Friday, July 25, 2008

Breaking the Rules

About twenty years ago my sister told me about a book she said she couldn't forget. I looked for it in book shops and libraries on and off for years but never found it. Eventually I forgot about it. Then two weeks ago I went to dinner at a friend's home and she told me to read this book she had just finished. It was the same book - Perfume by Patrick Suskind. I took it, grateful that I had eventually found it.

Well, I've finished it and I'm confused. This book breaks so many of the rules that we are constantly told to follow and yet it is a big enough hit to be made into a film.

First of all, the hero is despicable, odious, completely unsympathetic. Aren't we told to make sure that our characters are likeable, that they invoke sympathy, that even if they are off the tracks, that they have redeemable features that make us want to follow their character growth until they reach a point where we can like them. This chap has no redeeming features and certainly, if his character develops at all - and that is debatable - it's only to become even more horrendous. So why do we follow his story? I suppose because he has this incredible gift and it is the development of that gift that we are fascinated by and which makes us turn each page.

Secondly, we are continually told to 'show, don't tell'. This book 'tells' us the story virtually from the beginning to the end. There is one short section of dialogue and this is written up as in a play with the character's name written, followed by a colon and then his words. The rest is all hearsay - he did this and then said that and then he did this. If we do that in our stories, we are instantly rejected just as we would be for the first point. So why does he get away with it? Certainly it was first published over 20 years ago when the expectations of storytelling were different but it is still popular today.

The other fact I found strange about this book was that while reading the book, I found it difficult to put down and yet when I did manage to, I had little desire to go back to it. Can you see why this book has confused me so much?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Back on Track

Thanks everyone for all the advice on my new website. I think I have made all the adjustments but let me know if I have forgotten something.
Well, the news today is that I am back on track. Since finishing my graveyard story, which is doing the rounds, I haven't written anything at all - and that's months now. It's not good to be resting that long or maybe it is. I have been going backwards and forwards through some stories I have part written and then abandoned and have finally found the one I have an urge to complete. This is a story I had almost forgotten even though I started it only last year. It is a complicated suspense thriller and I can't remember why I abandoned it at 37 pages. A confused brain, probably.
The interesting point is that on analysis I find I can't finish stories that I know all the details and ending to. It would be too boring to write what I know. I am definitely a seat-of-my pants writer and so need the mystery ahead of me to keep me writing. In this thriller I know who is the baddie, why the trouble is happening, but I have no idea how I will get my characters to a satisfactory end or who will be killed along the way. Keep it exciting and I keep writing.
The photos are my characters - Space Cowboys meets Dark Side of the Sun.

Monday, July 14, 2008

My New Website

I worked all Sunday on creating a new sleeker website. I'd love you to go have a look and let me know what you think. Any criticism will be taken into consideration and duly implemented if it fits my vision.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Five things I am the Most Grateful for

Okay, so I'm going to exclude the obvious, being family, friends and health. You can take those for granted. I'm talking about the small things that might mean nothing to others but are important to me.

1) Every evening, when I get home from work, I feed the cat, get changed and prepare my rum and diet coke with three crackers topped by smoked salmon. I then take it all to my study to check my blogs and write before preparing dinner at 7.30pm. This is a special wind down time by myself - only the cat can interrupt me. When I'm having a hard day, I really look forward to this moment of my day.

2) After dinner I go back to my study to write but these days it's rather chilly in New Zealand - imagine wearing long-johns and thermals to work under my business clothes because the office is so cold. So I dream of how my electric blanket is warming up my bed. Now, I like to stay up late and keep working while the house is quiet so going to bed is not a priority but that electric blanket calls to me all evening. When the weather warms up, I actually go through withdrawal symptoms when I have to eventually turn it off. I don't do drugs, I don't smoke or drink coffee but I have withdrawal problems with an electric blanket. Go figure.

3) Having a good book on the go is essential in my life. When I finish a book, I must have another lined up or I feel bereft until I find a new one. It's like a close friend that I can return to when necessary. I don't have a lot of reading time in my day and I never read for long stretches at a time but just knowing that book is waiting for me makes my life worth living.The one in the photo is perhaps one of my favorites of all time. Even though I wasn't keen on Jodi Picoult's latest book, Change of Heart, I have loved all her others. Any suggestions of 'must read' books?

4) Movies. You have heard me go on about movies before and how they are my weekend passion. Well, give me a bad week and I long for the weekend so I can go lose myself in the wonderland of someone else's fantasy, diet coke and choc-top icecream in hand. The day after tomorrow I'm off to see Hancock - got to see what that twist is all about. Thank goodness no one has yet dropped a spoiler about it unlike that in Wanted, which I am dying to see when it arrives.

5) The sun in winter is such bliss that it should be canned. We have had sunshine for a few days here while the temperatures have been so chilly I have had to wear the above-mentioned bulky underwear. So the feeling of the sun on any bare skin available is a joyous pleasure and of course there is that essential vitamin D that you can't get any other way except through a pill. Unfortunately I just saw the weather forecast and it's going to be yucky again.Enjoy it, you guys in the northern hemisphere, it'll be back here soon enough.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Another book to be published.

Wild Child Publishing has accepted to publish another of my books, Crash into Darkness. I wrote this not too long ago thinking of Harlequin's Intrigue line. However, they said it was too dark for them. I'm glad it has found a home.
I created the image of my cover tonight but it is, of course, not the cover they will use - unless they let me design it. Click on the image and you will be able to see it better. Three books accepted now and counting.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Great Review for Beneath the Surface

I've received a great review with the top possible score at:

This is the last line of the review: "Beneath The Surface has it all. Voice, plots, emotions, imagery, and high-calibre penmanship. I applaud Ms. Perrazini. She is one very talented lady."

I'm over the moon and finally excited about the whole process. It's amazing what a little positive reinforcement does for you.

I also have some other good news but I will keep that to myself for a few days.