Unless you’ve been living under a rock AND falling behind on your 8LW reading, you’ve heard about Suzanne Brockmann’s stirring acceptance speech for her Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2018 RWA national conference. On Thursday, our own Kay summarized the speech and Brockmann’s career. This launched a discussion about writing diverse characters and including diverse experiences in romance fiction.
One of our Eight Ladies, Justine, disclosed in the comments her own trepidation about writing diverse characters in a meaningful, inclusive, and non-appropriating way. This sums up a lot the discussions the Eight Ladies have had on this blog and outside of it. And Justine threw in a twist – how do we respectfully and conscientiously diversify our historical romances? As I said in a reply to Justine’s comment, I have no answers or advice, just some thoughts and more questions of my own.
How bad would it be to write an historical world where women, and people of color, and characters with non-straight sexual orientations, and those with neurodiversities, and those with disabilities, are treated equally? Continue reading
I was unable to attend the Romance Writers of America national conference this year, an event I haven’t missed in years. And it sounds like I missed a great speech.
Suzanne Brockmann received the Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award, an honor she richly deserves. She’s written 57 novels, 14 short stories, and three screenplays. She edits a romance line called Suzanne Brockmann Presents. She co-wrote and directed an off-Broadway play and has produced four indie movies.
In romance publishing, Brockmann is well-known for her LGBTQ activism (her son is gay) and her stories about Navy SEALs. In her acceptance speech, she talked about her publishing career, as writers do in this circumstance. Continue reading
This is pretty much how I felt by the end of the conference.
Okay, technically the recent RWA conference in Denver is just over, not actually dead, but the blog title felt somewhat appropriate, given that one of the first events I attended was a murder party hosted by forensic expert Geoff Symon. Billed as, “an interactive whodunit evening where the attendees are the detectives”, it included Leslie Kelly and various members of her family acting out a murder while we enjoyed desserts and then later uncovered clues to the crime.
It was great fun, possibly helped by the cash bar.
The murder “victim” was an obnoxious aging writer who, it turned out, was bludgeoned with a RITA by her husband. The event provided a great way to both interact with other conference attendees and to learn some basics about forensics and murder investigations; important information for anyone who happens to be writing a murder mystery. Continue reading
Happy Valentine’s Day!
What’s the most romantic gesture, real or fictional, you can think of?
Credible, lasting, loving relationships are the sine qua non of the romance genre, and we romance writers spend a lot of mental energy trying to find moving ways to show what Michaeline described so perfectly yesterday: two people who find each other beautiful, and suitable, and who listen to each other and get each other. A meeting of both minds and hearts.
The three magic words are important, but they’re an empty promise unless they’re backed by concrete, specific actions.
In real life, the evidence suggests that many people believe throwing money at their beloved is the way to go – last year the estimated retail spending on Valentine’s day in the US alone was almost $19 billion – but in fiction, at least, the reader expects more.
How alpha do you like your heroes? If your favorites are uber-dominant types, do they inhabit a sub-genre that expects or requires that behavior?
In my reading life I greatly enjoy alpha male asshattery. There are provisos: obviously the asshat in question must be a good guy deep down, he must have brains and a sense of humor, and he must be enlightened enough to respect and enjoy being challenged by a heroine who’s his equal and maybe even stronger.
Even with those provisos met, though, most of my favorite heroes indulge in the kind of high-handed, obnoxious behavior that I would find totally unacceptable in real life. It’s been on my mind this week, because I’m in the first draft of a new story and I’m gradually filling in all sorts of details about my hero. As I’m writing contemporary romance, it’s closer to home, and I’m finding it tricky to get the balance right. I found it a struggle with the previous book, too: after reading my opening scene from an early draft (a McDaniel College romance writing assignment), Jenny Crusie said she’d keep reading, but only in the hope that my hero, Ian, would get hit by a bus. Continue reading
I have recently learned of a brilliant technique taught by Suzanne Brockmann on how to write in deep third, particularly if you struggle with that POV (which I do). She suggests writing your scene in first person, then change all the first-person pronouns to third-person pronouns. This is, in a word, genius. Continue reading
How do you feel about series? Do you like it when a secondary character from one book becomes the hero or heroine of the next?
For me, it totally depends. Sequel bait is high on my list of no-nos, right up there with plot moppets and TSTL heroines, but when a character I’m already invested in gets their own story in a world I already know, I love it with a passion.
What really makes me snarl is when a new character suddenly pops up towards the end of a book. We’re at a critical stage in the plot or sometimes even in an epilogue and suddenly (WTF?) the heroine’s sister or the hero’s cousin arrives on some slender pretext and gets shoe-horned into the story Continue reading