May 6th, 2010

Paul Neyron rose 2

demanding readers?


Kris of Kris 'n' Good Books (http://krisngoodbooks.blogspot.com) just did a post on whether readers are mean for being so demanding.  I don't think of myself as mean, mostly because I generally don't post the title or author's name if I'm mocking a certain kind of book, or lack of grammatical style.  Or complete lack of knowledge of how to write.  I have mentioned grammatical quirks I've noticed in some books I've summarized or given my impressions on and also given the titles of, but it wasn't mean.  I just have a bad grudge against sentences which start with participles.  I've said that J.L. Langley uses "may" when she should use "might," since "might" is the past tense, but her editors should be catching that.

Here's what I said to Kris' post: 

"I'm not mean. I just have certain strong preferences. Sometimes I just want the light and fluffy. It's ironic, because I work for an author who writes horror mixed with humor. Jordan has quite a high tolerance for gore in what she reads and watches. I like the humor and supernatural aspects in her books. My gore tolerance is pretty low. She loves to hear that something she wrote creeped me out.

I'm good with a book which touches on social issues or characters with various personal challenges, but I want a light touch concerning the issue. I don't want to feel like I'm being lectured.

I'll just do a rambling post on my LJ about this."
 
And here I am.  I've said these things before, but I think I have a new reader or two now, so the two people who have been reading this for a while can skip over this.  I like characters to keep the sexual orientation they started with.  I don't like gay characters turning straight, or straight characters turning gay.  Someone should at least have been out to themselves and some friends (and possibly some sex partners) for a few years before they are really ready to settle down into a relationship.  Say you come out to yourself when you're fifteen, come out to a couple friends a bit later, have a few lovers, and are maybe ready to think about a serious relationship when you're in your twenties.  That seems realistic enough to me.  I'm quite happy with stories with a bisexual man getting into a serious same-sex relationship.  I don't think it's highly likely in real life, but it could happen.  That way the character never has to change orientations, though he should be aware of having same-sex attractions, and have acted on them enough times to have a clue.

If it's a historical romance, I want accurate historical details, as far as I can tell.  I was a history major, so I dare say I can tell quite a bit with certain periods of history.  I don't need to hear too much detail about the lice and the fleas and the stench and people's teeth rotting out, but events and attitudes of the time should be accurate enough.  If certain sex acts are against the laws of God and Man at that particular time, the characters should have a good sense of self-preservation and discretion.  Stupid romance heroes are unattractive.  That goes for the contemporary romances, too.

Even in the light and fluffy romances, I want the guys to act like guys, not all weepy and emotional.  I don't want them to be girls.  I don't care if a protagonist is queeny if they're not really playing it up, but just being themselves.  I don't see why there aren't more androgynous or somewhat effeminate characters in gay romances.  My opinion is that there are some guys who are just naturally more effeminate.  That isn't to say that they can't be tough and have lots of great qualities.  It's not insulting to write a character like that if it's done well.

Too many writers seem to say, "Oh, this character is gay," or "this character is gay now," without a consideration of the social and psychological aspects of the attitudes they'd have about themselves, and the attitudes their societies would have towards them.  It's great if they're well-adjusted -- it also makes me believe more in a romance actually working out -- but they'd still have the marks of the things they had to work through.

I don't want the characters to fall in love on the first page.  I'm good with lust at first sight, and the characters acting on that, then getting to know each other.  I realize that's not your typical romance.  But guys having sex, then becoming more and more emotionally involved over time, and working through internal and external problems in a growing relationship -- that makes a good story for me.  A lot of women readers wouldn't think that was a romance as they define it, but it's quite satisfactory for me on a realistic romance level.

I don't think sex is the cure-all for emotional trauma.  I think that if the characters have emotional trauma or issues of that sort, they should be getting therapy and possibly medication.  I don't think they'd be really great candidates for a relationship to start with.  If they're trying hard to work through their thing, and they have a lot else going for them, then it's a bit more plausible.  If that protagonist can function well enough on his own, but benefits from a supportive partner, with the partner also getting real benefit out of the relationship, that will likely work for me.

I'm pretty attracted to stories with characters with physical disabilities.  I really don't care for it if the characters get miraculously cured at the end.  If the character isn't self-pitying, and is doing well at finding ways to work around the disability, and, again, has a lot to offer, that really works for me.  I want for both protagonists to be pretty independent to start with, and then staying that way, and not having it go to one of the protagonists carrying the other around.  That happened in a straight romance I read with a paraplegic woman.  She started out with a job she could do well, but the book became a wall-banger when he just started carrying her everywhere.  So, not perfect, but independent, not self-pitying, and fairly well-adjusted.

I'll think of other things I've ranted about before...





 

 
Paul Neyron rose 2

garden club and TV shows

Garden club was exciting today.  I'd made my May baskets last night -- all pink and white flowers, and very cute, I thought.  I got there more or less on time, as they were loading the baskets into someone's husband's car for delivery.  I just passed my baskets along to him.  It was the eightieth anniversary of the garden club, to the day.  We had the regular meeting an hour early, with S.M. reading the minutes from the first garden club meeting in 1930, then her own extensive minutes from last month.

We went off to have lunch at a historic restaurant and inn, but as we were getting seated, the hostess came in, clapped her hands, and said, "Ladies, we're having a little crisis.  If you would just go out to the parking lot..."  As we filed out, we could hear the fire alarm.  The staff in charge suggested that we move our cars before the fire trucks blocked the way.  Fire companies from two townships responded to the alarm.  As we stood in the lot, we could see a pretty good-sized plume of smoke billowing out from the back of the building.  I'd carpooled with someone, and she decided she should get her car out of there while she could.  The emergency personnel had already blocked off a section of the road the way we'd come, so we went in a little circle.  Fortunately, we didn't get really lost, as you can -- and as I have -- on the little backroads around that town.  Most of the garden club came back to our regular meeting place, where a few said they'd had enough excitement for the day, and headed home.  Well, most of them are in their seventies or eighties.  A little more than half of us decided we should go to a Plan B.  I suggested a really nice Asian food restaurant, which nobody knew how to get to.  It's right on the main road in the area.  Then I suggested the Chinese buffet place in one of the shopping centers in [town a little further west].  They decided to go to an Italian restaurant a few blocks from where we were, but it was BYOB, so one of the ladies went on a liquor store run.  I gave her a ten and requested a bottle of Chenin Blanc.

We carpooled there without incident.  One of the ladies had had her car blocked in by a fire truck, so she needed transportation anyway.  "It's the Jag," she said.  I'd be worried, too.  G., who'd gone for the wine, brought back a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, a Chardonnay, and a Pinot Noir.  I tried the Sauvignon Blanc, which was a little dry for me, although she tasted it and said it was quite sweet.  I think anything more dry than grape juice is dry, so I'm not all that reliable.  (Added: Mom tried it and said it was very dry.  If Mom thinks that about wine, it must be true.)  I think a few other ladies had some of the wine, because I just had the one glass, and there's perhaps two-thirds of the bottle left.  It's a pretty big bottle.  I took it home so it wouldn't be wasted.  Mom will help me out with it.  (Added: Or I'll just go ahead and get a bottle of the Chenin Blanc, which I will drink.) 

I talked to D.S. again about learning German.  I said, "Just assume I know all the swear words."  We talked about her coming to my house, which she thought was far away.  I asked about coming to her house, if she had a computer with Internet access.  She suggested the county library.  "That's two minutes from where I live," I said.  I think you need to use earphones if you're playing something like a movie or TV show there, so we'd be better off coming here.  I told her I'd call her.  Now I need to find the garden club booklet with her number in it.

It wasn't a bad day for me, since my car didn't get stuck anywhere.  I hope J.'s car is okay, and D.'s, which broke down just as she was trying to get out of the first restaurant's parking lot.  I'm half the age of some of the other garden club ladies, so I guess I can take some stress better.  I can deal better with some kinds of stress if I don't know about it coming, so I don't worry beforehand.  I don't like that kind of stress when I'm driving, but if I'm not driving, I can take some things in stride.

Soap operas: Alles Was Zahlt had quite a lot of scenes with Roman, and some with Deniz also.  Roman was doing some skating, which Dennis G. had been very happy about not having to do again.  Well, he knew he'd be playing a figure skater when he first started on the show.  (A commenter on EKP was laughing about that.)  Things seemed pretty good between Deniz and Roman today, though I haven't heard their dialogue yet.  Added later: The brunch with Marc was awkward, but Deniz and Roman still seemed strong together.  I'm just enjoying every episode in which they are affectionate, and keeping them in mind to watch when things get rough.  Now that I've actually gotten YouTube to take my comments, I won't be able to resist.

I thought my second comment ever on YouTube would be on Verbotene Liebe.  Maybe tomorrow, when Christian and Olli are on the show, I'll make my third comment ever.  Both of them were in the teaser.  I still think of my love for both Deniz and Roman and Christian and Olli as being able to appreciate two different things on their own merits.  VL didn't have the guys today, not even for a few seconds.  It was once again more of the von Lahnsteins, though I was moderately interested in the Andi and Helena scenes.  Tristan continues to creep me out, and Tanja is pretty spooky as well.  I watched some of the Charlie and Arno scenes, though I didn't follow a whole lot of what was going on.  I hope the "good guys" figure out some way to completely clear Andi's name.  By then he might be back with Nico, but I'd be fine with that.
Paul Neyron rose 2

plenty to do

I've got an editing job to turn in in the next couple of days, a proofreading job I just got with a twenty-four hour turnaround, proofing/editing work to do on a short story, and the promise of a novella to work on soon.  It feels really good to have things to keep me busy.  I like to have a couple of proofreading jobs going while I have an editing job to do as well.  I can switch back and forth, and odds are I'll really be enjoying at least one of the stories.  I was taking a lot of proofreading jobs last summer, but then I didn't have any left I could edit, because I'd been one of the proofers on them.  So I cut way back on the proofing, but I've missed it.