Grammarly conducted a study with 3,000+ participants to settle an existential question that has been plaguing mankind for centuries: “Which gender has the better writers?”
Here is their answer to this quesion. Do you agree or disagree?
Maybe other Baby-Boomers can relate to this more than the younger folks, but I remember being so bored when I was a kid. Maybe we had more time on our hands because we didn’t have the money to go to summer camp or have a pool membership, but it seems to me I was bored quite a bit.
I loved to read, even as a kid, but again, money was in short supply. (Don’t ask me why we didn’t go to the library, I have no idea why Mom didn’t take us.) Due to a lack of books, I would read the same ones again each summer and would even resort to reading the encyclopedia set we had. If the school gave us a summer reading list, I would be so happy because then Mom had to find us the books to read.
But sadly, after the first few weeks of summer, boredom would return when all the books had been read.
It took some time to learn this, but all of us three sisters learned to NEVER EVER tell our mother, “There’s nothing to do”, or get caught doing nothing.
She would always say, “I’ll find you something to do”, and believe me it wouldn’t be fun.
(1) WEEDS! We had these big gardens in the front and back of our house and every summer we would all have to pull weeds in those gardens. You know the feeling on a hot, sticky day outside pulling weeds. Yuck! No gloves, so the dirt stuck to your hands and got under your fingernails. The bugs! Ick! The flies would buzz around your head and the ants would crawl up your legs. I hated it.
(2) CLEAN OUT THE GIANT CLOSET! In the laundry room of our house was a huge closet where the toys and games were kept. We accumulated these things through years of Christmases and birthdays. Just like most kids, we would play with something and never want to put it away. When we played board games, the loser always had to put it away. We would throw all the pieces in the box and toss the box into the giant closet. Notice, I said “toss”, not stack. The boxes never landed flat and the pieces inevitably fell out. So, cleaning out the giant closet was only fun if you could get away with playing with the toys as you put them away neatly and gathered up all the Monopoly pieces and play money scattered on the bottom of the closet. But beware, if you played more than you cleaned, you would get caught and yelled at.
(3) PAINT THE FENCE! We had a very attractive white picket fence around our backyard. It was great for keeping our basset hounds from running away. But it seems like almost every summer we got the job of painting that thing. It was a big job to paint each one of the boards and posts. Bugs would fly into the paint and stick there.
I vowed never to do this to my kids and I didn’t. But I’ll tell you, after doing those jobs, reading an encyclopedia didn’t seem quite so boring, and I learned a lot.
I recently sat through a presentation on conflict resolution at work. A short skit was performed to show the different ways that people talk to each other when trying to solve a problem. The key is communication; without it, the conflict just festers and grows. That got me to thinking about how romance novels revolve around the conflict between the hero and the heroine.
Some authors are good at making and sustaining the conflict throughout the whole story. Unfortunately, I have also read full novels based on a conflict so weak that I just want to shout at the characters, “Just talk to each other already!”
As an author myself, I had to take a good look at the conflict I was writing into my stories too. I didn’t want any of my readers to be yelling at my characters to just sit down and talk!
So, what makes a believable and sustainable, yet solvable conflict between two people? Well, in the case of my latest paranormal romance, MAGIC OF THE PENTACLE, the conflict occurs and lasts because Richard and Juliana need to get things straight between the two of them, but before that can happen, they need to resolve their own issues.
Richard is an immortal magician, and he likes his long life just fine, thank you very much. He’s seen and done a lot since he stole the Pentacle in 14xx and found out about its powers…and he’s lost his entire family along the way. He has no desire to change his playboy ways now; the lifestyle is perfect for someone who can’t forget his past love.
Juliana is a new psychiatrist, just starting out and doing some work with the police when she meets Richard. Under the influence of a drug someone slipped to the magician, he reacts strangely and wants to fight people with his sword. Juliana is unsure of this man’s sanity. Was Richard just having a reaction to the drug or does he really think he used to be a knight of the Order of King Edward?
When Juliana, who has mental illness in her family, watches a trashcan lid become a shield and a knife become a fly swatter in Richard’s presence, she starts to doubt her own sanity.
And so begins the MAGIC OF THE PENTACLE, where the conflict revolves around each person’s ability to trust in themselves and ultimately, in each other.
I never thought about this topic much when I read books, but now that I’m writing them, it is a BIG deal. I write historicals, paranormals, and romantic suspense. I’d have to say that I never have a problem with story props in my historicals. During the Civil War period, people didn’t drive cars, they rode horses. There were no cell phones, microwaves, or televisions to worry about.
However, in my most recent paranormal romance, MAGIC OF THE PENTACLE, my characters used a typewriter and a pay phone. It seemed to really bother my editor and proofreader! They kept trying to convince me to change the time period and get rid of those devices. But I stuck to my guns and kept them in the story. My reason? I try to keep my stories as authentic as possible, and this particular story includes the San Francisco earthquake of 1989.
I know this is fiction, but if I wanted my characters to go through the 1989 San Francisco earthquake, I couldn’t really change the year to say, 2014, now could I?
My love of research says no.
So, the point of all this is…should authors worry about “dating” their books through the use of old-fashioned props? What reads like a contemporary story can actually take place in the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, or later. It all depends on what the characters are doing in the story. They can all drive a car, no problem, but they can’t drive a hybrid car in the 70s. They can all talk on a phone, but they can’t send a text in the 80s. You see the conundrum? How specific should an author get? Should we be as generic as possible so our stories don’t end up pigeon-holed into a specific year? Or should we go ahead and embrace the technology in place at the time?
Does it really even matter? I think it is the story that counts. The props are there to move the story along. People are people and they have the same desire for love and acceptance, no matter what time period you read. So, any Romeo will still love his fair Juliet, even if the story is modernized into a newer one. Can’t you just see Romeo and Juliet texting each other? Instead of uttering those famous words, “O Romeo. Romeo. Wherefore art thou, Romeo?” Juliet would just see if he checked in on Facebook.
Would you like to win the dragon and pentacle necklace pictured here and your own autographed copy of MOONLIGHT AND ILLUSIONS, Book One of the Mark of the Magician series (original cover)? Here’s what you have to do. You’ll need to have a Facebook account. Don’t worry, they are free and you know you want one! Then just go to my Facebook author page, click the “Like” button, then leave me a message or comment telling me how you want to be entered in this contest and do it before May 31, 2014. Here is the link: Diane Wylie’s Author Page. All entries will be placed in a random drawing. (Sorry, this is only open to those in the contiguous United States because of shipping charges.)
Mary Marvella is a fellow author who was kind enough to allow me to participate in her blog hop. She was born in Augusta, Georgia to two eighteen-year olds. Her daddy, a Mississippi man, was stationed at Camp Gordon and fell in love with a young girl selling flowers. Look for details in her blogs. Mary has been a storyteller for as long as she can remember.
Mary graduated from Mercer University and taught language arts for 15 years. Now she tutors, teaches, writes, and edits. Her daughter is her cover artist now. Danielle was raised in the photography business. She hasn’t read any of Mary’s books. Something about TMI. Check out Mary’s latest book, THE GIFT, a woman’s fiction romance at http://marymarvella.wordpress.com/about/
A little about me, Diane Wylie:
It’s here! Two months early too! I got the email from my publisher, Vinspire Publishing, that MAGIC OF THE PENTACLE, which is Book Two in the exciting Mark of the Magician series, has released in ebook form today. (MOONLIGHT AND ILLUSIONS is Book One in this series.)
Here is a short blurb:
The human mind. This is something psychiatrist Juliana Nelson has in common with magician Richard Blackstone. But one seeks to explore and heal while the other is out to trick and amaze the human mind. When their paths cross, the lines between reality and magic begin to blur. Juliana soon discovers that Richard’s tricks are not merely sleight of hand when he transforms a broken umbrella into a sword to defend her from attackers.
Since the time of lords and ladies, Sir Richard Blackstone, a knight of the Order of the Garter, walked upon this earth and never found a woman worth loving…until now. The key to Richard’s magical abilities are soon exposed when Juliana finds him lying in the moonlight wearing only his five-pointed star amulet, the Pentacle. As events spin out of control, he knows must face the truth of his past and place his trust in Juliana or risk losing her for good.
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