Tuesday, April 28, 2009

What makes a Keeper?

Have you ever had the experience of watching a movie with an “expert” and have them tell you that the movie people got it all wrong? I have. My husband is a computer whiz, built his own PC in the mid-seventies (my age is showing) and always comments at the critical part of the movies when the computers blow up that’s not how it would happen. When we were watching 24 a couple of years ago and Jack was racing out of the room after sabotaging the computers, having the computers flame out, my husband said, “Not true.”

Well professional writers sometimes get picky like that when they read. It’s worse if you teaching writing, which I do at the local community college. But when you come across a book that knocks your socks off, that is pure pleasure. I had that happen the other day. I usually read action adventure and intrigue books, but I read my friend’s current book, Hand Me Down Family by Winnie Griggs. This is a wonderful story about a woman who becomes a mother and widow to her mail--order family. The story kept me turning the pages, eager to see what comes next. This is a keeper for me. It reminded me of Courting Miss Hattie by Pamela Morsi.

What makes a good book? Is it the writing? Plotting? The characters? What is it that makes those certain books stand out among the others? I love action and write it, but when I think about the books that I’ve written, what do I remember the most? It is the characters. My first book was the heroine’s story. She was the son her father never had.

I’ve read a lot of good books and over the years the level of writing in popular fiction has risen. (I think RWA is responsible for that.) But, what is it that makes a story stay with you?

What do you think makes a book a keeper? What is one of your keepers?
p.s, the picture has nothing to do with my thoughts. It was just a fun picture my son took while in Austin a couple of years ago.

1 comment:

Pat Davids said...

Wonderful post. I know just what you mean. Since I began my writing career I changed from being an avid reader to being a critical reader. I'm much harder to please now. But for me A Keeper is still all about the characters.

I have to say that Will in Morningglory by LaVyrle Spence remains my all time favorite wounded hero. Amelia Peabody from Elizabeth Peters Egyptian mysteries is my all time favorite heroine.
It's good to be reminded of why we love such stories when we're struggling to finish one of our own