January 10th, 2008

Books - Writing

Top Ten Signs You're Reading Something by R.J. Anderson

  1. Cruel to be kind. At some point in the story, someone is going to do something that seems appalling, inexcusable, even unforgivable. They may well be hated for it. And then, somewhere down the line, you're going to find out something about that character that turns the whole thing around and makes everybody feel like crap for misjudging them. (I blame Dorothy Dunnett.)

  2. God exists. Deal. Which is not to say that the characters are always pleased with this arrangement, or even believe it to be true; and even those who do believe are apt to struggle mightily with doubt, anger and confusion. Faith is a challenge, not a crutch. I've even thought out the theological implications of my worldbuilding, though you're unlikely to find those particular philosophical ruminations in the text -- I hate preachy fiction.

  3. Guy power. The heroine may have any number of female friends, but her closest friend is male. He may not be destined to be her love interest, but he will probably have at least a slight crush on her, which can make things complicated or even dangerous. Still, he's not a bad guy.

  4. Hair, and plenty of it. Silky, feathery, tousled or sleek; straight as a waterfall, or tumbling about in curls; gripped in agony, tossed in impatience, or caressed in some tender moment. It will flop boyishly into the hero's eyes, or feather around his ears and the nape of his neck. No significant character will appear onstage without their hair receiving some description, even if it's only the color.

  5. Love is NOT blind. In fact, it's often acutely aware of the beloved's shortcomings, but committed to loving him or her anyway. Anything less is just infatuation, and therefore fails at romance.

  6. Sacrifice. More specifically, self-sacrifice. Someone has to give up something that means a great deal to them, for the sake of someone else who may or may not appreciate it. It's going to be scary, and it's going to hurt, and it may seem like the end of everything to that character. But until they screw up their courage and take that step, nothing will be resolved.

  7. Semicolons. They're all over the place; I can't get enough of the things. Also, there are colons: and many a dramatic em-dash at the end of paragraphs--

  8. Sexual Tension. Subtle for the most part, but it's always going to be there, even in my MG novels. I don't do explicit sex scenes, or even much sex at all, but the UST will always be with us.

  9. Tea. It cures all ills, soothes all sorrows. It may also be hurled across the room when someone is in a temper, or used as a precursor to romance. Other beverages need not apply.

  10. You don't have to be rich. My characters tend to be supremely unconcerned about money, even if they don't have a whole lot of it. Having food and raiment, they are therewith content. Even the villains are unlikely to be motivated by simple greed.

Crossposted from fangs_fur_fey, where it is the Meme That Ate The Community.