Tuesday, April 20, 2021

3T Writing Tidbit

Oh, those whys!

One of the things I didn't understand the first time I  got notes from an editor was so many whys. Why did the character do this and why was the world the way it it was? Why didn't the hero do this or that--and why did he then do the other thing?

The reason I didn't understand was because I hadn't yet learned to put myself in the place of the reader. I knew the answers in my head, or I could make them up. The reader...didn't.

Your reader will have questions, valid questions about things in your story. Here's one.

Why is the hero going into that vampire-infested lair...?

One way to handle revealing the answers is to have an internal monologue. I must rescue the heroine. Another is to have non-point-of-view characters ask. "You're going into a vampire-infested lair with only your wits and fists? Are you nuts??" Another way is to show the reason. The heroine appeared briefly in the third-floor window. "Hero, you promised you'd protect me from this lair of vampires--!" A clawed hand wrapped around her face, yanking her abruptly out of sight.

Whatever you choose, always remember the reader's valid questions must be acknowledged in some way in the story.

Published since 2009, over the years I've accumulated various items of writing wisdom. The Third Tuesday Writing Tidbit showcases these items in no particular order. Click here to see all 3T Tidbits.  

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

2T Repeat Performance - Are You Happy

 I've done a number of blog tours over the years, posting on different sites. Now I'm bringing them to you!

Originally published August 15, 2010 for ARRA

Are you happy?

(Or how to feel good about buying books.)

Really ask yourself. Are you happy?

My husband sends me articles. Oh, not the painfully silly ones or the ones so twee (sweet) they suck your lips into your esophagus. (My rule of thumb: I only forward it if it makes me laugh out loud or think a brand-new thought.) Anyway, just last week he sent me a link to a New York Times article titled “But Will It Make You Happy?”

Lots of people think more money will make them happy. Then you hear about the missionaries who visit the poorest people in the world, and it turns out those “poor” people are happier than the missionaries.  Necessities aside, money itself isn’t an automatic happy.

So, if not money, then stuff? Well, the article pretty much stomps that idea too.  Mr. Smith’s 3G Stuff may make him happy--until Mr. Jones gets 4G stuff. Then Mr. Smith is unhappy because he wants 4G stuff too.

Here’s my bet. You, dear reader, are pretty happy.

Why? Because, according to the article, the only type of spending that actually correlates to happiness is leisure spending (after the basic needs are met). Fun experiences like vacations, fun activities like golf or computer games. Diversions like TV or movies.

And where do we get the most experience and entertainment for the least money, the most bang for the buck or delight for the dollar?

Right. With books.

Readers who belong to groups like ARRA increase that delight by talking books with other people. Sharing books, in book clubs or with friends (or with other readers who become friends), taps an even bigger promoter of happiness: strong relationships.  The shared experience of quoting great lines, the shared anticipation of a favorite author’s upcoming book--the only thing better to my mind is shared chocolate. (I’m not going to say how that works. I’m an erotic romance writer. Let your imagination soar.)

So are you happy? I can’t answer that question for you, but I can say that if you’re here, you’re a reader who shares--and that’s a great start.

Thanks for having me back as a guest blogger at ARRA!


Mary Hughes is an author, a computer programmer and a flutist. Bite My Fire, ARRA nominee for Favourite Erotic Romance and the first book in Mary’s Biting Love series, just released August 3 in paperback. It’s available at several Australian booksellers including Borders, Booktopia,  and Angus & Robertson.