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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Guest Blog: B.C. Brown: The Good, The Bad & The True Neutral...

We've all read it, the 'Traditional Plot' - Good Guy meets Good Girl, Bad Guy/Girl tries to intervene, Good Guy and Good Girl overcome all obstacles, defeat Bad Guy/Girl and live happily ever after. Right? This is the age old story, the epitome of good fiction (if written well, that is). However, what happens if/when Good Guy, the character you've been rooting for the entire story, reveals himself overall to become Bad Guy? And, to add insult to injury, the Bad Guy reveals himself to be the Good Guy? Can the writer still satisfy the readers' expectations with such an abrupt change?

Writers around the world and throughout the centuries have been struggling with writing stories, telling tales, that both satisfy and surprise their readers. Some writers have used twisting plot shifts and surprise endings to their advantage - for example George R.R. Martin's heroes are rarely the victors and his villains are frequently the triumphant, or Jacqueline Carey worlds are often harsh and bitter while managing to find small threads of joy and beauty; while other writers stumble over the intricacies needed to defy convention, chuck the traditional, and say "Whoa, they won't expect this!"

So how does an author walk this finely drawn line? Especially a relatively unknown author. Is it wise to defy tradition and say, "I'm going to create a story that defies every known convention I can pull out of my writer's cap."?

Many authors I know have chimed in on the matter. And the lot seems to be equally divided. In Camp #1, some writers disagree with defying convention, stating fairly obvious reasons, the old adage, of not rocking the boat. Tradition works, plain and simple. Readers dig Good Guys hooking up with Good Girls and Bad Guys being defeated in horrifyingly brilliant displays of vengeance/justice. Agents/publishers may not appreciate centuries of tradition being overthrown at the whim of a presumptuous would-be author, after all. In Camp #2, the rest believe that chucking tradition is exactly what is required of new and budding authors to shine out from the depths of the slush pile. Their belief? Editors/agents/publishers have seen and read the same 'tried and true' tale of Boy-Meets-Girl, almost-loses-Girl-to-Second-Boy, before-overcoming-and-living-happily-ever-after dog and pony show. By switching up the same-ol', same-ol', the blossoming writer may have the unique opportunity to grab an agent/publisher by the balls and make them stand up and take notice.

Of course, I have my own opinion on the matter. I'm a grab 'em by the balls and make 'em sing your name kind of person/writer! But I'll admit that I enjoy snuggling down with a good, traditional tale of Boy meets Girl, meets Second Boy, defeats Second Boy, and lives happily ever after. But I'm always thrilled by the story that grabs me, sucks me in, and then completely throws me off the trail by doing something totally unexpected! To me, it seems, those reads are rare jewels and are, often, the books I keep floating around instead of exchanging.

Naturally, everyone has their own opinion, and I welcome yours. Let me know what you like in a story, and what your thoughts are on today's topic. Do you welcome the satisfaction of a tried-and-true tale of Good Guy/Bad Guy/Good Girl, or do you like it when the story throws you a reversal and makes you question the morality of each character?

BC Brown is the author of A Touch of Darkness and A Touch of Madness, both Abigail St. Michael novels. Her work has been included in three, multi-author anthologies – Fracas: A Collection of Short Friction, Quixotic: Not Everyday Love Stories, and A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court. She has published a dark fantasy novel, Sister Light, Book One: Of Shadows previously under the pen name B.B. Walter.

She lives in Arizona and on tequila and gummy bear-related products. She spends her free time bicycling, performing in Community Theater, and spends way too much time on karaoke, Star Trek, and Doctor Who. She is legendary for her mismatched sock collection. Her foul mouth and lack of filter has gotten her into hot water in the past. She will no longer discuss the “big booty ho” incident of 2012.

BC has upcoming work with the Abigail St. Michael novels entitled A Touch of Emptiness. More of her work will be released in a general fiction novella entitled Feather in a Hurricane and a dark fantasy novel, Of Shadows.

Contact/Buy Links:

BLURB: A Touch of Darkness
Urban Fantasy – Paranormal Mystery – Romantic Suspense

Abigail St. Michael, a former cop, has joined the recently growing ranks of metaphysicals, individuals with abilities outside that of normal human nature. When a murderer stalks her town killing children, Abbey uses her ability of touch clairvoyance to hunt him down. Her only roadblock is that her villain seems to have his own unique talent, the ability to ‘wipe’ his victims and their surroundings of any metaphysical energy. With little physical evidence and no supernatural evidence, Abbey is forced to rely on luck and instinct to solve the case. However both seem to have taken a permanent vacation as the victims keep piling up with the killer’s escalating blood lust.


Rose Anderson said...

Fantastic post, B.C. Love your mismatched sock comment. We're kindred spirits. :)
Thanks for joining us today. Best luck.

Molly Daniels said...

I miss my partner-in-karaoke-crime!!! When is Jillian's story going to be finished?

Judy Baker said...

Great post, B.C. I must have missed out on the "the big booty ho" of 2012!

vicki batman said...

I confess, I did it. My new book features a good boy who done bad and just might lose the girl.

Sometimes, the story that comes to us is what we write.

jean hart stewart said...

I like to read a story that enthralls me, regardless of the formula, or lack of one. A good story is a good story.

Melissa Keir said...

I think a lot of authors and readers are on the bad boy bandwagon. I'm seeing more and more bad boys who turn out to not be that bad...

I loved the post and wish you much success on your book. Sounds scary! Imagine having your mind wiped.

B.C. Brown said...

Thanks for coming out to read me, everyone! Yes, my mismatched socks vexes some but makes my life a lot easier.

I, too, miss my karaoke partner in crime. The people here simply can't match our diva-hood and fun with experimentation.

Ah, my sister wishes I had missed out of the "big booty ho" incident. There are still parents who mention it to her. Lol

I'll admit, the Bad Boy with the Heart of Gold is popular. But what I'm more talking about is the perceived Good Guy who turns out, in the end, to be the Bad Guy. He may not be all bad; he may have really noble qualities and reasons but, in the end, he is the betrayer. It's difficult for writer's to pull off that kind of story. But I love those little gems when I find them. I however am a 'realistic ever after' kind of reader. I prefer a story that has a ring of reality, not just the fluffy stuff.

Thanks also. That's idea of having your whole memory and essence stripped from you is what inspired me to write the story. That and wanting to promote a heroine who almost never has her shit together. Lol

Cara Marsi said...

I love your bio. I like a good story with a satisfying ending. Period. I love traditional romance, but I also read other darker, more quirky books. Give me characters I love and a satisfying ending, and I'm a happy reader.

Janice Seagraves said...

Great post. I think that it doesn't matter about the plot line or character line up, as long as the writer is talented in his or her craft and can take you on a wild ride.

Good luck with your release. I wish you many sales.


Beverley Bateman said...

I loved your post. We spend the winter in Arizona and tequila is one of my favorite drinks.
Good luck on the book sales.

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