Friday, June 27, 2008

Subplots and multiple POV’s.

Almost done the new JR Ward book. I’m not going to discuss it in length, as I think Molly probably wants to. And given that as usual, the latest JR Ward book blew both our little minds, it’s going to come up a lot on this blog for a little while.

I’ve learned a lot from this series. And what I’m trying to apply to my own writing is the magic of subplots and multiple POV’s.

In my current WIP I’ve counted at least seven. They all overlap, but I know I have five different protagonists, in these seven subplots. All these subplots relate directly back to the main plot, and all influence it. And because I have five different protagonists, I know I need at least that many POV”s and to be honest, I threw in one non-protagonist POV, but I think the POV is strong enough to warrant it.

I go back three years and I was using at most three POV”s, the hero, heroine and villain. Because I think I read a rule about keeping POV’s to a minimum and stupidly followed it.

The magic with subplots is all in the pacing. There’s a lot going on in the book and I’ve got a lot to pack into every scene, so every word counts. Plus, I end on a cliffhanger, I can keep the reader waiting for three scenes to resolve that cliffhanger.

It wasn’t until I read that first JR Ward book that I really felt as romance writers we could so this and still sell as a romance. And truthfully, her books are becoming less and less romance novels and more just amazing books. Not to give any spoilers away, but with this last book, the romance is probably the least prominent, but it doesn’t stop the book from being really, really compelling to read.

Seriously, this series is mind blowing.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Diana Peterfreund's new release!

I'm neck deep (more like forehead deep and sinking) in revisions this week and have given myself an end-of-the-month deadline, so a blog topic, (or even semi-coherent thought) is proving difficult.

But, my writer friend Diana Peterfreund's third book in her Secret Society Girl series came out yesterday, so I thought I'd just take this opportunity to give Diana a little pimpage. (and thereby get myself out of thinking up something clever to post.)

**Drum roll**

RITES OF SPRING (BREAK) follows our heroine Amy as she goes on, you guessed it, spring break. Love the title of this book, I have to say. I haven't had the pleasure of reading this one yet, but read the first two and I'm sure this one's just as smart and funny as they were. Plus, it's got a super cute cover. Note the Rose & Grave tatoo on Amy's hip...

Diana was blogging about mid-series pros and cons over on Manuscript Mavens yesterday. So, if you're totally annoyed at my lack of a writing topic today... Go read what Diana wrote about doing a series. ;-)

Congrats on your release, Diana!

Oh, and agent Lucienne Diver is doing a lunch time chat in The Knight Agency chat room at 12:00 noon EDT today, Wed June 25. Check it out.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Mad Men

Anyone else watching this right now? Mad men is being shown in reruns on two different channels -- with lots of hype informing (or reminding) us of how much the critical world loves this show. Golden Globes, etc, etc. For those that don't know it's about the men in the New York advertising world in the 50's - when manipulation, smoke and mirrors and diversion started to replace coupons as advertising code. Also in a starring role is the chain smoking, misogyny, functional alcoholism, racism and alpha male attitude that was apparently inherent.

This show should suck. These characters are hateful! The men are asses - the women are barely recognizable from the other side of women's lib - and advertising? Aren't we pissed enough about how we've been manipulated without seeing how it all began?

The show is good. Really really good. I love this show. The season opener created a hero in the first half hour and then slowly, slowly revealed him for the anti-hero he actually is. Every single person, every single relationship is fraught with drama. Real drama. Emotional and physical drama - without all that crazy backbending work we have to do while watching things like Lost. And it's fresh - really fresh - unlike House who feels a bit like an old shoe at this point.

The stakes - especially for the women - feel so high. And we care - we care about the misogynist, cheating, war hero. We care about Peggy - the new girl. We care about the older secretary - who has clearly become "the town pump." We really care about the war hero's wife and stress fractures showing up all over her life.

Historically, it's really cool. Lots of winks and nods to the things that have been banished from our world - kids without seat belts, chain smoking at lunch, while pregnant, while drinking scotch. The clothes that are so gorgeous and so uncomfortable. Fedoras and pearls. But the best thing about the time period is that the mores and values of that time allow for all this drama - all these high stakes. We believe that Peggy has one chance to hook a Jr. executive so she can get out into the country to raise her kids. We believe that Draper's been conditioned to provide "things" not "love."

It's good tv. You should watch it.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Contemporary romances scare me.

I’ve been reading romance a long time, but the one area I am abysmally poorly read in is contemp romance. Which is strange, because I love Susan Elizabeth Phillips, and Ain’t She Sweet is definitely in my top ten romances.

But apart from some wonderfully charming and sexy Susan Donovan romances, Jenny Crusie and a couple of Deb Smiths(amazing) none came to mind when I sat down to write this post.

And I know editors are asking to see more of them. It’s time for this market to be rejuvenated and the only way it will happen, as with the historical market, is if amazing contemp romances find their way into editor’s hands.

And never in a million years could I write one. They scare me. I’m a historical romantic suspense writer. I might someday branch into contemp suspense, even paranormals, but a straight romance over 400 pages.
I wouldn’t know where to begin.

I rely on my suspense to move the plot, to create action and forward momentum and to give me added tension to the romance plot.

Without it, I’d be lost. I know Susan Elizabeth Phillips (from now on to be referred to as SEP) does it. She usually has about two subplots, one involving another romance, but otherwise, everything moves along at a really nice pace, it’s compelling, completely involving and to me it seems like magic.

I keep meaning to read one of her books with the purpose of evaluating it on a scene level, but before I know it, I’m caught up in the book. Even her lesser books.

I think there are so few well known authors in this field because it’s so hard to do well. 400 pages about two people just falling in love, and to make all those pages tense and dramatic and never repetitious.

Makes me sweat just thinking about it.

And on an unrelated topic. Anyone see the end of Battlestar. It won’t be back until 2009, but I have to say, hell of an ending. Loved that no way did I see that coming.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Romance Heroines Behaving Badly

Yesterday afternoon, (well, technically this afternoon, because I haven't gone to bed yet...) I started to write a comment on Molly's post, in response to Stephanie's comment about some of the motivations for the heroine in Sherry Thomas's PRIVATE ARRANGEMENTS coming from a less than angelic place, then thought: Hey, why not just make it a post.

FWIW, I completely agree with Stephanie that many of the heroine's actions/decisions in PA are less than sympathetic, but that's one reason I loved that book, and why I hope it opens up the door to editors taking chances on more heroines like Gigi.

While reading that book, I kept thinking, "Everyone's behaving so badly, yet I'm riveted." I loved that it broke the "rule" that a romance heroine's motivations have to be so "good" all the time. (I think heroines who are good all the time can be boring.)

Some of Gigi's choices weren't motivated by the best of values... and neither were the hero's. Between them, at various points in the book, they were motivated by money (him), social climbing (her), anger (him), deception (both of them), revenge (mostly him), jealousy (both of them)... on and on. All negative motivations. LOVED it. Loved too the emotional cruelty of some of the sex scenes. Don't see that in too many romances. At least not the ones I've been reading to date. I remember at least one steamy sex scene where the reader knows how much more the each character is feeling as compared to what he/she is willing to show the other and I found that deliciously heartbreaking. In the end, I did think each of them was redeemed enough to deserve the happily ever after, too. They both paid for all the mistakes they'd made.

WARNING: Spoilers below in white text. Highlight to read.

Gigi did treat her fiancé terribly, but I thought the author handled that well - at least the way I'm remembering it, right now. Didn't the fiancé finally figure out she was still in love with her husband? Didn't he dump her in the end or at least give her an out? I loaned the book out again, so I can't check. But I do remember thinking that bit had been resolved in a way I liked. Not too easy for the heroine, but not in a way that made her even worse than she had been.

And as far as her intentions re: the heir… I, too, was a little surprised that she went along with the plan with little thought at first, but then as soon as the diaphragm came out, (I mean went in, wink), I was shocked for new, better reasons. I don't think it crossed her mind what would happen to the baby if she got pregnant — because she had no intention of letting herself get pregnant. She just planned to have sex with him — something she already knew she'd enjoy, while hiding the fact she was using protection — until the year was up or even better, he gave up trying. LOVED that. So devious.

Romance needs more devious yet lovable heroines. I say bring 'em on.

Oh, and this book had the funniest trailer I've ever seen. I normally hate book trailers, but this one's worth watching...

Monday, June 16, 2008

What will it look like?

Last DWT we stumbled upon my new favorite game. Maureen and Sinead will not remember this because they were too drunk. (Note to self: when Sinead orders another cider and then giggles. Yes, giggles - settle in for the good stuff and get out the notebook.) There are perks to being the sober one at DWT.

Anyway - the game. What Will It Look Like? When the suffering sub genre comes back into popularity what will it look like? How will it be different than it's first reincarnation?

I think it's safe to say that Historicals are back - not that the market isn't tight - it is. And the books coming out these days are proving that a tight market makes for great reading. But what do they look like? All these great reading historicals? What are some of the ties that bind them?

Well, they're better that's for sure. The historicals out right now are plain better than a lot of stuff being put out in some of the glutted sub-genres (ie paranormal or romantic suspense). The new historicals are tight, well-paced, and crafted. Elizabeth Hoyt, Deanna Raybourne, Sherry Thomas - they are taking their time with their words.

Most of them are hotter. But not gratuitous. The romantic conflict walks right on into those love scenes making them hot, emotional and exciting.

They're darker - aren't they? They feel darker - not "let's kill everyone" darker, but tone and conflict just seem heavier. I know Julia Quinn is still writing in her style - a little lighter. But those Julia Quinn copy-cats have dropped in number, leaving lots of room for writers who have taken some of the darkness from the uber-popular paranormals and laced it into their books.

There's a lot more plot going on in some of these books. Spies. Murders. Proactive heroines. Out of the ordinary heroines. Crime solving heroines.

So, last DWT we talked briefly about what will the contemporary romance come back looking like? (Before suddenly, we were talking about make up??) As it went out of vogue a few years ago it seemed that it had melded with chick-lit and everything was pink. Everything was light. Zany. Everyone was trying to be Jenny Cruise. Now, it could come back that way - perhaps the reading public is tired of all this dark paranormal stuff and we need some lightness. Which makes sense to me - it really does, because so many of those books were good.

But my guess is that editors aren't going to be looking for that chick-lit voice in romance for a while. They've been burned. And how.

Also, I think the fantastic ongoing popularity of romantic suspense and paranormals set in contemporary times indicates that the book buying public wants a heavy dose of fantasy, of "this is so not like my incredibly dull life - no one is deciding what to do with the chicken thawing on the counter or how to potty train their son" with their romance. The popularity of category romance (slight surge in numbers and the huge surge in the number of princes being found across lines) indicates to me that this is true too.

But what do I know? Really. I was sober.

So, what do you think? How do the new historicals look to you? What do you want to see in returning contemporary romance?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Bonnets and Bees

I had something I was going to blog about this week... but then I went on a small tirade on one of my loops last night, and Molly convinced me to blog about that instead -- saying we could use a little controversy.

Not that I'm sure it's that controversial. Ah, well.

Source of my tirade:

It never ceases to amaze me how tied up in knots people can get in RWA-land. Now, everyone who knows me knows I love RWA. I think it's an amazing organization filled with amazing and talented and generous people, but in any organization of 9,000 or so members, there's going to be some element of "crazy".

The current source of my crazy fodder comes from my membership in a relatively new RWA chapter called "Elements of RWA". For those of you not riveted to the ups and downs of RWA, there's a category defined for the two big RWA contests called "Novel with Strong Romantic Elements". (One of my projects was a finalist in that category in the Golden Heart last year.) There was some controversy a while back when the RWA board proposed eliminating that category from the unpublished contest, while leaving it in the published one. Sorry for the backstory... But it was around that time that this new chapter was formed and because some great published authors I really respect, (like Allison Brennan), were involved in the forming of this new chapter, I decided to join.

But in reading many of the chapter discussions online, I'm getting the impression that the chapter's become a home to many unpublished romance writers who think the reason they aren't published is because what they're doing is "too different" for romance. That the reason the editors aren't snapping up their work is because they as writers aren't willing to color within the defined lines of romance or follow the formulas.

To this I say, WHAAAAT?

I admit, as many of you know, when I first got involved in the romance writing/publishing industry, I came in with some preconceived notions about romance and formula. These misconceptions are so prevalent it's hard not to. And based on the advice some people will give you, there can appear to be a lot of rules in romance. Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Jayne Ann Krentz do a workshop where they call these advisers the "romance nazi's" and claim the one thing these people have in common, beyond thinking they know all the rules about romance, is that they are either unpublished or have sagging, lackluster careers. From what I've observed, I agree. (Oh, I agree with SEP and JAK. How daring of me. LOL)

Sure there are common elements, plot devices, styles and techniques, that work well in romance and are therefore used often... but anyone who's tried to write a novel, knows that these things are just the tools or skill set of a professional fiction writer. Not a freaking formula you can plug things into and out pops a book. I wish.

In reading the romances I've picked up and enjoyed in the past year or so... Authors like Sherry Thomas, and J.R. Ward, and Marjorie M. Lui, and Eve Kenin, and Joanne Bourne etc. etc. etc. It's so clear to me that breaking the mold, being different, garners more success than being derivative. Pushing boundaries is so the new black.

So, what got me all riled up last night was people trying to define "romantic elements" so that it might include just about any freaking romance written, claiming we RE writers were the ones trying to break free of the boundaries of formulaic romances. And I suppose I should be okay with a really inclusive definition of RE. I mean, why not be inclusive. But seriously... IF YOU'RE WRITING A ROMANCE, CALL IT A ROMANCE!!!

Romance is a huge market with a plethora of sub-genres for just about any taste, and oodles of dedicated and voracious readers, so it baffles me why anyone would try to claim a book that has a romantic relationship at it's core and a happily ever after ending would try to categorize their book in any other way. (Especially if they want the book to be popular/commercial fiction vs. literary fiction that might be up for the big awards.)**

To me, the RE category is for books where plot elements other than the romance are more important to the story, but there's still a strong romance subplot in the book. The main plot might be a "women's fiction plot" (like family or friend relationships, or a woman's journey spurred by a major change in her life), or a chick lit plot of coming-of-age self-discovery, or suspense, or thriller, or mystery, or sci-fi, or fantasy -- but all books where the romance plot isn't central enough to call the book a romance. Now, obviously, no black and white lines here... Whose to say when a book crosses the line from being a suspense with romantic elements or a chick lit with romantic elements into being a romance. But I really don't think -- in spite of the totally ambiguous, and in my opinion too vague to be helpful, definition that RWA came up with for this contest category, (BTW. I don't envy, and completely admire the people who took on this task) -- that they meant for stories with a central romance plot to fall into this category. At least not often.

I think the problem is contests... Contest have their place, (great way for newbie writers to get feedback and experienced, unagented writers to get onto the desks of agents and editors) but by their nature, rules have to be defined for contests and categories described. And this makes the entire industry look more rule-oriented than it is. I'm sure many of the more innovative romances on the market these days wouldn't have done well in contests for unpublished writers. But who cares? Shouldn't writers care more about what agents/editors are saying about their work than contest judges? If they think their craft is up to snuff, but they're still bombing in contests because judges "don't get" what they're doing, or think their romance novel falls outside the "rules of romance", then they should submit it to some industry professionals and see what they think. If they get rejected all over the place with little positive feedback, chances are the problem isn't being too different, chances are it's not being good enough.

And if your book's a romance, I say call it a romance. I'll bet many queries get rejected because of unnecessarily complicated genre descriptions. "My novel XXXX is a sexy sci-fi fantasy with suspense and romance elements, and inspirational overtones." It behooves writers to know the market and where their novel fits into it.

Believe me. No editor is going to say, "Boy, I'm just dying to find the next great romantic elements novel." WHY??? Because that category of books does not exist in the publishing industry. RWA just made it up for contests.

Rant over...

**I've just thought of an exception. A time when you might not call a spade a spade... and it's based on industry trends. For example, 3-4 years ago, tons of books I'd call romances were published as chick lit. Some people say chick lit was "about the voice", but to me, the plethora of romances put out as chick lit was just the romance publishers trying to glom onto a trend. And, of course, I think it was those romances-in-chick-lit-clothing that KILLED the market for chick lit... But that's another rant.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Guest Drunk: Stephanie Doyle

In my writing/drinking life, before there was Maureen and Sinead there was Stephanie Doyle. She's a fantastic Harlequin writer whose career has taken her from Intimate Moments to Duets, Flipside, Bombshell (The Contestant 2005 Romantic Times Best Bombshell winner, right here, folks) and now the Athena Force series. Untouchable is out now and I couldn't recommend it more.

She poses a question in the following post regarding what is the Stephanie Doyle experience - and I'll answer it for her: out of the box heroines (did I mention Untouchable's heroine has poison skin?) and heroes who leap off the page fully formed. Stephanie gets away with things in category romance that no one else does.

Here she is:

First I want to say thank you to the DWs for allowing me to guest blog. This is officially my first blog. Very exciting. Usually, I read blogs and think… all the good stuff has been said already - why bother? That’s especially true of DWT. It’s almost a little weird how much I jive with you guys.

Anyway I told Molly I was going to write about one thing. Then I changed my mind. Not unlike what I do with my editor. What I wanted to talk about was a) I’m in love with David Cook. For those who don’t know he won American Idol. And b) how a singing competition really sets an example for writers who want to be successful.

I ‘lurv’ David. I figure I’ll wait until he gets his fill of hot Hollywood ass and then make my move. I’m starting with a ‘Will You Marry Me David C’ sign that I plan to hold up during the Idol concert. That’s right. I’m a 37 year old single woman and I’m going to the Idol concert. It’s okay. Mock me. I would.

Moving on… In one of the writers group I belong to there is an author who was in the publishing biz for many years. He gave a talk at a conference in which he said something that blew me away but probably shouldn’t have given that I’ve been doing this for 12 years. He said part of being a successful author is the ability to repeat the same experience book after book.

I get it. Stephen King has to be Steven King. Nora Roberts has to be Nora Roberts. But as I watched this season of Idol it hit home with me. What made David special wasn’t just his voice it was the David Cook experience. If you look at several of his performances he consistently did three things: big notes, angsty-emo emotion, new twist.

A different song each week but the same feeling. I found myself thinking it doesn’t matter what he sings. I want the experience. Me and the other people who voted for a total of 94 million times. (I only voted like 50 times. I swear.)

As writers we need to do the same. Deliver a different story, but deliver the same experience with each book. It’s not easy. The first hurdle is not re-telling the same story over and over. I can say there are a number of authors who I fell in love with, who ultimately I gave up on, because for me the books ran together. The plotting, the characterization, the pacing, the resolution - same old, same old. Insert character’s name (here).

The second hurdle is identifying what you want your experience to be. This is where as a writer it really comes down to crunch time. You need to choose the elements that will make up your experience and you need to love them because whatever you pick you will need to repeat them FOR-EVAH.

Imagine a JR Ward Brotherhood book that’s funny and lighthearted with a well adjusted beta hero who doesn’t need saving? Or an Elizabeth Hoyt historical that closes the door on the bedroom scene? Breaking faith with readers is just about the kiss of death for an author.

Keep in mind what I’m talking about isn’t voice. You don’t choose your voice – it is what it is. All you can do is hone it. But the experience – that’s completely up to you. Do you like hot sex scenes or tame ones? Lots of action or lots of angst? Do you want to make readers laugh or cry or both?
As an experiment think about your favorite authors, old and new, who are successful. What are the elements you need from them to consider the book a success? I’ve been writing for 12 years. I have 10 books published. I’ve done funny, action, mystery, paranormal. I have done strong heroines and alpha males. Now I’m attempting an historical. Basically I’ve been all over the place. The thing to do now is to isolate from those 10 books what elements are consistent. What do I keep going back to? What makes a Stephanie Doyle book a Stephanie Doyle book?

If you’re thinking about being a successfully published author you need to do it too. Who are you, what elements make up your experience, and what do you want to bring to each story each time? If you figure that out, and if readers fall in love with that experience, you too could win 94 million votes.

Friday, June 06, 2008

What if

What of my favourite games is to fantasize what I would do if I sold a book for ten million dollars.. or more like won the lottery.

This is a fantasy, so I get to spend the money any way I want, although even in my head, I have to give a chunk to charity.

But then, I’d get a new house, nothing stupid, but more space. I wouldn’t even get a new car, my current one is great. But that’s where the reasonable thought ends.

I’d get a nanny, I’m typing this now with a big grin on my face. Then I’d hire a personal trainer, to kick my butt into shape for the fantastic new wardrobe I’d buy. Lots of cashmere sweaters, because, hey, I won’t care about the drycleaning costs, and maybe even a cashmere bathrobe. And I know it makes no sense, but this is a fantasy.

And then to be totally ridiculous, I’d buy a Birkin, the $9000 handbag that I do secretly covet. I know it’s a purse, but it’s a really nice one… remember, this is all fantasy..

I’d travel a lot more. First class all the way.

Then I’d come home and build a room onto my house. A study/library. A quiet room, with floor to ceiling bookshelves, a chandelier, a gas fireplace(no sense in messing around with wood to keep it going), a chaise lounge in white, because white is a stupidly impractical couch colour when you have kids and to top it all off, a state of the art Mac, just to annoy my husband who is PC all the way, and a comfy chair to write in.

Then I’d have a secret door built in leading to my perfect bathroom, with a soaker tub, and white marble and a stack of new books by the tub.

I would have hours every day to write, and in my head, I’d be writing perfection.

Then I remember Stephen King’s amazing book On Writing, where he talked about getting this giant slab of a desk in this quiet office and getting nothing done. After writing in a small basement, he’d finally created his perfect place to write and got nothing out of it. It was too removed from his life, and his family and in the end, he found a smaller desk, closer to the ones who gave him inspiration.

So in truth, I probably will never find a quiet place to write, no matter how much money I have but I also know that writing at my kitchen table is, right now, the perfect place for me, dreams of fireplaces and floor to ceiling bookshelves notwithstanding.

Does anyone else play this game? Anyone else want a birkin?

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Tying motivation and plot together

So, it's clear I can't blog about the new Indiana Jones movie, 'cause it would all end in a big DWT cage match... Actually, that sounds kinda fun -- except it's two against one and I never go into a cage match without Sinead backing me up. She's freakishly strong. (Even if she's wrong about the movie.)

But what I've been thinking about this week--the few times I've had a chance to think about writing, because I've been busy (read swamped) with the three gazillion entries I received for my local chapter's writing contest--is something Molly said to me on the weekend.

We were hashing through some issues I was having with my hero's motivation in the middle of my book, because he was waffling and really he's not a waffling kind of guy. The waffling was all me, not him. And I knew what I wanted to have happen in the plot, but I couldn't figure out what my hero's motivation would be for making it happen... Then something Molly said made me slap myself upside the head.

This was her jewel of wisdom: Have your character decide one thing, but then have the plot force him to do the opposite.



Monday, June 02, 2008

My Perfect Movie Experience

I come from a small town outside of Chicago. When I was growing up the population was about 8,000 people. I swear to God, I lived in a yellow house on Main Street. My dad was a teacher and coach at the high school - my mom a nurse at a nursing home right across the street. It was really a pretty fantastic childhood. We had a movie theater in town -- The Hub. And I saw a lot of movies there -- Back To The Future 1 and 2, Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure 1 and 2, Hoosiers, Dirty Dancing, (which I had to sneak into because it was too racy, according to my mother) Clash of the Titans, Indiana Jones and a bunch more that I don't remember. There were three screens. Well, Rochelle has grown and The Hub after being closed down for a long time has reopened.

I'm home visiting my folks and last night they sent me out, by myself, with five bucks in my pocket to go see Indiana Jones at the Hub.

Best freaking time I've had at the movies in ages!!

The Hub is exactly the same as it was - I swear the Coming Soon posters could have been for Back To the Future III. The floor is still the stickiest floor known to the movie going public and the seats still recline so far back that half the time I wondered if they were all still broken. No air conditioning so the sound has to compete with two giant fans at the front of the theater.
It was nostalgia at it's best. And then - Indy. Oh! Indy. Now, granted - last night I was the easiest movie goer in history. I couldn't have had a critical thought if they paid me.

Sinead and I got in an argument a while ago. She argued that no sequel was going to be as good as the first Indy movie and my point was - with this freaking team they should knock this movie out of the park. It should be better than the first and I realize now - it's not possible. Indiana Jones was a great movie at a great time - it's about the context of nothing being like it before and nothing but imitations after. But this 4th installment seemed to hit all the right notes. Great effects, great one-liners, great side-kick (I laughed out loud at the blatant nod to the Wild One - my Mom is going to love that) Excellent villain. Great stunts and great Indy. And then - then they bring back Karen Allen and it becomes this fantastic wink at the audience. It's both totally current and totally nostalgic.

Plot-wise it goes off in to left field and Indy is more indestructible than ever, but all in all - it was a movie experience that is going to be really hard to top.
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