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Monday, July 30, 2007

Getting Summer Write - Emotion/Blog Contest

I was thrilled to have received this wonderful inscribed marble plaque last week for winning the 2006 National Readers' Choice Award for Bunking Down with the Boss. It was unexpected and quite an honor because of all the books I've written thus far, this one ranks up there with highly-packed EMOTION.

And for fun, I'll be running a weekly CONTEST about the Writing Topic of the Week. This week it's emotion -- so all you have to do is post here Monday through Friday about what book you've read recently or in the past that really hit you hard with emotion. What emotions did the book evoke and why?

One winner will be picked randomly from your comments and I'll send out a signed Bunking Down with the Boss, or any other of my available titles you'd like. Read the blog all week and I'll post the winners on Friday.

I'll go first. I just finished Susan Mallery's SIZZLING. It was a great story about a famous jock baseball player and his grandmother's nurse, a sort of plain Jane. Susan has a way to suck you right into the story immediately with intriguing characters that you instantly care about. Why? Well the heroine has lived all her life envying her "perfect" sister and as a result, she feels inferior. It's something we can relate to on a very elemental basis. We've all known someone close to us,that seemed to have it all. But our heroine isn't a wilting flower - she's good at her job, feisty and takes no bull from the handsome hunk who's had women adoring him all of his life.

Immediately our hero sees something different in the heroine. And she makes him sees that living the good life, isn't good enough. Through her, he believes he can be a better man. There's heart tugging emotion when we learn the "perfect" sister is dying and the sacrifices our heroine makes because of her love of the sister she'd always envyed. There's a scene in the story that is so heartbreaking, that I talked myself out of crying, "I'm okay. I can handle this." But the words and the emotion evoked were too much for me and soon I found tears running down my face. And just minutes later into the story, I'm cheering and happy again. That's the benchmark for a good story - make the reader feel emotion, make it real and make it believable.

When writing a story, put your whole heart into it. Dig deep inside and flesh out all the emotions you can. An easy way to do this is to really "know" your main characters. Know who they are and what's most important to them. Feel what they feel, see what they see. Know their perceptions and what's underneath the facade that they show to the outside world. Most often when I see unpublished works the key element missing in the story is that, I don't care. I don't care about the character. I don't care about what they want in life. I don't care to continue reading the story.

Putting a level of emotion in the story from the very beginning is fundamental. The opening line or opening few paragraphs should give the reader a real clear sense of who the characters are - on an emotional level. Emotion shouldn't be resigned to just dialogue. Put it in description, narrative action and certainly in introspection. Think about some amazing opening lines of books you've read. Didn't they make you want to read the entire book in one sitting? This is Susan's opening line in Sizzling. Note how it immediately tells you something about the hero and the line makes you want to continue reading to find out more. "Until six forty-five that Thursday morning, women had always loved Reid Buchanan. "

Okay, we've all known men like Reid Buchanon, right? But what happened to him that day? Why did everything change for him? The author's next few witty paragraphs go into detail about Reid's life to date, very briefly, but immediately we feel something about this man. We've already formed an opinion about him. That's a good thing. We care.

So what book have you read lately that evoked a good deal of emotion in you? Why? Remember to post here and check back during the week.

Next up on the blog: More on emotion! Contest continues...


blessed_blue_devil said...

I recently read "BetterThan Chocolste by Brieanna Robertson. This story made me laugh and cry, and to hope for the happiness of the main characters, Kat and Van. Brieanna made her characters so real, and this is a beautiful, emotional poignant love story.

Charlene Sands said...

That books sounds wonderful if it evoked all those emotions in you!
It's probably a story you'll never forget!

Cherie J said...

I just finished Unbound by Lori Devoti and it was definitely a memorable read. The story involves a hellhound shapeshifter named Risk who is bound to an evil witch. He is ordered to capture a inexperienced witch named Kara so she could suck her dry of her magical powers. Risk finds out that Kara is a twin and that their powers combined might set him free. Thus begins his walking a tightrope of being forced to obey his owner and the possibility of his freedom. Add to the mix, his falling in love with Kara and it gets really complicated. Great story! It evoked alot of emotion. I was saddened by the situation the hero found himself in. I despised the villian who was despicable and just wanted to see her suffer like she made everyone around her suffer. I smiled in a few places at some of the humerous moments put in the story to help lighten some of the darkness in the book. I just kept rooting for the hero and heroine to have their happy ending. Lori Devoti did a superb job of evoking emotion and making you feel your characters emotions.

catslady said...

Instead of picking one book I am going to pick one author - Jodi Picoult. Of her 13 books I've read 6 or 7 and every single one of them have caused intense emotions. She gets you into the heads of all the main characters, not just one. You find yourself changing your mind all through the book. Her subjects range from kidnapping, murder, suicide, illness, etc.

jennybrat said...

Megan Hart's Broken is a complex, atypical romance that explores the evolution of love and desire in the face of duress and tragedy and evoked a lot of pathos in me.

CherylStJ said...

I'm currently reading Nora Nora a book by Anne Rivers Siddon. The main character is a young girl in the South during the 60s. She has no mother, and her father is distant and disapproving. She lives in the shadow of her brother who died. An overbearing aunt tries to change her into a young woman. Nora is a confident carefree thirty-something cousin who comes to visit for the summer. The author taps into emotions with Peyton, the motherless girl, and the distant father. Each of us remembers those awkward pre-teen years and can identify with feelings of inadequacy and embarrassment. Peyton is also the underdog at school, with no friends and nothing in common with any of them. It's not a romance, and I'm enjoying it because of the strongly portrayed characters.

Minna said...

At the moment I'm listening to Mika Waltari's book Sinuhe the Egyptian. There is abandoned Sinuhe who is adopted, who dreams of becoming a soldier, who loses his faith in gods, becomes a doctor, learns that asking too many questions can get you into trouble etc. Waltari sure was a good writer. He really makes you see the ancient Egypt and things that are happening to Sinuhe through his eyes.