Friday, June 22, 2007

What are bigger books?

Stupid title for this blog, but my sleep deprived brain can’t think of a better one. I’m reading a book Molly loaned me, (ages ago, and I should have read it long before now), by Elizabeth Lowell. Tell me no lies, it’s a contemp, and I’m only 100 pages in.

And really, at 100 pages in, we’re not really into the action yet. It seems as if most of the major characters have been introduced, but you can tell this is build up for the story to come.

Popular, current wisdom would say the book should move faster, but this is a big book, close to 500 pages, and smaller print, and it was written about 20 years ago. Lowell has taken her time setting up the characters, you can tell she’s done a lot of research into ancient Chinese artifacts, and Washington, which is where the book is currently set, certainly it feels like she knows these two areas really, really well.
While the book is a romance, there’s a plot and storyline that seems equally as important as the romance, and the combination of both has really drawn me in.
(thanks for the loan, Molly)

It’s a bigger book in tone and depth than a lot of the romances I’ve read lately, and you can tell this book took her a while to both research and write.

I’m wondering if anyone knows of other more recent romances that read like this? Either historical or contemp.
I also believe in today’s market it would be really tough to write this book, given published authors need to be more prolific and don’t usually have a year or more to spend on one book. But if there are more out there like this, I would love to hear recommendations.

On another, unrelated note. Friday Night Lights. I’m three episodes from the end of the season.
Amazing show. I’ve been trying to figure out what they do best, but I think it’s to portray the small, perfect moments. The brilliant character reveals in small details that show us everything and tell us nothing.
Anyone else watching this? It does live up the hype.

7 comments:

Molly O'Keefe said...

I think Tell Me No Lies was actually a cataogry novel and when it was reissued she got to add to it OR it was her first ST. I skim a lot in that book - I mean who really needs to know that much about Chinese Artifacts -- but it really really hinges on that conflict between hero and heroine. It's absolutely the best relationship of convenience book I have ever read.

The Loretta Chase books are a bit like that -- lots of stuff up front that becomes important but if it weren't handled so well the editor would - for sure - say scrap it.

I love that you are loving Friday Night Lights -- I think the magic is that the show is all show - there's no telling and it handles those human pivotal character moments so so well. love it!!

Maureen McGowan said...

I still haven't seen Friday Night Lights. I got the idea that Global was going to show it again from the beginning over the summer, but maybe I was wrong. Perhaps I'll have to wait for the DVD's or borrow whatever Sinead is watching it on...

Maureen McGowan said...

Oh, and I agree that it would be really hard, from what I've seen, to sell a romance like that in the current market.
But who knows? I mean the genre is in need of a big shake up. Perhaps a book with heavy research and a major plot besides the romance might just catch on and move things back that way?

Don't know.

I do think a lot of "women's fiction" is more like that... More character stuff going on before the main plot kicks in. More details about the world the characters live in. But even for those type of books, many editors seem to want the story to start out with a bang. (Perhaps that's just true in the lighter-toned stuff I write.)

Sinead M said...

I really enjoyed the part about the Chinese artifacts, it reminded me of the books I grew up on, books by Sydney Sheldon and Barbara Taylor Bradford. I miss those kind of books..

And yep, loving Friday Night Lights... learning tons about great storytelling.

Inkpot said...

Hi. I stumbled upon your blog the other day and found it a very interesting diversion. I working on being a writer (fantasy is more my kind of thing than romance) and it is great to read about other writers sharing the highs and lows that I'm going through. Also, reading about Molly's success makes me feel there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Best of luck to you all. :)

Sinead M said...

Welcome to the blog, inkpot. So good to hear from other writers, especially in other genres.

Would love to get some recommendations on great fantasy books, as it's not a genre I know a ton about.

Inkpot said...

Hi Sinead, thanks for the welcome. :) Fantasy books - where do I start! :) Anything by J.R.R Tolkien is obligatory (the Lord of the Rings), The Abhorsen Trilogy by Garth Nix is great - Sabriel, Lirael and Abhorsen. New stuff but good stuff. Richard Matheson's I Am Legend is a fantastic horror/fantasy/sci-fi. Just finished Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes - very very good. Mmmm... I think I am rambling! :)

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