Monday, February 18, 2008

My Obsession

As we all know, Danita has an obsession with hooks. Well, I'm going to venture into my obsession- BM's or Black Moments.

I finished the first draft of my book last week after being stalled and stymied at my black moment. I wanted it heart and gut wrenching, but I couldn't get it to come out how I envisioned. And I tightened it up, added more sensory descriptions and more emotions and hope it plays out well for the reader.

Then this weekend while driving back and forth to Baker City I read Linda Lael Miller's "McKettrick's Luck". It is a contemporary western romance. It wasn't the most fantastic book I've ever read, but the characters wrapped around me and I am definitely going out to find the books about the other cousins.

What does this have to do with my BM obsession? There wasn't a wow knock your socks off black moment. I didn't grip the car seat and wonder how are they going to over come this, I didn't burst into tears with fear, regret, or happiness. The black moment came and went. I smiled and had a warm feeling envelope me at the end with the way things were wrapped up and happiness abound.

Nothing earth shattering happened and I still enjoyed the book and the characters and am willing to go on another journey with the characters in the next book. So, how important is it to have a knock your socks off black moment? Does it have to be earth shattering? Can it just be a conflict that comes to a head and is overcome without a ton of melodrama?

I'd like to hear your thoughts on this.


Paty Jager said...

Checking the box.

Alice Sharpe said...

Paty, isn't it funny how when we focus on something it tends to be the thing that is worrying us?

I can't answer your questions. I have a feeling any one answer won't cover the bases anyway. I think it depends on the writer, the characters, the book, the story ... the reader, too -- as to what is necessary and what works. It'll be interesting if you read her other books to know if this is her style generally speaking or if it is the style of that particular book.

Are you happy with your black moment? Maybe that's the question. Does it satisfy you and your readers?

You can read in the car? I am envious.

Danita Cahill said...

As you mentioned, my favorite thing is a really good hook, one that sucks me inside the story for the long ride. But yeah, if the black moment is a let down, with the characters having little or nothing to lose or give up, even the world's greatest hook can't give the reader a boost over the boredom fence.

I like Alice's take on it -- the black moment, like a hook, depends on the story, the writer, the character. It's hard to describe a good one, but you sure as heck know one when you read it.

Good blog, Paty. I'm sure you have the black moment all hammered out, but like I said, I'll be happy to have a look at it this weekend, if you'd like.

Elisabeth Naughton said...

Two lines jumped out at me:

I'm going to venture into my obsession- BM's


What does this have to do with my BM obsession?

Paty, I think maybe you were a proctologist in your previous life.

I know, I know. *shaking my own head* That was baaaaad.

Ahem - Black Moments...

I love a good heart-stopping black moments. I've blogged about this before, that in a lot of the RS's I've read lately, the black moment is dropped in lieu of the deadly climax. But I miss those black moments where someone's secret comes out, a lover is betrayed, the person you thought you knew suddenly isn't the person they really are. Makes that deadly climax all the more exciting - at least for me.

Alice is right though - it depends on the writer, the characters and the reader they're targeting. Some readers don't like those gut-wrenching black moments. Others live for them. I happen to fall ino the latter category, and so I tend to write that way as well.

Lori Barber said...

Paty, My first thought as I read your second line was, 'A really good title for this blog would be, "Have You Had Your BM Today?"' LOL

I've read books with quiet, little or seemingly no black moments and have loved them. It's the richness of the characters, the style of the writer's voice and the setting that bath me in a wash of contentment and joy and keep me turning the pages faster and faster. I like a book that leaves me warm and cozy inside, wishing I lived in their town, could be their next door neighbor, and new best friend.

Different tastes for different folks makes the writing and reading world large enough to encompass everyone's unique style and preference.

Our mood on any given day also plays into both sides of this thought. If I'm in the mood for a suspenseful read I want the twists and turns, the breathtaking black moment and the deadly climax that leaves me gasping for air and looking under the bed before I can fall asleep.

I too love to read in the car and often do when I'm not driving.

Karen Duvall said...

I love a juicy black moment, but the intensity will vary with the genre, with the book. I'm okay with that as a read. But when I'm reading a fast-paced urban fantasy, I expect a gut-wrenching, edge-of-your seat black moment.

My black moments the result of my first ending because all my stories have two endings. The first one makes everything seem like it's turned out great, that everyone got what they wanted, though there is some niggling apprehension over something or other. But everyone's so happy, who cares? Ha! Someone better, because these characters are in for a big surprise, followed by the black moment. That's how I do it in every book.

Paty Jager said...

Alice, it's true the depth of your blackmoment should reflect your characters and your book/plot. And I think that's why I was having problems- I was going for something more than my characters and plot were about. And I can only read in a car if I start while the road is straight and I get engrossed in the book. But if I try to start reading while I'm going through corners- I have to stop because I get sick.

Danita, Thanks for the offer of reading the black moment. I haven't read back through it yet. When I do, if it feels like there is still a problem, I'll have you take a look.

Eli, LOL- I knew someone would bite on those lines! My editor always calls the black moment a BM- I'm thinking it has to do with the fact you have to really work to get it out right! LOL

Lori, thanks for your thoughts and whimsy!

Karen, it seems to all boil down to the characters and genre you are writing. You, Eli, and Alice who all write more gripping stories than I do and than I usually read seem to favor the higher emotion black moment. Which I try to go for, but sometimes I think the story/characters dictate it different.

Thanks all for commenting!

See some of you tomorrow and others on Saturday!

wavybrains said...

I just wanted to say that I loved the McKettrick series. I think it comes down to character. banter, and heat in that series--no black moment needed.