Thursday, May 1, 2008

Creative Juices

Maven Lacey KayeLast week, I told you about my perceived cluelessness when it comes to writing contemporary-style romance. A few of you had some great recs, and after yet another thought-provoking discussion with MaveFave Keira (I owe her so much!), I've spent the last few days curled up with various women's fiction novels. Flirting With Forty, fellow Eastsider Jane Porter's novel-turned-soon-to-be-made-for-tv movie, really has deep POV nailed down. Also-Eastsider Shannon McKelden's recently re-released Venus Envy (let the spam comments commence) does "deliciously smitten hero" in a way that makes me wish Luke Stanton was stalking me. And fellow Washingtonian Lisa Kleypas's Blue Eyed Devil mixes contemporary issues with her classic, lyrical writing so well, it makes me wonder why I ever swore I'd never read her new, first-person Texas-set novels. (Which is actually the same thing I thought after reading Sugar Daddy last year, but whatever.)

So what have I learned thus far? (Besides being sick is a great excuse to get to all the TBRs stacked up next to my bed.) Well, two things. One, what I said to Keira the other day actually turned out to be true. Which is weird and not weird, because I knew it was true when I said it, but it was one of those you know it's true but it doesn't make it any easier to sit down and do it. Oh, what I said...right. I said there was nothing in the world that makes me want to write my books more than reading other people's books.

Good books, bad books, books I'd never write and books so close to mine I want to jump out of the nearest barouche. All books make me want to write my books. Similarly, watching very good tv (How I Met Your Mother, House) and very good movies (Becoming Jane, Becoming Jane) makes me want to write books. But in the last year -- ever since I stopped watching tv -- I've watched zero tv. As in, no tv. At all. Even sneaked. And the number of movies I've watched has dwindled to almost zero, too. And the number of books I've read...well, you get the picture.

I've been living with a scripted entertainment deficit, and it seems to have gotten to me.

So I popped in my Sex and the City DVDs after last week's post, and this week I read a few books. Which brings me to thing I learned number two: I desperately want to finish my book. My historical book. Which makes no sense, seeing as how I've been building up my contemporary stores, but there you have it. I miss Roman. I love Roman. I want Roman to get his HEA, dammit, and I want him to get laid already. Desperately.

YOUR TURN: How do you feel about entertainment input? Do you live a deficit-inducing lifestyle? Does watching really well-written tv make you want to compete, in a sense, with the emotion/witticism/characterization/etc? Do you keep up your reading while you're writing, or do you put it away for fear you'll accidentally copy a voice/plot/etc? Do you ever want your characters to get laid, or am I projecting? Oh, maybe don't answer that...


Anonymous said...

I love story, and good story, whether books, movies, tv, always inspires me.

Darcy Burke said...

and I want him to get laid already. Desperately.

OMG, yes!

And yes, good TV/movies/books/music inspire me. I can't believe you haven't seen any of this season of LOST. We'll need to have a marathon when the DVD comes out. We'll make a weekend of it. :-)

B.E. Sanderson said...

My first book was inspired by a movie, but film and TV haven't inspired me since. I hear ya on the books, though. Some make me say 'I can do better than that' and others make say 'I want to write one as good as that'.

When I first started writing, I couldn't read while I was writing - at all. I'd unconsciously pick up whoever's voice I was reading. As I went along, I got to the point where I could read, but only while I was editing. Once I'd gotten a few books under my belt, my own voice got cemented, and reading was no problem. Now, finding the time to read is the problem.

J Perry Stone said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J Perry Stone said...

And I want everyone to get laid ... except those to whom I'm related.


J Perry Stone said...

Okay, I outted myself in public so I had to delete my long post.

Here's a safer version:

I think once you put on your writing glasses--everything you look at becomes inspiration for your books.

Another good place to get ideas is those people-interest stories in magazines. Hell, even 20/20 and Dateline give good plot. I know that all sounds very dry, but my husband, who tends to be a grown up, watches them so I have to as well if I want to be next to him (even though I’d rather be watching M*A*S*H reruns).

Hey Lacey, Sex in the City movie May 30. And watch Oprah today because they’re on

Carrie Ryan said...

I actually stopped watching TV as well but it was a time issue - I didn't have time to watch TV and read and write. I barely have time to even read any more! I used to fear that reading other books would cause my voice to change in writing, but the voice of my current character is so different from anything I'm reading that I don't worry about that any more. Which is good cause I love reading!

Santa said...

When I first began this writer's journey I set out to write a contemporary. For those of you who know me, my TBR is chock full of historicals. I feared that my voice and the voices of my characters would be full of Regency-speak. It turned out my fears were unfounded.

Though their essence share the same qualities of the heroes and heroines of those historicals - honor, loyalty, fidelity and trust; their voices and the world in which I placed them are well rooted in the contemporary world in which they live.

I am a self-professed child of television. Good and sometimes great stories can be found there. So can the bad but that's what the off button is for. I think it's as important to open yourself to the world of entertainment, as it is to keep open to the world around you no matter what your sub-genre.

BTW, I love your taste in TV. And I also can't wait for your books to be finished and sent forth. Give that poor fellow his release, for pity's sake! ;)

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