Wednesday, August 27, 2014

THE CURIOUS CASE OF THE RABID READER

with guest Pamela Tracy.

It was a dark and stormy night as the rabid reader climbs the trellis outside the inspirational romance novelist’s home. Looking right and left, Rabid Reader assures herself that she hasn’t been seen. Good. She’s trained for this day: hours of lifting heavy books, crunching numbers to be able to buy all the books she wanted, and bending page corners to keep her place in such wonderful books.

Dressed in black, she feels a bit like a cat burglar. Only it isn’t jewels she wants; it’s information.

After she climbs through the conveniently unlocked window and lands quietly on soft carpet, she tiptoes across the bedroom and looks down the hallway. There, two doors down, comes a soft light. That's the room! The office where Pamela Tracy works, writes stories, stories that have driven Rabid Reader to tonight’s deed.

Pamela: Ouch. Hey, what’s with the rope?

Rabid Reader: I’ve tied you up. Now you won’t be able to type another work until you tell me all your secrets.

Pamela: Secrets? Me? I’m on deadline? I’m too tired to have secrets.

Rabid Reader (waving the cover of Pamela’s last Harlequin Heartwarming titled What Janie Saw) : It’s all your fault. I start these stories, and I have to read them in one setting because I have to know whodunit.



Pamela: And you’re telling me this why?

Rabid Reader: So I can finally wake up in the morning with more than five hours sleep, so I won’t be looking at my clock all day and thinking when can I get back to the book, so I won’t be at work and wondering if I’m – just like the heroines in your book - just one step from the extraordinary, so…

Pamela: I get it. You’re wondering how a romance writer, one who pens suspense, works? Specifically how I, a wife, teacher, mother, friend, come up with these plots that keep you guessing until the end?

Rabid Reader: Yeah.

Pamela: Untie me and I’ll tell you.

Rabid Reader (picking up a bookmark and aiming it at Pamela): No, I don’t trust you.

Pamela: Good, never trust a inspirational romance novelist. We just might put you in a book.

Rabid Reader: That would be grand. I love all this characterization stuff you guys do. Just what do you do?

Pamela: My heroines are always 1/3 me, 1/3 someone I know, and 1/3 spunk. My heroes depend on the book I’m writing.

Rabid Reader: What are you working on now?

Pamela: Well, right now I'm writing a 70,000 word Harlequin Heartwarming.  It doesn’t have a title yet.  I’m calling it Yolanda’s Legacy.  I’m sure the name will be changed to the Secret Cowboy’s Pregnant Bride or something like that.  (Just kidding.  It’s not about a cowboy.)  I’m waiting for revisions for a Love Inspired contemporary. It will be out in April and is called Finally a Hero. Not very suspensy.

Rabid Reader: No, not very suspensy.



Pamela: You want me to talk about my next book?


Rabid Reader: Yes.

Pamela: Well, it’s called  Holiday Homecoming.  My hero is Jimmy Murphy, a journalist/maker of documentaries about animals and their plight. He doesn’t believe animals should be penned... ever.  He’s a Matt Damon type.  (Yes, yes, I watched the movie a hundred time and soon couldn’t get the man out of my book.  Me, I wanted Johnny Depp.  Matt said, Nope, my turn.) My heroine Meredith Stone works at an animal habitat and has felt the sting of his prose.  She’s also the girl he left behind ten years earlier.  Now, he’s in Scorpion Ridge, Arizona, because his little girl needs a place to call home.  Soon, he realizes home is with Meredith.  And, yes, there is a mystery.

Rabid Reader: Oh, I wish I could meet him.

Pamela: Buy the book online.

Rabid Reader: I will. Hey, you have a television in your office. Way cool. What are you watching?

Pamela: Bones.

Rabid Reader: Is that your favorite show?

Pamela: No, I do like it, but I watch it for mood only. You can’t trust it for fact. See, the investigators on the show have way too much freedom with crime scenes. When I write, I have to pay attention to what my readers will believe. Personally, I don’t believe all I see on Bones. I actually am really into The Gilmore Girls right now. On DVD, of course, during their heyday I was much too busy meeting deadlines to get to watch.

Rabid Reader: Judging by your books, I’d not take you as a Gilmore Girls fan.

Pamela: My critique group actually made me stop watching the Gilmore Girls. They said I was starting to put cutesy stuff in my suspense novels.

Rabid Reader: Where’s your critique group now? If they were loyal writer buds, they’d be here rescuing you.

Pamela: They’re too busy to rescue me. We all have a three pages a day goal. Then, we meet once every two weeks for critique. They’re brutal, which a suspense writer really needs.

Rabid Reader (Finding the pre-order for Holiday Homecoming on her Kindle and waving it around): You mean, you wrote this book at just three pages a day.

Pamela: Well, I wish I’d written it in three pages a day increments. But really, I have a full-time job (college professor), a husband, a son (in elementary school) and so many other things to do (clean house, attend church, judge contests) that I’d start with my three pages a book goal (Did you know that at three pages a day, you can write three books a year?) and eventually I’d be behind and start trying for five pages a day until I’d be really behind and writing ten pages a day for ten days. It works. By the time I get to the last 100 pages, I’m flying.

Rabid Reader (frowning at book): Wow, a college professor. Do most writers have day jobs?

Pamela: Yeah, I’m pretty sure.

Rabid Reader: Do you get your ideas during your day job?

Pamela: No, my all-time favorite book, Pursuit of Justice, came to me when I kept noticing the same homeless woman in my old neighborhood.  She was about my age and size.  I got this “What if” idea.  A whole book idea came from that moment.

Rabid Reader: A whole book idea!  The idea came complete, all you had to do is write it?

Pamela: No, I had to write the synopsis, which is never easy for me. I always know my beginning and my end, but the middle is pretty much a mystery. I have four papers with two columns on them. I label the first column with the heroine’s name and the next column with the hero’s. Then, I starting coming up with at least three harrowing events per chapter that will happen to both. In one of my books, a Love Inspired Suspense, Fugitive Family, there’s warnings posted on doors, flattened tires, tornados, corpses. Oops, I’m telling you too much. I need you to buy the book and then read it. Oh, and I also research. I found a bank manager and investigated what his life was like because I made the hero a bank manager. The heroine is a lawyer. Then, I also researched things like fallout shelters and go-go boots and stalkers and-

Rabid Reader: Stop, all of those things are in here! In one little book. See, that’s why I broke in tonight. You put all these great plot points in a book, and then I buy it, and pretty soon I’m losing sleep because I try to read it in one setting.

Pamela: I think you lose sleep because you’re reading and training to be a cat burglar when you should be sleeping.

Rabid Reader: Do you have a cat?

Pamela: Yes, his name is Tyre.

Rabid Reader (suddenly studying the walls and pictures in Pamela’s office): Do you have any jewels?

Pamela: Hey, I thought you were here to find out how I wrote books?

Rabid Reader: Yeah, but you just told me that most writers have other jobs. I’ll be a cat burglar by night and a writer by day. Thanks for helping me out.


Pamela Tracy is an award-winning author who lives with her husband (He claims to be the inspiration for most of her heroes) and son (He claims to be the interference for most of her writing time.) She was raised in Omaha, Nebraska, and started writing at a very young age (a series of romances, all with David Cassidy as the hero. Sometimes Bobby Sherman would interfere). Then, while earning a BA in Journalism at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, she picked up the pen again only this time, it was an electric typewriter on which she wrote a very bad science fiction novel.)  First published in 1999 by Barbour Publishing, She has written more than twenty-five books/novellas/devotions and has sold more than a million copies.  She's written contemporary, historical and suspense - all in the romance genre.  Her 2007 suspense Pursuit of Justice was a Rita finalist.  Her 2009 suspense Broken Lullaby won the American Christian Fiction Writers' Carol award.   

Sandra again to thank Pamela for such a fun and informative post.

So to summarize, you:
1. Design a third of your character's traits after someone you know  (Beware friends of Pamela)
2. Watch suspense shows to get in the mood.
3. Use a critique group to keep you in line.
4. Have reasonable goals like 3 pages a day, but don't freak out if you don't meet them. You just find time somewhere to make it up.
5.You make a chart for hero and heroine and list three harrowing events per chapter.

These all sound like great tips for a busy working mom.  And folks, on top of this, Pamela keeps her marvelous sense of humor.  I'm sure that plays a big part in her success in juggling all of her commitments.

Do you have any questions for suspense author, Pamela Tracy?  For those who comment we will put you in the doggy dish for a drawing of a kindle copy of Pamela's Rita finalist novel, Pursuit of Justice and another winner will receive a copy of Carol Award winner, Broken Lullaby.

Pamela loves Irish shepherd pie  (we shared some at Desert Dreams conference )  so I have put out a huge casserole dish of Irish Shepherd pie for all to enjoy.  You don't have to cook tonight so watch out for that cat burglar.



105 comments:

Connie Brown said...

Good idea for the telling of the story. I like that the cat burglar is an avid reader. I have one critique, It is read it in one sitting not setting. The grammarian in me, sorry. Similar spellings different meanings. Looking forward to reading the book.

Cindy Regnier said...

What a fun post! Thanks, Pamela. You made me want to read your book - so put my name in that doggie dish. I like your formula for heroines. What about a hero. Can you divide him into thirds? Males baffle me sometimes.

Marianne Barkman said...

Yes, Connie. I caught that too, as I'll be sitting, not setting, as I read the novel. Me, I'm the rabid reader...no cat burglar. I would worry I'd keep my authors from writing! Please, can I have one of those books? (I would really like both)!!!!!

Vince said...

Hi Pamela:

If I were your rabid reader I’d want to know why you named your cat Tyre? Was it for Dido, Europa, or Alexander the Great? Tyre rings a lot of bells for a history buff.

I’d also want to know what you teach in college. Are you teaching your college major? I’ve taught three courses in college and none of them were in my major or minor.

Finally, have you written a Christmas novella? Any future plans? I think you and Debby Giusti would make an ideal combination.

Vince

Virginia Carmichael Munoz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Virginia Carmichael Munoz said...

LOL, Connie. You know that Tina screwed up there. Pamela must have written "sitting" and Tina changed it to "setting" so everyone could pile on and poke fun at her, the author of 25 books.

That Tina. She can't be trusted.

Tina Radcliffe said...

WAIT A MINUTE! I didn't put up this post. SANDRA LEESMITH DID.

I get blamed for everything around here.

Tina Radcliffe said...

But welcome, Pamela dear.

I adore your books and your wit.

Pancakes for Pamela dear. With a side of french fries and vanilla creamer for her coffee.

Mind like a steel trap.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Connie Brown, we need to introduce you to the Grammar Queen.

I mean that in the nicest possible way.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Testing my smart phone's magic powers!!

Virginia Carmichael Munoz said...

I don't care if Sandra uploaded this. It's still Tina's fault.

Virginia Carmichael Munoz said...

Oops, had to delete one of my comments. It had a typo. Or, not really a typo but it was the opposite of what I meant to say. Is that still a typo?

Anyway, I blame Tina.

What I meant to write originally:

haha! I loved the goal that becomes bigger and bigger as you get closer to the deadline. That's me, too.

So, do you enjoy writing contemporary, historical, or suspense the most? I've written historical and contemporary (I'm not smart enough to write suspense)and I overwhelmingly prefer contemporary. Mostly because I'm lazy and it goes a lot faster.

Cindy W. said...

This was such a fun post Pamela! Thank you so much. I would love to have my name tossed into the doggie dish for one of your books. Thank you for the chance.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Pam, what a fun post! I got such a kick out of it. I think you've made book promotion coupled with teaching an art form!!!!! BRAVA!!!!!

I'm laughing at your 3 pages/day. I do that and it works for me, but I'm laughing at how you manage to have to scramble.... and that works for you! Yes, my buddy Virginia does that too, and I stay in the background and applaud as I quietly make fun of her. NOT TO HER FACE.

She's tough, she'd get me, somehow.

Irish Shepherd's Pie..... Sandra, they really had the hand-held pies at an Arizona conference? The Scottish/Irish pasties that wives packed for their working men?

Now I'm confused, but it doesn't take much! Why did Desert Dreams serve Shepherd's pie? That's a story right there! Did they run out of taco sauce?

And what is Tina doing messing up sitting and setting and then blaming the always-innocent Sandra who lives out of her car most of the year, poor homeless creature that she is.

Have pity.

And anyone who uses an animal bowl to pick names from is welcome in Seekerville anytime! So glad you're here, Pam!

Signed:

Keeper of the Cat Dish

Kav said...

Wait -- I beg to differ on one point. A rabid reader would never bend page covers to mark her place in a book. That's book abuse! A rabid reader would own a collection of excellent bookmarks so that one would be at hand whenever needed, thus protecting an innocent book from violence. I speak form experience (as both a rabid reader and a librarian who takes issue with bent page corners.)

Virginia Carmichael Munoz said...

From beyond the grave, Ruthy, from beyond the grave.

Oh, wait. You're not so easily spooked?

Shoot.

Instead, I'll send the Munoz mafia after you. Six kids with abominable table manners, irregular sleep habits and spotty aural comprehension. They score very high on standardized tests though, so I know they can make it across the country to find you.

Virginia Carmichael Munoz said...

Agreeing with Kav and shuddering at the mention of book abuse. I thought we were a safe site.

Mary Hicks said...

Loved this post, Pamela! It's entertaining as well as informative.

Nobody loves books any better than I do. But they all become 'work books' and I may be guilty of a little book abuse. :-\
Mostly red lines for stuff I don't like or mistakes I find. Green lines for the good stuff I want to remember.
Black to blot out words I don't like to read at all.

Jessica Nelson said...

This is too cute!! I love it. :-) Even three pages a day is too much for me right now...but I should for a few paragraphs. LOL

Pamela Tracy said...

Connie,
I do the same thing. If I'm at the doctor's, I find myself proofing any of the forms he gives me.

Right now, I'm writing three books (one full-length, two novellas, and my students came back this week). I'm making more mistakes than usually because I'm scattered. Memo to self: slow down.

Pamela Tracy said...

Cindy,
If you email me at PkayeT@aol.com, I'll send you one of my heroine/hero templates so you can see what I do.

Pamela Tracy said...

Marianne,
Ack, Sandra, go change it, please. Now I'll be at work and this horrible suitcase will be chained to my ankle. In it are the word choice errors.

Your, you're, too, to, two, whether, weather

Truly, though, I'm glad you're catching those errors. It means you'd be a great critique partner.

Pamela Tracy said...

Vince,
My cat is named Tyre for two reasons.
I got him from a cat rescue. They'd named him Tiger. I just couldn't have a cat named Tiger, but he answered to Tiger, so I changed it a bit.
In the movie Silverado, there is a villain named Tyre. When I saw the movie, I thought he was the most handsome. Yes, even handsomer (for today, this can be a word, but more handsome is the correct usage) than Kevin Costner.
But, hehehe, I'm teaching Beth Moore during Wednesday night Bible class (because I don't have enough things to do in a day). Last week, I'm teaching that Tyre is a town that didn't know God. Arg. Too late to change cat's name.

Pamela Tracy said...

Vince,
My degree is journalism with minors in both English and business. I teach English. Mostly the underprepared. So, if a student doesn't test into 101, he's in my English 091 where I teach the difference between setting and sitting. I also teach sentence structure, word usage, and spelling.

Hey, I'm writing a Christmas novella right now. It's for the next Inspy Kisses!

I'd love to work with Debby Giusti. She's an awesome writer.

Pamela Tracy said...

Virginia,
Send me your addy! You get a book for coming to my rescue. Hmmm, do you think Tina sent Rabid Reader to my house?

Pamela Tracy said...

Tina,
I love you.
I'm lucky enough to live close to both Sandra and Tina. A few weeks ago, Tina and I had breakfast together. By the way Cindy, she's seen my manuscript template where I divide hero/heroine etc.

Pamela Tracy said...

Virginia,
Tough question.

At heart, I'm a suspense writer. What Janie Saw waited about six years for its turn because I was writing contemporaries. Yet, I have a Love Inspired coming out in, I think, April, called Finally a Hero, which truly makes me think I should love writing contempts even more

LOL, I've written historical novellas, mostly with the wonderful Cathy Hake, but I used to be a junior high history teacher, and I have a hard time fictionalizing.

Vince said...

Hi Tina:

I had no trouble with, “read it in one setting”. Why would you want to change settings (venues)? At least this way you can change chairs in the same room if one becomes uncomfortable. I don’t think you’d be to blame even if you were to blame. I thought one setting conveyed a better set of instructions and was more original.

Missy Tippens said...

Welcome Pamela! It's great to have you. What a fun post. :)

You tips could work for me as well, even though I don't write suspense. Besides, the only detective show I watch is Castle. I don't think that would be good for helping write realistic suspense! LOL

Missy Tippens said...

Also meant to say that my daily word count goals do the same thing. :) I keep a paper calendar, and you can see where I scratch out the daily word count gaol and increase it as I go.

1k/day
1500/day
2k/day

I think the highest I ever got before finishing was about 2300 words per day. :)

Pamela Tracy said...

Ruth,
I love your books. I'm reading the baseball one right now.

The thing about Shepherd's Pie, in the states, is... it's either great or terrible, no in-between. I also hesitate to order it. But, Sandra and I shared it at a restaurant right outside the conference hotel. Luckily, it was awesome.

It was in a dish. No imagination, these restaurants today.

Glynna Kaye said...

Welcome back, Pamela! Love the post! And ahhh, yes! The vast majority of writers DO have day jobs, families and households to work around. SIGH. :)

Pamela Tracy said...

Kav,
I'm bowing my head in shame.
I confess, I'm a longtime member of the bend the corner of page club. We were established during the days of Benjamin Franklin. He, too, a librarian at heart, took issue with the practice. Back then, we had to bend pages in secret. Sometimes we blamed others.
"Me? Bend thy page? Nay, it must have been Mistress Radcliff or Smith. Blame theme."

I can never find a bookmark when I need one. I'm always using business cards, bills, etc.

Pamela Tracy said...

Mary,
If I'm reading for fun and tempted to do that, I just toss the book. And, like most writers, I'm a lot harder to please than I used to be.

However, I think if I didn't work full-time, cart my nine-year-old to events and such, plus all the other things, I'd try that. I've heard it's very enlightening.

Pamela Tracy said...

Jessica,
So glad you stopped by!

Missy, you too!
I keep track of my words. I think the most I've ever had was 4000. It was the beginning of a book, and I got the idea at a train track waiting for a very very very very very very very long train to pass. It just poured out of me. Haven't sold that book yet LOL

Pamela Tracy said...

Glynna,
Good to see you! Another Arizona daughter.

Mary Connealy said...

Really, the people who read Christian romance are the very NICEST stalkers in the world.

:D

Sandra Leesmith said...

Morning Pamela, And goodness. I am in trouble already. Tina is getting blamed and I guess I should have caught the sitting/setting error but honestly I never catch those things in my own writing.

I think I'll leave it because as Vince says, its entertaining. And if I changed it, no one would know what we are talking about. But seriously, if you want me to change it, I will.

Can't blame me for the page bending either. I do the same as you and find whatever. Hopefully I don't lose the bills. LOL

Thanks for coming by today. As always with you, Miss Tracy, it is fun.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Ruthy, the shepherd pie was at a restaurant outside the conference. Pamela and I shared the order because it was so big. And you know we do eat other things in Arizona besides tacos.

However, tacos are my favorite.

Mary Connealy said...

We're having French fries for breakfast?

I'm confused and yet utterly tempted!

Sandra Leesmith said...

Mary, can I come over?

Mary Connealy said...

Pamela, I am actually that RABID READER.

I almost kill myself when I find (especially) a series I love. Plowing through it.

Jack Reacher alone took years off my life.

Then Harry Bosch.

I'm so scared of series (discovered 16 books in) that I avoid them like the PLAGUE.

Uh....when I say I'm like the Rabid Reader ... I mean...except for the breaking and entering of course!!!

Myra Johnson said...

Too funny, Pamela! Thanks for inviting Rabid Reader to join you today! (Or maybe she just sort of crashed the party???)

When were you at Tech? My daughter graduated in . . . (counting on fingers) . . . 1997 or thereabouts. I think.

Julie Lessman said...

WELCOME TO SEEKERVILLE, PAMELA, AND I HAVE TO SAY -- yours is one of the most unique guest blogs I've seen yet, so that tells me you are SUPER creative and a good writer to boot!!

You said: "Good, never trust a inspirational romance novelist. We just might put you in a book."

LOL ... my daughter actually gave me a T-shirt that says that -- SO fun!!

Three harrowing events per chapter, huh? So THAT'S what I've been doing wrong ... ;)

I've said it before and I'll say it again -- I think a suspense writer has to be a wee bit smarter than the average writer to fool all of her readers -- you guys ROCK!!

Hugs,
Julie

Lyndee H said...

Hi Pamela,
Fun post and as far as using people we know as characters, it's like the hair color commercial - I'll never tell!

Pamela Tracy said...

Mary,
How funny, I just started my first audio Jack Reacher this morning (because my library didn't have any of the detective Pendergast audios)
LOL, yes Christian follwers are the best!

Pamela Tracy said...

Myra,
I graduated from Texas Tech in 85. I was 12 (just kidding).

Pamela Tracy said...

Julie and Lyndee,
Thanks for the kudos. I have a bag with a logo threatening to put people in my books hehehehe

Janet Dean said...

Pamela, welcome to Seekerville! Fun creative post full of writing tips and a fun peek at your life. I'm so impressed with all you accomplish! How do you get enough sleep to function in the classroom?

I've had a tad of suspense in a couple of my historicals and I'm awed by suspense writers' ability to plant clues and red herrings without giving away too much. I'm going to remember your tip to use three harrowing events per chapter. My events might not be harrowing, but they should produce conflict for the h/h.

Thanks for coming today!

Janet

Mindy Obenhaus said...

Wait a minute, Pamela. You mean we're supposed to clean the house? Well, that stinks.

Loved Rabid Reader and the realistic ideas you offered. Three pages a day equals three books, huh? Good to know.

Janet Dean said...

Kav, I'm not a librarian but I cannot fold down the page of a book either. If a reader doesn't have a bookmark, surely a snippet of anything will work to hold her place.

Janet

Meghan Carver said...

I'm enjoying the comments almost as much as the terrific post! I'm curious, though, Pamela, about how long your chapters are and how you define harrowing. Sounds like a great plan to keep the plot moving! Thanks for your tips.

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Debby Giusti said...

Pamela,

You've brightened my day! What fun! Love Rabid Reader. (Someone mentioned "she." I thought RR was a guy. Isn't he? Please let me know!)

Would love to do a two-in-one with you, Pamela. Thanks, Vince, for planting that seed.

For those who attended RWA, Pamela created the Love Inspired Scavenger Hunt for the Literacy Signing. So much fun, Pamela. I got to meet new readers and send them on to other LI writers. Thank you! Hope you'll make that a yearly event.

You mentioned meeting with your cps on a bi-weekly schedule. Do you bring critiqued pages that you've reviewed at home? Or do you read and review at your meeting?

You are a busy lady. Congrats on your success and ability to juggle all your jobs with such grace.

Hugs!

Meghan Carver said...

Ack! My humblest apologies, everyone. My iPad went wonky this morning, and I've left multiple comments. Sorry to be spammy. :( Trying to delete.

DebH said...

Count me in as one of those who dare not abuse a book by folding corners. I'm also usually wanting for a bookmark at hand (i've a ton - usually way out of reach from where I'm reading) - so it's a scrap of paper, shoestring, or bill envelope to slide in. Unfortunuately, my four year old then picks up the book to "read like mommy" and promptly loses my place. *sigh*

Thank God for Kindles.

The three harrowing things per chapter? Yep. That explains the editor note on my submission. Egads... perhaps I just have good ideas that I should pass on to those smarter than I am to flesh out into suspense.

Love, love, love the post - setting or sitting works for me - and please put my name into the draw for your book. Unless it's part of a series... then, like Mary I don't know if I could handle not being able to read the rest of the books because of lack of budget. *sigh*

Great post. Laughing at TINA getting the blame. I think all of us around here are RABID READERs at heart...

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Meghan, Pamela is teaching now. I'll make sure she gets your question. She'll be back later so check in later okay. Thanks for understanding. And yes, Pamela has a terrific sense of humor. She is always entertaining. You should be around her in person. She's such fun.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Mindy, It is amazing what three pages a day accomplishes.

I hire a house cleaner. Not because I don't like doing it, it's because I keep putting it off until it becomes horrifying. Lol

Pamela Tracy said...

Janet,
Sleep? What's that? LOL The older I get, the more I want it.

Pamela Tracy said...

Mindi,
I'm so far behind now that I'm having to write six pages a day. Three pages, what a dream.... Why didn't I make myself do it?

Pamela Tracy said...

Meghan,
I aim for chapters that are 20 pages, but I'm good 16 - 24. I just don't want a 11 page chapter followed by a thirty page chapter. I usually want my heroine to have about 10 pages and then my hero the same.
As for harrowing, my next LI starts with Jesse (hero)getting out of jail. HOOK. His mother is waiting for him. He's not seen her in five years. She's not the nururing kind. Definitely he's been handed a bomb. His mother deserts him with the child he didn't know he had. Bomb lit. What comes next has to be harrowing, both in plot and love

Pamela Tracy said...

Deb,
A 2 in 1 would be fun.
We exchange 20 some pages and then bring them critiqued to the group. We go over them page by page... the big stuff. We've met faithfully since 2002. My crit group before (different town) did the same and I was in that one over a decade.

Pamela Tracy said...

Sandra is correct. College started Monday. I've two classes to teach today, so I'm back and forth.

Janet Dean said...

Pamela, you're made of strong stuff! I love feedback and am impressed that you've stuck with your critique group when you're so busy. With all your deadlines, are you able to get your entire book critiqued?

Janet

Meghan Carver said...

Definitely harrowing! Thank you, Pamela, for sharing your details, and thanks, Sandra.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Pamela, You are an amazing woman. Thanks for getting to all those wonderful questions.

Pamela Tracy said...

Janet,
I've not managed to get a whole book critiqued in years, but I usually get about 60%. By the time I'm at 60%, I'm so comfortable with my plot points and characters, that I'm good.
The crit group is so valuable. The book I'm working on now, I've not got what's keeping the H and H from being together. The crit group keeps reminding me. So, at about 60%, I'll figure it out, and then the book will flow.

Liz Flaherty said...

A great post, Pam. I'm so glad to be in the same (writing) stable with you. I do have to say when I was reading the last part about the Irish Shepherd Pie, I read Irish Setter Pie and decided I'd spent too much time reading your really funny stuff.

Carol Ross said...

Love this post! So fun. And Pamela, I love your suspense. I read What Janie Saw, and couldn't wait to find out what she saw!! I lost sleep...(:

Sandy Smith said...

This was an entertaining post. Please put me in the drawing. Either one of those books sounds wonderful. I am impressed with how you keep up your schedule. It just goes to show me that I can't use a busy life as an excuse to not write. Even tomorrow when I am subbing in kindergarten! I will be completely frazzled at the end of the day, but will still try to do something. I like, though, how you show that we don't have to give up just because it doesn't work one day.
Now back to writing the story I need to get in the mail this afternoon.

Vince said...

Hi Debby & Pamela:

I have an idea for a double Christmas novella just for the two of you. Each novella would describe the same event leading up to a trial in which there is a military lawyer on one side and a civilian lawyer on the other. Each story would be totally independent and self standing. Each would have two different couples that fall in love at the end. Each would make the other side look like the side that was in the wrong. Therefore, the reader of either novella will enjoy a wonderful HEA.

However, if a reader reads both stories, the result would be a third totally different revelation of all the events that took place in both novellas. There would actually be a ‘third’ story that would explode in the reader’s mind just as if the reader possessed a ‘God’s’ eye view in which the seemingly bad things that happened in each novella, actually turns out to have happened for the best. (This would be a fictional answer to the question of “Why bad things happen to good people”.)

The logic of this synergistic approach would be to make the decision to put two novellas together in one collection combine to produce an outcome that could have only be obtained by putting these two stories together -- and only these two stories.

In effect: 1 story + 1 story = a third story that is unimagined by readers in the telling of each of the component stories. After having read both novellas, the effect should produce a ‘mega HEA’ and a feeling of enlightenment unknown in fiction -– all without the reader having to read a third book.

This might have to be approached by having secret information revealed in each story that the other side never receives knowledge of but which would have created a different story interpretation if either side had only known it.

This ‘secret’ information would involve details that would seem like a red herrings to the reader who just reads one of the novellas. To that reader this info will not seem essential to the outcome of the novella being read. (Thus this crucial information will be viewed as a series of red herrings.)

I can clearly see the logic in how to go about doing this rather amazing writing exercise. Now if you could just come up with the story elements needed to fit this framework, then I think you’ll both be on the way to Award City!

This would take a high order of plotting skill so I would not expect that it would be easy to do.

Vince

Pamela Tracy said...

Oh, Liz,
Irish Setter pie. I'm still chuckling. Yes, I'm so glad we're in this together. We started in Precious Gems all those years ago.

Pamela Tracy said...

Carol,
You just made my Christmas list! Oh, and I know Jennifer asked you to move closer to her, but nope, you've got to move to Arizona.

Pamela Tracy said...

Sandy,
It's a mindset. I try to get my pages written in the morning before my nine year old wakes up. Then, I don't have to worry the rest of the day. If I don't get them finished, I need to find time during the rest of the day. ARG

Pamela Tracy said...

Wow, Vince, you've put a lot of thought into this. What was your occupation?

Stephanie Queen Ludwig said...

Hi Pamela! What a fun post. I enjoy "outside the box" stuff like that. I like your one-third rule about heroine personalities. Sometimes I wonder if my heroine is too much like me, and this is a great way to make sure they are different!

You grew up in Omaha? That's where I live and grew up!

Also, I am so pleased that you named your cat Tyre after the character in Silverado. I LOVE that movie, and yes, Brian Dennehy was MUCH cuter than Kevin Costner in that film, although Kevin Kline wasn't too bad either.

Have a wonderful day!

Patricia Bradley said...

Love the way you sneaked in those tips. Great post.

Debby Giusti said...

Vince! You have an amazing imagination. :)

Pamela Tracy said...

Stephanie,
We need to keep in touch. I'll be home this summer for my nephew's wedding. We make it back about every other year as my sister always has a wedding going on or something. She's in Elkhorn. My birth mother is right by Crossroads. I worked at Mr. C's as a teenager :)

Pamela Tracy said...

Patricia,
Glad you stopped by!

Pamela Tracy said...

Debby,
Oh, my, what an imagination he has, and wouldn't that be an awesome book.

Muriel Jensen said...

Pam! You're such a lovable nut! I wish I could Vulcan-mind-meld your ability to put three harrowing events in each chapter. I tend to be too chatty, too unexciting. But I'm working at doing better - something we do forever, right?, personally and professionally. You're my hero!

Missy Tippens said...

Oh no. Are we persecuting page benders today???


…slinks away in shame.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Pamela, Wow, you've been busy today.

Lots of great questions.

And even ideas for future books from Vince. btw Vince "was trained to be a philosopher and history teacher but have worked mostly in advertising, marketing, and real estate".

That is a quote from his blog: Philosophy of Romance

Sandra Leesmith said...

MIssy dear, tsk tsk tsk

Pamela Tracy said...

Muriel, how can I be your hero when you're mine :)

And, harrowing is very hard and sometimes sometimes I just har har har through a chapter, but then I'm owing in the next.

Pamela Tracy said...

Missy,
Remember, page benders of the world UNITE

Pamela Tracy said...

Sandra,
You're so funny.

Chill N said...

Secrets? Me? I’m on deadline? I’m too tired to have secrets.

I needed that laugh. In fact, I didn't know how much I needed that laugh until after I laughed.

I'll return to read comments later. For now, it's back to editing ... for a deadline.

Thanks for the post, Pamela -- and the laugh.

Nancy C

Pam Hillman said...

Too funny! The Rabid Reader strikes again. :)

Pamela Tracy said...

Chill,
Tackle that deadline. You go, girl!

Pamela Tracy said...

Pam,
There's not enough Pams in the world, eh?

Elizabeth said...

Vince, can you come work at my college? I would totally sign up. Especially since my major is history. Pamela you too. Cool Professors can be rare.
Rapid Reader reminds me of the character in Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin. Nerdy bookworm who needs to see life outside a book. I love to read and I tend to mark my books up. But then I read a lot on my Kindle and textbooks are good to mark up.
One of my books I started has a bit of a mystery/suspense theme going on. It's very tricky adding all the clues together. Outlining is probably absolutely essential. Since I only wrote 7 chapters in that book I guess I will have to go from there.
Oddly enough my hero in my novel is very much like me. Imagine if I had a twin brother born apx 100 years before I was. ( Since I am unknown that would be nerdy, quiet and a bit of a pessimist.) Mary my heroine is much more courageous than I am.

Pamela Tracy said...

Elizabeth,
Now that would be a story. Twins, born 100 years apart.

Tanya Agler said...

Pamela, Thanks for the great tips.

I do have a question. When you're done with your first draft (after writing the 3 pages a day), what is your revision process like?

I read some of the comments about bookmarks. I love to buy bookmarks on vacation. This summer I visited a national museum and there were no bookmarks in the bookstore. I asked my husband and we couldn't decide if that was because of the rise of e-readers or they were sold out. But even though I love to collect bookmarks from different destinations, I have been known to also use business cards, etc.

Thanks for the post.

CatMom said...

Fun post, Pamela!
Thanks for sharing these tips with us too.
Blessings from Georgia, Patti Jo

Pamela Tracy said...

Tanya,
I revise as I go. Before I write my three pages, I reread the chapter. If I ever get blocked, I reread the whole book. Also, I bring home the critiques, and I usually do them one at a time. So, I might take my friend Cathy's crit and make the changes while they're fresh in my mind. Two weeks later, I might take someone else's crit and plug in the suggestions. That way I'm always engaged in a portion. It keeps me from losing threads.

Pamela Tracy said...

Patti Jo,
We always love seeing you :) Have a great day.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Oh Pam, What a great day. Thanks so much for joining us. And thanks for giving us so much terrific information along with some laughs.

You are terrific. Thanks again girlfriend.

Stay cool. Happy writing.

Hugs

Mary Preston said...

This was so much fun to read through thank you.

rozdennyfox said...

Pam, I came late to your party, but am catching up. You gave some great tips as always. Looking forward to Jimmy's story.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Waving at Mary and Roz. Thanks for dropping by.

Dana McNeely said...

I have two questions - who is Rabid Reader, really? :) And Pam, do you put ketchup on your Irish Shepherd Pie? :)