J to tha M: The New Adult Revolution

J and M Plot a New Adult Novel

New Adult genre

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J: After reading Jeanette Grey, Nichole Chase, and Jennifer Iacopelli, i’m liking the new adult genre

I think I’m going to angle the new book as new adult

M: I’ve read a couple that have been good. Jeanette’s Take What You Want for sure.

but I really enjoy good UST, and a lot of the YA, NA, whatever/A seem to replace the sexual tension with just holy-crap-over-dramatic angst.

J: yeah

they’re all wounded boy/abused girl

hate hate hate then screw

so I pounce when I find one that isn’t, even if it’s too sweet

M: yeah, there’s been a couple I considered checking out that people have raved about, but angst for the sake of angst, just to pull a response from the reader, tends to irritate me

I’m scared I’ll just be annoyed

J: yeah

if it says anything about a dark secret or whatever, I avoid

M: usually just annoys me instead of tugging at my emotions

J: or a hidden past

M: ugh

J: or worse, a dark past

M: the boy is wooooounded

the girl was raped. Ya know, that’s not the only background “reason” for angst, and it’s so overused anymore, which causes its own problems. But that’s a discussion for another day.

J: HIDDEN SECRETS AND DARK PASTS!

alcoholic father

M: all excuses to be a dick

J: exactly

I don’t want to write that

“I’m no good for you. I’m going to kiss/fuck you and then run away forever!”

M: I read one that’s a new adult. It’s selling like crazy on Amazon

Broken Beyond Redemption or Damaged Past Caring or something like that. Probably not that exactly, but you know what I mean.

J: oh no

M: and oi

J: not with a title like that

DARK SECRETS, M

M: it was just stupid

stupid stupid.

PEOPLE DON’T ACT LIKE THAT!

EVER!

J: hahaha

I’m starting to think we should plot out a New Adult book

seriously

and throw in the craziest things we can think of

M: every damaged Alphahole with mommy issues who turns to BDSM and the girl who was raped by her cousin’s brother’s best friends lover saves him with her pure and innocent love

add in slutty best friend with drug problems

who secretly is in love with Alphahole and wants him for herself

J: who likes to dress her up like a barbie doll

oh, yours is better

the guy’s best friend gets a little fresh a little too often with her

and tortured hero beats the crap out of him at a party one night

and she’s all “you kicked your best friend’s ass over me? It must be love!”

and he’s all “whoa, whoa, let’s not use that word.”

M: oh, yes. He has to beat the crap out of everyone. That’s love, not anger issues and violent tendencies

J: and she’s all “I’ll love you if I want to. I just won’t say it. Instead, I’ll mope around for six months while you spiral into a deep depression and take to cutting yourself.”

M: and Tattoos

he has to have Tattoos

capital “T”

J: of course he does

big scary ones

M: because he’s wooooounded

poor little Alphahole

J: but they have to be hidden by a long-sleeve shirt for his day job at a call center

but they’re just fine for his night job as a bar back at the hottest club in town

I mean, his dad gambled away all their money, so he has to pay his way through college somehow

sorry, his dad drank all their money. DARK PAST!

M: yes, he works at a call center saving kittens and rainbows

J: but no one can know about it

M: between beating the crap out of people because he lurves her

J: except the sweet, batty old lady that manages the employees

(comic relief)

M: oh, yes. And, we forgot about the fiery attraction

dueling for dominance tongues

and not knowing where she ends and he begins

J: we can add that in around the dickishness

where it makes the least sense, of course

like after he’s beaten the shit out of someone

M: and flashed his tattoos

J: Tattoos. Capital “T” remember

M: OH!

and he’s in a band

*nods*

J: of course he is

he plays bass

no

bass players are too laid back

he’s definitely the broody lead singer

M: No, moody, sexy lead singer

haha – you just said that

J: sometimes we scare me

I’m gonna go mull our new hero

brb

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On Writing: Write What You Know? Maybe Not.

Reality Lacks A Satisfying Narrative Arc

Guest post by Jeanette Grey

write what you know

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The message is everywhere: write what you know. We hear it from college professors, from abrasive-but-ultimately-kind-mentor-characters in movies, from random relatives who think they have sage advice to offer about writing in spite of never having really pursued it themselves.

It’s reinforced when friends suggest you should write a book about your life. Or about their life. Or about the life of one of their friends who recently had something interesting happen to them.

It’s reinforced when everyone scoffs at the disclaimer in the front of every novel about all people, places and things being fictional.

And it’s so, so tempting. I don’t know about you, but my most wildly productive writing years occurred when I was in my teens and bleeding words onto a page. I just had so many emotions to deal with and no other way to process them except through writing. I wrote what I knew, all right. I wrote my pain, and my joy, and the petty, petty details of my relationships, my family life, my school life. My word count was astronomical, and the sheer carnage in terms of wasted novelty notebooks and drained sparkle pens was enough to fund my local stationary store for years.

Here’s the thing, though: writing about reality is, in general, a terrible idea.

Now, I’m not saying that non-fiction doesn’t have its place. Of course it does. But novelizing real life events has an inherent flaw, because reality lacks a satisfying narrative arc.

What’s a satisfying narrative arc? It’s the lovely, circular aspect of a story that writers painstakingly weave into their books. It’s the details planted in the beginning of a novel that come to fruition in the climax. The twist of fate that unites a hero and a heroine that have complementary strengths and flaws. The conflict that represents whatever the main character fears most and present her with a chance to grow.

They’re the aspects of a story that make you jump up and down, your heart glowing, and that leave you beaming after you turn the last page.

Sure, these things happen in real life, but rarely in the kinds of combinations they do in books. Rarely in the kinds of combinations they need to in order to keep a reader devouring your books.

A random anecdote from life is like a burlap sack, and a well-crafted novel is like a finely tailored suit. Everything fits. And sure, you can cinch a belt around a shapeless swath of fabric, but it’s just not the same.

Personally, when I was still writing about my own life, my stories never seemed to go anywhere. I would get bogged down in the true events behind the story, and I never knew how to push past them to make the story into something more.

It wasn’t until I was in my late twenties that I got the hang of it. After a wordless decade, I started immersing myself in the world of fiction again, and new ideas started to emerge. They were untethered to my life except in the details. I set completely fabricated stories in locations where I had really lived. I gave heroes and heroines jobs I’d really had. I incorporated elements of personalities of friends and loved ones into invented characters, but I invented the characters. I made up the scenarios. The real, embedded details allowed the imagined stories to come to life, but the realities of my mundane and unsatisfying life stopped restraining the narrative, hamstringing it to true events that didn’t really matter to anyone but me.

For me, the key to writing fiction that jumped off the page was just that: writing fiction. I had to write what I didn’t know.

And using my imagination was what finally allowed me to write books that felt true.

About the Author

Jeanette Grey started out with degrees in physics and painting, which she dutifully applied to stunted careers in teaching, technical support, and advertising. When none of that panned out, she started writing. Her stories include futuristic romances and erotic contemporaries, and almost all of them include hints of either science or art.

When she isn’t writing, Jeanette enjoys making pottery, playing board games, and spending time with her husband and her pet frog. Her most recent release, Take What You Want, is available from Samhain Press as well as on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. She blogs regularly at Bad Girlz Write and irregularly at JeanetteGrey.com. Follow her on Twitter or Like her on FaceBook.

J to tha M Give Two Thumbs UP

What We’re Reading (J Got a Kindle. It’s On.)

Discover new books

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J: To honor Ebert, we should give a J to tha M spin on the thumbs up, thumbs down on the books we’ve read lately

M:  You want my list?

J: Hit me.

M: That might exceed our bandwidth. Maybe we should limit it to what we’ve both read. There’s got to be a couple, at least.

J: M, you know my recent history with books. Give it your best shot.

M: We both read Jeanette Grey’s Take What You Want this week.

J: I bought that one because you told me to. Thanks for that, by the way.

M: Really well written, great characters I fell in love with and could relate to

no big suspension of disbelief and that’s pretty rare lately. Especially after reading JR Ward. Heh.

J: I flew through it. Loved every second. Then I read the ending again.

M: I had an eyebrow quirk at the fact she didn’t recognize a cute guy in her class, glasses or not, but okay

but she made it all work.

Ellen was a great female MC and so well written to show her development and where she was at that stage of her life, trying to figure out who she was, what she wanted, and brave enough to go after it.

And Josh. So sweet and sexy. He was pretty confident and experienced for a somewhat nerdy college kid who lives at home

but it was super hot and really well-done, so again, it was only a fleeting “hmm”

J: i have actually been wondering about his confidence

I thought she might explain it

but I guess not

M: yeah. I mean, he’s too shy to even approach her for the past 3 or four years, but he has all that sexual confidence

There’s no mention of his past experience. A little about never bringing a girl home to meet his parents, like for dinner or anything, but that’s about it

but again, it didn’t bother me. I loved it. I loved Josh. Any book that sucks me right in, makes me feel for the characters, that I can’t put down until I’m done, I seriously love.

Big thumbs up for me. Read this. Go now.

J: I second the thumbs up. What’s next?

M: What else did you read?

J: Ummmm… I did end up reading a To Kill a Mockingbird again two weeks ago

it was an accident

I was looking for a quote for something I was writing and read the whole thing instead

M: Heh. I think we need to limit it to books written in the past decade or so.

J: Oh! I did read the Bride Series by Nora Roberts. I know you did, too. As a whole, thumbs up, but I’m not all the way convinced all the time.

M: Well, it’s been a while since I read that series – when it first came out – but yeah. I agree a thumbs up as a whole. I liked the Carter and Mal books. The one with Delaney was eh, and I don’t even remember who the other one was about. Guess that sums it up right there.

J: I thought Mal was kind of a caricature. I wanted him to be sexy, but I kept picturing Joey Buttafuoco. Not sexy. Also, it’s never more apparent that she writes the same story over and over than when you read four in a row. But still. She makes me feel. Even if it’s the same feelings every time.

M: That’s a good point. The Bride series was far from my favorite of hers. I haven’t had the same intensity of feeling from her books lately. I haven’t even read the new one – the Inn series. I’m telling you, though, try her JD Robb series. Still amazing. I haven’t gotten that same-story feeling from those at all, and she’s, what, 30-some in now? Besides, you’ll love Roarke. Irish boy.

J: I haven’t enjoyed anything by her as much as I did the Irish trilogies. Go figure. I do have a paper copy of the first Inn book. This will change.

as I had suspected, I have gone nuts on the kindle

M:  easy to do

J:  free! free books on kindle

it’s crazy

i mean, I know this is a thing, but I never made use of it

it’s all so exciting

M:  haha – yes. That’s how I was. Free books! And then, even when they’re not, you just press a button and it appears

J:  that’s super dangerous

M:  best magic ever

J:  I have to really restrain myself with music, and now books, too?

I don’t have enough self control for that

M:  it’s really made me think about my reading habits as a reader and apply that to my writing

I mean, with all that’s available, if I’m not caught up in the first few pages of a book, I move on to the next.

too many to try, you know?

and it really brings home how important that first line, paragraph, page, chapter is

J:  that makes a lot of sense

if you go through the trouble of going to the bookstore, picking among thousands there, standing in line to pay, driving it home…

you might give it more of a go than the first few pages, simply because you did go through the trouble

M:  and you likely did a lot more research into it to go to that effort

or at least put more thought into it. with the ebooks, it’s just so easy to skim the blurb and pile them all on. so you do your thought afterward instead of before, kind of

J: Well, next week we can talk about Ben Monopoli again, because I’m now reading Cranberry Hush. KC Beaumont is my hero for introducing me to him.

M: Me, too. We can talk about that next week – I read all his. Cranberry Hush and Porcupine City.

J: Maybe he’ll hear us talking about him and come guest blog for us… We could stalk him until he agrees. You should get on that.

M: It worked with Jeanette Grey. We’re excellent stalkers.

brb