Category Archives: Writing Tips

Binge Watching and Binge Reading – Riverton Road Monday

Alice's Nancy Drew TitleI not only love writing series. I also love reading series. This love affair began in my childhood Nancy Drew Books days. Of course reading under the covers with a flashlight. What better way could there be to experience The Secret of the Old Clock?

Did you know I wrote a Nancy Drew once just for the thrill of being Carolyn Keene for a month or two? It went to #2 on the kids’ bestseller list. Talk about fulfilling a childhood dream. I loved doing it. But I only wrote one. I don’t know why since I enjoyed being a teen again.

The title by the way was Danger in Disguise – and I’m flabbergasted to find it still available. D in D is even an eBook though I wrote it long before that format existed. If you don’t believe me – check this out. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HB62LKI.

I digress. Because what I’ve really been thinking about is how binge television-watching may be conditioning all of us to be ripe for binge book reading too. As in series – series – and more series. This is great news for writers. But it’s great news for readers also.

When I get my teeth into a story that carries me along lickety-split and absorbs me with its absorbing characters – it puts me in a foul mood to read THE END. I want to stick with this story. Most of all I want to stick with this experience. I want to be carried along and absorbed some more.

We’re all getting a succulent taste of this these days via television series. Look at the excitement accompanying anticipation of every new Downton Abbey season. In fact some of us have been so afflicted with separation trauma at season’s end that we binge the whole thing again.

We not only binge that preceding season – we often return to previous seasons and binge those too. Some of us even search out full seasons of Upstairs Downstairs just so we can remain in that delicious Brit place of “Blimey” and “Egad.”

We have been captured. We have been seduced. We have been immersed. We have lived in that delightful though obviously idealized milieu for episode after episode and we can’t stand to leave it. That milieu is what I’ve written about in previous posts as “the world of the series.”

We not only want to spend a bit of watcher time there. If the truth were told – many of us would love to live there and fantasize doing so. I’ve heard there are Downton Abbey parties where people dress in pre- or post-World War I posh and affect lock-jawed nasal accents.

My granny was British and tried to make me British as well so I’m all for this. She and I would have tea at four with little sandwiches and cookies – or biscuits as she called them. She taught me conversation. First I’d talk then she’d talk while I listened instead of itching to talk again myself. Those were the rules.

I digress yet again because what I’m really all for is the long game of story-loving and storytelling. This is the antidote to the here-this-nanosecond-gone-the-next attention span. Or maybe it debunks the myth of that phenomenon. Maybe the internet and the screened device haven’t rendered us all incapable of long-haul commitment after all.

My vote goes with debunking the short-span myth and hanging on to my devices too. What glass-half-empty person said we can’t have it all anyway? I’m definitely down with the have-it-all faction – for my stories if nothing else. I say old chap. Might you jolly well feel the same?

Alice Orr – http://www.aliceorrbooks.com.

RR

A Vacancy at the Inn  – coming soon – is the first Christmas Novella of my Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series featuring the Kalli family – and now the Miller family too – in stories of Romance and Danger. A Wrong Way Home is Book 1 of the series. A Year of Summer Shadows is Book 2. A Villain for Vanessa will be Book 3.

All of my titles are available at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B000APC22E.

 

A Great Place to Live – Ask Alice Saturday

Question. Why Is the World of a series a great place to live?

 Answer: Novels in a series are the road to success for an author.

A Vacancy at the Inn - Cover 2 200x300 - 20.6 KB Novels in a series are also the road to pleasure for a reader as an adventure through a world. The author builds that world detail by detail. The reader revels in that world scene by scene.

I’m traveling through my first series world as a writer and I love it there. My goal is to draw readers in and make them want to stay through one book then the next and the next. To do this I must create a world that feels real and resonates.

That means I must create a world that is consistent. A world of that has Rules. Following these rules adds to the reality of the series. You can figure out some of the rules of my series from this brief blurb.

The Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series is set in and around Riverton, New York in the remote North Country. Stories of danger and romance feature the Kalli and Miller families, their sons and daughters and the fortunate people who find safety and welcome on Riverton Road.

The setting is a town in remote northern New York State where I happened to grow up though there’s no real town called Riverton. The Kalli family of Riverton Road was at the center of my series world through Books 1 and 2. Now I’ve added the Miller who also live on Riverton Road.

Each gorgeous son and radiant daughter has or her story. I intend to move beyond them to others among the Kalli-Miller circle in future Riverton Road books. To hook readers into this extended world my job is to master the art of immersion.

I must immerse my readers so completely in my story world that they’re eager to remain there until I release them at The End. If I do that job well these readers will miss Riverton Road when they have to leave.

One way to sabotage myself would be to slip an inconsistency into the mix. Any off-key note awakens the reader from what John Gardner calls “the dream of the book”. To prevent this I establish the rules and follow them. Some I figure out in advance. Others as each story grows.

A bonus benefit – one I hadn’t expected – is that I’ve also become deeply immersed myself in the world I’m creating. From that deep place I bring my stories to real life because in that deep place they have real life for me. It’s the most fun I’ve ever had as a fiction writer.

This is how I discovered that making series rules is anything but limiting. The rules liberate my imagination into the flowing ocean of my story world until I don’t want to leave. And because I’m writing a series I don’t have to leave. Believe me. It is definitely a great place to live.

Alice Orr – http://www.aliceorrbooks.com.

RR

A Vacancy at the Inn is the first Christmas Novella of the Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series featuring the Kalli family and now the Miller family too in stories of Romance and Danger. A Wrong Way Home is Book 1 of the series – A Year of Summer Shadows is Book 2 A Villain for Vanessa is Book 3. All titles are available at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B000APC22E.

 

Nobody’s Lukewarm about Kara – Riverton Road Monday

AliceOrr_AWrongWayHome_POD[1][1]I’m not used to readers reacting ambivalently toward my heroines – much less getting upset with them. But that is precisely what’s happening with Kara – the heroine of my 13th novel A Wrong Way Home – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series Book 1.

Ordinarily I don’t think I’d have minded much. Except Kara is – now that I think about it – a lot like me. She’s headstrong and opinionated and sometimes abrupt. She doesn’t put up with crap from anybody.

In fact in her first scene with Matt the hero she hauls off and socks him in the kisser. His left cheek to be exact. She has her car keys balled up in her fist when she does it.

Plus – if he hadn’t backed off from his intimidating behavior – she was ready to apply a swift effective kick of her heavy Frye Boots to his private parts.

Maybe this is the New Yorker in me talking but all I have to say so far is this. “What’s not to like?”

Okay. In the interest of full disclosure I admit Kara is impatient. She’s taken some hard knocks in the past. Especially from Matt Kalli – or at least from his family. She is definitely on the defensive with Matt and she can react too quickly.

Some of her behavior can be attributed to her return to her damned hometown. Everything bad she’s ever had to live through – including those hard knocks I mentioned – happened in Riverton. She swore never to come back and she meant it.

She’s been lured here by the one North Country person she unconditionally loved – her Aunt Dee. Even after death she calls Kara to come home and she does.

One would think all the preceding was enough to endure. But in addition the true nemesis of her former Riverton life – Anthony Benton – has been murdered. Kara might be relieved except that people she loves are caught in the prime suspect crosshairs of some bad local police persons.

Consequently Kara has her full feisty on. Just as I would. Just as you might. Or – if you couldn’t manage that for yourself – you might want feisty Kara duking it on your behalf for sure.

Thus – it shakes out that there are Kara-in-my-corner folks who say things like “I loved the saucy independent street savvy heroine.” Versus a curse-that-Kara reader who says “Belligerent and hotheaded Kara comes within the too stupid to live category.”

Obviously we know where I stand. Kara is my kind of gal. Even – maybe especially – when love grabs her by the heart and she scraps and kicks but cannot shake it off.

Please give Kara a chance. My guess is you won’t be able to help yourself. By the end of her story you’ll love her too – almost as much as you love good old lovable me.

Besides – the eBook of A Wrong Way Home is FREE FREE FREE at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00T9RVGGC and other online retailers. As I said – “What’s not to like?”

Alice Orrwww.aliceorrbooks.com.

RR

My eBook A WRONG WAY HOME – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series Book 1 – is FREE online. My 13th novel A YEAR OF SUMMER SHADOWS – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series Book #2 – is available too. Find it – along with all of my other titles – at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B000APC22E. I hope you won’t be lukewarm about any of them.