The Characters of Strike Zone

Book Three is about to be released! I've spent all weekend reading a book, one that has me--of course--studying technique, looking at character development. I admit, I've become a reader who also picks a little bit. To learn, though! Not just to be critical, although sometimes that does go hand-in-hand. And recently, the topic of Characterization came up in my writing group, and it got me thinking.

So, as I thought about characters this weekend, I noted two things.

One from my reading:

The conflict in the book created unnatural reactions in the characters. When it came right down to it, I disliked the heroine for her cold attitude in the first scene...but mostly, it seemed that her thoughts [as the author tried to 'show' the story] and her actions weren't realistic. She was stuck in a Russian blizzard, needing rescue! Why is she thinking she should try to bring up a past and resolve anything? Why is she thinking at all beyond, 'Thank God. You rescued me. Please don't hate me too much to save my life.' So there were a few other instances where the author was trying to maintain sexual tension by NOT having the couple hook up too soon, and created conflict. But again, it just felt off, especially since the characters were both young, healthy, attractive, sexually active, and 'hot for each other'. As an author, reading this book, the conflict felt too contrived. 

This is where characterization can play a huge part! Because if even one of those characters wasn't the horny, sex-impulsive type, then...I could have believed they were holding back as a natural occurence! 

Two, from my own writing:

Last week I finished revisions on Book Three of my Hawk Elite Security series, and it's the first full-length novel that has no sex in it. Before I started revisions, this book had the expected 2-3 love scenes. As I went through on the revisions, the sex kept NOT happening. Believe me, I wanted it to happen! I understand the satisfaction of seeing a couple through even this very private part of their relationship. It's what romance readers are looking for... emotional connections. But no, I had a character. And do you know what my character's nickname on the teams is? 

Fr. John. Because he's conservative in his dating life, because no one is quite certain if he's had sex or not... is he a virgin? Does he even date anymore? He hasn't--in a long time--and that's what made his story. So, wouldn't it be odd to have him suddenly be a lady's man? a Don Juan? I think it would. It wouldn't be in character. 

I had a heroine who was ready to go, and she did her own pondering on why this guy wasn't going to have sex with her. But even my heroine had been living alone for a few years, sort of in hiding from herself and the world. So, even for her to jump right in would have been a little off-reality.

I write romance, and I know the possibility of disappointing readers with a book that has no sex in it. But, I just couldn't get beyond my characters. John was raised a certain way. He's not perfect. He's NOT a virgin [cuz, hello, college is a bed of sowing wild oats and living a little rebelliously], but he's celibate, and has been for a few years. Because he knows, he wants the whole thing. All of it, and he isn't going to settle for less, or cheat the next woman he's attracted to by leading her on. 

If you get a chance to read Strike Zone, please come back and tell me what you think. Part of me loves this story, because the sexual tension is so darn high. Part of me wishes I'd left the sex in there because it's satisfying...

But in the end, I left the tone of the book up to the characters.

And if you like things a little hotter, stay tuned for book 4, Strike Force. Oh boy. That's a different story completely! 

Friday Food

I'm almost at a loss for what to talk about tonight. I should be writing my story. I told my girls I'd be writing! So I wracked my brain for an alliteration. I do love those. Fiction Friday, Friday Five...

This time, I came up with Friday Food. Not just a list of my favorites either. Or a feature of something Fallish, like Chili!! Oh, how I love Chili. [It's on the menu for tomorrow.]

Food always plays a role in my stories. If there's anything about my characters I like to relate to, it's food.

In Shake the Sugar Tree, my heroine connected to the scent of cinnamon and her grandmother's apple pie.
In Houseboat, my hero is a southern boy who has a certain craving for shrimp, grilled with that great cajun seasoning.
There's this great Italian restaurant [and character] in Certain Suspicions that makes this awesome fresh pasta and marinara. The garlic, the fresh basil. Mmmm. Yum.
Sand Bay Secrets is my newest story, I don't know the characters completely, but I wonder if my hero might like to grill...and he likes a rich steak, seared to perfection then cooked to a delicate medium rare. Molly will have a thing for fish and seafood. She's lived on the coast her whole life and loves everything about it. Grilled, baked, fried. She wants it with a salad, a rich, dark green bed of vegetables.

Food is a big deal. What a person eats can often be key to who they are. I can't ignore it. Do you?

Monday Goals


This week, I'm working on staying true to my Hero and Heroine. I wrote the start of scene last night where the hero shows up at the heroine's house. He's had a rough night and is ready to throw down the gauntlet [so to speak]...


She smiles as thoughts of Oh, yeah, now there's a man run through her head. LOL. Okay, maybe not quite so blatant, but still her feelings are not being curbed. Her internal conflict has been set up. She wants to be strong and find herself before she starts sharing herself again. She's supposed to be holding him off, not accepting dates willy-nilly! :P

This is what becomes his issue....right? He wants to see if they are compatible, finally after all these years and he doesn't understand why she would hold him at arm's length.

Anyway, if she doesn't do her thing, he can't do his thing....and they get together and the story is over. NOT GOOD! So, I'll spend today managing that scene before I continue...

Doing a Fast Draft of sorts over at Passionate Critters.

My goal is to do 2000 words a day. [i thought 1500 but I'm pretty behind on Nano as well, so I'm going to try to make it up this week]

NANO count right now: 23,ooo words

...the boy is calling me. He wants me to make soup. ARGH. Like I said, one kid is WAY more work than two. I love him to death AND I really want to get some writing done. :(