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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Collective Consciousness and Booker's Seven Basic Plots

Posted by R. Ann Siracusa
All writers and readers have experienced a sense of déjà vu when writing or reading a novel. Have I read this before? Didn't author so-and-so write this same story? Didn't such-and-such a movie have this plot?
You're probably right. It's been done already, because everything has already been done.
According to Christopher Booker's 2004 book The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories, there are only seven basic plots for all stories told, written, or shown visually. These are the seven, according to Wikipedia (
"1. Overcoming the Monster
The protagonist sets out to defeat an antagonistic force (often evil) which threatens the protagonist and/or protagonist's homeland.
2. Rags to Riches
The poor protagonist acquires things such as power, wealth, and a mate, before losing it all and gaining it back upon growing as a person.
3. The Quest
The protagonist and some companions set out to acquire and important object or get to a location, facing many obstacles and temptations along the way.
4. Voyage and Return
The protagonist goes to a strange land and, after overcoming the threats it poses to him or her, returns with nothing be experience.
5. Comedy
Light and humorous character with a happy or cheerful ending: a dramatic work in which the central motif is the triumph over adverse circumstances resulting in success or a happy conclusion.
6. Tragedy
The protagonist is a villain who falls from grace and whose death is a happy ending (or he/she gets away with their deeds as with "Cask of Amontillado").
7. Rebirth
During the course of the story, an important event forces the main character to change their ways, often making them a better person."
You may or may not agree with the way the standard plots are described by Booker or the number (I don't), but we've all heard or read versions on the same theme. If you're really interested, you can find volumes written on how many basic plots exist in literature. Pick a number, and you can find it.

The unusual part is Brooker's assertion that "the force of convention" does not explain
the connection and the reason lies in something much deeper, such as the collective
consciousness. In other words, he believes "that archetypal stories are rooted in the
human unconscious."


So, what is collective consciousness? That depends on how you define it.

The idea was proposed by Émile Durkeim (The Father of Sociology) in 1893.

His theory related to a "shared understanding of certain morals and social norms based on people either imitating others, explicitly passing on these behaviors to one another, or agreeing certain ideals in order to feel accepted". His concept is more that shared beliefs, ideas, and moral attitudes function as a unifying force within society. 

The sociological definition used refers to the knowledge and beliefs shared by all the members of a particular group, whether that group encompasses a few individuals, a nation, or the planetary population as a whole. By this definition, collective consciousness allows members of a group to share common goals, behaviors, and attitudes. It also encourages individuals with differing views to conform to the beliefs of the overall group.

Today collective consciousness is a term used by some scientists to describe the practice of humans and animals sharing behaviors and ideas when they have never come into contact with each other. In other words, the theory that we are all interconnected and interrelated on a paranormal level.

The phrase "Great minds think alike" was first written by Carl Theodor von Unlanski in his biography in 1816. Similar phrases date back at least to the 17th century. Apparently, great minds have been thinking alike for at least several hundred years.
The concept of a paranormal level of collective consciousness is more pronounced in the world of science, math, and physical inventions. Throughout history two or more people, in different locations and unbeknownst to the others, have come up with the same idea at the same time. Today, we question this and believe it must be a stolen idea.

The "P" word…Plagiarism. That might be true…or not.

This sort of overlap of idea has happened throughout the world long before we had the television, the internet or cell phone to spread ideas quickly from continent to continent. Sometimes, the ideas or inventions do happen through pure synchronicity of thought. Two people are trying to solve the same problem with the same basic available knowledge, and come up with the same answer. It happens.

A good example that is well-known and scientifically significant is the development of differential calculus by both Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz.
Each man was known for working in alone in secrecy, yet they both developed the same idea at about the same time in complete isolation from each other. According to Tom Evans in The Art and Science of Light Bulb Moments, "Even if there had been espionage, the postal service from Germany to England would take weeks."
Newton used his calculus to develop the Theories of Gravitation, which we use today. Leibniz came up with binary notation used by modern day computers.

I don't believe or disbelieve in collective consciousness or that we are all interconnected on a paranormal level. I believe there is a lot about the human mind that we have yet to discover.
As a writer, I don't worry about how many basic plots there are or if "it's been done before" (although that can affect what a publisher will buy). I write what I am inspired to write, and the way I handle a "basic plot" (if that is what it is) will be different than other writers.

In my opinion, "basic plots" derive from our instincts and universal emotions as human beings. That is what connects us. It makes sense that humans would be similar no matter where they are from, based on DNA or whatever gives us instincts. The differences are likely to be moral values and cultural traditions which have been superimposed on the basic emotion.

What does matter to me is making at least a tiny contribution to the deluge of data floating around out there and to the ever-increasing oceans of literature.

with a novel by Author R. Ann Siracusa

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

When Will Spring Arrive?? #RB4U @melissa_keir

When Will Spring Arrive??

Hello, it's Melissa again. I drop by each month about this time to share some interesting insights into life of a writer, mom and teacher. Today, I'm feeling a little down in the dumps. The weather hasn't been too bad... in the 40's with a little sunshine, but the Winter Blah's have taken over my house.

February is a tough time in the Midwest. We've had Winter and the wondrous holidays that go along with it (Christmas and Thanksgiving) as well as fun snow but come February, we are ready for some Spring.

We know it's coming. There are signs. Yesterday, I heard birds singing at 6:30 when I let the dogs out. The sun is also up now before I am most mornings. My father says that he can tell it's almost Spring because he begins getting his vegetable catalogs and starts to think about the garden.
Yet, it's not quite here. 

Being patient is a challenge. We all have to wait for things, a doctor's appointment, a special holiday, for our best friend to come home. I think it is that feeling of waiting that makes February the hardest. Not to mention that Mother Nature can still hit us with a snow storm or polar vortex.
I hadn't heard about seasonal affective disorder until the early 2000's. SAD is a mood disorder characterized by depression that occurs at the same time every year. It's often caused by a lack of sunlight (the sun is at a different angle during the Winter) and can be helped with extra Vitamin D. Even my doctor is pushing the Vitamin D saying that "everyone in Michigan is low in Vitamin D because we don't get enough sun."

I vow to change that...
Not the Vitamin D... but the sun. 

While I'm waiting on Spring to arrive here, I'm taking a small working vacation in Texas where the sun shines and the temperatures will be above freezing.

The Wild Wicked Weekend is a Reader and Author conference in San Antonio. There is a book signing but more importantly, it's a time to let lose and connect, to be silly and recharge. 
If you happen to be in San Antonio on Feb. 27th, the book signing is open to the public. It will be held at the Menger Hotel with over 44 amazing authors from Desiree Holt and Rebecca Royce to little old me. I'd love to see you and share in some Sunshine and Vitamin D.

Melissa Keir is a best-selling and award winning author of over ten books, which range from hot and sexy cowboys to small town romances that sizzle. She's also the local radio station's movie reviewer and teaches in her spare time, but she's not given up that dream of being a race car driver. You can find information about her and her books at her website.
Until next month!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

The Bedroom Door – Open or Closed with Author Margaret Fieland #RB4U

My first science fiction novel was a young adult, and, while it was far from a romance, it did include the main character kissing a girl. The aliens form four-way relationships (or sometimes three-way ones) that do involve significant same-sex interaction. This was a key feature in my world-building in the initial novel, which was written in first person. My main character became interested in an alien girl, and they kissed (on stage) and held hands, so I didn't face any major decisions on how much to show.

In the third novel, also a YA,  my main character is gay and develops an attraction to another boy a couple of years older. They kiss -- the first for both -- and I describe it. Later in the novel, I imply they do more, but it takes place off-stage. The kiss is a big deal, a turning point for my main character in terms of his feelings about himself, and thus it was important for me to describe. What is important about the other is the attitude of the adults to what is happening, and not whatever the boys are doing (or not). If I had written a different novel, it might have turned out that the activity was important.

The next novel, however, was an adult novel, and thus I looked the question of how much to show squarely in the face.   Complicating things was the fact that I wanted to write about two four-way relationships, one involving adults and the other involving teens. The relationship among the adults was complicated, involving initially my main character and another (alien) man, and later on his two former partners, a man and a woman, also.

Some people like reading about explicit sex in novels, but I am not one of them, and this affects how much I want to describe. If the interaction is of significance to the plot, then I'll open the door as much as necessary; otherwise, no.  If the scene would end up something I'd skip over if it were in a novel I was reading, then I don't want to include it. If I wouldn't enjoy reading about it, I really don't want to write about it either.

Colonel Rob Walker always does his duty, even when it means risking  shaky relationship with his family. When he's ordered to bring the treaty negotiations between the Terran Federation and the Aleyni to a successful conclusion, he's determined to do just that, even when both sides would rather he fail. How can Rob pull off a miracle and avoid a war, one where both sides could be destroyed?

Rob's Rebellion on Amazon:

Rob's Rebellion on publisher's website:

Born and raised in New York City, Margaret Fieland has been around art and music all her life.  Her poems and stories have appeared in journals such as  Turbulence Magazine, Front Range Review, and All Rights Reserved. She is one of the Poetic Muselings. Their poetry anthology, Lifelines, was published by Inkspotter Publishing in November, 2011.  She is the author of  Relocated, Geek Games,  Broken Bonds, and Rob's Rebellion published by MuseItUp Publishing , and of Sand in the Desert, a collection of science fiction persona poems. A chapter book is due out later this year.

My Website:

Saturday, February 6, 2016

There are no easy romances to write #romance #TinaDonahue #erotic romance

For those of you who are new to writing romance and have stars in your eyes about penning one book - yeah, just one - and making the #1 slot on the New York Times bestseller list, let me set you straight. No, let me slap you upside the head, shake you until your teeth rattle, then scream 'wrong, Wrong, WRONG!'. You have a better chance of being struck by lightning in the middle of the Mojave Desert on a blistering 120 degree day with no clouds in sight than landing at the #1 spot anywhere with any book.

Let me repeat - there are no easy romances to write. As far as writing bestsellers go - if there were a magic formula, we'd all be using it.

That said, I write because I love to do so. For me, not writing is like refusing to breathe or eat. It's who I am, but that doesn't make it easy. For example, this month I have two releases. Loving Lies is an erotic historical, book one of my Dangerous Desires series. Mastering the Beast is an erotic paranormal-romantic comedy, book three of my Taming the Beast series.

Amazon - BN - KOBO - iTunes

Let's begin with Loving Lies for difficulty. Given that it's a romance, desire and love were paramount between Isabella and Fernando. There also had to be sexual tension. And adventure. And peril. And a thousand other things that make up a book. Coaxing a reader to feel what your characters are going through is one of the hardest things to accomplish. Sometimes there doesn't seem to be enough words to convey what I'm trying to say. But the trouble doesn't stop there.

Loving Lies is set in medieval Spain, 1488 to be exact. I chose that period because I had previously written a paranormal romance that began at that time then jumped to present day. I thought, hey, I've done a lot of research already so this shouldn't be too hard. OMG, was I wrong. Since the paranormal only had the Spanish period in the prologue, there wasn't a lot of dialogue to worry about. The scene was mostly action. It wasn't until I started plotting Loving Lies that I discovered people in those days didn't use contractions - at all. Contractions didn't pop up until way later. I challenge anyone who isn't a masochist to write pages of dialogue without contractions and make it sound natural. It's freaking murder.

Then there were the clothes of that period. I thought with Google it'd be a cinch to find out what people wore in the late fifteenth century. Actually, it was, if I had set my romance in England, France, Germany or any number of other places. There were tons of drawings and literature about those people. For Spain there was zip, nada, nothing. I thought I was going to die. I even read Don Quixote hoping to glean something from that period even though it was later than when my novel took place. Finally, I looked at Spanish paintings from the late fifteenth century and used them to describe clothing.

Food turned out to be equally difficult. What did people eat way back then? I found out quickly chocolate was off the menu along with tomatoes. Every time I had Fernando or Isabella pop something into their mouths, I had to stop and research the food to make certain it was actually available in 1488.

Like I said, murder.

Of course, that's an historical. What about a paranormal. Since you make up powers, that should be far easier, right?


I found that out years ago when I wrote my first paranormal. I needed the hero to get out of a tight spot so I gave him the power to do so. Later on in the book, I didn't want him to resolve the problem as easily. I wanted him and the audience to sweat. However, I had given him power that made everything a piece of cake, remember? I had to go back and rewrite that scene so that the power worked sometimes but not always. Sort of like Superman with Kryptonite. Learned a hard lesson there.

In Mastering the Beast, my bad boy demons have power but they're kept on a short leash by their boss, Zoe, a reformed demon. At least until the guys decide to pull rank and seduce her. That's when the fun begins.

Loving Lies is available February 16


Deception knows no limits. Passion knows no bounds.

When she is kidnapped, Senorita Isabella knows the men have been sent by her uncle in a murderous attempt to control her family’s fortune. But when she is rescued by a dashing and mysterious warrior, Isabella can’t imagine why a stranger would risk his life for her—until she discovers her rescuer believes she’s someone else….

Fernando de Zayas loves nothing more than the cry of battle. Defying death is his way of life. But when he discovers his betrothed has been kidnapped, he rushes to her aid—never suspecting that spirited beauty would soothe his warrior heart…

With her uncle’s minions close on their heels, Isabella finds herself drawing closer to Fernando. But as the desire between them builds, her secret could keep them apart forever…

Mastering the Beast is available February 9


Surrender is the only option she desires.

Taming the Beast, Book 3

No one believes that under the tough attitude and schoolgirl fashion sense, reformed
demon Zoe burns for a man, love, and sex. She keeps those urges on ice and well hidden.
She sold her soul for a guy once, and all it got her was a one-way ticket to Hell.

Her job, keeping supernatural creatures in line at From Crud to Stud, is all work and
no play. Until she’s saddled with a trio of new enforcers who ooze so much sexual heat she’s
afraid to be on the same planet with them.

Stefin, Anatol, and Taro try to contain their laughter as their adorable new boss tries
to lay down the law. Apparently, no one told her they don’t take orders. They give them.
And they’re determined to smooth her rough edges and tame her beast with acts so wanton
they’ll make her scream—for more.

Talk about all hell breaking loose. Surrender won’t come easily, but given their devilish
charm and her aching need, her journey to submission is one done deal.

Warning: Contains an unholy trio of demons who don’t like to take turns. Break room…
snacking. After-hours…training sessions. In other words, a sensual ride on the pleasure express. Features m/f/m/m sex in every flavor except vanilla. Bring. It. On.

For those of you who need to write as much as you need to breathe, you will do so, no matter how hard it becomes. And it will, trust me. But, for me, it's a gift to be able to create a world from nothing, to live and grow with my characters as they become real in my mind.

Website  –  FB  – FB Fanpage  – Twitter  –  Amazon Author Page

Friday, February 5, 2016

The Process of Creating...

I’m great at making lists, naming my characters and writing a working synopsis for each of my stories but keeping them all organized usually just involves a folder on my desktop. There’s even a running cut-file for the scenes and sometimes just a paragraph/sentence that I love but doesn’t fit. This is fine for a single story but I’m currently working on three separate series and two of them deal with different characters connected to the same story. A desktop folder will work but I want the information literally at my fingertips.

I learned the hard way one terrible winter when we kept losing power and all my information was on my desktop, that having a physical copy of my story bible and manuscript was a good idea. I love the idea of writing programs or digital folders full of info that help an author keep their story straight but I still use the three-ring notebook and plastic cover sheet method as a back-up.

I don’t know about you but one of my favorite places to be besides a bookstore is the office supply store. There’s something about the idea of organization that appeals to my sense of well-being when it comes to putting a story together.

My story bible grows over time but I start out with the basics, a working synopsis that will probably change at least twice before the first draft is complete, brief character sketches and a section devoted to setting. I will cut out magazine images, draw maps, make collages, you name it, I do it and it all goes into plastic cover sheets to be stored in the binder.

This might seem involved but having the information at my fingertips keeps me from having to search back through my manuscript to figure out what I named a minor character, or business establishment or even a street name mentioned in one book that that suddenly becomes important in another. What's that you say, why don't you just store it all on a lap top so you're protected against power failures? The fact is, I do own a lap top and I do store the original files there but there is something about the process of building a physical file that for me, inspires creativity. 

What about you? Do you have a special process when you put your stories together?  

Have a wonderful February!

Paris Brandon
Entice Me: I’ll Be Seeing You


Thursday, February 4, 2016

High Five by Rose Anderson

I've been sharing my 2016 Symbol Series on my Calliope's Writing Tablet blog. I love symbols. My unusual interest began after receiving a book of cattle and ranch brands as a child. Our lives are filled with symbolic associations. Take writing for example. Not only are the letters of the alphabet symbols, the words we craft our stories with are symbolic stand-ins for our unspoken thoughts. Even our names hold meanings buried in the past.

Symbols of all sorts are deeply rooted in culture and represent generic or personal beliefs. Some cultures put a lot of stock in them from talismans against the evil eye to lucky numbers on lottery tickets. Others are there just for fun. From lucky rabbit’s foot to a horseshoe nailed over the door, symbols of fortune come in all shapes and sizes and materials. They're even found in the palms of our hands.

It's all about the hand.

Hands are elegant features of our remarkably complex body. The human hand is comprised of 27 bones and an assortment of muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints and joint fluids, and a delicate array of nerves and sensory capabilities. There are symbols associated with the hand that most of us in the western world know. Gestures for one. Some gestures that are benign to us become grave insult elsewhere in the world. (I have many hand gestures listed on my blog if you'd like to see them) Gestures aside, there are other ways to read the hand.  

Take these, for example:

  • When and where we wear our rings tell others we're married or engaged. The faint color distinction left by a long-worn ring also suggests a break-up, moving on, or a cheat.
  • Bitten nails or torn cuticles hint at a nervous disposition.
  • Weathered or broken hands show they are accustomed to labor or extremes, while soft smooth hands say they aren't.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, through his literary creation Sherlock Holmes, came up with the idea for examining the unique qualities of fingerprints to nab criminals. Who knew so much information could be gleaned from one's hands? But there's more. Hands sum up the dichotomy of us. They create and destroy. They comfort and hurt. They become instruments of love and hate. They also speak when voice isn't possible.

They also speak about health:
  • A firm handshake has a long association with strength and vitality, but other things can be discerned by giving the hands a once over.
  • Testosterone levels are shown in the length of your ring finger. (If women have long ring fingers, they are candidates for osteoarthritis).
  • Your palms show the health of your liver.
  • Bulls-eye fingerprints suggest the possibility of a stroke in the future.
  • Swollen fingers can signal thyroid issues or allergies.
  • Pale fingernails can be a warning of anemia.
  • Cold hands suggest poor circulation.
  • Bulbous fingertips can be a sign of heart or lung disease.
  • Challenges such as autism, Downs Syndrome, and ADHD can also be seen in the hands of children. 
And...Hands are thought to hold symbols that divine your future.

Palmistry a.k.a Chiromancy
Some say palmistry originated in India, spread throughout China, then found it’s way to Egypt and Greece. From there it spread to the rest of Europe. It was a

popular tool among the likes of Aristotle and Julius Caesar. If you look at the palm of your hand, you'll see it crisscrossed with lines and wrinkles. Being human, we all have lines like this, each one assigned properties that say something about you in your here and now, and about your path in life.

The major lines are:

  • The Heart Line ~ Represents all matters of the heart (including heart health).
  • The Head Line ~ Represents the workings of a person's mind.
  • The Life Line ~ Represents the person's vitality, physical health, and general well-being.
  • The Fate Line ~ This line is said to be tied to the person's life path.
There are many smaller lines running all over the hand from the tips of the fingers to the wrist, and each has been given a meaning. This woman gives an interesting run-down.

This explanation of palmistry comes with cool corresponding charts.

I hope you've enjoyed this little peek at symbolism. The 2016 Symbol Series continues. Stop by my main blog tomorrow for more and scroll back to see previous posts. Subscribe to get them in your inbox!


Rose Anderson is an award-winning author and dilettante who loves great conversation and delights in discovering interesting things to weave into stories. Rose also writes across genres under the pen name Madeline Archer. She lives with her family and small menagerie amid oak groves and prairie in the rolling glacial hills of the upper Midwest.

Stop by my blog for interesting topics all month long.
Find my links page and free reads too!

Find Madeline's sweet to spooky stories and Rose's scorching novels in ebook and paperback on Amazon, Barnes&Noble,
and elsewhere.

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