Wednesday, 30 July 2008


-Who said I was in love?
-I did.
-Well...It's a sin and a shame,but I've got to admit it, I am.
- Who is he?
- What does that matter?
-It's not unnatural that I have some curiosity.
-He's absolutely nothing. A character straight from Characterville.

From How to Marry a Millionaire

A burn notice is an official statement issued by one intelligence agency to other agencies. It states that an individual or a group is unreliable for one or more reasons or purposes.

I don’t watch too much television mainly due to there being not much of any interest on that appeals to me and I don’t have the time. But then who does? But I do like TV shows with quirky characters. You know the ones I mean – the flawed, crazy people who are genuinely funny and identifiable because they are so ordinary and average and they stuff up things just like normal people should, Oh sure, they get what they want in the end but it’s their crazy journey that always appeals to me. I love Burn Notice. Have you watched it? I am hooked. I think the characters are wonderfully quirky and I think if I could write characters with even a tenth of that quirkiness I would be happy.

Writers – what is with them huh? They never seem to be happy with their characters but I think that’s a good thing. I think it shows that they are thinking about their readers, the mood of the general reading audience and they are striving to be better with each book. I believe writers who think that they are ‘all that’ and ‘expert’ probably aren’t – no one is. Sure confidence is good but knowing when to pull your head in and shut up and learn from experience is better. I actually have a hard time believing I am a writer - an author - I don’t see it as a title that fits me. But then, I’m not into titles. What do I call myself if not a writer/author? I’m me – it's worked so far.

I think it’s really hard to build a character on paper and then sell other people on it. There is so much to think about – looks, manner and how they react to the other characters. Are they secondary characters? Are they going to overwhelm the heroine and hero? Do you have to pull them back? Or are they people that just wander on and off and make you smile or wonder if they will be in the next book? While I like quirky characters I don’t deliberately set out to make them quirky. I try and write the characteristics of people I know and then expand on them. Sometimes you get it right – sometimes you don’t - frustration thy name is writer or me…whichever.

I was recently speaking to a writer who told me all her characters were very funny. Hmmm, I think that’s a big call to make. Why? Who judges what is funny? What she or I think is funny others won’t. I cannot imagine deliberately trying to write humour in a book. How hard would that be? You would have to be incredibly certain of your comedic talents. Think of all the stand up comics that bomb on stage. I love comedians like
Billy Connelly and Dylan Moran. Their humour to me is quirky and unforced. That’s a real talent. But how do you force humour into a book and make it look natural? Is it experience? Talent? Sheer confidence? And what happens if people don’t see it as funny? Do you learn a lesson and move on and just write without worrying about humour or do you think some people have no sense of humour?

Then there’s sex – what a minefield that is. How many ways can a character have sex in an erotic romance? The answer? Lots. It’s all about imagination. So you have to think about the possibility of trying to be amusing, the gymnastics of toe curling sex and what adventure you set these characters on. Do they have any special skills or do they bumble along? Do they have to thwart evil and can you even write evil convincingly? And while all that is happening you have to deal with your own, real life.

Yep, it’s hard building a person. Why do we do it? Hmmm…but I will let you in on a little secret. I personally believe people who write books are insane. Tell no one…or maybe the next 5 people you see…up to you.

Back to TV, just saw the best the best thing on The Bold and The Beautiful. You're probably all way ahead in episodes but I walked in from after work to discover Katie Logan had been shot by her brother and is on artificial life support. The characters were all crying because of the 'there was no hope' bit – but wait - there is one - if they could do a heart transplant to save her life. Of course you know where the heart will come from. Also interestingly enough, Brooke's ex-husband- Nick -brother to Ridge(also an ex-husband) and now fiancĂ© is apparently in love with Brooke’s sister even though Brooke's daughter is Nick's ex-wife and she still loves him even though Brooke herself is still trying to decide between Nick and Ridge because Nick's son is her maternal child even though she did not give birth to it because Taylor - Ridge's ex-wife and also Nick’s ex-wife gave birth to the child. I like watching Bold as my life is so seems so beautifully uncomplicated in comparison.

"You were born an original. Don't die a copy." --unknown
Go ahead: Live with abandon. Be outrageous at any age. What are you saving your best self for?


barbara huffert said...

Oh okay, I admit it. I'm insane. But I'm harmless...well, mostly.

Nope, don't watch either of those shows and I agree, humor is too hard. Any that ends up in my books is the characters doing.

Sandra Cox said...

Geez no wonder I don't watch soapies. My head is spinning.
I'm afraid you're right, we're all a little crazy.
Love the quote.

Molly Daniels said...

The last time I watched B&B, Brooke and Ridge had married (again!) and had a baby (again!). Now they're divorced (again!)?? I'm with Sandra. You just made me dizzy.

Anny Cook said...

What a wonderful quote! I believe I'll post that on my desktop! Heh. I haven't watched a soap opera in twenty years. I bet the story would be close to where it was when I walked away. Not much changes.

Cindy Spencer Pape said...

Love Burn Notice. Sat down last week with popcorn to watch the season premiere. All 4 of the main characters are clearly insane and therefore a treat to watch.

As to humor--I never try to write it. But somehow even when I think I'm writing serious stuff, somebody ends up laughing. I don't think it's that I write funny, but that LIFE is funny, so you might as well laugh at it.

Regina Carlysle said...

I agree with you, Cindy. I never set out to write anything funny but sometimes characters are unruly and weird things pop out of their mouths! Sometimes I'll laugh at what they've said but that doesn't mean anyone else will.

My head was spinning over the B & B storyline. I used to watch soaps but stopped a long time ago. They are so addictive though.

Ashley Ladd said...

I've never seen The Bold & The Beautiful. Isn't that the soap Constantine Maroulis plays on? I keep meaning to tune in just to see him.

I just read a review of my newest book that said it was funny. I didn't write it with the intention of being humorous, but so be it. Okay by me.