

Have your characters assumed too much? Do you like it in books when there's a misunderstanding or would you rather there be definite stakes/goals driving a wedge between characters?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

What I've Been Reading (and Giveaway)

I've been eagerly awaiting this book and Katie's writing didn't disappoint! The characters were interesting but I really enjoyed Katie's prose the most. It's strong and unique. I'll definitely be picking up her next book.

I whipped through this book! Williamson is a new author to me but I thought the pacing of the story was great. Have I read/watched clone stuff before? Sure, but the characters came across very real and I enjoyed the dialogue. Looking forward to more by her!

This was a sweet story. I particularly loved the secondary characters, esp. the jilted fiance. I'd love to see him with his own story because I think he'd have a great character arc. The best friend was a lot of fun too. I'm looking forward to reading more of Beth's work. What drew me to this story, besides her being a blogging buddy, was the premise. :-) Very hooky!

The two books below are not my normal type reads but I enjoyed both of them. Besides being drawn into the plots and interesting characters, it's always fun to read genres where the writing "rules" are much different (pov, for example, is played with more loosely).

So today I'm going to be giving away Katie Ganshert's debut novel Wildflowers From Winter! Just let me know in the comments if you'd like to be entered. :-)

What are you reading today? Anything outside your preferred genre?

P.S. I've got a short post over at Craftie Ladies of Romance today if you feel like stopping by.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Theme of it All

I read a wonderful article in the RWR recently about theme and how it plays into books/stories.

According to the article, theme is the passion and question inside the writer that finds its way into all her stories. Beneath voice and plot is theme.

I'm not detail-oriented and I'm not a plotter, but after having a few manuscripts of different genres and tones under my belt, I have an idea of what the overarching theme of my stories is (note: love is not necessarily a theme).

Do you think about Theme in your writing? Do you analyze it in books?

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


My writer friends and family know I have a soft spot for "bad boy" heroes in fiction. I've tried to analyze why and have had some interesting insights into myself, but recently I had a major breakthrough.

I'm watching a series which is out of my norm, but have found myself hooked by the storyline...and the "bad boy". One night while watching a scene between "good guy" hero and heroine, I became aware of this odd feeling in my chest. A discomfort.

And then I recognized what it was.


That's right. I prefer "bad boys" because I distrust Knights in Shining Armor. You know, the good boy heroes who live atop a shining steed, so high in fact that I know their fall is going to be a hard one.

What I like is that while a "bad boy" starts in one place (usually empty, lonely, and ugly), I know that by the end of the story, the "bad boy" is going to have redemption. He's going to be happy at the end, and healthier.

The only place a bad boy can go is up. A shiny knight? Down. Takes the hope right out of the story for me.

So yes, it's twisted and I would never recommend a "bad boy" in real life, but in fiction I truly do adore that redemptive, finds-peace arc. Not to mention the excitement and challenge of it all. :-)

Which fictional "bad boy" do you love? And if you prefer "good boy" heroes, who is your favorite? Ever wondered why?