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Saturday, March 25, 2006

Steps in some direction

Today, as we know from my rants the past few days, we had critique. Oh it was so so so awesome. I missed those gals! Can I sound completely stupid for one second and just say that this one gal, who I haven't seen in a few months, it was so good to see her face. I just kept looking at her because I've missed her face. I'm smiling right now.

Well, the good news. As per usual, they said my writing rocked. What can I say, I'm brilliant. Now for the bad news. They HATED my heroine. Yes, with big exclamations. Crap does not even begin to describe the words in my head. But I'll say it. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. And I'll admit to my fear in submitting this book. no one who has read it has liked the heroine in the beginning of the book. Those who've read the whole thing-they like her. However, those who only read the first half, hate her guts.

And even though I am completely in love with this heroine and story, I am finally saying, fine. I'm changing the effing story. Because the fact of the matter is, no matter how good the writing is, no matter how well I show her growth, no one is going to continue reading a book with a heroine they hate so much. I will say that I did learn something really really interesting about my characters, though. As some of you know from my previous blog, I have issues with creating sympathetic heroines. It's driving me nuts. I have all these cool stories, and rejection after rejection says, unsympathetic heroine. Need I say, CRAP? Usually, I don't get it from my CPs, so having THEM say it and spend a million hours picking apart what they don't like about her (everything), I figured it out. (Insert happy dance)

My heroines are unsympathetic because I like the underdog. I like taking someone from the pit of humanity and crafting her into something beautiful. Not that she wasn't beautiful before, because I believe she was... I'm just taking the time to reveal that beauty. However, the first part of the book is so focused on the bad place she is that people aren't seeing enough of the good to want to root for her. And because I like to complicate matters, I make her problems really really big. Apparently, people don't like that.

Which leads to the second realization we can thank my other CP for. I so do not want to admit to this. Really. Even though I love and adore romance, I am a (whispers) more literary and cerebral writer. ACK!!! First off, I despise literary writing. However, she had a good point. Yes, I like the romance and the relationship and the characters, but I am really about the cool brainiac stuff. When I get excited about the story, yeah, I like the characters, but the part that makes me excited is the idea, the process, the twists in the plot. I never start with characters, I always start with a what if?

For example, the two books I'm not supposed to be working on. The How to Lose a Guy book-I adore the movie How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days. As I was watching it, I thought, wouldn't it be cool to twist it? Up the stakes so that the heroine's entire life is riding on whether or not she can lose a guy she's not willing to give up, BUT, what she doesn't know is that what she thinks is the right choice is really the wrong choice. The other book-Friends to Lovers-I wanted to explore a modern day marriage of convenience-a couple who get married for the sake of a convenience other than a baby. Are you with me here? For me, the thought process of that whole thing and the twists are what makes it fun.

Now, here is the freaky thing (and really long so forgive me). I did a Strengths Finder analysis several months ago, and do you want to know what my strengths are:

1. Intellection: You like to think. You like mental activity.
2. Restorative: You love to solve problems
3. Context: You look back. You look back because that is where the answers lie.
4. Input: You are inquisitive. You collect things that are interesting and a lot of things interest you.
5. Empathy: You can sense the emotions around you.

Crap I just found better explanations of these things but it won't let me C&P. Anyway, I think it's pretty obvious that for me, it's the whole mental process that revs me up-although, I score high on empathy, so I just need to harness that more and help readers be more empathetic about my characters. Anyway, if you do want to read more about this stuff (because I love this sort of thing and I love sharing-hey, look, that's one of my strengths), you can check out the book, Now discover your strengths by Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton. I will say that it's a great book for learning the strength styles, and really, you get it to be able to take the quiz, but it isn't so great in the practical application, IMO.

Finally, a quick update on what's going on with my argument with God.

My lovely argument with God got me exactly... um... somewhere. You know the crazy thing about arguing with God? He's always right. So why do I bother? And then of course, there's this little tidbit that my friend Diane likes to point out occasionally in reference to her life, but it really is a big kick in the pants for me to remember when I'm tempted to argue. He's God. We can't possibly begin to understand Him. Okay, fine.

So tonight, I was exhausted. DUH. I went to bed, believe it or not, at 9:30. World record for me. And, promptly at 11:30 (which seems to be when God starts talking to me, for some reason... I wonder if He's got one of those PDAs with an alarm in it that beeps at that time to say, "Go visit with Danica"), I woke up. Now, I will say that God is pretty incredible and forgiving because after I ranted and whined about him making me so dang tired, I do feel strangely refreshed. So apparently, I got a lot out of those two hours (God, please remember to do this when I go to bed again tonight, considering I do have to work at 9 am).

What is this stuff God is doing in my life at the moment? I can't exactly say, since it's a roller coaster of just weirdness and fixing stuff in my heart. Crazy days.


Heather Diane Tipton said...

you know, i have to say... er i had something to say. nevermind. LOL I'm in pain... that whole wreck thing... lotsa tylenol. LOL

Danica/Dream said...

Well, stop letting cars hit you! :)