When Characters Cross the Line

I want to pitch that book across the room. Not the best practice these days with over half my reading being done on an eReader, LOL. However, it does result in my not finishing the book more often than not. It also makes me less likely to buy that author again.

Is it subject?

An established author, one I trust to see me to the end of the journey, can and has escorted me across many a line I thought firmly drawn. I’m looking at you Joely and Sloan :D

For example, I generally have zero tolerance for cheating spouses. Yet, Elena Aiken has a character do just that in Drawing Free. Did I agree with the character’s decision? No. Did I understand it? Yes. I know a little harmless flirting has uplifted my self-confidence, made me walk a little taller, feel a little sexier. I suspect most of us can relate to that.

On the other hand, another author, a first time read for me, has lost me. Her hero gets amnesia and ends up having an affair. I’m not even sure I can call it an affair, LOL. Anyway, amnesia…I should be able to forgive him, right?

Does that mean gender makes a difference?

Well, I do like my heroes to be perfect, or perfectly flawed with the ability to become more with the heroine’s love. But, no, I don’t think the sex of the character has much to do with it, as long as the character STAYS in character.

Back to the amnesic hero, if the ‘affair’ happened off the page, I probably would have forgiven him. I mean, he didn’t remember much beyond his name, didn’t know he had a wife waiting for him, or that the villain of the story was making her life miserable as only a great bad guy can do.

As it was, it felt like the author tried to fit some erotica into a mainstream historical romance. Those scenes were not needed to move the story forward. We have the heroine’s POV. Readers felt the tension build the longer the hero was missing, feared dead.

So is it craft?

Kait Nolan has a wonderful scene questionnaire. Type A that she is (hey, she admits this), she completes it before writing a word. Me, I like to use it for revisions/edits. In it she says every scene must do three things.

Which of the following does the scene accomplish?

____ (G) Dramatically illustrate a character’s progress toward the goal or provide an experience which changes a character’s goal.

____ (M) Provide a character with an experience that strengthens his motivation or changes his motivation.

____ (C) Bring a character into conflict with opposing forces.

It can, of course accomplish all three, but minimally must accomplish at least one. This point gives me the broad goal of the scene.

What are the three reasons for the scene?

Now one of my three reasons for the scene can be answering the GMC *** question above. But I must have at least 3 total reasons for the scene to be included and make the cut. Why three? Well, if I remember correctly, I think Dixon says something about it in her book, but mostly it’s because I think of something having three points as being stable. If I can come up with three reasons, then more than likely I won’t have to axe the scene later.

I think she has a point about three points being stable. It’s no wonder three-legged stools have been around forever. (And the image analogies using them…wow.)

But I digress.

Do you have a hard limit where characters are concerned? What do you do when characters cross the line?

*** Kait references: Goal, Motivation, and Conflict by Debra Dixon, one of my recommended reads.

Sunday Summary & #ROW80

  1. The Writing: Blah. I think it’s time to try some of the tips from Jennifer M. Eaton’s ROW80 post — Just Say No to Writer’s Block.
  2. A post by Elena Aitken lead me to Overcoming Writer Inertia Part One and Part Two by Trish Loye Elliot over on the Wordbitches blog. Wow, inertia is such a better word for what I’ve been battling. Well, that and four kids on summer break.
  3. Jami Gold had another fabulous post on How to Make the Most of a Scene. She also linked to the Rule of Three, No the Other One from the amazing Janice Hardy.
  4. The Reading: I’m beta reading Joely Sue Burkhart’s Her Grace’s Stable and ‘alpha’ reading Angela Brown’s Neverlove. Need to sit down and put my notes together for both these awesome ladies.
  5. The Blogging: No additions to the queue, so I’m holding at about 2 weeks cushion thanks to last week’s post writing and scheduling. Commenting :sigh: I have no idea. I think I did pretty well with the sharing.
  6. The Social Media: I didn’t track it this week so I’m not sure where I stand. I did have a conversation with @KristaDB1 (aka Krista D. Ball) yesterday.
  7. The Health: Walking = zilch. Caffeine and sugar reduction = on track. Water = nailed it this week :tosses confetti:
  8. Amy Shojai had a fabulous post on Hot Dogs and Summer Safety this week. Did you know dogs can sunburn? I didn’t until I got Beastie Girl who is so fair her skin becomes bright pink when she’s overheated.
  9. I think I’ve come to the conclusion I need to take Round 3 off. Two of the wee beasties need some tutoring so they’ll be up to par for the new school year. That Man has scheduled some vacation time. I have a nephew arriving for a few weeks. Mice babies to find homes for. But mostly, I need to refocus on the basics.
  10. To support the awesomeness that is ROW80 you can go HERE

Tuesday Book Talk

Let’s talk books!

Just Read

Drawing Free by Elena Aitken

Why I picked it up: The premise of a mother running away from her life hooked me. After all, what mother hasn’t wished she could do that at one time or another? I know I’ve had those moments.

What I liked: This is a strong first person telling. The story flowed really well and nothing felt rushed, yet it didn’t drag either. I was pulled right into Becca’s overwhelmed life and enjoyed the journey to rediscover herself.

What I disliked: It was obvious that Becca and her mother both suffered from postpartum depression. I could believe it not being diagnosed in the mother but, in today’s world, it was less believable Becca hadn’t been diagnosed, or that those around her didn’t suspect it.

** Spoiler **

This may just be my own personal pet-peeve but I had a problem with the affair Becca has as part of her journey. I understand it helped her love herself but my knee-jerk reaction to cheating spouses is zero tolerance. The only thing saving this aspect of the story for me was Becca owned up to it and was willing to accept the fallout.

Reading

Starfire Angels (Starfire Angels: Dark Angel Chronicles Book 1) by Melanie Nilles

Why I picked it up: I saw it offered for free, liked the blurb, and the sample seemed to deliver. After a quick look at the author website, it looks like the next installment in the series is due out later this year so this is probably a promo.

What I like: I like the spin on the fallen angels idea. So far I’m enjoying the story premise.

What I dislike: Pacing seems off but I’m not far enough into this to accurately rate it. The MC isn’t consistent, sometimes coming off as younger than she is. Thus far, I’m not vested in any of the secondary characters who feel a bit flat.

So much promise but lacking execution and I doubt I’ll continue with this series. That being said, this appears to be one of Ms. Nilles’ early works so I’d be willing to give different series a try.

Will Read

Changelings (The Twins of Petaybee, Book 1) by Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough

Why I picked this up: I adore Anne McCaffrey. I loved the Petaybee trilogy. And quite honestly have had this one sitting on the Nook for awhile.

What I expect to like: I enjoy the Petaybee world building and characters developed with Celtic and Native American/Canadian First Nations ancestry. I love the sentient planet that sings of Mother Earth mythos.

What I expect to dislike: I didn’t realize this was the start of a second trilogy until I looked up the link. Which isn’t a terrible thing just two more books to buy and collapse my TBR pile, LOL.

What are you reading and loving at the moment?

Sunday Summary & #ROW80

Happy Mother’s Day

  1. The Writing: The muse is back but she’s sulking in the corner. Apparently, she didn’t appreciate Gene Lempp’s muse coming after her with a flaming sword. I’m not sure I have much sympathy which is probably not helping her out of the corner. :ducks: Great, now she’s throwing things at me. Ideas, please! Words and sentences. :ducks: Not… What is this? A spit ball?! :sigh:
  2. Earlier this week, Jami Gold posed an interesting question, Does every scene need a goal? It’s a fabulous post I’ve found myself returning to (and following the links) this week.
  3. The Reading: Natalie Hartford pointed me to an amazing new blog serial Tell Me a Story by Amber West.
  4. In honor of Mother’s Day, Elena Aitken and Steena Holmes are offering some e-Book specials.
  5. The Blogging: Check with the initial goal. Check with the updated goal. Almost at four weeks scheduled not counting these posts. I’m cheating a bit with having two guest posts coming up this month but I’ll take it.
  6. Speaking of guest posts, coming up on Tuesday the 22nd, IPPY award winner, Terry Persun will be here posing an interesting question about robots…and souls. Be sure to check back and weigh in on the conversation.
  7. The Social Media: I do believe I can say “check” here. I had non-post related updates on both Twitter and Facebook. Sharing has gone well. And I even had a conversation…gasp.
  8. I’ve been struggling with what to do about Facebook. Currently, I have an “author” profile and “fan” page, plus a personal profile. Earlier this week I followed a link on Facebook to Jane Friedman’s 5 Principles for Using Facebook post. Great info! I plan to sit down, read through her posts on the subject, and perhaps revamp my presence on Facebook.
  9. The Health: Water…5 glasses per day average. Sugar reduction…down to less than a tablespoon on average per day (from all sources). I’m pretty comfortable with that when I look at where I was when I started this process. Caffeine reduction…I managed to cross off 2 drinks all but 2 days this week. Dog walking hit a bit of a road block. Well, damaged knee block. Last weekend, much emotional drama was endured, which I’ve been asked not to go into here. Needless to say, our menagerie grew with the addition of…

    Sonic

    and…

    Neptune and Poseidon

    I have no idea what the God of the Sea has to do with mice but #3 was adamant about the names. (I’m also not sure how he can tell them apart!) It was the digging out of the old gerbil cage from the bowels of the garage :cough: storage area that I banged, wrenched, or otherwise mucked up the ol’ knee.

    Plus side, oldest wee beastie has started taking the dog out for runs most evenings.

  10. To support the awesomeness that is ROW80 you can go HERE

Sunday Summary & #ROW80

  1. Congrats to Kait Nolan! Her YA Red was the only indie title nominated for DABWAHA.

    A great showing Kait!

  2. How many of you picked up Scrivener after NaNoWriMo last year? Are you using it to the fullest? If not, perhaps Gwen Hernandez’s Scrivener class can help.
  3. The writing: hmm…well, I was struck with a new shiny. I tried just writing the bit that came to me so the idea was captured but not taking over. :snort: Then I spent a D&E writing on it. Trial and error has shown me that D&E is best for new words. I’m far enough from the fantasy piece that I’ll need to do a complete reread before continuing it. So on one hand I’m not surprised. Yet it has distracted me enough that forward progress on the SF piece has stalled. We almost to the end of this round and, while I’m not calling it a change in goals, I think I’m just going to continue “cleaning house” so all my ducks are in a row for the start of the next round.
  4. Janice Hardy is always a great resource. Her The Other Side of the Story blog is a must read for me. Gems from this week: A Journey Through Massive Edits in 10 Easy Steps by guest poster Paul Welch and So Where Were We Again? Salvaging Half-Finished Manuscripts.
  5. The blogging: still holding a week grace of scheduled posts. I think I’m ready for my blogiversary next month, just need to finalize one giveaway. Details coming soon.
  6. Taking a page from Fabio Bueno’s Blog Comments Log and Marcia Richards’ Streamlining Blogs posts, I’ve been cleaning out my Google Reader this week. I listed them. Noted the days each blog posted. Evaluated whether it was an info blog, a friend blog, or just a blog I enjoyed reading. And while it shouldn’t matter, I also noted who was supportive of my blog. Just like a good spring cleaning I feel like a weight has be lifted off my shoulders and my reader is much more manageable.
  7. The social media: I continued to meet my retweet and sharing goals thanks to Triberr and StumbleUpon this week. Even had a bit of a conversation with @Ali__Dent :)
  8. The health: Sigh. I fell off the wagon a bit this week. I think that time change mucked with me more than usual. At least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it :D
  9. Then I read a post like Elena Aitken’s Your Body ~ A Love/Hate Relationship and I’m reminded how good life is.

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