It’s glorious spring here in NJ, and I’m actually getting things done. The ground isn’t the only thing that lies fallow during winter around here, I’m mostly unproductive myself, but now I am woman, watch me cook, clean, write, and chase dogs (slowly). Melt the snow and keep me warm, and I start to move again.
K asked: “I have a question about villains – and layering them so that they engage with each other and the heroine. Some say the hero (love interest) is the main antagonist, others say there needs to be a stronger antagonist because he’s not one by the end. What say you? What have you found works the best? Do more antagonists pop up as you write? How do you like to layer them? Do you have a limit/rule that you like or use?
Johnna asked: “What makes YA novels so popular nowadays with adults? And is the line between adult and YA fiction really there anymore, especially in fantasy and science fiction? I know that you aren’t a YA author, but with Nita, for example – is there a reason why your book couldn’t/wouldn’t be in a high school library? (other than perhaps sex scenes?)
As Cate said in the comments, the big determiner of YA is the age of the protagonist. A YA protagonist does not necessarily mean that the book is a YA, but an older protagonist pretty much means it isn’t. YA readers have too much adult PoV in their lives already; they want to read about people like them solving problems and making connections. The focus is also likely to be on different things. YA dystopias are different from adult dystopias; YA romantic conflicts are different from adult romantic conflicts. It reminds me of something somebody said about the difference between pop and country music: pop is about falling in love and country is about working on your second divorce. YA fiction is about becoming an adult and adult fiction is dealing with being an adult.
S asked: “What do you think about death in the romantic comedy? Not the hero or heroine, but someone else who matters. Does this make it something other than romcom? Would readers revolt? Have been studying 4 Weddings and a Funeral – the writer was apparently advised to include the funeral to balance the sweet. . . . Had similar thoughts about the movie The Apartment which was tragic but listed as a romcom. It’s for my WIP – my critique grip is squeamish about a death I’m planning in a book that’s part of a romcom series and I’m wondering if it’s maybe too much for my reader?”
Well, first define “romantic comedy.” I’ve never thought The Apartmentwas a romantic comedy, so I’m no help there. My basic definition is that it’s a story of a romance that ends happily and is funny. If you can make a death work in that context, it’s a romcom. Obviously, there’s some calibration in there, but death is not antithetical to romance or comedy.
Oh, thank god, it’s spring. Well, it’s spring where I am, apologies to everybody in Southern Hemisphere, but there it’s fall and I love fall, too. It’s those transition seasons; you just can’t beat them for great energy.
So what work did the season change inspire you to this week? Or, you know, what did you work on in general?
Debbie wrote: I write nonfiction (for work). But I find that many of the things you focus on–particularly the importance of the first scene, and timing–are helpful for both my written work and my presentations. I’m not sure that’s a question, exactly, but it would be interesting to talk about how many fiction rules also apply to non-fiction.
Kelly commented: I’d like to expand that question to how much can be applied to presentations too, unless that’s getting too far beyond writing?
Nonfiction and fiction are different, of course, but there are some parallels.
Our Roben went home to research her latest book: “I enjoyed doing the research on this book, as it required a couple of extra trips to Australia. That’s always fun to catch up with relatives. The setting of the book is only a half hour drive from my mother’s home, and it is where I grew up. The research added some historical details to the story that dated back to the early penal colony, and the convict built Great North Road from Sydney to the Upper Hunter Valley.” The book is The Legend of Crying Girl Creek, and if you act fast, like right now, it’s at a great price.
Adventurous American nurse Samantha Winters is on a study abroad program in Australia. But after one perfect night with a handsome stranger, she finds herself with child. Intrigued with an elderly patient’s tales of a local creek where pregnant women drown themselves, Sam agrees to help end the curse. Historian James Campbell keeps a vigilant watch on his family’s haunted land, hoping to prevent more deaths. A loner in his personal life, he’s stunned to discover his grandmother’s nurse is the one woman he can’t forget. Sam is a believer. James is a skeptic. With the legend’s anniversary looming closer, the two work together to solve the mystery of Crying Girl Creek. Amid the tangles of secrets and lies Sam has a secret of her own: James is the father of her baby. And he doesn’t want children.