Amused Authors

A Joke and a Discussion by aubreyleatherwood
October 26, 2008, 3:32 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: ,

OK… Ahem… Is this thing on?  Ahem… er… OK… so What’s red and smells like blue paint? Wait for it. Wait for it. RED PAINT!


Now that I’ve subjected you to that, I have to say it’s Sunday and I’m at a writing crossroads. I have one novel out, The People You Know; The Sex THey Have, and one in the wings: Imperfection. Both are erotic in nature but both showcase people actually being in love with each other. There has been great response to the concept. People who’ve read excerpts have truly enjoyed them… But I can’t say that I’m a bestselling author. I think the response to Imperfection will be an overwhlming one when it comes out, but I’m worried that an erotic novel about a married couple that adore each other may not translate, no matter how much I’m in love with the book.

So why is that?

Can we talk about it? I want to know your thoughts and open this up for discussion. Do people want to read about couples who fall in love or strangers in the night? The answer “it all depends on whether the writing is good or not” is not allowed! LOL. We, as Amused Authors and readers of Amused Authors, know for sure that the writing is good. Right ladies and gentlemen? This is a discussion purely about content.

Aubrey Leatherwood


11 Comments so far
Leave a comment

You stole my answer! Now I have to think. You know how hard that is for me.

As a long time married person who loves her Guitarman (but is going to kill him if he doesn’t stop playing the same riff over and over again), I can confidently say being in love is not a cure all for conflict. If anything it ratchets up the stakes. One of the things that bothers me about a lot of romance novels is they take you through the initial courtship and might even get you all the way to the I do, but you never know if they did. (Not that. you know they did that. Most of the time it’s right there in the pages of the book in more or less graphic detail.) But did they fulfill the promise of I do? What did they do when one got sick, lost a job, had a midlife crisis, decided they wanted to be a different gender, wanted kids, didn’t want kids, couldn’t have kids, etc, etc. That’s where the real conflict is.

In my stories I try to hint at that. So far I’ve only tackled one married couple going through a massive lifestyle change (adding another person to the marriage. Boy, that was fun.) It was interesting to watch the story unfold from that angle so I’m sure it’ll be interesting to see the story unfold from your angle too.

Comment by charlottemcclain

Thanks, Charlotte! In my novel we meet the characters as they prepare to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary, but we get glimpses of how they got there. Challenges like health problems, insecurities, financial hardship, even differences over how to raise their daughter. But they work through them, and I love them for it. I think it gives my characters… uh… character.

Hmmm… massive lifestyle change, wonder what that’s all about… Which story is it? Is it published… Where can I find this thing?


Comment by aubreyleatherwood

I think a compelling story is a compelling story. You have to have good writing, of course…


Characters, story, writing. Without any of those three aspects, a story is…well, not worth reading.


Comment by Lesli Richardson

so no comment on content, lesli? we’re sticking with good writing? eh? eh? 😀 Here’s what I’m getting at: I don’t care how well the stories written, how nicely fleshed out the characters are, there are some things I don’t want to read. For example, a well-written story, with three dimensional characters, that is 90% torture scenes even if that entails a plotted out story, well… i’m not interested. That’s an extreme, i know *g* but there are definite trends in content. Vampires are trendy right now, for example, and a wide range of authors with different styles tackle them. My question is purely about content. We drift toward some stories and away from others. Som book blurbs move us and some don’t. My question is more about that.


Comment by aubreyleatherwood

I’ll comment on content. I would LOVE to see more stories on the market that DO involve couples in love. There are only a few really strong, ongoing series in the genre I mostly read (fantasy) that involve this, and they are invariably very enjoyable. Characters can be deeply in love, go on being in love, and never suffer a breakup, and still have conflict, relationship issues, development and something to make us want to read the next book. More romance should be written this way. Go, go, go!


Comment by asherose

Very cool, Kathleen. Can you tell me what series you’re talking about… I’d probably really like to get into them, too.


Comment by aubreyleatherwood

Well, here’s the problem with content: it’s like the old saying about opinions and…rectums — everyone’s got one. *LOL* (Usually.)

There are people who despise Harry Potter and love WWII narratives. There are people who would rather pull out their nostril hairs one by one than read anything outside of their favored genres. The only “universal” standard that’s cross-platform (so to speak) is story, character, and writing. You can have the most intriguing content in the world, but if the story, characters, and/or writing is crap, you’re screwed. *LOL* Even if you do have those three things in place, if the reader isn’t interested in the content, you’re still screwed.

The best thing any writer can do is first learn how to write properly. (I’m being generic here, not directed at any one person!!) As a past and current member of the Novels-L list, I’ve seen plenty of crap, and plenty of good writing, both in genres I prefer to read and genres I normally wouldn’t read. I’ve seen writers with great stories ruin those stories through crap writing, a failure to do something as fundamental as learn basic grammar. *LOL* I’ve seen manuscripts touted as “finished” by writers who really should go back to third grade English for remedial classes. *LOL*

I’ve also seen perfect writing wasted on crap ideas, with dead/cardboard characters and cliched stories.

Writers should write what they feel passionately about. They should read as much as they can get their hands on in a wide variety of genres and by a wide variety of authors. They should ply and polish their craft and write what their hearts and muses call them to write.

I wrote a novel (“Cross-Country Chaos,” coming early next year from BookStrand) where the hero and the son of the heroine are both in wheelchairs. Some people raised their eyebrows at that, but since I’m the mom of a child in a wheelchair, it was a story I wanted to tell. It won’t be everyone’s cuppa, because I tell a realistic story without the fluff treatment that a lot of writers without experience with people with disabilities use. But reaction to it so far has been good from most.

A writer needs to write a story they love. If you don’t love your creation, no one else will. Don’t worry about what others “want” in a story — it’s what you as the creator want to write. Using that guideline, as long as you’ve got solid writing, good characters, and an interesting story, that’s all you can do.

Content is irrelevant beyond the boundaries of what’s acceptable to publishers. I won’t write something I don’t want to read. You can’t write a story every reader will adore, it just isn’t happening. But YOU have to love the story you write.


Comment by Lesli Richardson

And I should add that Lyrical has contracted the first three of my “Good Will Ghost Hunting” series, where the hero and heroine fall in love and…well, don’t want to give away too much, but they don’t go swapping partners every book, so let’s just say they’re a couple in love. *LOL* And test responses to that have been good as well.

Don’t sweat it. Write what YOU want to write.


Comment by Lesli Richardson

Thump! Whap! Thud! Ooomph!

That’s the sound of me beating a dead horse. 😀

At the risk of sounding like a know-it-all, I *always* write what I want to write. Even with different content, it’s on my own terms and something I love. It’s how I manage to complete something for a themed contest or anthology. I also know how to write, so that’s not an issue for me either.

I am exploring marketability, which I have summarily ignored to date. My curiosity is about how certain themes are received in the marketplace.

Thanks for the words of encouragement.


Comment by aubreyleatherwood

Just about anything Barbara Hambly writes, for one. She has fantasy series and a really really amazing mystery series that I recommend to anyone.

Also some Peter Beagle fiction, notably “The Innkeeper’s Song” and subsequent stories set in the same universe.

And everything written by Lois McMaster Bujold–for romance readers, I especially recommend her new trilogy, “The Sharing Knife”, which IS a romance. But there are strong ongoing romances in all her fiction.

There are probably others, but those are the ones that leap to mind at the moment. 🙂


Comment by asherose

if the story is good the story is good….people can make something magical with even a short story….i guess it depends on the author

Comment by Savannah Chase

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: