Friday, June 25, 2010

the benefits of passion

Current work: Venice book
Listening to: Vivaldi cello concerti/Athlete
Reading: Nikki Logan – Lights, Camera, Kiss the Boss (nice debut)

What I like about beginning a new book is the potential. I’m a planner, so I know pretty much what’s going to happen and when before I start. However, I’m also flexible – it’s OK to change things if I have a better idea.

I started with action, at a point of change. But the emotional stakes just weren’t there, and I knew it. I also knew why: my heroine isn’t going to spill her feelings to her boss. Her best friend… now, that’s another matter. My heroine can spill to her (or not – the friend will know anyway). And be told uncomfortable things (because you’ll accept it from your best friend, right?). So I’m starting the book a bit later on than I originally planned. The stuff I’d written isn’t wasted: it’s background information necessary for me to know so I can write the next bit. And am I breaking the rule by telling what happened, rather than showing it? No. The reader learns what happened through dialogue and reaction, and said reaction shows the emotional side of things – so it’s still showing. Just in a slightly different way.

My ed tells me that the word to remember for this book is passion. Hmm. I think what she really means is that I must remember to signpost things properly. For me, it feels as if I’m being heavy-handed, because I know the story and the characters; however, what I forget (and what both my editor and agent have to remind me about at the moment) is that the reader doesn’t have my head. I have to get it ON THE PAGE.


Which isn’t the same as having them do each other on page one. (I’m bored with that. Bored, bored, bored. So, dear reader, you’re not going to get *that* book because you’ll find it boring, too.) At the moment, I’m interested in masks and what people are hiding. Hence a book set in the city of masks. But where does passion fit in with masks? (Ask me in a week and I might have an answer. Today, I don’t.)

The title of this post is actually the title of a book I like very, very, VERY much – part of Catherine Fox’s Johnny Whitaker series. (Highly recommended, btw. I love the wordgames in it. And the characters. Fabulous writing and I so wish she would write more of the series.)

And that leads me to a question: how would YOU define passion?


Michelle Styles said...

YOu are not being heavy handed as the reader does need to know and understand whereas you are living in their heads.
And it is about getting the stakes right. If the beiginng felt off, then it is. It is all about knowing the mantras such as never let the opportunity for good narrative action go to waste and knowing when to apply it.
And remember passionate people are passionate about lots of different things.

Francine said...


The passion of Masks and masked balls!

It's all in the element of mystery and the romanticism of tease - who is really behind that mask, what secrets does that person hold dear or maybe fear from exposure and why does he/she keep making eye contact?

Oh god, you have such a wonderful opportunity with the Venice Carnival as a backdrop! I have two beautiful Venice Carnival masks, both with damask overlay (1gold,1Cerise pink) both with gold lower veils and dotted with pearls and glass (fake jewels). And they're big business for the shops selling them prior and throughout the Carnival.

Lucky you, lucky plot!

BTW: I'm awarding you a Romantic Writer blog Award, it's at my blog. It's designed for busy writers/bloggers - just one question to answer and only required to send on to one other romantic writer blogger. It's been claimed as: ooooh so cute!

Rachel said...

'What to do when you iPad screen smashes..'

Caroline said...

Passion = a touch so light it makes you shiver. A look that makes you quiver. The scent of a man/woman. One word, softly spoken that makes your toes curl. All these (and more) can rack up the tension / passion between the H/h. Well that's MHO anyway! Have a great weekend - Caroline x

Kate Hardy said...

Michelle - absolutely.

My hero is passionate about architecture. My heroine is passionate about glass and cello music. (Yeah, another heroine who shares some of my pet loves... and the hero, too, come to think of it!)

Kate Hardy said...

Francine - oh, I am so looking forward to dooing the masks. Yours sound gorgeous. We bought a couple out there (mine, naturally, was a Harlequin mask - well, hey, it had to be).

The book is set in April, rather than carnial (i.e. when the weather is PERFECT in Venice) but the masks will be there.

And thank you for the award. I just looked at it and I think everyone knows what my answer is going to be!! (So I might JUST come up with something outrageous.)

Kate Hardy said...

Rach, you've just made me go cold.

Note to self. Ring insurance company and check that iPad is definitely definitely definitely covered for accidental damage.

Note to self. Do NOT allow son anywhere near iPad.

Note to self. Buy more chocolate. Just in case.

(And I read some of the comments. Bit shocked that some people didn't seem to have backup copies of data. Blimey. If I work on the iPad, I email the file to my PC as soon as I've stopped working, then check it opens OK and save it to hard drive and flash drive. Paranoid? Yup. I lost significant data once, i.e. my yearly accounts. Not a lesson I want to repeat!)

Kate Hardy said...

Caroline - ooh, now that's really good stuff. Thank you. (What with that and the masks... my poor editor!)

You have a lovely weekend, too. I think mine is going to be spent in the garden and involve barbecues... oh and DEFINITELY the last ep of Dr Who tomorrow - I have very high expectations because I really like Moff's writing.