Thursday, August 28, 2014

How It Should Have Ended...FRIENDS

Lately, I've been catching all these awesome reruns. Older episodes of The Big Bang Theory (love!), Full House and FRIENDS.

In May, 2004, after the last episode of Friends, I wanted to raise my hand in the air and offer a suggestion. A big, huge, major suggestion on how the whole show should have been changed--starting from the birth of Emma.

Here it is. Picture this. Rachel's laying in the hospital bed, snuggling with her new, precious baby girl. She's as beautiful and fresh as every woman after a delivery on TV. Her and Ross agree to move in together (which, yes, I know does happen). They both look at the life they created and think, "Hey, let's give it another shot." Hilarious moments ensue. Ross can throw around the "We were on a break!" after he and Rachel fight. Rachel can toss back, "Well we're not on a break right now." They'll fight, kiss, be jealous...everything that's supposed to happen in a sitcom. But here's the big change: they're together.

A few things I would love to have deleted from the entire show: Rachel and Joey together. Ever. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Then they decided the show was almost over and they couldn't have Rachel and Joey together if everyone wants to see Rachel and Ross back together by the end. So the most awkward kissing scene in the history of television ensued. *DELETED* You're welcome. That whole debacle is gone. Never happened. You know why? That's right: Ross and Rachel are together.

Here's a good change: Phoebe's engagement and wedding get made into a bigger deal. Did anyone else feel like she got glanced over. Like, "Oh, she's in love. She needs her happy ever after, too. Here, get married in the snow. There you go. All done. Let's move on." Phoebe looked gorgeous in her dress, the wedding in the snow was beautiful, but Ross's failed marriage to Emily and his elopement with Rachel got more hoopla than Phoebe's wedding. Me no likey.

Speaking of Ross and Rachel's elopement, here's where it gets sticky. On the one hand, they could've stayed married. On the other, Ross could have followed through, gotten the annulment, THEN proposed to Rachel to get married for real, in front of guests and in a church. What? That's just crazy talk.

Now, for the grand finale. The last episode. At some point in the seasons after Emma was born, Ross proposes romantically to Rachel--maybe at the planetarium at the museum where Ross and Rachel, you know, for the first time. Anyways, on to the last episode. What I like to call "The One Where Ross and Rachel Get Married"--not witty or ironic, but to the point. This is what the last episode should have been. Emma as the flower girl. Ben is a groomsman. And in the middle of the ceremony, Erica (Monica and Chandler's babies' momma) goes into labor. And you know Anna Farris could have done an awesome over the top labor scene. And in the ensuing chaos, Ross and Rachel say "I do," kiss and rush off to see the twins born.

The End. And that's how it should have ended.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Blog Hop

Okay, so I'm super excited. Not that I have anything life-changing to offer, but because I was invited. Personally. By the very talented and awesome KT Hanna. 

So--this is my writing process. Ready to be confused?

What am I working on?

I am double-minded right now. I'm working on the sequel to Dare You--which will be in the same world but a New Adult contemporary romance from two different characters POV. The other top secret project I'm working on is a 3rd revision of a story I've been working on for at least three years now. I'm changing it from a YA to NA--paranormal, magical realism-ish. Which makes no sense, but that's okay, because I'm not too sure, either.

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

Because I make it all as real as possible. I am completely on board with suspending disbelief--and with my stories there's a degree of that needed. But I'm a nurse and some things just don't make sense to me--I need to be able to explain them medically. So in my top secret 3rd revision project, that's what I'm doing--medically and realistically explaining every single part of why this creature is the way it is. I think of it like Michael Crichton--I can't tell you how many times I read The Lost World. I can tell you I checked it out so often I reached the limit at my library for checking out the same book in a year--I didn't even know that was possible. Back to Michael Crichton--he realistically explained how you could clone and recreate dinosaurs and bring them into this century. That's what I'm doing. Except without the dinosaurs.

Why do I write what I write?

Because I have read so many disappointing stories, ones I feel could have gone soooooo differently, done better. The romances are too cheesy and I'm sorry, but I love you just isn't enough sometimes. I 100% believe in infatuation and lust at first sight--I don't think you can truly love someone until you get to know them. You can't get to know someone in a matter of days--maybe weeks if you are with each other all the time with no breaks. That's the same reason I write paranormal, Sci-Fi, fantasy, etc--sometimes they give me great ideas to spin off of, sometimes I feel it could've been done better and I want to try, and sometimes it's just too unrealistic and over the top and I have to write something I know I want to read.

How does my writing process work?

Hahahaha. Writing process. That's great. I'm slapping my knee as I giggle. Using Scrivener has actually helped focus me a lot. And surprisingly so has going back to school. I have my associates degree and decided I want to be full of BS and am going back for my bachelors of science. Writing a paper a week and doing online discussions has actually focused my brain more than before I started school. 
So this is what I do: I open Scrivener, play a game of solitaire, listen to my iTunes, write a bit in Scrivener, play another game of solitaire, switch it up to spider solitaire if my brain hasn't worked out what I need to write next, write a bit, play more solitaire, get a snack, read a bit in a book--whether it's a new book or a re-read--write a bit get the point. I don't have a set process. I work 2-4 days in a row and by the end of my night shifts, the voices in my head are very ready to come out. So I spend my 4 days off writing, doing school stuff, exercising, reading, and every few weeks cleaning my house. I have no set process. I would love to be able to plot like a crazy woman (like KT does), but I don't. Every story I've written (and Dare You is my third) goes in completely different directions than I've planned. So I let the story go where it will, as long as it ends in a happy ending.

And on to the tagging: 

The very talented Mr. Jamie Manning:

30ish. Writer. Addicted to The Vampire Diaries. BLOOD BORN & BLOOD AWAKENING out now, BLOOD REVELATION coming soon. @byJamieManning

And one of my favorite NA authors Brenna Aubrey:

I write New Adult contemporary romance about geeks & nerds. I'm also a mom, teacher, geek girl, Francophile, unabashed video-game addict & eBook hoarder. @BrennaAubrey

GO READ THEIR BOOKS! And thanks for reading my rant!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

R-mance versus X-mance

I am an unashamed romantic, but it's not all I'll read. When I write, I need a thread of romantic plot running through the story. It doesn't have to be the main focus, but it's there. And that's what I like to read, too. I grew up with Disney and I crave the Happily Ever After. I can see the poetry in a tragic ending, but they always leave me empty--like it's unfinished. And I know there are plenty of people who crave those stories, prefer them, but I'm not one of them.

Now, before I start rambling off in a different direction, defending both points of view on romance, happy endings versus the tragic, Iliad type endings, I'm refocusing this blog on this:

R-mance versus X-mance.

R-mance. I mean full on romance--wooing and falling in love and seduction. Candlelight, flowers and mood music, essentially. These type of books would most likely be rated R in movie format. They focus more on the romance, the building of feelings, the feeling of feelings, the expression of feelings. Of course there's sex--usually there's one or two scenes fleshed out (pun intended), but a lot of them are "off camera".

X-mance. Full on, almost nothing but sex. There's the instant burn of attraction, the sudden hit of lust and the characters fall into bed together within the first fifty pages. Or, once they get it on, they get it on in every chapter for the rest of the book. And these books would for sure be X rated in movie format. There'd be no showings on HBO or Showtime, either--no discrete covering of lower body parts. It's the opposite of the R-mance, if anything there might be one or two scenes "off camera".

Here's the rub: X-mances being hyped out as romance, when most of them should fall under erotica. Except, erotic might not even be the right genre for them. They're sort of stuck in the middle.

Maybe I read too much too fast--it feels like there's been an inundation of X-mance books and a severe lack of real R-mance books, and I'm feeling very frustrated.

Let's take a few examples of great R-mance books. R-mance books tend to be best sellers and stay at the top for a while--they're the books that get passed on and on and on because of all the feels. They're talked about a year later, five years later, something I pick back up again because I want to feel it all again.

The best example (except for me the movie format hits me better than the book) is The Notebook. Yes, we have the epic scene in the rain, stumbling into the house soaking wet and pulling off stockings. But the book is about Noah's love for Allie--from teenage, summer romance to nursing home, Alzheimer's affected, love you till we die. I'm for Noah the whole movie, charmed by his youthful pursuit of the snooty Allie, watching him pull her out of her shell and falling into the kind of love parents put down as puppy love but roots so deep within Noah's soul he refurbishes a house because of what he knows it would mean to Allie.

A lot of great, popular, self-published examples for me are Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire, Easy by Tammara Webber and Slammed by Colleen Hoover. These books sky-rocketed to the top and stayed there. Slammed doesn't even have a lick of sex in it--a lot of angst, desire and kissing. But it's all about the forbidden, how love happens whether you want it to or not, whether it's right or wrong. Beautiful Disaster gets us all with the bad boy--the reformed rake, if you will. Sleeps with every willing female until he finds THE ONE. And he pursues her and (spoiler alert) gets her. Then there's Easy which I love for the fact that there's more going on than the romance. The hottest scene in the book is when Lucas sketches Jacqueline--fully clothed. You can feel the electricity spark off them as you read it. Yes, a lot of that is good writing, but it's also the tease, the building of anticipation.

A recent read that I loved was Love Like the Movies by Victoria Van Tiem. The best part of this book is it takes the most epic scenes from our favorite romances--the guy pursues his girl using her love of rom-coms, puts her into recreations of these scenes that we've all fantasied about partaking in. It's a perfect R-mance, maybe even PG-13 because there's not a lot of dirty talk and the only sex scene is very mild, which doesn't mean it's not poignant.

All this could be person preference. I want to see them fall in love, fight for that love. Yes, that could happen while they're getting sweaty between the sheets, but my problem with X-mances are the lack of anything that could really build a relationship outside of whatever surface they're doing it on--and it's usually a wide variety of creative surfaces. This frequently pulls me from the story because I'm trying to visualize the feasibility of some of the positions and surfaces. Yes, the couple could go at each other non-stop, but when they're not connecting elsewhere I find it very hard to buy their professions of love as anything more than lust and attraction.

Am I against a good sex scene? Nope. Sometimes they're perfect and exactly where they're supposed to. It's just these X-mances get read by me so much faster because there's so much sex for sex's sake that there's very little else to the book and I skim through it, they leave me, um, unsatisfied.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Murder She Wrote and #writemotivation

Warning: Spoilers ahead.

Veronica Roth received a lot of grief last year after the release of the finale to her Divergent trilogy. I absolutely loved the first book and held off on reading the second so I wouldn't be stuck on a cliffhanger for a year. From the reviews I've read, I'm glad I did. And it's not because Veronica Roth infamously killed off the main character. It has more to do with complaints that the book is completely different from the first two--that the third book doesn't even seem to go with the previous two.

All the hub-bub got me thinking. Dangerous, I know. To kill or not to kill. The Hunger Games trilogy is all about death and murder--and in the first two books, all the character deaths were legit. Then Suzanne Collins released Mockingjay and no, just no. The death of Finnick seriously ruined the book for me. I've had many debates and discussions about Prim's death and that one seems less controversial than Finnick's. After everything you learn that the Capitol forced him to do and he finally marries Annie...then she kills him off? No. Just, seriously, no.

Even in TV shows--I stopped watching Revolution after they killed off Danny. It felt very Prim to me--the entire plot for the first season was Charlie's determination and quest to rescue her brother. Then in the first episode of the second season they kill him. Why? The same thing with Prim in The Hunger Games. Katniss volunteers to save her sister--then at the end of the third book Prim's killed off. To me it defeats the whole purpose of the entire series. Okay, maybe Katniss had to go to the Hunger Games in order to become the symbol, the Mockingjay, for the revolution and Prim's the impetus for that. What did Danny's death accomplish in Revolution? Nothing that I can tell from grilling my husband after each episode--I still refuse to watch it, but I get curious every now and then.

Why is any of this relevant to me? Because I have an idea for the death of a character and not only am I dealing with the emotions involved in killing off someone I really like, but worrying about working it into the story so it's understandable. So that the reader feels the loss of the character but can accept that it had to happen for the main character to move forward the way she needs to in the story. It all makes sense in my head, but it has to make sense in the reader's head, too. That's why I write--to engage and compel the reader, to make them feel and become so immersed in the characters and story they cry like I did when that character dies. But I'm not doing it to be shocking but because it's really the only way the story can go.

Veronica Roth apparently said she felt like Harry Potter should've died at the end of the 7th book--that his death was the only way to prove his love and was the ultimate sacrifice. I disagree. And technically I think Harry did die there for a minute, along with the horcrux attached to him. I will confess to reading the very end of the 7th book because I wanted to be prepared for his death if it were to happen. I still cried like a baby when he was in the train station with Dumbledore, but I felt very satisfied with the ending. Death's not the only way to prove love or the ultimate sacrifice. But sometimes it's the only option.

Now: Writemotivation!

#3: Read something relevant to my genre: The book I read last week was Before Jamaica Lane by Samantha Young. I freaking love this author. She hit a homerun with On Dublin Street and continued with Down London Road. Before Jamaica Lane is the 3rd book in her New Adult series. Maybe my hormones were peaking last week, but, holy crap, this book made me feel all the feels. The premise usually comes across as a tool some writers use to push two characters together, but Samantha Young wrote it spectacularly. An inexperienced and confidence-lacking librarian, Olivia has a crush on a guy who comes into her library. After sharing with Nate her predicament, he volunteers himself to help increase her, um, confidence and experience. Of course, even though they both swear they won't develop romantic feelings for the other, they do. And it panics Nate, who still hasn't dealt with losing his girlfriend ten years before. The interaction between Olivia and Nate and the rest of the group from Scotland--I love all of them. We still get to watch Joss and Braden, Ellie and Adam, and Jo and Cam. The writing's fantastic. Olivia's story is engaging and funny and heart breaking, as is Nate's story. I'm telling you, I was so absorbed in the story, my stomach pitched with Nate breaks it off with Olivia and I was right there with Olivia when she made Nate work harder to win her back--of course, I would've taken him back sooner, but his grand gesture in the library...perfect. I almost cried there, too. Seriously. Stupid girly hormones.

#1: I bought a special notebook with three subjects (and new pens, of course) so I could work on my main story along with the two sequels I'm planning in that world. Yes, each idea gets its own subject section--I'm not as OCD as some people (*cough* KT), but I have my quirks.

#4: Blog weekly. Okay, I'm a couple weeks late, but this counts, kind of.

#5: Had my critique group with my awesome panhandle people last Thursday. They're so freaking amazing--geniuses. And they love my writing, so I'll keep them around a little longer :-)

#6: Once this is posted, I'm visiting some of my co-writemotivation people and checking out their blogs.

Leave me a comment! What do you think about killing off characters?