This is a Good Book Thursday, April 11, 2019

I’ve been on a Rex Stout binge (comfort reading), but the sun has come out and the ice is gone, so I’m going to try some of the ten thousand new-to-me books everybody here has loved. Thinking about either The Goblin Emperor or Murderbot, since they’re pretty much 100% Argh Approved, but I can always use more recommendations.

So what have you read lately that was really good?

Working Wednesday, April 10, 2019

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.

So what were you inspired to do this week.

Questionable: Can a Love Interest Be an Antagonist?

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?

Let’s start with the basics.

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Questionable: What’s the Difference Between YA and Adult Fiction?

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.

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Questionable: Can You Put a Death in a Rom Com?

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.

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Working Wednesday, April 3, 2019

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?

Questionable: How Can the Concepts of Fiction Apply to Non-Fiction?

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. 

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