Thursday, October 29, 2009

Top Three Signs Your Manuscript May Be Possessed/Undead/A Zombie/In Terrible Trouble:

by Susan Sey

1) Your plot bursts into flame when touched by daylight.

Not good. Your characters should be taking your plot out to play at least once every couple of chapters. It should NOT be hanging upside down in the cellar all day while the hero and heroine exchange witty quips, drink coffee and compliment each other's shoes.


2) Your villain is far and away the most sympathetic character in the book.

This is especially troubling if your villain is a vain, selfish predator who lures underaged girls into (ahem) inappropriate activities. (If you made him a hottie, though, you had to know you were asking for it. Where's your CP? Kindly request a forehead slap and an "oh, honey, no.")

3) Your best idea for revisions involves a wooden stake, a crucifix and a spritz of holy water.

You thought about shooting it with a silver bullet, too, but oh, that's for werewolves. Still, shooting something is appealing. Understandably so. But consider the mess. 400 pages of confetti. And who's in charge of vacuuming? Exactly. Don't make more work for yourself--there's plenty on your plate already from the looks of this zombie manuscript of yours.

So, what to do?

1) Inform the family that, as of this moment, they are on their own in terms of laundry, food, housekeeping and transportation. The little ones will cry ("But mommy I can't reach the washing machine!") but wah, wah, wah. This is war.

2) List all the character traits that make your villain really fascinating and three-dimensional. Now give them to your hero. Evidently you forgot to give him any redeeming qualities of his own, & your villain will need to share. Consider doing the same thing over in the Motivation department. Can't hurt.



3) More sex. (For your characters, not you. You don't have time to fool around. Nose to the grindstone, you.) Why more sex? Because if your plot blows and your villain's outcharming your hero, your readers deserve something. They could probably use a distraction at the very least. Throw them a (heh) bone.

So, any advice for raising a manuscript from the dead? What's your favorite jump-start? Any Dr. Frankensteins out there willing to share? And be honest--can really great sex redeem an otherwise ho-hum book?

88 comments:

limecello said...

Whee!

limecello said...

lol sorry Susan, I have no advice for you. :X There's a reason why I read not write *angelface*

But I loved this post :D You've got humor on your side! That I think can bring life to a lot of books - of course it has to fit... but a little humor is always good.

Michelle said...

congrats lime!! darn that elusive GR...i was so close LOL!

this post is great! loved it! as to your question, well, if i cannot connect with the hero or heroine or the story doesn't grab me in the first few chapters i stop reading altogether because reading the book becomes a chore and not a pleasure. so i don't even get to the sex. but that's just me and my leaving a book unfinished only happened a few times in my years and years of reading.

sorry, i also can't give you manuscript advice. like lime, there's a reason why i'm a reader not a writer LOL :)

Pissenlit said...

Congrats on nabbing the GR, limecello!

Ya sorry, I'm definitely more of a reader than a writer too. And I'm with Michelle on the whole really-good-sex redemption. Depending on how ho-hum it is, there's no guarantee I'll get to the really good sex part.

Say, if the villain's outcharming the hero, maybe the heroine should ditch the hero and run away with the villain. No, I don't like bad boys, why do you ask? ;)

Anna Campbell said...

Lime, people are starting to talk!

Susan, you always crack me up! I refuse to believe that your book is a horrible rotting corpse of the undead. If you can write a blog like this, I'd pay good money to read a whole book by you! Seriously!!!! And hey, those kids are never too young to learn how to turn the washing machine on. Bwahahahahahaha! I hope that evil thought inspires your villain.

Seriously, good luck with your deadline. I'm sure it will be brilliant. It's always darkest before the dawn. There's always a light at the end of the tunnel. um, unless the tunnel is blocked. Or there's an elephant stuck in it. Which technically means there is a light, you just can't see it...

Oh, dear, I think I've done too much blogging lately. Madness is obviously setting in. I think I need to run away with your villain and sit on a desert island for a week or so ;-) He'll be glad to get back to his nefarious activities once he's had to put up with me for seven days!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

BUAHAHAHA!
Smoov, have you tried electrodes? Lots of wires plugged into multiple outlets all connected to that lightning rod on the roof? That should ZAP a little life back into your zombie WIP.

Too bad you don't write BOOM like me, Duchesse, Nancy, KJ, and Cassondra. A bit of C4 always livens things up in a rom suspense... After his recent training with P226, I'm sure the GR has some pointers on BOOM. See if Lime will ask him.

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

OOPS! Forgot, Jo-Mama writes BOOM too! How could I forget?!?!

It's late, that's my only excuse.

AC

Helen said...

Congrats limecello he loves being at your place

Susan
You can really make me laugh I loved the post way to go I am sorry I am no writer either but I really love to feel something for the hero and heroine right from the start and I don't think really good sex will make it any better. Susan you can do this I know you can I am so looking forwad to reading your books and I know you are going to pull me in right from the first page.

Have Fun
Helen

Tawny said...

ROFLMAO - Oh man, Susan, you are so funny! What an awesomely hilarious post.

All I can picture now is Young Frankenstein and Igor bringing back Abby's brain. You know, Abby Normal.

;-) Good luck with the deadline -my money's on you! With this kind of clever prose, you're golden.

Gillian Layne said...

And be honest--can really great sex redeem an otherwise ho-hum book?

Ummm...so many ways to go there...really great sex for the h/h, really great sex for the zombies, really great sex for the author (inspiration, baby!)...and let's not forget the reader...I really don't see how you can go wrong with this one. ;)

Christie Kelley said...

Great post, Susan!

When I feel a manuscript needs to be raised from the dead, it's usually based on a lack of GMC (goal, motivation or conflict). One or more of those elements is missing and until the author figures it out, it's going to stay ho-hum.

As far as sex scenes saving a ho-hum manuscript, I don't think so. I don't care how hot the sex is, if the characters don't have the conflict or motivation, the story is not going to work. (says the author whose latest characters are in bed in chapter 2 and in a chair in chapter 5).

Susan Sey said...

Hey, Limecello! Congrats on the GR! Are you two going steady yet? :-)

You've got humor on your side! That I think can bring life to a lot of books

Oh, you want the *book* to be funny? Whoops. It seems I left the charm out of the book, too. Or maybe I gave it to the villain. That guy, he'll steal anything & look good doing it. Thanks for the vote of confidence, though!

Susan Sey said...

Michelle wrote: as to your question, well, if i cannot connect with the hero or heroine or the story doesn't grab me in the first few chapters i stop reading altogether because reading the book becomes a chore and not a pleasure.

That's so well said, Michelle! A chore & not a pleasure. Because that's the heart of it right there, isn't it? Reading a book should be a pleasure.

It must be a sign of your very good taste that you've only put aside so very few books over the years unfinished. :-)

Susan Sey said...

Pissenlit wrote: Say, if the villain's outcharming the hero, maybe the heroine should ditch the hero and run away with the villain. No, I don't like bad boys, why do you ask? ;)

Oh, if you're a fan of bad boys (just a wild guess), maybe you'd like to run away with my villain? You don't have to *keep* him or anything (I imagine he'd wear out his welcome before long--he's a little smug but it takes a while to notice because I made him so damn good looking) but if you could maybe just spirit him away for a week or two while I put everybody else through bootcamp?

Maybe ugly him up a little bit while you've got him? Break his nose or something...or wait. That's no good. Heros with slightly crooked noses are always even hotter. Good lord. What am I going to do? This guy IS a freakin' zombie. I keep trying to take him out & he keeps coming back. Ack.

Susan Sey said...

Anna Campbell wrote: I think I need to run away with your villain and sit on a desert island for a week or so ;-) He'll be glad to get back to his nefarious activities once he's had to put up with me for seven days!

Oh, Anna, WOULD you? Would you take this [expletive deleted] away to a remote location and just...I don't know. Chain him to a rock. A tree. A bed. Have your wicked way with him. But don't send him back until his inner evil is showing. Break him. I need him cooperative and chastened.

And if you could get him to turn loose my plot while you're at it, I'd be SO grateful.

Thanks! xoxo

Susan Sey said...

Aunty Cindy wrote: Smoov, have you tried electrodes? Lots of wires plugged into multiple outlets all connected to that lightning rod on the roof? That should ZAP a little life back into your zombie WIP.

Yeah, I've been eying my outlets for a few days now. I figure after I perform all my slicing and dicing, swapping around all those body parts, character traits, goals & motivations, I'm going to need SOMEthing to bring this baby back. Electric shock therapy sounds good.

If it doesn't work on the MS, I'll try it on myself. :-)

Susan Sey said...

Helen wrote: I really love to feel something for the hero and heroine right from the start and I don't think really good sex will make it any better.

Aww, Helen, that's the answer I was afraid of. So sex in a book is just like sex in real life--it works a whole lot better when your emotions are engaged. I should write that down somewhere. It seems like a basic truth that could be helpful in this situation, yes, but probably not a bad thing to remember in general. :-) Thanks for the vote of confidence!

Susan Sey said...

Tawny wrote: All I can picture now is Young Frankenstein and Igor bringing back Abby's brain. You know, Abby Normal.

Oh how I wish I had an Igor! "Igor! Bring me a new plot point! This one blows!" Only I've already got an Abby Normal one. I'm worried he'd bring me, oh, I don't know. Sick and Twisted and Strangely (to me) Enchanting. Which I seem to like, for reasons unknown.

Here's me building a character: Hmmmm. Is this trait improbable & completely off-putting? Does it lack charm, warmth and/or humor? Awesome! I'll put it in there! Or if there's anything redeeming about it, I'll just give it to my villain.

Deep sigh. :-)

Back to the ol' drawing board.

Susan Sey said...

Gillian Layne wrote: so many ways to go there...really great sex for the h/h, really great sex for the zombies, really great sex for the author (inspiration, baby!)...and let's not forget the reader...I really don't see how you can go wrong with this one. ;)

Finally! Somebody willing to go to the dark side! Yes! Because, yeah, zombie sex *does* sound compelling, does it not? When you can detach, um, body parts at will, it sort of ramps up the interest factor, does it not?

I once reviewed a demon book for an author in my local chapter (Patti O'Shea, I'll just use her name as it was a great book) and it's not normally my cup of tea but I was entranced by the demon sex. It involved, um, tails and teeth and awesome powers of healing so if they played a little rough, no harm, no foul.

Her characters were wonderful, so I can't say if the sex would've stood alone but I found the entire concept fascinating enough that expect it would have. :-)

Susan Sey said...

Christie Kelly wrote: I don't care how hot the sex is, if the characters don't have the conflict or motivation, the story is not going to work. (says the author whose latest characters are in bed in chapter 2 and in a chair in chapter 5).

Ah, so it can't hurt, though, right? :-)

And, um, can you elaborate on the chair thing? I need inspiration this morning.

Nancy said...

Susan, how funny! If the h/h are sitting around complimenting each other, then both plots have screeched to a halt because conflict has departed altogether.

And no, I don't think great sex redeems an otherwise ho-hum book because if the characters are ho-hum, I don't care what kind of sex they have.

Must go administer a quiz and, one hopes, find the class sufficiently prepared that it won't ruin their day. Back later.

Limecello, congrats on the rooster!

Joan said...

Susan Marie, I sense a single minded purposeful energy in this blog post...

It also made me LMAO....

As to the villian.....what about him being an undercover villian who's really the hero? A cyber cop who just PRETENDS to be one of the vile zombie creatures who stalk the innocent in order to catch the REAL zombies and make them pay...make them pay a LOT!!!

As to the washing machine? That's what God made stools for...

Ok, little Susan babies...up on the stool! It's not THAT rickety...

Wash!

Christie Kelley said...

And, um, can you elaborate on the chair thing? I need inspiration this morning.

LOL...Should I send you chapter 5?

Susan Sey said...

Nancy wrote: If the h/h are sitting around complimenting each other, then both plots have screeched to a halt because conflict has departed altogether.

Yes, ma'am. That's the truth of it. I fear the villain (that charming rascal) has absconded with both plot and conflict. Drat him. I have offered him (so far) to both Pissenlit and Anna C. for suitable punishment & rehabilitation. :-)

Hope your quizzing is going well!

Susan Sey said...

Joan wrote: As to the washing machine? That's what God made stools for...

Ok, little Susan babies...up on the stool! It's not THAT rickety...


Stools! I have stools! I have LOTS of stools! I never thought to put them in the laundry room, though.

You, Joanie T, are brilliant! Now. Who's going to teach the little ones to fold?

Susan Sey said...

Christie wrote: LOL...Should I send you chapter 5?

Oh, I'm tempted. So very, very tempted. But the only thing worse than ho-hum characters have ho-hum sex is ho-hum characters having hot but plagiarized sex. :-)

I'd best hold off. But I'll be looking seriously forward to your next book. :-)

MsHellion said...

OMG, this is funny! *ROTFLMAO* Thank you, thank you, thank you! I'm so guilty of #1. They haven't exchanged compliments on shoes, but the banter is way out of hand. Do something, people...

I agree with Anna--I can't believe your manuscript is in this much trouble if this blog is any indication.

For some reason I have trouble identifying WANTS and NEEDS and making them BIG ENOUGH. That BIG ENOUGH factor always kills me. *sighs*

TerriOsburn said...

I'm definitely awake after seeing that last picture there. Am I the only one whose noticed that he's..uhm....NOT WEARING ANY PANTS! Seriously?!

This is hysterical! But I can't believe your MS is as bad as you say. Maybe it just needs a little CPR - Conflict & Plot Resuscitation.

Go with the ABCs of CPR:
A - Alcohol. Apply in liberal doses.
B - Back rubs. Bound to loosen you up and get the ideas flowing.
C - Chocolate. Lots and LOTS of chocolate.

Now I'm going to try scrubbing that zombie sex image out of my brain. That's just nasty.

Anna Sugden said...

OMG Susan, I'm dying laughing here ... and crying along with you. I know that feeling so well.

Exchange villain for walk-on part (a bloody priest - Anglican *g* - for goodness sake!) and I'm with you 100%. I negotiated plot release by giving said priest his own scene to star in, that he shared with the hero. It was in hero's PoV, so I could tell readers how wonderful the priest was, soothing his ego. He's bee nbehaving well since - but, he's starting to get restless in that he hasn't appeared for a few chapters!

jo robertson said...

OMG, Susan, this is hilarious! As usual.

Personally, my favorite is throwing in more sex, but Anna says sex is never JUST about the sex, so maybe that wouldn't work LOL.

TerriOsburn said...

Sex would create more conflict. This could have merit...

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

SNORK!! "But mommy, I can't REACH the washing machine!" SNORK!!!

And JT beat me too it but, I too say: That's what those stools I bought are FOR, kid! Hahahahah!

Susan, you crack me up.

As for troubled manuscripts that may or may not be possessed, may I, like AC, suggest a nice wedge of C4? It's a good explosive. Usually vaporizes paper, so no muss, no fuss, no vaccuming. (Which I despise.)

The stake does work, but only to pin the dratted thing to the desk. Then you have the blade mark in the desk, have to explain that, or fill it in with putty depending on how many good whacks it took to get it to actually STICK. Sigh.

To fix a manuscript I've actually done what you said. Take the names and exchange them. Hero's name exchanged with villain, then go back and clean up villain. Got a damn fine hero out of that one, once I rewrote the scene where he actually, nefariously killed someone. Can't have the hero doing THAT. :> Left that part to the villain. Then I beefed up the villain agian to be a match to him.

I've read it out loud. That helps. Acting out the parts sure can tell you where you left off emotion, intensity and/or motivation. Of course it will also frequently have you CHOOSE to hand the dratted thing over to the zombies. They like paper. It stops the ooze. Sometimes those troubled mss are more trouble to fix than the paper's worth. Better to cover the ooze. Seriously.

Lime, congrats, but Anna's right. People are gonna tawwwwwk! Grins.

Anna, it's an elephant. Seriously. I'm sure of it. Because if it's NOT an elephant stuck in there, and there is no light at the end of the tunnel...I'm screwed. Turn me over to the zombies!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Ohhh, and Sex. Can't forget the sex question.

Sex fixes everything. Hangnails. Chocolate cravings. Cramps. Cleaning.

Snork.

Oh, you mean in the BOOK. Well...I'm with Gillian (not *with* Gillian..oh forget it) On the Sex for the Author can sometimes fix the Plot! As can Sex for the Reader. You could always include one of those free sex night coupons in the pages of the mss. If the editor hands that to her spouse or significant other and gets lucky? Well, the manuscript gets a gold star, right?

I really think sex fixes most things. Really. In a book, as Anna says, you can use it for so many underlying (harhar, who's on top!?!) purposes.

What sex doesn't fix, humor frequently does, so you're covered 'cause yer funny as heyull.

Louisa Cornell said...

ROFLMAO ! Smoov, this was too funny! I am on my way to a 12 to 9 shift at work so I needed the laugh!

I once killed off an entire branch of the family to fix a manuscript. It really worked and mine was a Regency romance. So, do you have any characters who would make good "cannon fodder?" Or, kill the villain and introduce his even more evil brother, Tony. (the fact that Tony is the name of the store manager from hell from whom I work is JUST a coincidence!)

Pissenlit said...

Susan - Oh, if you're a fan of bad boys (just a wild guess), maybe you'd like to run away with my villain?

You have reached the number of Pissenlit. I can't come to the phone right now so please leave a message after the beep. Oh and if this is Susan, sorry, I took off with your villain after that last post. Had to stay one step ahead of Anna. *BEEEEEEP*

Susan Sey said...

MsHellion wrote: I'm so guilty of #1. They haven't exchanged compliments on shoes, but the banter is way out of hand. Do something, people...

Don't you envy those plot-centric people right down to your toes? Oh, just once I wish I could write a book where stuff happens on every page. People are so forgiving of cardboard characters if the plot is just crackling.

Somehow, they're less interested in my fabulous characters (well, character--the villain) sitting around & being witty. It's cruel, isn't it?

So you're a fellow character driven writer, seems like. Do you blow stuff up when nothing else is going on? There seem to be a fair number here in the lair who advocate such measures...

Susan Sey said...

TerriOsburn wrote: Am I the only one whose noticed that he's..uhm....NOT WEARING ANY PANTS! Seriously?!

Heh. No, I'd noticed that. I just didn't know yet if anybody else had. Kudos to you for the eagle eye. You'd think a guy who forgot his PANTS would be easier to spot but that girl's got some serious hair, & most of it is over his crotch, so, well, there you go.

Still. Nice work. :-)

And thanks for the ABCs. Alcohol & chocolate I've been doing. I hadn't considered backrubs. I will mention this to the DH immediately.

Susan Sey said...

Anna S wrote: Exchange villain for walk-on part (a bloody priest - Anglican *g* - for goodness sake!) and I'm with you 100%. I negotiated plot release by giving said priest his own scene to star in, that he shared with the hero

Oh, you are a wise woman, Anna! I'm so glad to hear your priest is behaving himself.

That happened to me once--not with a priest, but with a pair of secondary characters who were way more interesting than my hero & heroine. Only they weren't satisfied with a scene of their own. They demanded an entire book.

Turned out not to be such a bad bargain, as that book ended up being Money Honey, which won the Golden Heart then sold. :-)

Sometimes the characters know what they're talking about. Hmmmm. I'll have to chew on this....

Susan Sey said...

Jo wrote: Personally, my favorite is throwing in more sex, but Anna says sex is never JUST about the sex, so maybe that wouldn't work LOL.

See but I think Terri (comment below yours) has a point. She said: Sex would create more conflict. This could have merit...

Sometimes sex IS the conflict. IN which case, it satisfies Jo/Anna's requirement that it not just be about the sex.

I feel like I'm chasing my tail. Am I chasing my tail?

Anyway, thanks to you both for permission to go ahead & throw in more sex. Surely it couldn't hurt at this point...

Susan Sey said...

Jeanne wrote: To fix a manuscript I've actually done what you said. Take the names and exchange them. Hero's name exchanged with villain, then go back and clean up villain. Got a damn fine hero out of that one, once I rewrote the scene where he actually, nefariously killed someone. Can't have the hero doing THAT. :>

Yeah, those nefarious killings are a nuisance, and a plague on heros everywhere. But come on, one little body? A mistake, surely. Everybody makes them. :-)

I'll tell you ,I've frankensteined so many character traits together from the mishmash that ended up on the page with this one, I hardly know if I'm coming or going.

Curious, though--when you say you swapped out the names? Did you give the hero the villain's name, or did you give the hero the villain's actions? (If that even makes sense.) I mean, was the hero's name heroic, so you kept it & just gave him all the villain's attributes and actions? Or did you literally swap names, & let the villain have the hero's old name & vice versa?

I'm not sure that even made sense. I'll try again later when I'm thinking more clearly.

Susan Sey said...

Jeanne also wrote: You could always include one of those free sex night coupons in the pages of the mss. If the editor hands that to her spouse or significant other and gets lucky? Well, the manuscript gets a gold star, right?


You are so wise, Jeanne, & so very, very sneaky. Definitely worth a try. Everybody's a more forgiving reader when their, ah, needs are met, you know what I mean? :-)

MsHellion said...

So you're a fellow character driven writer, seems like. Do you blow stuff up when nothing else is going on?

I am. I did read some really great advice once that if you run out of ideas to write about on your manuscript, shoot someone--so I shot the hero. Except a lot of people consider the hero, the villain...so that manuscript is under the bed.

Now if I run out of things for my characters to do, I send Lucifer into the room. He has no qualms about stirring sh*t up.

Susan Sey said...

Louisa Cornell wrote: I once killed off an entire branch of the family to fix a manuscript.

I stand in awe. An entire family? I cover my eyes when I have to off one little minor character. I'm not sure I could do an entire family. Maybe with a natural disaster....

The book does take place on a little island. Surely an accident could befall my villain? I don't know, a small plane crash? Wild dogs? Tsunami? Food for thought, Louisa. Thanks!

Susan Sey said...

Pissenlit wrote: You have reached the number of Pissenlit. I can't come to the phone right now so please leave a message after the beep. Oh and if this is Susan, sorry, I took off with your villain after that last post. Had to stay one step ahead of Anna. *BEEEEEEP*

I will now channel our dear Duchesse when I say: SNORK!

Thank you, Pissenlit, for taking one for the team. Please do keep him occupied, & if Anna does happen along, please play nicely. There's plenty of my villain to go around. Believe me.

Susan Sey said...

MsHellion wrote: Now if I run out of things for my characters to do, I send Lucifer into the room. He has no qualms about stirring sh*t up.

Yeah, that Lucifer. He's a pot-stirrer, no question. :-)

I wonder if he'd like to visit my manuscript, kick a little sh*t with my mortals? That might be a fun scene to write--all brimstone scent smoke, a few well-dressed henchmen...

Anna Campbell said...

Susan, I believe this book was going to include really great sex too, wasn't it? Can't I take that with me when I steal your villain for a bit of R and R. And that doesn't stand for robbery and roguery. Well, maybe roguery! Which I just typed roger-y. Um, do you Americans have the term 'roger' for the deed? I think my Freudian petticoat is showing!

Anna Campbell said...

Actually in the interests of cross-promotion, I'm talking about why sex is never just about the sex and giving away a COS today. Even more important, AVON HAVE SPRUNG FOR A TIM TAM PRIZE PACKAGE!!!!! Come on, guys, this is worth checking out!

Check out Vauxhall Vixens:

http://vauxhallvixens.blogspot.com/

And now I'll return you to your regular programming! ;-)

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Pissenlit!!!!! What's the story. I was here first. I hung the hammock. I thatched the roof on the hut. You're being very naughty.

Come back!

COME BACK!!!!!!

Dang, that filly is fast! And the villain's got a rather scared look in his glinting dark eyes!

Joan said...

Of course it will also frequently have you CHOOSE to hand the dratted thing over to the zombies. They like paper. It stops the ooze.

SNORK

Joan said...

Susan, I vote for a pack of wild dogs.

The title? "A Dingo got my Villian"

Christine Wells said...

Can I just say that NOTHING you write could be ho-hum? I'm killing myself laughing at this blog, Susan, and you've managed to do that in the middle of your struggles with the book.

It will be fantastic, I know it, and I can't wait! Go, you good thing!

Christine Wells said...

Oh, and the kids can climb up on chairs to reach a cookie jar, so they can't reach the washing machine, huh? I don't buy that for a second!

Pissenlit said...

Postcard front:
Palm trees, white sand, a beach towel, an umbrella and two beers.

Postcard back:
Hi everybody!
Having lots of fun in the sun(no worries, in my rush to out manoeuvre Anna, I did remember to grab the sunscreen) with Susan's villain. We had a little problem earlier when he was villainnapped by a dingo but it's okay, I got him back. Anyhow, see you guys when we get back! Cheers! Pissenlit :)

Joan said...

I got him back.

What happened to the dingo?

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Susan said: Curious, though--when you say you swapped out the names? Did you give the hero the villain's name, or did you give the hero the villain's actions?

Well, truth be told, Susan, I did a Find/Replace and literally switched their names. I liked the darn villain SO much better. Which means that when I switched names and cleared up that pesky matter of the nefarious killing - didn't call the police, just dealt with the matter... grins - I liked my "new" hero much better. Ha!

And I see Pissenlit has made off with yours, in spite of the aforementioned dingo.

JT, I'm sure the dingo got a nice payoff from Pissenlit in return for her delicious villain. After all, she's a compassionate gal...

Donna MacMeans said...

LOL Susan - I love your posts. I truly do. From my suspense days, I would suggest you kill someone -- in the book, not in the home (though that can have its temptations).

If you can't toss in a dead body, then up the conflict in some other fashion. Sex is good. Yes, definitely put in more sex. It might not save the book but it sure makes the writing more fun.

Nancy said...

Hi, Susan--The quiz went well for me, thanks. It usually does. I just sit at the front, keep an eye on the room, and collect the papers as the students finish. I don't yet know how it went for them.

What I try do for ms. blahs is look at a given situation and try to figure out how I could make whatever it is worse. Sometimes that means rewriting a scene, and sometimes it means chucking that scene altogether because a different one will make whatever's going on worse.

Susan Sey said...

Anna C wrote: Well, maybe roguery! Which I just typed roger-y. Um, do you Americans have the term 'roger' for the deed? I think my Freudian petticoat is showing!

Anna, you kill me. You really do, you & your Freudian petticoats. :-) Enjoy all the roguery (and rogery) you can handle. Split the duties with Pissenlit & a pack of wild dingos. Just make sure my villain is too worn out to cause trouble when you send him home, okay?

Thanks!

Susan Sey said...

Joan wrote: Susan, I vote for a pack of wild dogs.

The title? "A Dingo got my Villian"


The dingoes ate my villain! The dingoes ate my villain!

Do you think my editor will buy it? :-)

Susan Sey said...

Christine wrote: Can I just say that NOTHING you write could be ho-hum? I'm killing myself laughing at this blog, Susan, and you've managed to do that in the middle of your struggles with the book.


Oh, Christine, it's just lack of sleep talking. Apparently I'm always amusing when I'm only half-conscious. :-)

But I really am in the middle. I'm nearly at the 200 page mark of this overhaul & I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to just being done so I can zone out in front of the TV after the kids go down instead of settling in for three or four good hours of work.

Susan Sey said...

Christine wrote: Oh, and the kids can climb up on chairs to reach a cookie jar, so they can't reach the washing machine, huh? I don't buy that for a second!

I know, right? It's all "Whoa is me, I'm a helpless babe" when they don't want to do something. But when they do? Look out.

Joan said...

Do you think my editor will buy it? :-)

Maybe, unless she used to be a teacher then she's heard it before..."The dog ate my homework (villian)"

I've also been told if you're stuck with your WIP crank up the dialouge. Along with the advice to crank up the sex you could have them talk....then when the action gets going...lose the ability to talk....then look at your naked guy picture again...then...

BLEEEEPP

Susan Sey said...

Pissenlit wrote: We had a little problem earlier when he was villainnapped by a dingo but it's okay, I got him back.

I'm with Joanie. The curiosity is killing me. How did you handle the dingo? Tell me you didn't C4 him? I'm squinting hard at Jeanne & Donna & our other rom/susp sisters, who appear to be whistling, shuffing their feet & looking innocent.

Susan Sey said...

Jeanne wrote: Well, truth be told, Susan, I did a Find/Replace and literally switched their names. I liked the darn villain SO much better.

A ha. Interesting. Sometimes I'm so attached to a name, I make a lot more work for myself than I need to, I suspect. I should get over that. I have enough work riiiiiight here.

Susan Sey said...

Donna wrote: From my suspense days, I would suggest you kill someone -- in the book, not in the home (though that can have its temptations).


Ugh, tell me. A few minute ago I nearly kicked my beloved children out into the rain. And they're adorable at the moment, all dressed up in their matching Tinkerbell outfits. Still, I'm not a woman to be crossed at the moment. I think my entire family is going to be thrilled when this rewrite is off my plate...

Susan Sey said...

Nancy wrote: What I try do for ms. blahs is look at a given situation and try to figure out how I could make whatever it is worse.

Exactly, right? Put more at stake! MOre, more, more! Only I think I went a little too far. My hero & heroine were so troubled, so dark, so weighted down by the incredible burdens of their respective backstories & conflicts that they sort of lost their sense of humor. I forgot that they need to be charming as well as have a lot at stake. Whoops. :-)

Now I have to figure out how to balance characters who have a lot at stake with character who aren't so grim nobody wants to spend any time with them.

It's always something. Sheesh.

Glad your quiz went well today. Hope it went well for your students, too.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, you can keep the dingoes! I have SOME standards, sheesh!

Actually I'm just thinking of all those pirates sailing under the jolly roger. Gives you a different perspective, doesn't it?

Yeah, you're right. I'm still talking sex over yonder. Not good for me! ;-)

Buffie said...

All I will say is great sex never hurt ;) LOL!

Pissenlit said...

Susan - How did you handle the dingo? Tell me you didn't C4 him? I'm squinting hard at Jeanne & Donna & our other rom/susp sisters, who appear to be whistling, shuffing their feet & looking innocent.

Okalie, we're back! *hands villainy awesomeness back to Susan* And um...okay...I didn't C4 the dingo. *nudges leftover C4 further into purse* You might want to keep an eye on those two. I got the C4-I-didn't-use from the personal-C4-stash-I-don't-have. I'm not sure what Jeanne and Donna are looking innocent of.

Joan said...

Upping the stakes...

Classic example.

Woody in Toy Story 2 is trying to get out of the Toy guys apartment but he has to get his torn off arm from toy guy's pocket. He has to tip toe across the floor. Just as he's half way through, toy guy's bowl of Cheetos falls on the floor. Woody steps on one after retreiving his arm...and it wakes the toy guy up.

He runs to the door. Up the conflict?

There's a DINGO on the other side....

Cassondra said...

OMG! Susan!!!!

I am about to have a stroke from laughing so hard!

I say throw in more sex. And then have it interrupted when one character reveals he/she has had sex with......that's right...the VILLAIN. I mean, he's hot, so he's bound to have gotten some...and Ta-DA!!! Insta-conflict.

See? Sex can fix anything in fiction.

That's my take on it anyway. Hmmm. Perhaps this is why each time my characters get into trouble, they end up against a wall somewhere. Hmmmm....

If that doesn't work, I use C4. There is no problem on Earth which cannot be solved by the proper application of high explosives.

Susan Sey said...

Anna C. wrote: Actually I'm just thinking of all those pirates sailing under the jolly roger.

Jolly roger.

Ahahahahahaha!

Sorry. I'm operating at like a sixth grade level today. My

Caren Crane said...

Congrats, Lime!

Poor, poor Susan. I get the distinct impression you are at the stake and holy water stage with your book. Fear not, dearest! Halloween will be over in a couple of days. You'll hit next week running and find the nugget you need to fix the whole thing.

I heard someone mention recently that we should ask for plot solutions in dream form. Hm...not sure about that. Apparently it worked for at least one person, though, so it couldn't hurt!

And I have to say, more sex isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it's more fun to read when you like the people. Penthouse type stories, however, are not without a certain charm of their own. *eg*

Caren Crane said...

Susan, if you really need a sacrificial lamb to take your villain off your hands for a few days, I would sacrifice myself and volunteer. I do have some, ah, experience entertaining bad boys. Of course, my dh may not like it but, you know, he works a lot. Maybe he wouldn't notice?

Caren Crane said...

Susan, I've got it. You need comic relief! Give either the hero or heroine a pesky pet that can cause mischief. I vote for a ferret! Or a dingo! Oh, wait a minute, the dingo is busy with your villain. Or maybe he's dead. In any case, a really stupid friend for the hero or a ferret for either hero or heroine should restore the sense of humor to the book.

Oooh! Or maybe a really sarcastic, deadpan best friend for your heroine, who will mock her into seeing the lighter side of all her drama!

Joan said...

There is no problem on Earth which cannot be solved by the proper application of high explosives.

What a perfect line for your heroine! While she's...yanno...against the wall...

:-)

Genella deGrey said...

Susan, what a GREAT post! Still giggling -

Yes, really great sex can redeem an otherwise ho-hum book and jump-start the author, as well. IF you know what I mean.

;)
G.

Nancy said...

Hey, Cassondra, you wrote:
If that doesn't work, I use C4. There is no problem on Earth which cannot be solved by the proper application of high explosives.

I suspect this strategy has much to recommend it. :-)

Susan Sey said...

Caren wrote: I heard someone mention recently that we should ask for plot solutions in dream form. Hm...not sure about that. Apparently it worked for at least one person, though, so it couldn't hurt!


At this point, I'd try anything, up to & including psychic gypsy fortune tellers. I will inform my subconscious of my need for a solution this evening & report back in the morning.

And thanks so much for the offer to rehab my villain. If there's anything left of him when Pissenlit & Anna C return him, I'll send him your way. :-)

Susan Sey said...

Buffie said: All I will say is great sex never hurt ;)

Truer words, Buffie. Truer words. :-)

Susan Sey said...

Pissenlit wrote: And um...okay...I didn't C4 the dingo. *nudges leftover C4 further into purse*

Oh me oh my oh goodness. Sounds like it'll be dingo kebabs on the island tonight. :-) You romantic suspense girls are so handy.

Susan Sey said...

Joanie wrote: He runs to the door. Up the conflict?

There's a DINGO on the other side....



A DINGO BEING EATEN BY A RABID SQUIRREL! RUN!

Susan Sey said...

Cassondra wrote: Sex can fix anything in fiction.

That's my take on it anyway. Hmmm. Perhaps this is why each time my characters get into trouble, they end up against a wall somewhere.


I like the way you roll, Cassondra. Up against a wall, huh? I'm rethinking my grand (ahem) finale scene tonight. I'm thinking I could use this wall thing.

If I ever publish a book with an up-against-the-wall scene, all the banditas & bandita buddies are going to laugh their behinds off, aren't they?

Susan Sey said...

Caren wrote: Susan, I've got it. You need comic relief! Give either the hero or heroine a pesky pet that can cause mischief. I vote for a ferret! Or a dingo! Oh, wait a minute, the dingo is busy with your villain. Or maybe he's dead. In any case, a really stupid friend for the hero or a ferret for either hero or heroine should restore the sense of humor to the book.


Oh, I love it. A pet dingo. Who could possibly own a dingo & not have a great sense of humor, I ask you? This could be revolutionary.

Susan Sey said...

Genella wrote: Yes, really great sex can redeem an otherwise ho-hum book and jump-start the author, as well. IF you know what I mean.


Heh, I suspect I do know what you mean. :-) Sex is such a handy little solution to nearly everything--writers block, sagging middle, plot problems, boredom, lack of exercise, population decline. No wonder romance novels are so popular.

Joan said...

DINGO BEING EATEN BY A RABID SQUIRREL! RUN!

Might be the opposite...Rabid squirrel eating a dingo!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

I see that the C-4 has been making the rounds, so to speak.

*squinting at Pissenlit* Hmmm. We may need to inventory the Lair's supply of C-4. *hollers* DEMETRIUS!!! That boy will let anyone have a block of that stuff for sexu...I mean, a kiss. Yeah, yah, that's it. Grins.

Rabid squirrel alert! Rabid squirrel alert!!! Heeeeeyyyyy, you could have a rabid squirrel bite the villain...

Pissenlit said...

Jeanne - DEMETRIUS!!! That boy will let anyone have a block of that stuff for sexu...I mean, a kiss. Yeah, yah, that's it. Grins.

Rabid squirrel alert! Rabid squirrel alert!!! Heeeeeyyyyy, you could have a rabid squirrel bite the villain...

Demetri-who? *innocent look*

Hey, maybe the villain will turn into Squirrel-Man.