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Fiction Groupie Archives

These are my writing posts from my former blog, spanning 2009-2012. To see new writing posts, click on the blog tab above. To see these archived post organized by topic, click "For Writers" above.

Entries in true blood (2)

Monday
Aug172009

This Magic Moment

 


What separates a novel from being just good to being great? We can talk about plot points and characterizations and originality. All of those things, of course, count for a lot. However, what seems to really define the difference for me is if I remember parts of the book (or movie) for years to come. I could enjoy a book, feel drawn in, feel satisfied when I'm done, but if you ask me in a year or two and I can't remember much about it, then maybe the book wasn't great (or maybe I'm my long term memory is just getting worse--always a possibility.)

So that got me to thinking about what makes a novel particularly memorable. In Ann Rittenberg and Laura Whitcomb's Your First Novel (a great resource, btw), they argue that a novel is memorable because of the moments an author creates. They define five main types of moments that make a story stick with us for long after we've closed the book.

1. Opening Hearts
These are the moments that are either filled with joy or sorrow. These are often the heartbreaking moments that make us cry.
ex.) In Titanic when Rose has to let go of Jack's hand in the water. In Romeo and Juliet, when Juliet awakes to find Romeo dead.
2. Instilling Fear
These are the moments that scare the bejesus out of us. These scenes are the ones that make us get up to check and make sure that we've locked the front door.
ex.) In the movie The Ring when the little girl steps out of the tv. In Stephen King's (who is the master at this type of moment) The Shining when the wife finds the stacks of typed pages that say "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy."
3. Raising the Temperature
These moments, for lack of a more delicate way of putting it, turn us on. This doesn't necessarily mean sex; it could be a simple kiss, but it hits a hot button.
Ex.) In the Mortal Instruments series, the scene with Jace and Clary in the fairy court. In Charlaine Harris' Sookie books, (hmm, there are so many, where to start), I'll say in the fourth one Dead to the World, the shower scene with Sookie and Eric. (By the way, did anyone see True Blood last night? Talk about raising the temperature, whew. :) But I digress.)
4. Getting a Laugh
These are the moments that make us laugh out loud while we're reading, even though we're in the middle of the airport and everyone turns to look at us. My husband gets particularly annoyed with me when I hit these in a book because he feels left out on the joke.
ex.) In Knocked Up when the friend walks into the delivery room and she screams in her most demonic voice for him to get out.
5. Winning Victories
This is the part of the book that we're all waiting for. The hero gets the girl/guy, the murder is solved, the bad guy is caught/killed, the war is won, etc.
Ex.) The examples are all over the place. Every book and movie has one of these, it's the climax. But the key is to make the reader really care about getting there. We have to feel personally invested in the outcome. If not, we're left cold.
So what do you think? Do you have these in your own book? Are these types of moments what make you remember a story? Also, what are some of your favorite moments that stayed with you long after the end of the book or movie?

 

Monday
Aug102009

Something for Everyone: Reviews



It's been a while since my last book review. Why is that? Well, as you can see from my right sidebar, I am currently reading
Outlander. This is the first book I've read on my brand spanking new Kindle. So, having no actual book in my hand, I had no idea the sheer size of the book. I'm the kind of girl who can get through a normal sized book in a few days (if not in one day), so when I kept reading and reading and the percentage meter on the Kindle wasn't increasing very much, I looked up the page count. The paperback comes in at 650 pages! Okay, so needless to say it's taking me a while. I hope to be done by the end of this week.

So instead of one detailed review like normal, I decided to select my top non-YA picks from my last few months of reading. If you want to check out my YA picks, I have an earlier post on those.

Romance:

by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Back Cover:
Dear Reader, Being trapped in a bedroom with a woman is a grand thing. Being trapped in hundreds of bedrooms over two thousand years isn't. And being cursed into a book as a love-slave for eternity can ruin even a Spartan warrior's day. As a love-slave, I knew everything about women. How to touch them, how to savor them, and most of all how to pleasure them. But when I was summoned to fulfill Grace Alexander's sexual fantasies, I found the first woman in history who saw me as a man with a tormented past. She, alone, bothered to take me out of the bedroom and into the world. She taught me to love again. But I was not born to know love. I was cursed to walk eternity alone. As a general, I had long ago accepted my sentence. Yet now I have found Grace-the one thing my wounded heart cannot survive without. Sure, love can heal all wounds, but can it break a two thousand year old curse? Julian of Macedon

Review: I know most avid readers will look at this selection and say "well, duh." This book is a classic in paranormal romance and has spawned a long running series by Sherrilyn Kenyon. But as I talked about last week, I didn't read straight romance for a long time, so this was new to me. This book is a great example of why I was such an idiot to avoid romance for so long. The story was funny, touching, and romantic. Add in the paranormal element and greek gods, and I was sold. ★★★★


by Erica Orloff

Back Cover:
Everyone loves shock jock Julian Shaw…except the guy who shot him.

The raunchy radio DJ expects the dark tunnel, white lights—even his late grandmother greeting him at the pearly gates. Instead, he gets a coma, a spirit guide named Gus and a pushy demon with a deal. His assignment: Katie Darby.

Katie Darby's best friend just stole her guy! Now she's losing her mind.

All she really wants to do is stay in mope mode, but it feels as if someone is watching her, whispering strange thoughts into her head, making her say and do things she would never normally consider. And it's actually making her life better!

Now Julian wants another chance to prove he's a good guy. But he just might have to sell his soul to the devil to get
Review: This book was so much fun. Think Howard Stern (but good-looking) gets assigned to be a woman's guardian angel. There are angels and demons and Albert Einstein and ABBA music (which scrambles God's listening in ability, ha). Plus, the love story is very touching underneath all the humor. Great beach read. ★★★★

Suspense/Psychological Thriller (with a literary bent):

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Back Cover:
Richard Papen arrived at Hampden College in New England and was quickly seduced by an elite group of five students, all Greek scholars, all worldly, self-assured, and, at first glance, all highly unapproachable. As Richard is drawn into their inner circle, he learns a terrifying secret that binds them to one another...a secret about an incident in the woods in the dead of night where an ancient rite was brought to brutal life...and led to a gruesome death. And that was just the beginning....
Review: This book has been described as a murder mystery in reverse. This novel was a bestseller a few years ago, but I missed it at the time. So on a trip to the used book store one day, I picked it up. I have to say that this book was one of those that I didn't know how to feel about it after I read it. It is not a light read. I was utterly engaged throughout the book (which is quote long) and felt drawn in to the setting and characters. And after it was done, it kept me thinking about it. That is what I'm basing my ratingon. ★★★1/2


Suspense/Mystery:

Killer Takes All by Erica Spindler

Back Cover:
The White Rabbit beckons you to follow him, down the rabbit hole, into his world. He's a deceiver, a trickster. You won't know what is truth and what is a lie. He aims to best you. Beat you. And when he does, you die.

A friend's brutal murder turns former homicide detective Stacy Killian's life upside down. Unwilling to trust Spencer Malone, the overconfident New Orleans detective assigned to the case, Stacy is compelled to return to the investigative role she had fled.

The investigation leads Stacy and Spencer to White Rabbit, a cultish fantasy role-playing game. White Rabbit is dark, violent -- and addictive. As the body count mounts, they find themselves trapped in a terrifying game that's more real than life and death. Because anyone can die before the final moment when White Rabbit is over . . . and the killer takes all.

Review: I discoverd Erica Spindler when I was in college after hearing she was a local author (I was still living in Louisiana at the time). I haven't read a book by her that I haven't enjoyed. Fast-paced suspense stories, sometimes with a dash of romance, that keep you reading into the night. This one was the last I read, but you can't go wrong with any of hers. ★★★★


Horror:

Nazareth Hill by Ramsey Campbell

Back Cover:

A rebellious teenager's tense relationship with her father liberates fearsome monsters of English history. Amy Priestly has always dreaded 'the spider house, ' as she privately calls the abandoned Nazareth Hill monastery. When she and her father, Oswald, move into an apartment in the newly gentrified 'Nazarill, ' her fears are reinforced by the building's gloom--crawly things seem to crouch in its shadowy hallways. Worse, her father is becoming increasingly tyrannical

Review: I found a recommendation for this book somewhere and decided to give it a try. It is no longer in print, but Amazon has used copies. I love a good horror story. I'm not the type of girl who avoids the scary movies, I seek them out. So know that this is the perspective I'm coming from. If you don't like to be scared, then this probably isn't for you.

This story isn't an in your face monsters and murderers kind of thing. The story builds tension slowly, giving an overall sense of dread and creepiness. The house is a character in and of itself. The book is not a happy one and didn't end with sunshine and butterflies, but it stayed with me for a while after I finished it. ★★★1/2


Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance:


Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood Boxed Set by Charlaine Harris

Back Cover (Dead Until Dark):
Sookie Stackhouse is just a small-time cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana. Until the vampire of her dreams walks into her life-and one of her coworkers checks out....

Maybe having a vampire for a boyfriend isn't such a bright idea.


Review: Okay, so everyone and their mama has probably reviewed these, but I had to mention them. These books are great: vampires, were-animals, shapeshifters, fairies, maenads, witches! Plus, super hot romance mixed in with the murder mysteries. I these books and I True Blood (the tv version of the books). If you haven't read these, you're missing out. Don't just watch the show.★★★★★

There you go. Hope you check some of these out. Let me know what you think of my picks.

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