PDA

View Full Version : Any Other Topics You Want???



Jordan Dane
October 8th, 2010, 01:06 PM
Since I'll be here all next week (Oct 11-17), I'd like to open the discussion to include any topics you'd like to chat about. (This is probably the quietest group of authors I've ever seen. I'm hearing crickets... :whistilin:)

If you want to talk about contests, the industry, other genres, or other craft topics, I'll be happy to field questions on anything. I'm here for you guys. Just let me know how I can help.

Happy writing! :fridge:

SherryG
October 9th, 2010, 10:30 AM
Jordan, I'm sorry I'm guilty of not pulling my weight here, but have just completed my first week of promo spots for my debut book. All new ground for me and kinda scary.
But as your workshop will have mega impact on how I re-write the story with the bigamy and false claims, I just had to join. :-)
As I am guilty of falling behind and have not read all the posts I may be repeating a question already out there.

What is the difference between a romantic suspense and a suspenceful romance? Is it about percentages of suspense v romance, or is there no difference at all?

I claim to write contemporary romance, but have seen where it is described as a suspense, and also a mystery! So now I'm confused by the difference between 'conflict' and 'suspense/mystery'.

Jordan Dane
October 9th, 2010, 11:12 AM
Jordan, I'm sorry I'm guilty of not pulling my weight here, but have just completed my first week of promo spots for my debut book. All new ground for me and kinda scary.
But as your workshop will have mega impact on how I re-write the story with the bigamy and false claims, I just had to join. :-)
As I am guilty of falling behind and have not read all the posts I may be repeating a question already out there.

What is the difference between a romantic suspense and a suspenceful romance? Is it about percentages of suspense v romance, or is there no difference at all?

I claim to write contemporary romance, but have seen where it is described as a suspense, and also a mystery! So now I'm confused by the difference between 'conflict' and 'suspense/mystery'.

Can't believe it but the server kicked me out after I'd written a lengthy reply. :lightingzapA:

I'll gather my thoughts again after more coffee.

Jordan Dane
October 9th, 2010, 11:38 AM
What is the difference between a romantic suspense and a suspenceful romance? Is it about percentages of suspense v romance, or is there no difference at all?

I claim to write contemporary romance, but have seen where it is described as a suspense, and also a mystery! So now I'm confused by the difference between 'conflict' and 'suspense/mystery'.

As far as blending the right amount of romance with suspense, lots of people talk about percentages, but that’s hard to gauge. Karen Rose said it best when she defined the right balance as this. If you can delete your entire romance subplot and the book no longer makes sense, then you have the right balance. That means you must make the romance an integral part of the book and you must make it worse for your hero & heroine because they have feelings for one another. Every time they are together, they are in danger or they become more embroiled in a treacherous plot.

<O:p</O:p
In my debut book – NO ONE HEARD HER SCREAM (http://www.jordandane.com/scream.php) – my hero was really cagey about being followed until the bad guys started following her. My hero became vulnerable because he couldn’t stay away from her and they both ultimately paid a price for their feelings.
<O:p</O:p

Below are my distinctions between mystery, suspense, & thrillers. I hope this helps too.
<O:p</O:p
Definitions – Mystery vs. Suspense vs. Thriller

· Mystery – The classic mystery is a ‘whodunnit’ with a crime to solve from the start by a professional or amateur sleuth who unravels clues to find the culprit. A revelation on something that has already happened.
· Suspense –Instead of the protagonist in a mystery who is unraveling clues to track down the criminal behind a murder, the suspense genre involves a protagonist who is trying to stop or prevent something from happening. There generally is a building tension or suspense as the plot progresses.
· Thriller - With a pure thriller, there can be higher stakes, multiple POVs, sometimes international settings, and definitely faster pace. Suspense on stimulants. A reader can have a visceral reaction when reading a thriller—escalated heart rate, tension, adrenaline rush, etc.
<O:p</O:p

And the definitions below come from the Romance Writers of America:
<O:p</O:p

RWA Definition of Romance & Romantic Suspense:

ROMANCE - Two basic elements comprise every romance novel: a central love story and an emotionally-satisfying and optimistic ending.

A Central Love Story: The main plot centers around two individuals falling in love and struggling to make the relationship work. A writer can include as many subplots as he/she wants as long as the love story is the main focus of the novel.

An Emotionally-Satisfying and Optimistic Ending: In a romance, the lovers who risk and struggle for each other and their relationship are rewarded with emotional justice and unconditional love.

Romance novels may have any tone or style, be set in any place or time, and have varying levels of sensuality—ranging from sweet to extremely hot. These settings and distinctions of plot create specific subgenres within romance fiction.
<O:p</O:p

Romantic Suspense
Romance novels in which suspense, mystery, or thriller elements constitute an integral part of the plot.

Karen McGrath
October 9th, 2010, 03:03 PM
Hi Jordan, I haven't been here much either this past week. Preparing for my workshop on Tuesday at a writer's conference. Fun but time consuming. :gunsmilie:

Do you have an agent? I went through your website but couldn't find any info. Do you recommend one?

Thanks for the genre info. I write romantic suspense.

Great class, thanks!

Jordan Dane
October 9th, 2010, 10:10 PM
Hi Jordan, I haven't been here much either this past week. Preparing for my workshop on Tuesday at a writer's conference. Fun but time consuming. :gunsmilie:

Do you have an agent? I went through your website but couldn't find any info. Do you recommend one?

Thanks for the genre info. I write romantic suspense.

Great class, thanks!

On my CONTACT/MEDIA (http://www.jordandane.com/contact.php)page at my website, I have my agent listed there, with her address. Meredith Bernstein. She's been a great fit for me and author Sharon Sala help me land her. She's Sharon's agent and MB has an impressive list of authors too.

Agents are great to get you into doors that you wouldnt get through easily on your own. They also can play the part of bad cop, so you can be a ray of sunshine. And since I don't have time to have beta readers anymore, my agent can vet my work and give me feedback. Sometimes I listen, sometimes I don't, but MB's instincts are really good and she's usually right. An agent can also help you negotiate terms of your agreement, but I also recommend getting a lawyer to look over any contract. Hope that helps.

:tv1:

Red Dragon
October 9th, 2010, 10:54 PM
Hi Jordan,
I've been reading your classes on writing suspense and thank you for them. I've been told it is unsatisfying (cheating) to warn the heroine of the danger in the forest and then have her go in alone. Do you agree?
For me the scariest thing is to be hiding in a room and see the door knob turning.
What do you and the other writers, here, consider the most scary thing to read - not necessarily to write?
Thanks,
Rusty.

Jordan Dane
October 9th, 2010, 11:35 PM
Hi Jordan,
I've been reading your classes on writing suspense and thank you for them. I've been told it is unsatisfying (cheating) to warn the heroine of the danger in the forest and then have her go in alone. Do you agree?
For me the scariest thing is to be hiding in a room and see the door knob turning.
What do you and the other writers, here, consider the most scary thing to read - not necessarily to write?
Thanks,
Rusty.

It depends on why she is going in alone. If she's out of options and she's got no other choice, then she will seem brave even though you will write her as fearful probably. But if she knows it's dangerous and doesn't take precautions when she's got options, then it makes her seem "too stupid to live" which is a phrase my editor might use.

Personally, I like the door knob turning thing. Once you open that door though, the rush of dread for the reader is over so milk it. But having said that, I think it's in the setting too. Think about hiding in a room where you think you might be safe and you're not. The knob turns and you're trapped. That's pretty scary, but try walking down a dark alley knowing you have no business there. Your heart will throttle inside your chest and your breaths will come in pants because your mind is working overtime on what bad things could happen. It's like a nightmare that everyone had probably had or can imagine easily. I would pick the scariest setting and give her a reason to walk into it alone, knowing that someone else's life is on the line.

For me, atmosphere and setting play an important part in setting the stage for a suspenseful creep fest. And you can keep up the pace when there's a chase scene, but when it comes to a bad guy confronting my heroine, I slow down the action and take in every sweat drop trickling down her spine so the readers feels it all. smilies/aah.gif

Suspense is about waiting for something bad to happen, not the actual act itself. So it's all in the lead in to whatever she is heading into. Write what you fear too. And that can be really hard to do. I scare myself all the time.

Make your heroine smart & savvy with no choice if she wants to save someone's life at the risk of her own. Real courage is something we all admire. And if you make the villain seem smarter and overwhelmingly brilliant, you can pit your girl against him and pick just the right way for her to win in an unexpected twist. Things have to seem dark before anything good happens so the ending is emotionally draining by the time it's over. You want your readers to feel that sense of relief, just like your character. Your heroine would be like David against Goliath. Make that climax worth waiting for.

I hope others respond to your question too. I'd love to hear what other authors like.

Jordan Dane
October 10th, 2010, 10:11 AM
I'm almost to the end of THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak. At a point where I dread what is coming--knowing it will be sad--and not wanting this book to be over.

Markus looks like a young guy in his author photo, but he writes with the type of emotion that makes me think he has an old soul. How does an author take such risk? This book is told through the eyes of Death in an omniscient POV. And it's got handwritten text and cartoon images of an artist inside the pages--a book within a book. And when Death wants you to pay close attention, he bolds his text and centers it in the middle of the page with asterisks or other punctuation, as if you could possibly ignore his words.

If you have the pleasure of reading this book, read between the lines of an author who took a risk. He had faith in his talent and put everything on the page, without caring what anyone else would think. He wrote the story his heart and his instincts told him to write. And this book will undoubtedly become a classic.

I will be sad when this book is over. And it will make it hard for me to select another to follow it, but for now, I am savoring every word.

Thank you, Markus.

fablife
October 10th, 2010, 01:17 PM
I came across your books from this forum and am reading No One Heard Her Scream. I am enjoying your style very much - sharp and riveting, made me want to turn the pages (I am usually into horror or paranormal). So, my question may be out of context - did you develop your style over time or how did "it" happen? Also, did you begin writing in your current genre or did you experiment with other genres?

Jordan Dane
October 10th, 2010, 03:50 PM
I came across your books from this forum and am reading No One Heard Her Scream. I am enjoying your style very much - sharp and riveting, made me want to turn the pages (I am usually into horror or paranormal). So, my question may be out of context - did you develop your style over time or how did "it" happen? Also, did you begin writing in your current genre or did you experiment with other genres?


Thanks for trying one of my books. I really appreciate it. And I'm glad you're enjoying it. SCREAM was my 2nd attempt at writing suspense, but that genre clicked with me because I'm such a crime fiction fan (and all its subgenres). It was what was on my own personal bookshelves.

After researching the genres that were selling, I had seen where romance was a top seller, but I had no idea that there were so many subgenres within romance. If I had known romantic suspense was such a good seller, I might have tried it sooner, but I went straight romance at first. I wrote a family drama type story that had some suspenseful elements to it. And my 2nd attempt was a romantic comedy. I love the use of subtle humor in my books, even now. With the dark subject matter of my books, a little humor is a relief and is more me. But it wasn't until I wrote NO ONE LEFT TO TELL, my first real suspense attempt that everything seemed to click.

NO ONE HEARD HER SCREAM was actually my 2nd suspense book, but because it was a standalone, my house thought it would be best for it to release as my debut book. NO ONE LEFT TO TELL (book #2) and NO ONE LIVES FOREVER (Book #3) should be read in order to get the most out of those two novels. TELL was HER book and FOREVER is HIS book with a continuing story line.

SCREAM was intended to be a mystery book with a build up of suspense, but Publishers Weekly called it a thriller and named it as PW's Best Book of 2008. That surprised and pleased me, but I knew (in my mind) that I could write a thriller, so I wrote EVIL WITHOUT A FACE to show that I could write a complex story with pace, 5 major story arcs with 20+ secondary characters and a converging plot. PW wrote a great review of that book too. And I learned a lot from writing it, as I do every book actually.

Funny, it wasnt until I saw my book excerpts posted on my website did I realize I had a voice. Authors can sometimes be too close to their own work to be objective. And I guess that includes me. But I strive to be sparse in words, full of the essential atmospheric quality with well chosen words that I struggle with all the time, and an intense pace. On my website, I have a FOR WRITERS (http://www.jordandane.com/writers.php)page and I describe my way of writing scenes. I think I call it "building an onion from the inside out). Dialogue is the spine of my scenes that holds it all together, but the rest (setting, body language & action, & finally introspection) is peppered into the scene to create a beginning, middle and end to each scene with the main characters going thru a mini journey. Each scene has 1-3 plot points that propels the story forward so that nothing is wasted. And I also feel it's important to entice the reader's 5 senses.

But one thing that every author has is their life's experiences. That's what gives my voice it's flavor. I am in deep POV with my characters and there's a thing I call "free association" where I delve into my character's head and try not to filter anything. (This is mentioned on my FOR WRITERS (http://www.jordandane.com/writers.php) page under the post START WITH A BANG (http://www.jordandane.com/writers_bang.php)) And if it makes the cut of my edits, then it stays. That's my life experiences and my world view. And it's the one thing that will be unique from me---and from you--and anyone who is an author who lets it all hang out on the page. It's why we shouldnt be in competition with each other.

Our big opponent is people who don't read. So it's our jobs as authors to write the best book we know how, to entice readers. And we should encourage each other to pursue the passion of writing that we all feel. The way I see it is, we're all on the same side, creating something from nothing. And each of our voices is unique.

Tristy
October 10th, 2010, 09:40 PM
:welcome2: (First completed first draft YA urban fantasy novel, second draft 7 chapters in)

I was wondering what your thought on agents are and how hard it is to find one. I'm in Australia, I don't think that makes too much difference.
My plan is to finish my second draft, do a third draft then send of a query to Random house Australia (they accept e-mail query's from unpublished authors for YA). After that I though I would try and find an agent.

Cheers
Tristy.;)

Tristy
October 10th, 2010, 10:02 PM
Hi Jordan,

I have another question. In my novel I've got good and bad Vampires, and I did some research and decided to call my bad Vampires Strix (an ancient Greek word for owl, in folklore it feed on human flesh and blood) it was a precursor to other names for Vampires such as Strigori (Romania). I've chosen this name because I've used some other ancient Greek words. Rachelle Mead uses Strigori for her bad Vampires and I was wondering if using Strix I am too close to her bad Vampires. My story is very different. My Vampires are very different, the only common element is good and bad vampires.
What do you think?
Cheers
Tristy.

Jordan Dane
October 10th, 2010, 10:06 PM
Hi Jordan,

I have another question. In my novel I've got good and bad Vampires, and I did some research and decided to call my bad Vampires Strix (an ancient Greek word for owl, in folklore it feed on human flesh and blood) it was a precursor to other names for Vampires such as Strigori (Romania). I've chosen this name because I've used some other ancient Greek words. Rachelle Mead uses Strigori for her bad Vampires and I was wondering if using Strix I am too close to her bad Vampires. My story is very different. My Vampires are very different, the only common element is good and bad vampires.
What do you think?
Cheers
Tristy.

You sound like you've got good reason for naming them as you do. And if the name is too similar, your editor would let you know, but I don't see a problem with it.

I noticed that a lot of urban fantasy is using the term - Glamour - to describe the effect of making something look different to humans - in other words, it masks or disguises things. I first read this term in Cassandra Clare's series, but noticed the word in other books too. So I don't see any harm in the name you have chosen. And it's consistent with your use of Greek references.

Go for it, baby!!!!:Hotdog:

Jordan Dane
October 10th, 2010, 10:13 PM
:welcome2: (First completed first draft YA urban fantasy novel, second draft 7 chapters in)

I was wondering what your thought on agents are and how hard it is to find one. I'm in Australia, I don't think that makes too much difference.
My plan is to finish my second draft, do a third draft then send of a query to Random house Australia (they accept e-mail query's from unpublished authors for YA). After that I though I would try and find an agent.

Cheers
Tristy.;)

Hey Kristy - Cheers!!! It's been my experience that agents are really hard to get. They are wanting to find an author they can rep for a career. And they will take on a new client if they can read the project and have several publishing contacts who might be interested in a book like yours. So they want to flip it immediately and make an easy sale.

The agent I have turned me down 2-3 times before one of her clients recommended she read my debut book. And that book was already submitted at one house to buy, so she knew she could sell my book pretty quick. Plus she stirred up an auction. I think in this day and age with technology the way it is, you being in Australia isnt an issue. My agent reps Aussies. And I like that my agent is physically located in NYC. She can pick up the phone or ask an editor for lunch to see what's going on.

Good luck with your agent hunt. I would probably submit to more than one. Be selective about who you send your query to, but don't wait for one query at the expense of sending more out. Your time is valuable and most reputable agents will not expect an exclusive.

And I highly recommend that while you are waiting for ANY answer on a proposal--to a house or to an agent--get back to writing. It will take your mind off the wait. And when you sell, they will want to look at your inventory. So keep writing!!!!! :spotman:

VmprFreak
October 14th, 2010, 08:12 PM
Hey Jordan! Great topics over here! I am going through them, taking notes. :pinkjump:

In reference to suspense, is it is possible to go to far? For example, if a woman is walking down a dark street at night is it possible to push the fear too far where it is uncomfortable? And if it is uncomfortable, should you still use it?

Also, for a YA, what is an ideal word count goal?
~Sarah

Jordan Dane
October 15th, 2010, 01:10 PM
Hey Jordan! Great topics over here! I am going through them, taking notes. :pinkjump:

In reference to suspense, is it is possible to go to far? For example, if a woman is walking down a dark street at night is it possible to push the fear too far where it is uncomfortable? And if it is uncomfortable, should you still use it?

Also, for a YA, what is an ideal word count goal?
~Sarah

Good questions, Sarah. And HI!!!! :jump:
First of all, word count for YA. I saw on a publisher's site that they look for YA from 40,000 to 75,000 words, but my debut YA turned out to be in the low 90,000s. It depends on the story.

When I first got pubbed, an author friend told me that when an editor makes an offer of an advance, they plug in their cost figures to do an advance P&L (profit & loss est)--and that they have one p&l for books under 110,000 and another one for anything above 110,000. So apparently there is a cost difference at that level. Typically YA is 75,000-85,000 at other houses, but if your story is what the house is looking for, they will take books that are larger.

And as far as how far to go on suspense--to me, there should be no limit on suspense, but you might be referring to graphic violence or sex. That was the question that I had when I was writing my debut book.

I asked several author friends how far I should go on both sex and violence. They told me that if I was writing single-title, that I should go for it, without a limit. I personally think you should push it, but show some reserve for the taste of the reading public.

Houses these days don't really edit or work with a new author's proposal to guide them on what they're looking for. If they don't like something in your proposal, they probably will just send a rejection letter, even though they can like much of what you do. I wish this was not the case and would like to see them work with a new author, but each house is different as to how much graphic stuff they will buy.

If it's YA, then I would error on the side of conservaticism. Edgy YA, which is what I write, I tone down my adult side (where anything goes, pretty much) and I watch the bad language to some extent (usually my lead heroine isn't a major cusser), but I still sparingly use the F word for other characters, because I think it's more realistic for certain kids to use that kind of language. (I remember what it was like for me. LOL) If an editor likes your work and want your book to be toned down, they will edit you then. Sounds like your work would be considered edgy YA, so you'll have more latitude.

Hope that helps.

Autumn Jordon
October 16th, 2010, 10:49 PM
Our big opponent is people who don't read. So it's our jobs as authors to write the best book we know how, to entice readers. And we should encourage each other to pursue the passion of writing that we all feel. The way I see it is, we're all on the same side, creating something from nothing. And each of our voices is unique.

Well said!