I'm Just Saying…

January 25, 2016

Yes, I Want My Fictional Characters To Be Happy. You Got a Problem With That?

Greetings fellow Scribes and Bibliophiles!

Let’s get right to today’s topic, shall we?

As readers, we all have favorite characters we’re attached to:

Readers and characters.png

Whether it’s Elizabeth Bennet, Jane Eyre, Sherlock Homes, or Gandalf… there are quite a few fictional people we would line up to spend some quality time with. We admire them, we like them, we get them. And we’re pretty sure they would think we’re awesome too.

As we read their story, we are invested with a deep desire to see everything work out for them. We want them to be okay. We want them to be happy. No, really. They have to be happy.

But what about the writer? We create our characters, live with them, spend time with them, day in and day out. We become attached to them. We want them to be okay, too. And yet, we know they can’t be. So what happens when it gets to this…

Writer and character

See, this is a problem. You know why it’s a problem? Let me tell you why. Because as human beings we all want this –

Cinderella_-_So_This_Is_Love_-_1

Not this –

belle crying gif

We dream of living a happy, pleasant, problem free life of this –

cinderella and forest creatures

Not this –

cloverfield 2

Unfortunately, writers are screwed. We know that to write a really good story you have to have emotional, nail biting, gut wrenching, on the edge of your seat, down to the wire, zero seconds to spare… CONFLICT. If nothing is at stake for your character, you get this –

Karl Urban yawning

and then this –

chandler sleeping.gif

And that’s not good.

So, if you think about it, since all human beings want only to be happy and avoid suffering, then the goal of the writer is to make sure your character doesn’t get the first one, and can’t avoid the second one.

Bummer.

So, why am I telling you this?

Because I’m editing my second book of The Fixer series, The Killing Kind. And I started to notice that for all the problems I set up for my girl Katerina, they never really got in the way, they sort of went like this –

red sea.gif

And then I noticed her life was practically like this –

 

singing in the rain gif.gif

Not good. Not good at all.

But, I like Katerina. She’s a hard working, decent human being. She’s a good person caught up in bad situations. She should get what she wants. She should be happy.

Oh crap.

So I saw my problem. And I set to work fixing it. Katerina’s got a long, hard road ahead of her. But I’m hoping there’s going to be some happiness in the future for her. Seriously, seriously. We’ll see.

And now… for the shameless marketing portion of this blog:

The first book in the series, The Fixer: The Naked Man, is on sale now for 0.99 cents on Kindle , Nook , and Kobo

Catch up on what’s happened so far because this summer, Kat will be back….

Final Teaser _2 Killing Kind.jpg

Until next time….

J.

 

 

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March 27, 2015

To Pinterest or Not To Pinterest…Is That The Question?

Hi Everyone,

The editing continues and The Fixer: The Naked Man gets closer to completion. Yay!!! I spoke to my graphic designer, Alan, and the process of a book cover has begun!!

Continuing the discussion of letting people know about The Fixer, can we talk Pinterest for a moment? I discovered Pinterest through an article on book marketing. It was important to make a Pinterest board for your book. An author needed to do this. The article didn’t really say why or how this was a necessity but it had to be done.

Fair enough.

I signed up. I have boards for my two books, Project Jennifer and For Better Or Worse. I like Pinterest. It took me a few minutes to figure out it was electronic scrapbooking but I’m in. It’s actually quite addictive, in a good way. When I put together my board for For Better Or Worse it gave me the chance to post pics of my inspiration for the Ian character: Ewan McGregor.

imagesCA2GXZLT

The weird,  wonderful thing about writing is inspiration can come from anywhere, a movie, a song, an actor or actress. There were 10 characters in FBOW and yet, I really only had a visual on Ian. That doesn’t mean I didn’t love the other characters (and you really do need to love them all, even the ones that are shits), but having that picture reference helped me to develop the character and identify tics and habits.  Like I said, weird and wonderful.

So back to The Fixer: The Naked Man. I had an idea of what Katerina Mills looked like before I made the connection to an actress that was the perfect match (more on that in a minute). However, the character of Charles Winter was the big surprise. I had trouble imagining him; I had trouble seeing him. I liked him but I couldn’t seem to get a handle on him; he didn’t stand out. I tried writing his description but it just wasn’t.  I consoled myself. He was supposed to be a one shot supporting character anyway. In, out, and gone.

When I moved on to writing the rough draft for the second book, I couldn’t stop thinking  about him. Would he come back? Meh, I would think even as he kept lurking in the back of my mind (characters do that, you know, they lurk in the subconscious,  just waiting for their chance to take over and run amok, little stinkers). I would think, maybe, he might show up again in a future book, someday… And then…

I was spending my Christmas holiday channel flipping and catching up on movies when…I saw Him for the first time (who for the moment will remain nameless). An actor who was the perfect inspiration for Charles Winter. He had it all: height, build, face, and that voice! That was all I needed. I had a visual and my character had the all clear signal: let the running amok begin!

That’s when the writing took off like (insert your cliche of choice here – I’m going with “a bat out of hell.” I like the old faithfuls :)). The whole relationship between these characters opened up. The direction of the series twisted and turned in unexpected ways. That weird, wonderful process of making connections and new meanings from narrative, plot twists, and dialogue began to flow. I could visualize what would happen to these two characters, what they would have to go through, the road they would have to travel, sometimes together, sometimes apart. Seeing my characters visually led me to seeing them emotionally. Now I’m even more attached to this series.  And…yet again, I point out my petit problème…I’m the only one.

Sooooo, back to Pinterest and my marketing conundrum. Question: Do I make a Pinterest board and post pics of the actor and actress who are the inspiration for these characters? Isn’t that doing the reader a disservice? Isn’t that depriving the reader of the fun of choosing for themselves? Does it ruin the reader experience?

It is nothing new that writers find inspiration in actors for stories. How many screenwriters have said, “I wrote this part for (insert name here).” I do wonder what would have happened if John Malkovich had said “Thanks but no thanks” to starring in Being John Malkovich. Awkward.

Let’s consider Jane Austen for a minute. When she wrote Pride and Prejudice , did she have a real life inspiration for Mr. Darcy? She could not have imagined that one day Colin Firth would be Mr. Darcy.

darcy

 

No offense to Mathew Macfadyen, his performance was excellent.

matthew macfayden

 

How about Sherlock Holmes? Is it Basil Rathbone,

basil rathbone

 

Jeremy Brett,

jeremy brett

 

or Benedict Cumberbatch?

benedict cumberbatch

 

Who would Arthur Conan Doyle choose? All of them? One? None? Will the real Sherlock Holmes please stand up? Actually, I think it is all of them, each in their own wonderful way.

The chance of the actors who sparked my imagination for Katerina Mills and Charles Winter starring in a film or tv adaptation of The Fixer series is probably something I won’t have to worry about now or any time in the near future. But as Jake Barnes said in The Sun Also Rises, “Isn’t it pretty to think so?”

But I do wonder, do I reveal this part of this story’s evolution or should it remain the writer’s secret?

What do you think? Let me know.

Until next time, when I tackle yet another path in the marketing maze, The Contest.

Take care,

J.

P.S.: If you haven’t read the sneak peek yet for The Fixer: The Naked Man, please check it out!!! Go to http://www.jillamyrosenblatt.com and have a look 🙂

December 28, 2014

The Ballad of Cheating Destiny

Happy Holidays to everyone! While the edits continue for The Fixer: The Naked Man and the writing of The Fixer: Untitled Book 2 moves along, I’ve been thinking about another story I wrote.

All writers suffer from the same sickness: we love our work. We think about it, obsess over it, get attached to it, and if we could we’d read it a bedtime story and kiss its forehead before going night-night. Okay, not that last part, but you get the point. It was Faulkner who said, “In writing, you must kill all your darlings,” and it is something both cruel and necessary at the same time. One of the most difficult things to do is identify what is wrong with the work and have the courage to rip it apart in order to put it back together and make it better.

So, why tell you all of this? Some of you may know I wrote a screenplay, Cheating Destiny. Here’s the synopsis:

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World weary NY thief, WILL BARCLAY, is getting out of the business. After one last job for a take of diamonds, he double crosses the crew, his sociopathic partner, and their handler – a corrupt cop – and goes on the run with the precious stones. Saddled with newbie criminal and annoying Mensa level safecracker, BRIAN GRAHAM, Will makes his way to little La Beaute, South Carolina, to meet a flying fence and exchange the stones for the cash.

Upon arrival, the boys quickly find themselves stranded with no car, no fence, and no options. Will wants a low profile but Brian gets his Scorsese on and jumps right in with a group of local college indie filmmakers that includes TAMMI, daughter of the La Beaute Chief of Police. Meanwhile Will fights his attraction to local Bed and Breakfast owner, DESTINY.  Will tries to stay cold but Destiny’s charms quickly warm him up and he falls hard for her.

Will and Brian hatch a plan to stop running and stay in La Beaute.  But they may have no choice as the corrupt cop, the FBI, and two hit men find their way to La Beaute with one goal in mind: take back the diamonds and take Will and Brian out. When Will’s ex-partner arrives and takes Destiny hostage, Will must make one last stand against his past to save Destiny’s life, and his own.

________________________________________________________

I am hideously attached to this story. There’s something about it. Maybe it’s the characters, or the plot, or the fact that the seed idea of the opening sequence began as a tribute to Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs? Maybe it’s because I started off as a screenwriter before switching to novels.  Who knows? After it was done, I wrote query letters, sent submissions, wrote more query letters, and sent more submissions. I waited and hoped and wondered. No luck. What can you do?

Like all writers everywhere, my dream is for my writing to be read (and in this case, to be lucky enough for the writing to be seen on film). I even tried the experiment of posting to Twitter; it was interesting, but I’m not sure readers get the full experience in 120 characters or less at a time.

Did I kill all my darlings as I wrote this story? I hope so, but probably not. Do I want as many people as possible to read this? Oh, yes I do. Why? Because I’m a writer. I write therefore I am. And I never give up hope that a reader will see in a story everything that I see, and more.

So please feel free to visit my website at http://www.jillamyrosenblatt.com and at the top left corner, you will find the pdf for Cheating Destiny. I hope you will enjoy it. Please feel free to send constructive comments and feedback. I like hearing from readers!

There will be more The Fixer updates shortly. Look for a character profile of Katerina Mills coming soon!

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy New Year.

 

Jill

 

 

December 6, 2014

New Contest for The Fixer: The Naked Man

Hi Everyone!

I hope everyone had a wonderful, happy, and healthy Thanksgiving holiday and all is well.

Since it’s the season for giving, I thought this would be a fun time to announce the first contest for The Fixer: The Naked Man.

I need to have an e-book cover made and I need help with ideas.

Here are the contest details:

Send me pics of book covers (print or e-book) that you like in the mystery/suspense genre. You can send them to me via the contact page of my website at http://www.jillamyrosenblatt.com ,  post to my facebook page, or email to me at jillamy@jillamyrosenblatt.com

I will pick out three book covers that I like so there can be 3 winners for the contest. If I pick out a book cover that you submitted, you receive the first 2 chapters of The Fixer: The Naked Man in a sneak peek pdf.

The contest opens now and will remain open until December 20th.

More details coming soon on The Fixer: The Naked Man so stay tuned!!

November 20, 2014

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To “The Fixer”

The last time I published a book was 2009. 2009. It’s no secret that writers have a myriad of problems; we’re a notoriously moody, preoccupied, anxious, and angst ridden bunch. There are two basic nightmare scenarios for writers: not being able to write and not being able to finish what we write. The jury is still out on which is worse.

I did write another book after For Better or Worse. It was called Deciphering Bella. It was about a married couple and the wife suffers from mental illness.  The story explores the level of commitment between a husband and wife when life events are what they “didn’t sign up for.” I loved that story. I was the only one. What can you do? It happens. I put it away.

And then something happened. It wasn’t as if I was doing nothing. I was doing lots of somethings. I went back to school, finished a Master’s degree, tutored English, wrote a few short stories, a bunch of blog posts, a screenplay, and created a cartoon strip (artwork and text). But a full story wasn’t coming.

It’s one thing to stare at a blank piece of paper. That wasn’t my problem. I had story ideas, lots of ideas. I even had titles. I never think of titles. Scenes would come to me out of the blue. But for different stories. Then came the great yellow pad debacle of Spring 2014. I could only write on small 4.5 x 7 yellow legal pads. Don’t ask. I now have piles of small yellow legal pads all over the apartment. Lots of small half-filled yellow legal pads.

I’m a follower, a. true believer, a practitioner of the Robert McKee method of structuring and writing a story. I took his seminar, read his book. His class changed my writing life. His class made Project Jennifer and For Better or Worse possible. The man is my Yoda.  But I couldn’t settle down. couldn’t do the outlines, the character profiles, the scene narratives.

And then something else happened. A few months ago on a Saturday night, my mother showed me an article on authors successfully self publishing on Amazon. I went to bed that night agitated and irritated. What was I doing? Actually, why wasn’t I doing what I was supposed to be doing? What I was meant to be doing? Early Sunday morning, I woke up to my moment of clarity. And an idea.

It was a spark. A young woman and a wealthy, powerful man. A story of mystery and suspense. She’s a fixer on the verge of failure. He issues an offer to help. He’ll fix the problem for her, for a price. I dug deeper into the idea. Who is this young woman? How does she get into this? There are several stories about fixers now, Scandal, and Ray Donovan to name a few. What place would Katerina Mills have? As I got to know her better, I realized that the novella stories would form an origin series. It will be exciting to see Kat grow and change into the woman she will become and how she will handle a world she is unprepared for. The pieces began falling into place as the magical process of the story parts connecting to each other took off.

So that’s what happened. I feel like I’m back and it’s an amazing feeling, even though I can only write the stories using cream colored paper journal books. Don’t ask.

Next post I’ll be introducing the characters one at a time, starting with Katerina Mills.

Don’t forget to check my website for updates and to sign up for the newsletter for the latest, news, giveaways, and contests. http://www.jillamyrosenblatt.com

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