Shannon Stacey

A blank page

No, not a book. The blog. I’m totally at a loss for anything to blog about. :lmao:

I’m just plugging away at 72 Hours. Editors have always dinged me on unsympathetic heroines, and reviewers have said they’d like to have slapped the heroes of both Forever Again and Roadtrip (although both were redeemed in the end *g*), so I’m trying to pay special attention to that. The hero not being slappable is something I can kind of see well enough to work on, but unsympathetic heroines are the bane of my existence. Since I don’t know what exactly unsympathetic means, it’s hard to watch for it.

Oh well. I’ve had kind of a low-grade headache for a couple of days, and it’s starting to really blossom now. Advil Liqui-gels and iced coffees will be my friends today. Maybe I’ll curl up with my tape recorder and mumble my pages into it. (And hopefully not forget that it’s early release day for the tall kid. He gets mad when I forget him.)

So, even for hump day, it’s an uphill climb.

7 comments to “A blank page”

  1. Charlene
      · February 8th, 2006 at 1:24 pm · Link

    Coffee fixes everything! :coffee:

    When the page is stumping me, I go read something. It rests my brain and gets me playing with story ideas. Playing around leads to getting unstuck! :nod:

  2. Cyndi Redding
      · February 8th, 2006 at 3:11 pm · Link

    I’m sorry to hear you aren’t feeling well, Shannon. I just received your newsletter and you sounded so happy! I was just going to pop in and tell you how happy I for you! Fab reviews, BTW. Of course, I’m not surprised.

    Cyndi Redding (Shannon’s NH neighbor.)

  3. Mel
      · February 8th, 2006 at 2:51 pm · Link

    What’s with the headaches? Everyone’s got em. Hope your’s is quickly drowned in coffee and slapped sideways by those liquigels. Blech.

    Blank page blogdom sure beats blank page bookitis. I’m still :write: about my dang synopsis. But thanks to you and J last night, I Think I can I think I can I think I can…

    hey, Shan… wake up! Tall kid… don’t. Forget. The. Tall. Kid.

  4. Karen Templeton
      · February 8th, 2006 at 5:04 pm · Link

    Gentle hugs for the :cursin: head.

    But on unsympathetic heroines. . .funny you should say that. I’ve never, ever had anyone criticize my guys, but several have had a hard time with my gals. In fact, my mother read my first SIM and said, “He was okay, but I didn’t really like her very much.” :crazy: So here’s my theory:

    Overzealous reader identification with our heroines.

    I can’t tell you the number of times someone’s come down on one of my heroines because she didn’t make the same choice the reader would have, or she said something the eader wouldn’t have said, or shopped somewhere the reader wouldn’t be caught dead shopping. :shrug: It seems that many readers so narrowly define what makes a heroine work for them that it’s virtually impossible to make them happy. If she’s a virgin, it’s unrealistic; if she’s experienced, she’s a slut. :eyebrow: And God forbid she actually get cranky about something. Which makes the going rough if you tend to write women who actually, you know, say what they’re really thinking.

    Because we’re women, we’re supposed to be “nice.” :lmao: We’re not supposed to yell at our kids, or want to take a frying pan to our husbands’ head on the odd occasion, or entertain fantasies about our in-laws involving honey and ants. So when we read of a heroine who does (or at least seriously considers) such things, I think we get very uncomfortable, because it hits too close to home. Because it’s harder for some of us to disassociate ourselves from the character we’re reading about than maybe it should be?

    That’s my take on it, anyway.

  5. Michelle
      · February 8th, 2006 at 9:21 pm · Link

    Hope you feel better soon – headaches are the worst. Well, one of many bads any way. I hope it disappears soon.

    On the unsympathetic heroine – I love bitchy heroines, personally. I like women who whine, and rant, and throw a tantrum when things don’t go their way; basically women who do all the things I wish I could do in real life but so seldom do because I was raised to be “polite”. Grr. Anyway, I wouldn’t cut back on an ounce of that. (Can you tell I haven’t read any of your books yet? I stumbled across your site for the first time just now… I’ll read one as soon as I can, I promise! In the meantime, heaven forbid I hold back on giving advice. Har.)

    Anyway, I’ve been stumbling across this issue recently myself, and have been trying to figure out what puts one heroine in the “gutsy adorable” category and another in the “bitchy whiner” camp, and I think it comes down to puppies and nannies. Gutsy, adorable heroines may bitch and whine and grouse and weep and be as self-centered as we all are on a typical day, but they also take in starving puppies and support their retired nannies even when they don’t have enough money to buy a pair of shoes. In other words, “sympathetic” heroines are shown, early on and all along, doing small nice things for people. And my sense is it can be *really* small. Like smiling at someone who’s having a bad day to cheer her up or helping an old man across the street without humiliating him or not laughing when a teenager slips on a banana. Show me that, and I’ll put up with her whining about her lousy day at work – because she’s done something to earn my sympathy, or at least my patience.

    Wow. As I wrote that I just realized that’s also how I choose my friends. Nothing like a little self-therapy on a cool Wednesday night.

    Good luck with the WIP and the headache!!

  6. Shannon
      · February 9th, 2006 at 10:31 am · Link

    I’m sorry to hear you aren’t feeling well, Shannon. I just received your newsletter and you sounded so happy!

    My promo goddess didn’t want me to put “I have a headache and I’m tired and this book is a big pain in my ass” in the newsletter. :rofl:

    But I am happy! I’m very excited about the reviews FA and Roadtrip have received, and I’ve got some future things lined up.

    Karen, I remember a wee bit of a brouhaha about the child support check in WAMGD. I, personally, agreed with the heroine, but the women who didn’t did seem to take it a wee bit personally.

    (WHY is “wee bit” even in my vocabulary?)

    And I love some irrationality in my heroines. :cheesy: I’m not exactly known for being the most zen-like member of my family, and I’ve been known to dent a fender or two.

    I think that’s why I struggled with the opening of Roadtrip. She’s having one of the worst days ever, and she wigs out a…okay, a wee bit. :doh: But the feedback I was getting back labelled her a “psychotic bitch”.

    Hmmm…considering that scene was very loosely based on one of my own meltdowns, I thought that was a little harsh.


    But I tried to temper the scene, and temper her, and give her some things to soften her up. And the reviews didn’t shred her, so I must have succeeded a…wee bit.

    But it’s definitely an uphill battle.

  7. Karen Templeton
      · February 9th, 2006 at 12:28 pm · Link

    And did we see the RTB column today???

    Interesting timing.

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