February 24, 2008

I was going to write another book review, but...(rant)

First things first.

Yesterday, I started Lucky number 3. Five pages! I went to bed happy.

Last night, I had a dream I got an agent. Then I woke up pissed off.

Anyway, I read a book when I got home from my dad's house around 3. I finished it a little while ago. I'm going to put it on my list, but I'm not going to review it. Reason being, I think it was poorly written.

I will tell you it was Harlequin Blaze book (I stole from mom#2), and figured it would be a nice fun read for the afternoon. The story premise was a good idea, but I couldn't help how crappy the plot was set up.

This came from an author with 30+ Harlequin novels!

I tried to read "Romance" books when I was a teenager. That's ALL Mom#2 used to read. She belonged to the club, got wine glasses--the whole nine. I remember reading one, about a Scottish Highlander time travel. It was decent, but eh. Too much old school "Romance" writing. Her slick petals, his rigid manhood...ugh, gag me. So I went the Suspense route and stayed there for the most part.

I've picked up a few Romance books over time, nothing ever caught my fancy. Then Chic Lit came around. I read Jane Green and Jennifer Weiner's first few books, then eh.

When my sister started getting heavy into Romance novels, I tried a few others. A Paranormal, a Historical, and eventually a Vampire one. The Vampire one stuck, probably because the writer captured the way I've always wanted (Good) Vampires to be. Rugged, Kick ass, no holds barred. Hot. Yum.

So I tried the Erotica one the other day, fell flat, then I get to this one and now that I’m done with it, I'm like WTF.

I know there are typical formulas for romance, boy meets girl, attraction but complications, teasing, sex but not really committed sex--more out of desperation, need, or fear, then the threat, climax, relief sex, second unneeded climax, SUPER surprise that usually ties hero and heroine together! (Which I spotted a mile away.), tie up loose ends, and either an “almost happy” or “happy ever” after.

18 pages in, I almost decided to give up. I can't say why, it might give away the book. Let's just say, I put it down to a minor detail being over looked and moved on...

In this one, it was a girl in trouble, she meets the boy who, of course, is the only one who can help her. Attraction is instant. Personal internal voices are the same tired thing over and over again. "Yes, she was beautiful, but he had a job to do." "Oh, he was hot, but she had to focus on her problems." Blah blah. Attraction grows. Threats get bigger. She turns to him, he "helps” her but winds up "giving her" the wrong idea, despite the fact they can't keep away from one another. Miscommunication and anger makes them turn away from each other instead of toward each other and the threat keeps getting bigger. They fall back into the comfort of each other for a moment, then the big bad wolf shows. He's taken down, after a fight, and all seems well. They have, oh-ah sex in the aftermath of the danger. Then the surprise second climax hits. There's other bad guys! Oh no! Then! The big OMG!!! surprise that's supposed to leave us jaw-dropped. It left me rolling my eyes. After the second climax, things settle, the rest of the loose ends tied, others left open for a sequel. This one had an almost happy ever after which was the only refreshing thing in the book.

The writing wasn't bad. It wasn't great. The character's "headed" somewhere just about every time they moved. The attraction was handled well, but the situations the author put the characters in didn't seem believable. The dialogue was fine. The relationship’s between secondary characters was good. I saw a few little head hopping scenes, but I think that may have been a format problem or a missed break in the paragraphs. (I hope)

I really have a problem when I read a book like this. Good story idea, not particularly well written, and I think of Play Nice, my first book. That was...five years ago and I KNOW I'm 1000% better now than I was then. So my question is, how do these authors write 30+ books for the biggest Romance publisher in the business and turn out crap over and over again. I can't see any of this person's other 30 books being better if this is her latest. WTF?

Seriously? What is it?

Is it luck? I don't have any of that, never had. So if that's it, I'm fucked.

Persistence? I've been at it seven years, do I need seven more? If so, that's all right, I’ll keep plugging away.

Is it more reading? They say you should read more to write better. I read more and get aggravated because I feel so passionate about my writing I can't believe it's not as good as some of this other...stuff.

I take out every instance of passive voice that haunts me. My dialogue (I'm told over and over again), is a strength and believable. I show and show as much as humanly possible. My characters are always complex and multi-dimensional, with full back story and whatnot even if the reader never sees it. I know my characters, maybe not everything about them, but enough to make them as real as possible. My plots are cohesive, well researched, and follow through the whole story. I don't throw in stupid sub plots just to pad the book. (Though, I have been accused of it in the past.) I don't always tie up EVERY loose end, because you know what, you can't really do that in life, so why do it in a book?

I even attempted to write something specifically for Harlequin last year. They turned me down. Humph! Okay, I admit, the novel wasn't very good and the plot was kinda thin, but that seems to be the trend for these little 70k word books. Thin plots, OK characters, eh dialogue and happy endings. So that's what I tried to give them. Nope.

I. Just. Don't. Get. It.

It's frustrating. It's annoying. It's actually kinda insulting. No, I am not the greatest writer and never will be. But I will always try to get better. I will always want to learn how to write the best way that I can be. I just have to believe, somewhere deep inside my cynical little heart, that someone will believe in me too, one day. I love my family and friends so much for telling me how much they enjoy my writing. I love it when people I only know online or don't even know tell me that they enjoy my writing.

I only want to write. That's all I want to do. Writing saved my life more times that I'd care to admit. Without writing, I know I wouldn't be the person I am today. I never would have sorted out my wacked out head as a teenager. I never would have realized my mistakes as a young adult. I would have made the same stupid mistakes over and over again. Writing helped me learn how to deal with people. Writing helped me learn how to listen. Writing helped me vent when I had no one to talk to and still does. (Like right now! LOL)

I want to put a smile on someone's face. I want to draw them into a dangerous and exciting world. I want to make chills run up their spine. I want them to fall in love all over again. I want them to see themselves in the same situation and relate. I want them to want to be my main characters because they're so kick ass. I want them to read something I wrote and feel touched, inspired, happy, maybe sad, or healed, but mostly entertained.

I don't want to be rich and famous. I'd be perfectly happy with "writing for a living" and semi-well known. I know there are MANY authors out there, some I know personally, who make a good living writing without having to be on the NY Times or USA Today bestsellers list. I would be fine with that.

I guess my biggest problem is two fold. #1. If a good 30% (made up number) of the books out there are crap and I'm a better writer, why aren't I getting book deals? And #2. If 30% of the books out there are crap, and mine is crap, why can't I be one of that 30% of crap gosh damn it? LOL

I know. I know. Never give up. Never surrender. I won't, at least until the last shred of my sanity hangs loosely by a thread. I just wish it wasn't so hard and mocking at times...
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