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 🙂

March 18, 2015

The Fixer: The Naked Man – Sneak Peek Coming Soon!

Hi Everyone!

Let’s get right to the important stuff first. It’s time for a sneak peek of Chapter 1 of The Fixer: The Naked Man. I’m so excited to share and I haven’t been sick to my stomach with nerves in a good long time so let’s do this! Okay, what you need to know:

What: The Fixer: The Naked Man Sneak Peek

When: Saturday, March 21, 2015

What Time: 11:00 p.m. (Please don’t ask me why, I don’t know,  it seemed like a good idea)

Where: http://www.jillamyrosenblatt.com
Anyone who subscribes to my newsletter will receive it before Saturday at 11 because I promised subscribers first looks.

Okay, important stuff done. Now, let me tell you what’s going on. The Fixer: The Naked Man isn’t the only thing that’s been happening. Nope. In a fit of inspiration, I finished a full handwritten draft of the second book in the series. But wait: there’s more. I started writing scenes for the third book in the series. Is that all? That’s a negative. I’m so attached to these characters, I’m sketching out scenes in later books.

Is this good or bad? Depends on the writer you ask. Some never want to know what’s coming; it takes the fun out of the writing journey. I’m a McKee girl, myself. He’s an advocate for knowing your end game, up or down, positive or negative. The fun is using all your powers of creativity to craft the story to get there.

With all the writing I’ve been doing (and loving it) I still wonder a) how long it will last and b) am I getting to the point in the process when writers are so deep in their heads with their story (I am) they either start binge watching tv to turn off their brain (check) or they drink (not there yet. Give me time).

I’ve written in previous posts about my past creative drought, the doubts, second guessing, and general mind numbing anxiety that shut down my writing for a few years. Believe me, I’m thrilled and relieved to be engaged, all in, with this project. I’m attached to these characters, invested in the story, completely committed to seeing this series done. Yay for creative commitment!

Until….once again, I realize that in all of this excitement over my creative baby that there is one little issue.

No one else is attached to this story. 99.99% of the reading community doesn’t know it exists.

AND I HAVE ZERO KNOWLEDGE AND SKILL IN THE AREA OF MARKETING.

Bummer.

I admit it. I’m a marketing moron, a newb, a foundling, hopelessly flummoxed by the idea of mass advertising in order to introduce my book to readers. Twitter analytics?  Adwords? Blog tours? Page likes? Hashtags???

Clueless. (Okay, to be fair, I know what a hashtag is).

I did read that the recommendation for writers is write 70% and market 30%. Right now I’m writing 100% and marketing 0% (scratch that, I’m taking 5% for this blog post).

I guess I need a goal too, you know, how many readers do I hope to introduce to The Fixer series (that’s more of a question than a statement. Don’t I need to do that?)

So it’s time to introduce Katerina Mills and the beginning of her strange, exciting, and dangerous journey as a fixer.

If you like this post, please pass it along to as many people as you can.

If you like the sneak peek, please pass that along as well.

I thank you.

There’s nothing more hopeful, exciting, and frightening all at the same time than the waiting and the hoping that readers will discover your characters and love them as much as you do.

Until next time when I dive into the deep end of the Pinterest pool to consider the question: do you post pictures of the actors who are the inspiration for your characters?

Take care everyone. …

March 14, 2015

The Fixer: The Naked Man – Character Profile – It Takes a Thief…

Hi Everyone,

I’ve been so busy with edits on The Fixer: The Naked Man (and writing book 2 of the series!) that I haven’t been sharing enough info about the book itself. Yikes! A problem all writers suffer from, from what I hear. We’re so busy writing, we neglect to remember we actually have to tell others about what we’re writing. I guess no one is stunned to find out I was NOT a marketing major in college. 🙂

Anyway, here is the next Proust Questionnaire for The Fixer series. This character profile is for Charles Winter, a man who excels at his profession: thief. Katerina Mills meets Winter when she is desperate – but he is not.

I hope you enjoy getting to know him… in future posts I will share more of the evolution of the Winter character, a process that took some unexpected turns. And yes, there will be a sneak peek coming soon…

As always, I love to get questions and comments. You can get in touch through my website at http://www.jillamyrosenblatt.com

Proust Questionnaire: Charles Winter

What is your idea of perfect happiness? A flawless theft.

What is your greatest fear? Getting caught.

Which historical figure do you most identify with? Houdini. The man knew how to make an escape.

Which living person do you most admire? No one.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? I have a weakness for a pretty face.

What is the trait you most deplore in others? Self-righteousness.

What is your greatest extravagance? I enjoy living well.

What is your favorite journey? I’ve had too many to pick one.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Honesty.

On what occasion do you lie? When someone asks, “What do you do for a living?”

What do you dislike most about your appearance? Nothing.

Which living person do you most despise? No one at the moment but I like to keep my options open.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?  “It is what it is.”

What is your greatest regret? I have a weakness for a pretty face.

What or who is the greatest love of your life? Next question.

When and where were you happiest? I’m happy now.

Which talent would you most like to have? Magician. That would cut down on the legwork.

What is your current state of mind? Calm and alert.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? Nothing. Everything is as it should be.

What do you consider your greatest achievement? I’m not in jail.

If you could choose what to come back as, what would it be? William Pierce. He pulled off the Great Train Robbery of 1855 and got away with the gold. Well done.

What is your most treasured possession? I’m not attached to possessions.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? To be trapped in a small space with no way to escape.

Where would you like to live? A warm, pleasant climate.

What is your favorite occupation? The one I have now. What else?

What is your most marked characteristic? My voice.

What is the quality you most like in a man? Professionalism and precision.

What is the quality you most like in a woman? Ingenuity.

What do you most value in your friends? Their silence.

Who are your favorite writers? Machiavelli. I appreciate a little moral flexibility if it gets the job done.

Who is your favorite hero of fiction? Simon Templar, Professor Moriarty, the usual.

Who are your heroes in real life? I have none.

What are your favorite names? Katie, short for Katerina.

What is it that you most dislike? Stupidity.

How would you like to die? I wouldn’t. But if it’s a necessity, quickly and quietly.

What is your motto? “It is what it is.”

April 18, 2010

Welcome to my world!

Filed under: Uncategorized — jillamyrosenblatt @ 11:12 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Well, I’ve finally done it. I’ve been thinking about starting a blog and now it’s here. I think I held off for a while because while my own thoughts might seem interesting to me, I did wonder if I shared them would someone read them and think “Who’s this moron?” And that thought was upsetting to me.

For anyone visiting me for the first time, I am the author of Project Jennifer and For Better or Worse. If you haven’t read my books, you should. I say that because, well, I’m the author, what else should I say? Don’t read my books? Seriously, if you will forgive me a moment of shameless marketing, they’re fun, they’re fast, and people who aren’t my relatives have told me they like them. Okay, moment of shameless marketing is now done.

I’m writing a new book called Deciphering Bella and I’ll be posting to this blog all during the writing process. For Better or Worse was completely different from Project Jennifer and Deciphering Bella is completely different from the first two books. I am finding writing “Bella” interesting, scary, different, and exciting. Not all at the same time. So, I will be posting about the writing process, the highs and lows of writing a first draft. I can promise you there will be some weeping and gnashing of teeth so do tune in for that. This being my third novel, you would think it gets easier. It doesn’t. Each book brings its own challenges and Bella is no different. I sometimes wonder if authors don’t choose the book they will write, the book, or rather the characters, choose them. In any case, I am quite attached to Bella and her husband so I will be writing their story.

Occasionally, I also see and hear things that make me go “hunh?” and I will share about those things as well. “I’m just saying…” turned out to be one of those phrases I use a lot. Like the phrase “you know” only I don’t use “you know” I use “I’m just saying.” You know?

So I hope you will come with me on this journey to creating Deciphering Bella. I wish you a warm welcome to my world. There will be many late nights, cream cheese and jelly sandwiches, and tons of infomercial watching.

A thought did just occur to me. Dorothy Parker said “I hate writing. I love having written.”  If writers would rather do anything than be writing their books, could this blog be just another way to avoid writing my book? Hmmm…

Please visit me again…

J.

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