What Draws You In, Character or Plot?

Maine Crime Writers

Today, we’re discussing a question posed by one of our readers. She asked which did we think drew readers into a book–the plot, or the characters. Here are some of our thoughts on the subject.

Bruce Robert Coffin: Great question! I have always felt the need for a one to one mix of those two ingredients. A great plot will always intrigue me, but characters I care about tend to keep me coming back for more, muy importante if one is seeking a sustainable series.

Lea Wait: I agree with Bruce: both are important. (Setting, and it’s influence on both plot and character, is also very important.) But I also believe the degree of importance of each element depends on the book itself. For a stand-alone, plot is essential. Suspense? Absolutely. Readers need to anticipate — or at minimum be curious about — what will come next. Characters? Victims…

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New Short Story – The Bombay Hook Incident Published by A Million and One Magazine

 

Sunrise Bombay Hook NWR Delaware CW-1572.jpgPhotograph from the Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge

 

I am happy to announce the on-line arts magazine, A Million and One Magazine has recently published my new short story, The Bombay Hook Incident.

The idea for the story came to me during a week long photographic trip to the Delmarva Peninsula. One of three wildlife refuges we visited was The Bombay Hook Wildlife Refuge in Delaware. One morning while driving through the refuge we came across some sand dunes and nearby someone had pitched a small tent. I began to wonder who would set up a tent on a wildlife refuge and what were they doing there? You can find out by reading the complete story. Just click on A Million and One Magazine. 

 

 

 

Elmore Leonard is Out of Sight

Arguably, Out of Sight is the best film adaption of the many Elmore Leonard crime novels to hit the screen. Some would argue for Jackie Brown, based on Leonard’s Rum Punch, and that’s a worthy debate to have. The Tarantino film has some fabulous performances particularly by Samuel L. Jackson as gun runner Ordell Robbie. But for me, Out of Sight is  off beat, dark, smart and funny. It’s a film I could watch multiple times and never get tired of watching.

Below is a clip of the famous truck scene. After Jack Foley (George Clooney) escapes from Glades State Prison in Florida, with the help of his partner Buddy (Ving Rhames), U.S. Marshal Karen Sisco (Jennifer Lopez) happens along at the wrong time and ends up held hostage, forced to ride in the trunk of the getaway car with Jack.

The electricity between the two stars, the humorous dialogue, and the tight quarters of the trunk all quickly heat up the atmosphere. It’s one of my favorite scenes.

Writers and Public Speaking Jitters

Good article from author Joseph Souza on being an author and public speaking.

Maine Crime Writers

Public speaking is a necessary evil for many authors. Although there are authors who love being in front of audiences, and who are good at it, I’m betting there are many more who absolutely dread it. Whose stomachs churn and turn, worrying about becoming tongue-tied in front of all those people eager to hear about their new book.

I’m an author who falls somewhere in the middle. Yes, I get nervous butterflies leading up to the event., but once I get talking, I realize I’m not doing too bad. In some ways it’s like jogging: the best part of public speaking is when it’s over and your signing books and thanking people for coming. Knowing you survived.

The reason I chose this topic to blog about is that my new book, PRAY FOR THE GIRL, came out in April and I’ve been doing a lot of talking about it. The…

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Edgar Ulmer’s Detour on TCM

dtout

If you like down and dirty film noir, set your DVR for 4:45pm (ET) to catch Detour. Edgar Ulmer’s bargin basement noir is poverty row film making that rises to the level of art.

You can read more about Detour and other noirs it in my ebook Film Noir at Twenty Four Frames per Second. Available at Amazon. BUT be sure to set your DVR!

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My Writing Process

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My next collection of short stories is beginning to take shape. I have five stories completed and there are a couple of others I am working on. I don’t know how other writers work, but I need to work on one story, stop, begin another, and then go back to my first story. This process refreshes my head, gives me time to think up new possibilities and ideas that I previously did not. Sometimes it turns my story in a completely new direction.
I generally write best in the morning hours, and do revisions, later in the day. The kitchen table is my office, though sometimes I pick up my laptop and work from a comfortable chair.
I want to hear from others. What is your process, work pattern, what are you working on, etc.?