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"Love - a wildly misunderstood although highly desirable malfunction of the heart which weakens the brain, causes eyes to sparkle, cheeks to glow, blood pressure to rise and the lips to pucker."--Unknown.

"I learned long ago that being Lewis Carrol was infinitely more exciting than being Alice."--Joyce Carol Oates

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Friday, June 16, 2006

Too much conflict...

...and not enough character.

This is the problem.

As you may know, I've been reading some older works lately (Lindsey and Deveraux rereads and some Woodiwiss) and what has really jumped out at me is that these earlier works really focused on the characters. Page after page, chapter after chapter of character interaction. No long trips, no separations, no crazy cousin plots, just simple day-to-day character growth.

Where did that go?

I find as I read more and more stand-alone novels I'm dying for "main" character interaction. Because of that, I usually lean towards books where the couples are all ready married or marry early into the story so I don't have to deal with the back and forth and back and forth. Half the time in these novels authors are so plot driven that I find myself rolling my eyes because the characters are separated again and again and again. I don't read the book to hear the characters talk to other people, I want to see the H and H interact with each other!

Some traits of the genre such as rape, whimpering heroines and Neanderthal alphas have been steered away from and are a good thing. But involving more complicated plot and conflict and forgetting that your characters need more than just 50% page 'togetherness' is a loss that I am deeply feeling.

The story is about the characters! Make it about THEM!

...Fiona...

7 touched me

Blogger CindyS pondered...

Hell Yeah! Brava!

I know people cringe when 80's books are mentioned but there was a real feel to them that I think is missing today. Maybe it's the too fast, must have it now, mentality we have started to cater to.

So, Woodiwiss holds up? I have been avoiding re-reading because I'm afraid it'll turn out the books were not as good as I remembered. Maybe it's time to bite the bullet.

CindyS

6/17/2006 04:59:00 AM  
Blogger Fickle Fiona pondered...

Woodiwiss did hold up. I hadn't ever read The Flame and The Flower (missed that boat somehow) so this was new territory to me and I felt like I was going to be harder to convince.

The length was a little daunting at first but quickly overcome.

The first 300 pages are where I see the real problem, there is a lot of whimpering and two blatant rapes...but if you look at it as this was the start of the genre, this was author getting her feet wet, I found it very interesting. Almost like going back in a friend's baby book and looking at their baby pictures. You are reading the beginning.

After page 300 I was hooked. I mean HOOKED! Good stuff.

...Fi

6/17/2006 07:31:00 AM  
Blogger Bookwormom pondered...

I've done a few rereads of older books- & I've not been too impressed to be honest. No Woodiwiss though.

I read primarily for character development- & I agree that characterization seems to have fallen by the wayside in favor of a motley group of cardboard cutouts.

6/17/2006 09:07:00 AM  
Blogger Suisan pondered...

Yeah, totally agree about character development and focus, Fiona.

Just read a Candice Proctor Medieval, The Last Knight, which I blogged about today. I talked about the tone being different, but I also think, after reading your thoughts about focus on characters, that the other thing that resonated was Proctor's focus on the hero and heroine.

Very different feeling.

6/17/2006 04:04:00 PM  
Blogger Fickle Fiona pondered...

Amanda, were the books you reread ones you had loved earlier?

I brought this up with my mom last night and she started to wax poetic about Shanna by Woodiwiss, pulled it out of the cabinet and took it to bed last night! LOL

Gonna go check out that blog Suisan! Thanks! Hopefully you liked it and I can go read it!

Whoopie! More books!

...Fi

6/18/2006 06:57:00 AM  
Blogger Holly pondered...

Suisan, I have The Last Knight on my TBR shelf and I've been eyeing it. Thanks to your review, I'll be reading it soon. :)

Fi,
I couldn't agree with you more. I'm so tried of reading books where the H/H are seperated throughout the entire story or not getting a feel for them, or seeing hardly any interaction between them. It's so hard for me to believe they've fallen in love with each other in a matter of days (for most stories) when we've seen hardly any interaction between them.

Though I don't miss the rape scenes or the more retarded heroines, I do miss the character development from back in the day.

6/18/2006 03:23:00 PM  
Blogger Fickle Fiona pondered...

It's so hard for me to believe they've fallen in love with each other in a matter of days (for most stories) when we've seen hardly any interaction between them.

Exactly!

And what about just overall lack of character development. You know the last two stories I read from EC didn't mention the characters eye color or hair color. I had no mental picture at all! Had to rely soley on the crappy cover!

6/18/2006 06:48:00 PM  

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