My Sudden Fiction, or Why I’m Suddenly Obsessed with Egg Cups

Sudden fiction or flash fiction is very short stories, although technically, what I’m writing is called micro-fiction, under 400 words. As I write this post, I have nineteen different egg cup micro-fiction stories, the longest of which is 103 words. All together the posts are just under 1000 words, all inspired by photographs of the Egg Cups of the Damned interacting with others at their family reunion.
So this probably needs some explanation. Continue reading

The Vanilla Protagonist: A Grimm Problem

The new season of Grimm has started, and I’m still hooked; in fact, I think it’s gotten better. I’m trying to figure out why because there’s so much about I shouldn’t like. The romantic relationship is too Mary Sue, the Wesen-of-the-week bit should be getting old, and sometimes the plots don’t quite work (“Quills,” I’m lookin’ at you). But the biggest flaw, the thing that should be the dealbreaker, is that the protagonist, Nick, is one of the most vanilla heroes ever written. The actor playing him does a good job, but there’s only so much Good, Truth, and Beauty I can take in a protagonist before I wander off. Yet I’ll be logging onto Hulu every week to see what happens to him next. Which brings me to the big question: Why?
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Give Each Character the Best Lines

There’s an NYT article by Eleanor Stanford about her favorite line from “When Harry Met Sally . . .” that’s my favorite, too: “You’re right, you’re right, I know you’re right.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said that (and thank you, Nora Ephron). The essay analyzes why, and it made me think about some of my other favorites. Like . . .

“That escalated quickly.”

“There’s no crying in baseball.” (Bob hit me with a variation on that one yesterday.)

“And someday you’ll die, and I’ll come to your funeral in a red dress!”

I was thinking about the reason some lines stick around and I think it’s because they reflect some universal feeling, encapsulate that feeling in few words–surprise, fear, rage–while recalling a moment in a film that just nailed that complex emotion. The way “I miscalculated” is not nearly as effective as “We’re gonna need a bigger boat.” Or “I’m done here” is not nearly as delicious “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” Or “I love you madly for all time” is not nearly as knee-weakening as “I know.”

Your turn: What lines from books, movies, songs, whatever do you use because they shorthand the moment for you? Or for whatever reason?

Veronica Gets Her Own Book

I put Rosie in Crazy for You (and called her Katie). I put Wolfie in Faking It (and called him Steve). I put Wolfie and Milton in Dogs and Goddesses (and called them Wolfie and Milton). Mona is in the Riven series (as Muffin). And now, finally, the glamour girl of the bunch is getting her due. Veronica is in Lavender’s Blue (as Veronica). (Veronica was a sort of stand-in for Marlene in Fast Women, except Marlene was brown and a con artist.)

For those of you new to Argh, this is Veronica:
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The Working Protagonist (and Antagonist, Too)

Phred wrote “Nope. This is the one with a PR person and a neurology professor,” and it made me think of how we remember romances (and Friends): Protagonist and the Love Interest. Which makes sense, although we don’t think of mysteries as Detective and Victim, we think of them as Detective and Murderer, which makes sense: the relationship is the key, the push and pull of both sides as they get to know each other, zero in on each other. Love and death.

Where was I?

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What Makes a Good Love Interest?

I was going to title this “What Makes a Hero?” which is a lot punchier, but since “Hero” implies male and not necessarily a romantic figure we’re going with “love interest.”

At base, a love interest is somebody the protagonist falls in love with, so that’s where we’re starting. The next question, the interesting one, is “Why this person?” Granted this is going to depend on the protagonist (and the writer), but there must be some criteria across the board. It’s when I try to pin it down, that things get slippery. Continue reading

Argh Question

For once, something Google can’t answer.

What is the nickname “Dillie” short for?

Yes, I know I named her that, but it was a long time ago. The only thing that comes to mind is Tom Bombadil and just no on that. Dylan is a possibility, but that would make her Dylie, wouldn’t it?

This is going to drive me nuts.

Romance, Sex and Context: A Theory

I’ve been thinking about sex in romance novels lately. (This is going to ramble some. My Deep Thoughts often ramble.)

I used to get reviews that said my romances were pretty hot. I reread a couple of those books recently and compared with what’s out now, they’re barely lukewarm. That’s fine with me, but I’m wondering now what the blurring of the lines between romance and erotica means to the genre. That is, how is it redefining romance? I have no problems with erotica, but it doesn’t have the same aims as romance, any more than women’s fiction is romance-centered. I’m not even sure chick lit is romance, but then I’ve never really been sure what chick lit is. The point is, romance is the only genre that’s romance centered, so what happens to romance within the genre is important.

And I think sex is mugging it. Continue reading