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.

 

 

November 16, 2014

Coming Spring 2015: The Fixer: The Naked Man – A Katerina Mills Novella

Filed under: Books — jillamyrosenblatt @ 10:33 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Hi Everyone! So excited to share news of my latest work that will be coming in the Spring of next year. Yay!!! 🙂 Here’s a bit about the story below. There will be more news coming soon, including cover art. In the meantime, I hope you’ll head over to my site and sign up for the newsletter so you can be first to receive news, sneaks peeks, and contest details. You can sign up here:

http://www.jillamyrosenblatt.com/newsletter.htm

Now… welcome to the world of “The Fixer”….

There are problems not just anyone can solve.

Katerina Mills is a NYC college student trying to make it to law school and make a name for herself in the big city.

It won’t be easy…

Kat just ditched her boss (and cheating lover), shady lawyer Philip Castle. Stuck working low paying temp jobs, she didn’t expect her dad to ditch her mom and his promise to pay Kat’s college tuition bill.

Now she’s got two weeks to come up with $12,000 or she’s out of her apartment, out of school, and out of luck.

But a desperate call for help from a friend of Phil’s presents a unique opportunity…

Katerina Mills falls into a job as a “fixer.” Working for the shadowy firm of MJM Consulting, these are no ordinary clients. These are New York City’s most wealthy and privileged men and they have problems they need solved, quickly and quietly.

The rules appear simple:

  1. Collect the money.
  2. Use your contacts.
  3. Fix the problem.

Kat’s first job appears to be a cakewalk, trail a socialite wife and her spending spree to recommend the perfect birthday gift.  But life gets complicated when a job calls for Katerina to recover a missing VHS tape. The damaging tape was left hidden away in an antique; an antique that’s been sold. Kat’s job: get it back.

It doesn’t take Katerina Mills long to learn the real rules of the fixer:

  1. There are no rules.
  2. There are no refunds.
  3. Get in. Get results. Get gone.

Kat has two weeks to stay alive financially. All she has to do is become a crack private eye, a world class thief, AND pass her Introduction to Ethics class. But if she can’t fix someone else’s problems, she can’t fix her own.

There’s only one other thing Katerina Mills has to figure out: will she come out on top or is she in over her head?

December 15, 2013

The Girl

I always wanted to be “The Girl.” I’m not referring to a specific “Girl” such as “I always wanted to be Audrey Hepburn.” No, “The Girl” is not a specific woman; she’s an idea, a concept. As a matter of fact, it’s only now that I’m able to verbalize the phenomenon of “The Girl.” I was watching Casino Royale. James Bond’s cold heart is melted by beautiful British Treasury Agent Vesper Lynd. In a fit of pique, Bond decides to blow his cover and assassinate his nemesis, Le Chiffre. Bond’s orders to his compatriot René Mathis: “Get the girl out.” In Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones stands high atop the side of a canyon, a bazooka pointed at a band of Nazi’s holding the hijacked Ark of the Covenant and Indy’s love, Marion Ravenwood. The nefarious Colonel Dietrich asks, “Dr. Jones, surely you don’t think you can escape from this island?” Indy answers: “That depends on how reasonable we’re all willing to be. All I want is the girl.” It doesn’t end there. Charade, Dr. No, Ocean’s Eleven… There’s the hero…and then there’s “The Girl.”

Who wouldn’t want to be “The Girl?” Who doesn’t want to be with “The Man With The Hat” who can brandish his whip, physically and metaphorically, if you know what I mean. “The Girl” plays into the most common female fantasy, finding the perfect man. Film makes it simple. There are only 120 minutes available. The “love story” portion receives on average, what, 15 of those 120 minutes? Let’s get cracking, shall we? “The Girl” only needs to speak to the hero for approximately five minutes, the average length of one, perhaps two scenes, to know he’s “the one.” Like the perfect pig in a blanket, he’s a manly man wrapped in a Hallmark Card of sensitivity. Macho yet tender! Strong yet silent! Everything is perfect…until the sequel. Have you ever noticed how the hero can always get a new “Girl” to take the place of the original? Just ask James Bond. Women don’t seem to mind. After all, to be “The Girl” is hitting pay dirt. It’s the cheerleader dating the high school quarterback. Is it hard to be “The Girl?” Not at all, For all of the aforementioned perks, all you have to do is give up your identity; be “The Girl With No Name.”

I think about this phenomenon — a lot. Films frequently focus on a male character as a man in motion. He’s going places. However, the female character, “The Girl,” is in a state of suspended animation. I’m beginning to believe movies are an upgraded, live action extension of a Jane Austen novel—a novelist whose female characters were all perpetual ladies in waiting. In honor of today’s  anniversary of Ms. Austen’s birthday, I think the topic merits examination— and it’s not the first time.

My thesis for my Masters degree explored the lack of the female bildungsroman in female authored literature. The bildungsroman in literary criticism is known as the novel of formation and the character being formed is most often a man (think Pip in Great Expectations). In layman’s terms, it’s the guy who gets all the kick-ass adventures. He learns, he grows, and he discovers his unique place in the larger universe. Conversely, beloved Jane Austen was stuck in a parlor doing needlework and a slow burn while her brothers went off gallivanting to find themselves. Jane Austen waited; and Elizabeth Bennett waited; and Eleanor Dashwood waited. Flash forward two hundred years and Marion Ravenwood is sitting in a bar in Nepal. What is this smart, sassy, resilient, resourceful young woman doing? Waiting for the Man with the Hat. “Indiana Jones,” she says, “I always knew one day you’d come walking back through my door. Something made it inevitable.” The Girl, Exhibit A.

Interestingly enough, while Jane never stopped waiting, she wrote a happy ending of love, marriage and “happily ever after” for her ladies. Essentially, they were each “The Girl” picked out by the perfect man. I don’t blame Jane. Truly, I don’t. But in all these years haven’t women noticed that we’re accepting a romantic premise written by a woman who never married? I’m just saying.

Even if a woman does strike out on her own, the end game is always acquisition of “The Man” that can make her feel like “The Girl.” Films feed us this fantasy in what I like to refer to as “The Veterinarian Effect.” Dust off your VHS copy of  the classic Baby Boom and you’ll find Diane Keaton moving from the thriving metropolis of New York to a sleepy community in Vermont. Lo and behold, she finds Sam Shepherd, the town veterinarian; and he just happens to be single — and perfect. I wish someone had told me about this. If I had known it was this easy to find Mr. Right, I would have rented a U-haul and changed my zip code years ago.

As society modernized, Jane Austen’s “Girl” has been updated to incorporate sexual fulfillment. Thelma and Louise is a prime example of “The Girl” syndrome with a twist. Thelma (Gina Davis) has never had good sex with her boorish husband, Darryl. However, by the end of the movie she is liberated and ready to go over the cliff, literally. Why? Because she had “The Girl” experience of sublime sex with Brad Pitt. “Good God Thelma,” Louise cries upon hearing the news, “somebody finally done laid you right.” Game, set, match. Thanks for playing Thelma. You’re good to go.

As we commemorate another anniversary of Ms. Austen’s birthday, the final irony is society isn’t selling this “Girl” bill of goods to hostile consumers. Let me repeat myself: I always wanted to be “The Girl.” Truth be told, the seed of this post began with my musings over not only Jane Austen’s life and work but my own fear and self-loathing that I had passed the age of the ingénue; I had aged out of being “The Girl.”

And why don’t we admit that being “The Girl” is what we really want? Because it feels wrong to give our identity away, to be “the girl with no name.”  I wonder if Jane Austen felt conflicted as well. Society obstructed all means and opportunity for Jane to decide the course of her life. Perhaps not marrying was her only avenue to exercise control over her destiny. There is another possibility. Was Jane simply afraid to marry? Was she afraid if she made a mistake and chose the wrong man, what little emotional and mental autonomy she had would be stripped from her? For such a vibrant, intelligent woman, it would have been a fate worse than death. It is then noteworthy that Jane had no compunction about encouraging other women on the subject of matrimony. To her niece, Fanny Knight, she wrote: ” To you I shall say, as I have often said before, Do not be in a hurry, the right man will come at last…

There is an endless duality to the lives of women. We remind ourselves that we are not supposed to be the sidekick but rather the heroes of our own lives. All the while, we keep an eye on the horizon, hoping that around next corner, or the next sleepy town, in a twist of fate we will find our “Man With The Hat.”  I may be “The Woman” but in my heart of hearts, I still really want to be “The Girl.” It’s a shame. I have the shoes picked out and everything.

Happy Birthday Jane…

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