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Judgmental Bitch and the Elusive IT

Thursday, September 01, 2005
I can hear it now. I've been judging some of the entries for the Romance Divas Best Opening Hook contest. I have four entries of my own, which are gathering mixed reviews. For my own judging, I decided I'd start with the historicals and work my way through the entries by genre. There are ten historicals and I've judged five so far. I'm on a break from being a way harsh bitch. Don't worry. I'll pick it up again later.

I'm torn over a lot of these entries. Usually, I'm not keen on the voice or the character. The limit is the first 150 words or 15 lines. A larger word count wouldn't necessarily make me want to read the book.

Can you really capture an audience in your first 15 lines? Is that really enough to judge an entire book? Remembering the Romancing the Idol seminar at the RWA, some of the entries barely got that far before they were shot down.

I suppose the answer lies in the voice. The more I read, the more I write, the more true it becomes. Plot, characters, tone and genre be damned. If I like the way someone strings words together, I'll read it. I think at this point, I've read a little bit of every sub-genre of romance out there from inspirational historicals to paranormal erotica. Some are mistakes of hideous proportions. Many, thankfully, are not. Some just don't grab me and I've figured out why. It's their voice.

From sweet to sinful, creepy dark to pants-wetting funny, if the author has that gift, that almost undefinable IT, I'm a fan.

Please God. Let me have IT.
9/01/2005 10:34:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 7 Comments

7 Comments:

Good luck on figuring IT out. When you do, let me know so I can figure it out.

By Anonymous Danica, at 5:01 PM  

Don't you love it when you find the elusive thing you're looking for? I get almost gleeful when I find a book that grabs me and won't let go.

By Anonymous Michelle, at 7:38 PM  

I'm with you on voice. It doesn't matter how intriguing the plot/story/characters (and I *HAVE TO* love the characters btw, or at least be facinated by them) but if I don't dig the author's voice, all is lost.

btw, you have 'IT' for me. I've always loved your voice. :-) it's just too bad I can't read more of it ::nudge,nag,nudge,nag::

By Blogger Jaye, at 8:44 PM  

You have a great voice. Really. Spicy and strong. I would say of the Diva's you and Babe are astounding.

I've actually thrown away stories because I found the more I wrote the more my voice matured and it made such a difference my older writing was bunk.

Ain't being a bitch fun? :P

By Blogger Eva Gale, at 10:44 AM  

Aww shucks, y'all! I can't believe this story is finally finished. I hope an editor finds my voice as strong as you guys do!

By Blogger Sela Carsen, at 11:55 AM  

Huh. This was interesting to read, given my currently funky state of nothingness. Maybe this is what I needed to hear to write again. I've been told I'm good at hooking people in, and that then my voice carries them further.

*twists her lips in thought* Thanks, Sela!

By Blogger Brenda Bradshaw, at 9:50 AM  

Glad it helped, Brenda. Now, defunkify yourself!

By Blogger Sela Carsen, at 10:02 AM  

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