Monday, March 23, 2015

SM Johnson ~ Story formats, Series versus Serials

Good morning, Darklings, and happy Monday.

I have no idea what I'm doing, as far as any kind of blogging schedule. We're pretty random these days ("We" being me and the dragon on the window sill of my office), because of Alice's Tree.

See, I had this silk tree behind my bed for oh, about the last decade. But I'm making an effort to eliminate dust and dander from my sleeping space for migraine prevention, and the last time I let Alice run around on my bed, her eyes landed on that tree, and holy smokes, she was hell-bent to climb it. There was a decade's worth of dust on that damn tree. I'm looking at this thing, and thinking... how much of that falls on us during headboard-banging sex, seriously? Yep, gotta go. Dragged that sucker to the shower and washed it. Let it dry. Dragged it into my office where it officially became Alice's Tree.

So. For Alice to sit in her tree and stare out the window, I have to sit in my office and pretend to be productive. Which means editing, writing, updating my reading list, and writing blog posts completely off schedule. I'm going to assume nobody minds.

I updated my reading list. There were about three books that were supposed to be "book one" of hot new serIES - only every single one of them was more like part one of a hot new serIAL.

I have feelings about this.

Not particularly positive feelings.

To me, a series is like... Lee Child's Jack Reacher, or Robert B. Parker's Spenser Tracy, Sandford's Lucas Davenport, Rice's Louis and Lestat, Hamilton's Anita Blake  - we've got characters who get into situations, or private investigators and cops with cases, right? There's a main character who does their profession or their thing, gets into situations, or takes cases, does investigations, and each book has a plot arc with a beginning and a middle and an end. In a series, there tends to be character development across books, and often a romantic subplot (or several) and all sorts of loose ends that flow from book to book and not every single one of them gets tied up into a neat and pretty bow.

But a romantic three-book series a la Fifty Shades (maybe Fifty Shades started this annoy?) where book one ends with we can't possibly stay together, and book two ends with we can't possibly stay away from each other, and book three ends with the wedding, isn't a series. 

This is a serial. It might be a trilogy, but even calling it that is a bit of a stretch. A trilogy tends to be bigger, and have multiple plot arcs - think Lord of the Rings.

And the difference is when you're reading a story in serial format, you don't expect a complete beginning, middle, and ending plot arc in each installment. You EXPECT each installment to end with a cliffhanger, because that's how this format works.

So I dunno, call me picky (I don't mind, I AM picky), but when you call a series of books a "series",  I like a comfortable and satisfying ending to each and every book. That's all. K, thx.

Have a happy week, Darklings. Oddly enough, spring seems to have arrived early here in northern Wisconsin, which is a first. And I am definitely not complaining.

Until next time... Live long and prosper. Peace out.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

SM Johnson ~ Progress report

Good morning, Darklings,

I'm popping in to report that DeVante's Children (Revamped) is working out to be A-mazing. I'm so excited to share these guys with you - better (and hotter) than ever. Rewriting a first novel has been an eye-opening process, and all the better with the help of my local writer's group, picking at my characterization flaws, plot black holes, and all the other pitfalls a first-time novelist runs into.

Kill your darlings - gods, how I hate that phrase, and yet, how true it is. Sometimes the words we are in love with have to go, and yes, it's painful as hell - but cutting is part of discovering the real story.

My story meter tells that I'm 150% done with DeVante's Children, which is hysterically funny - and absolutely not true - but it also means that I've written a ton of new words and added new scenes to make up for what I'm having to cut.

DeVante himself is as reserved and cryptic as ever, Daniel as boyish, and Roderick every bit as full of spit and vinegar (and trouble) as before - all of this, but more so, and all within the confines of a nice tight story. With hotter sex. Because I'm better at this now (wink).

When it's ready for release, I promise ya'll will be the first to know.

Have a great week, darklings, and don't try to fix anything today, because mercury is in retrograde or something, and every home improvement project we've touched this weekend (and some we haven't EVEN touched), has gone to shit! Yikes!