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Starting Raw May 26, 2010

Posted by ninapaules in Conflict, Writing Life.

This site is finished.  Finally.  (well, finished enough.  sort of.) 

Anyway, what to blog about?  When I signed up with WordPress, I had so many good ideas.  Really I did.  And now…

Hmmm.  Nothing.

Well, whatever my first post, it has to be interesting.  Something that will draw the reader in.  Live up to my blog’s name: Raw & Dangerous. 

I’m thinking, again.

I’ve got raw.  Would you settle for raw?

You would?!

Bless you!

Ok, here’ goes.

I am new to this blogging gig.  That is the raw truth of it.  I know just enough to keep it short, simple, and to a single topic.  Or maybe two. 

Two topics close to my heart: writing lies and exploring life. I do both every day.  Repeatedly.  But, in truth, writing lies and exploring life are the same.  

Here, let me explain.

For a book to be “a really good, all-night page turner,” conflict must reign supreme.  Internal conflict, external conflict, interpersonal conflict between hero and heroine, conflicting goals, conflicting missions, conflicting choices.  Bottom line: You gotta have lots and lots and lots of conflict.  Oh, and lest I forget, we want our heroes and/or heroines miserable, too.  With nasty backstories full of betrayal and wrong choices and miserable childhoods endcapped by abusive or negligent or meddling (and often dead) parents.   Don’t believe me?  Check out some of the latest best sellers.  Or some of the older ones.  From Harry Potter to Macbeth – we crave gut-wrenching conflict.

Or do we?

I can’t speak for you, of course, but not one person has ever jumped up in front of me and said. “Yeah!  I just had a fight with my spouse [daughter, son, boss, you pick].  Wow!  What a conflict.  Love it!”   Yet, we absorb conflict at fascinating rates.  Romance novels alone, a genre where conflict peaks at excruciating levels, accounted for 60% of all fiction sold last year. 

So, what gives?  We want our heroes and/or heroines down for the count, struggling without paddle or canoe while bravely facing Niagara and bleeding from every pore, yet, if the same happened to us, we’d gone screaming for the hills two chapters in?

Well… like, I said, writing lies and exploring life, they are the same.  The lies I write are what readers say they love.  And my conflict… it comes from exploring life.

No wonder I find so much life in books.

How about you?  Do you find life in books?  How about the books you put down, (or threw against the wall) never to pick up again, because they were ____________?  Fill in the blank.  This inquiring mind wants to know.

(comment option at top of post)



1. Linda Banche - May 27, 2010

Hi Nina,
Congrats on starting a blog.

I agree, conflict may be the best part about a romance (well, maybe not the BEST part *grins*) but I don’t want to have to go through the suffering the hero and heroine go through. I do enjoy watching them come to their happy ending, because I know there will be one!

ninapaules - May 27, 2010

Hi Linda! Congrats on being the first. Welcome to Raw & Dangerous. You’re right. Conflict isn’t quite THE BEST part, but those happily ever afters must be earned. 🙂 Hugs to you my friend. 🙂 Nina

2. Laurie Schnebly Campbell - May 27, 2010

Nina, good for you on starting a Raw & Dangerous blog — LOVE the title!

And I’m fascinated by your question of what books get thrown against the wall. (Although my equivalent is putting it back on the shelf until I’m assembling a stack of junk for Goodwill…somehow I grew up certain that people who throw books go to hell. )

Seems like Lack Of Conflict oughta be right up there, but what I hate even more is Lack Of Voice. When it feels like I’m reading something that was generated by a robot rather than a real person. Thing is, that same voice might absolutely thrill another reader…so go figure!

ninapaules - May 27, 2010

Hi Laurie! Welcome to Raw & Dangerous. So glad you like the title.

Lack of Voice. That has gotten a few books thrown… uhhh tossed into the Goodwill/library donation bin. I’ll even take Lack of Voice a step further and add that each main character needs a voice of his/her own. And that the men need to sound/think like men and the women… when they get more latitude. But the men… you taught me that, didn’t you? That men generally use shorter sentences, and I and me rather than we and us. Is that part of your “Psychology of Creating Characters” class?

3. Nicola Cornick - May 27, 2010

Hi Nina! How great to see that you have started a blog! Love the title and what a thought-provoking first post. I certainly find life in books. I like that “yes!” moment when something happens or the characters experience one of those universal conflicts/emotions that make you feel right there with them. Those are the books that I feel echo my own experience and teach me something. And actually I would say that I have had some real gut-wrenching conflicts in my own life and no, I’m not a masochist, but I have learned from them too. So whilst I would never go so far as to say I “enjoyed” them, they have made me the person I am. I hope for that for my characters too, and for those I read.

ninapaules - May 27, 2010

Hi Nicola! Welcome to Raw & Dangerous. So glad you found my first post thought-provoking. You wouldn’t want to know how I slaved over it. Hopefully that will improve.

I love those “yes!” moments in books, too. Especially when the conflict/emotion the character finally solves forms a missing piece that I’ve been looking for in my own life. Those stories live with me forever.

4. Sherrie Holmes - May 27, 2010

Welcome to the world of blogging, Nina. Congratulations. Your life now belongs to the Internet. It will eat you up whole, and spit out the bones after sucking out all the marrow.

Such is the life of a blogger.

And yes, conflict makes for an interesting story.

ninapaules - May 27, 2010

LOL! I’ll have to save some. My characters are sticklers about licking the bowl clean.

5. Brian - May 27, 2010

Sure, there is life in a story. Have you ever met a person without a struggle in their life? Every need was met? If so, you found an unhappy, unfulfilled person; maybe even an addict. Life without struggle lacks meaning. Likewise, a story that is filled with beautiful prose and no problems is boring (probably why I don’t much care for poetry) and gets thrown against the wall (figuratively of course). We thrive on struggles or conflict (not sure there’s much difference other than perspective), our own, or vicariously through others. I think we are hard-wired to crave it.

ninapaules - May 27, 2010

Hi B! Welcome to Raw & Dangerous. Struggles make us. That is true. But rarely have I personally enjoyed the process. 🙂

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