Thursday, July 14, 2005

I would never say I'm an avid reader, though I wish I were. My problem is that I'm mildly dyslexic, which makes reading slow, but more than that I have a very demanding two year old at home who keeps me very distracted. That being said, I read when I can. Right now I'm in the middle of the second book in the Weather Warden series by Rachel Caine called Heat Stroke. I love this book. I was talking to Shawn about it yesterday and one thing that occurred to me is that one of the reasons I love this book is because it delivers what's promised. Having read Caine's first installment Ill-Wind, the things I loved about it were the fast-pace, the sassy heroine, and the hottie djinn lover, David. Book II, I'm happy to say, is more of the same. As an author I used to dis the publishing industry for producing what some people like to call "McFiction," which is to say fiction that seems mass-produced with the lowest common denominator reader in mind. The never-ending trilogy called Waste of Time by Author X. You know the books, admit it. But, as a fan, when I'm absolutely honest with myself, what I want is more of the same. There is a fine line, however. I'm also a big fan of the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evonavich. I got to about book TEN, when I got sick of what I perceived as "the formula." Stephanie screws up some bounty hunting job (again), her car gets blown up (again), and something outlandishly silly happens with Lulu and grandma (again). Yawn. I hear from my friend Ember that the next book redeems itself, but, it's strange, because while I want more of the same, I want some things to change, too. I want characters to grow -- although not so much as to become completely unlike the original character I fell in love with. For instance, even though the events of Ill-Wind were sobering, I would not like it if JoAnne (our heroine) suddenly went from sassy to angst-ridden and depressed. But, this book satisfies that need because JoAnne (without giving away too much of the plot) does transform, quite dramatically between the last book and this one. I want the romance (if there is one) to deepen. We all like that first flush, but if the characters are going to reoccur, I'd like to see the relationship expand. Evonavich does this, but sometimes I feel like she's holding back Stephanie from truly getting serious with either Ranger or Morelli simply for the "never ending series" reason. That is to say, if this were real life Stephanie probably would have picked one or the other by now, but because these books are popular and fans are equally divided, she never will. You know? These are just a few things I'm trying to keep in mind as I sit down to start writing my next novel. It's hard, as an author, whose perspective is all internal, to figure out what parts of the book are most likely to appeal to the majority of fans... ie, which parts are the parts there should be more of the same of -- while also allowing for some growth of plot and characters. Well, that's all for today. See you tomorrow.

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