Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Please hire me, Mr. Patterson

Please Hire Me, Mr. Patterson

James Patterson bashing is a favorite pastime on many writers’ discussion sites. Most of the criticisms aimed toward Mr. Patterson concern his: short chapters, his prolific additions to bookstore and library shelves, his use of co-authors, and his Spartan writing style. And let’s not forget his treatment of writing as a business.
Am I a James Patterson fan? I sure am. Do I read everything he and his stable of writers’ crank out? Of course not. Some of his latest branch-out novels are not for me, written in genres that I just don’t care for.  He is a bookstore, a library, a shelf of books. I stand in front of them and choose which I want to read as I would in any book-filled environment.
The purists would argue that Mr. Patterson’s books are crammed with non-literary, genre-based drivel. I would argue that what he generously produces is entertainment. Isn’t that what writing is all about? Obviously, there are droves of people out there who are skipping things like reality TV, Spider Solitaire, and discussing their day on Facebook, in order to be entertained by this author.
I shudder to think what these same people would have to say about me as an eBook author. They’d probably throw cloves of garlic at me if we met on the street!
John Locke and Joe Konrath, eBook proponents, who, like Mr. Patterson, believe in writing as a business, would certainly back me on this. They are also of the school of thought that believes an author must attack his writing as a business and also, that at the end of the day, books are entertainment.
If James Patterson placed a want ad on Goodreads, looking for someone to co-author his next suspense book, my resume would be in the mail instantly. In an author interview, he stated that he does a 50-page outline before he writes a novel.
Outlining my novels drives me crazy. Just think what I’d learn by fleshing out a novel from one of Patterson’s generous outlines. Did I say learn? Maybe I should have said earn. I doubt many of us would turn down an opportunity to profit from our writing or to pass up the fantastic publicity writing with Mr. Patterson would deliver.
There’s plenty of room for every genre and sub-genre in the universe of reading material as more and more people get into reading. And I do believe (close your ears, purists) that the advent of the eBook will bring more and more readers to feed from our giant trough of books.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Mr. Almost Right

            At the end of last weeks discussion of why we love bad boys, I promised out next talk would be about the ‘almost rights.’ These are the men we settle for despite the warning flags that pop up in our field of vision. Why do we ignore the warnings?
The obvious answer is we’re desperate—so eager to have a man in our lives that we don’t see the problems ahead. But is desperation all there is to it?
            Lisa Rayburn, the protagonist in my suspense novel, She’s Not There, repeatedly hooks up with men that are much younger, married, or in some way, unattainable. She fancies herself a relationship addict although none of her involvements last long enough to actually be a relationship.
            I believe for most of us, it isn’t about being desperate to have a man. Often, when we fall in love, we are so high on the experience that we put on blinders to things we’d otherwise recognize as something we wouldn’t be able to live with for the long haul.
Like Lisa, I spent many years looking for Mr. Right, often settling for men that were all wrong. Why? I liked to blame this syndrome on my relationship with my father, who I adored but was never there for me when I needed him. As a result, I enjoyed the challenge of getting someone to love me and stay by my side. That accomplished, I soon grew bored moved on to the next challenge.
            It would seem that knowing why we do these things would make changing the pattern simple. Not so. It took a lot of years before I learned the answer was to walk away—walk away before it was too late to do so. Unfortunately, I backslid a few times, but the successes were sweet, and I’ve been in a committed relationship now for more than fifteen years.
            There are no easy answers to this timeworn dilemma, but the easy advice is—when choosing a mate—don’t lead with your libido!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Bad Boys


Why are women wild about them?

A fan of The Young and the Restless, I’ve bought the occasional copy of CBS Soaps magazine, hoping to get the latest dirt on a show that has been a hidden addiction of mine for more than twenty years. However, it wasn’t until recently, spurred on by a plotline I was dead against, that I went to the forums and broadcasted my opinion.
            About two years ago, the writers of the show penned a romantic alliance between Sharon and Adam, two extremely unlikely lovers. For anyone who doesn’t follow the plot, Sharon is a lovely blonde who is always painted as perfect, a woman all the men in her life, and some no longer in her life, want to protect and adore. Adam is her ex-husband’s evil brother and has caused murder and mayhem in everyone’s lives, including Sharon’s. Despite his history, she falls in love with him, marries him, divorces him, and then goes back to him later and becomes his fiancĂ©.
            My post regarding this duo, expressed my unhappiness with the writers breaking the pair up once again. To me, far-fetched romantic liaisons are the most interesting. Like the rest of us writers, however, these writers of our "stories," work to keep the conflict flowing. Quite a debate ensued. What struck me about it, is that many fans of the show agreed with me, making me start thinking about the susceptibility of us women to the bad boys we run across in our lives.
            Did this syndrome start with James Dean? Or can we trace it back much further in history?
            Not being a history maven, I’m not going to take this blog in that direction. I'll leave that to you to dwell on. Instead, what is it about the bad boy that is so darn attractive?
            My opinion? It is the drama factor. Like watching soaps, reading romance novels, and going to the movies, these men bring a touch (and then some!) of drama and excitement into our lives. It wasn’t until I was in my thirties that I got over being drawn to them and was finally able to develop a relationship that was more of a two-way street, unlike the kind you’d ever find with a bad boy.
            Yes, I married a man who was very good to me. We divorced six years later. What happened, you ask, if he was such a good husband? The answer to that will have to be addressed in a separate blog. Next topic – What about the men that we know are the “Just-Not-Rights” but stay with anyway?