Can Soap Operas Help Us With Our Writing?

The soap opera medium, and how helpful is it to writing ebook fiction, is a question which has always been on my mind. Can soap operas actually help writers with the mechanics of writing, or, is it a form which is of little assistance to writers?

While soap operas and book fiction are two different forms, with alternative rules, and ways of doing things, they do have much in common. The soap opera is a form that has a beginning, middle, and no end, unlike books, which have a start and finish point. The only similarity may be book series which have several instalments. As soap operas are daily serials, broadcast five days a week, all through the year, a book, on the other hand, can be picked up, and finished whenever the reader wishes, and does not require the same level of commitment. Apart from these, there are some other differences to books that are easily discerned.

With the soap opera, the viewer is presented with the characters and story location onscreen, with little need for them to imagine what the characters look like, where they live, and what they do. In a book, the author creates for the reader the story world, either as a light sketch, or, as a full-blown depiction of the characters and their narrative world.

Another striking difference between the two mediums is the use of repetition. The necessity of this in soap operas is of paramount importance, serving, in a practical manner, to inform viewers of events they may have missed if they have not viewed several episodes. The same does not largely apply for books. If there is too much rehashing of events in a book, it may hamper the book’s appeal to readers, and, also, slow down the action. While there may be much to separate the two forms, I believe that they converge in one main way, which would be very helpful to writers.

As an example of this, I will utilize a vintage clip from the soap opera ANOTHER WORLD to illustrate this. The older clips of soap operas, in my opinion, while longer in time frame than newer episodes, displayed a great attention to characters, their emotions, and their psychological worlds, which is fascinating the watch. Exposure to these scenes would be extremely useful to writers who wish to write intense, full-blooded emotional scenes which explore a theme in great detail. I have attached one such scene from ANOTHER WORLD from 1973 between Jacqueline Courtney and George Reinholt as the on-again, off-again lovers Alice and Steve Frame, which I hope you find both interesting, and helpful.

And, as always, I will end my post with a question in which I would be interested in learning of your opinion; can soap operas help us with our writing?

Cover Reveal: SABRINA’S SURPRISE VISITOR

Beleaguered Sabrina Casey has not had it easy lately; her marriage has been falling apart, and she has become consumed by work to forget the pain. Sabrina finds a surprise visitor in her bed when she comes home from work one day, and is absolutely livid that he has taken residence in her room. Over the course of an evening, Sabrina has a confrontation with this man she never expected to happen, but is forced to endure. Will Sabrina emerge from this experience a changed woman, or be even more confused by her marriage, and life, than she already is?

I reveal to you the cover of my tenth story, romantic comedy short story SABRINA’S SURPRISE VISITOR.

SABRINA'S SURPRISE VISITOR

SABRINA’S SURPRISE VISITOR

SABRINA’S SURPRISE VISITOR will be available to readers from the end of August 2014 on Amazon and Smashwords, with other bookstores to follow.

My Favorite E-books Read From January to June 2014

Today I have the pleasure of presenting to you the e-books I found to be the best I have read in the period January to June, 2014. As with my previous round-ups of favorite e-books, I was in the happy position of choosing these e-books, as there was a quality array of entertaining stories from which to choose. You can click on the book cover for the link to its Smashwords or Amazon entry, and for further information about it. So, here it goes, please enjoy my favorite e-books read from January to June, 2014!

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*THE SNOW GLOBES, by Glenn Gabriel, best mystery short story:

THE SNOW GLOBES by Glenn Gabriel

THE SNOW GLOBES by Glenn Gabriel

*DEATH OF A SAD FACE, by Susan Russo Anderson, best suspense short story:

DEATH OF A SAD FACE by Susan Russo Anderson

DEATH OF A SAD FACE by Susan Russo Anderson

*THE INVITATION, by Mark Stewart, best flash fiction piece:

THE INVITATION by Mark Stewart

THE INVITATION by Mark Stewart

*THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT, by Susan Buchanan, best Christmas-themed story:

THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT by Susan Buchanan

THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT by Susan Buchanan

*CUTTERS VS. JOCKS, by Elizabath Marx, best romance novelette:

CUTTERS VS. JOCKS by Elizabeth Marx

CUTTERS VS. JOCKS by Elizabeth Marx

*NINE LIVES, by Terry Tyler, best short story compilation:

NINE LIVES by Terry Tyler

NINE LIVES by Terry Tyler

*A BONE IN THE THROAT, by Steven Ramirez, best horror short story:

A BONE IN THE THROAT by Steven Ramirez

A BONE IN THE THROAT by Steven Ramirez

*THE NEED IN ME, by Sophie Duncan, best paranormal erotic short story:

THE NEED IN ME by Sophie Duncan

THE NEED IN ME by Sophie Duncan

*RIGHT NOW, by Sarah Baethge, best comic mystery:

RIGHT NOW by Sarah Baethge

RIGHT NOW by Sarah Baethge

*BILL & BEN, by Lawrence Wray, best character study:

BILL & BEN by Lawrence Wray

BILL & BEN by Lawrence Wray

*THE SILVER SHORE, by James Hampton, best fantasy short story:

THE SILVER SHORE by James Hampton

THE SILVER SHORE by James Hampton

*LETTERS OF INTENT, by Angelica Boone and Hayden Voss, best erotic suspense short story:

LETTERS OF INTENT by Angelica Boone and Hayden Voss

LETTERS OF INTENT by Angelica Boone and Hayden Voss

*THE WOMAN WHO LIVES NEXT DOOR, by Amanda Green, best maternal-themed short story:

THE WOMAN WHO LIVES NEXT DOOR by Amanda Green

THE WOMAN WHO LIVES NEXT DOOR by Amanda Green

*MY EROTIC VALENTINE: THE ADVENTURES OF MAXWELL HUNTER, by A. Scott Boddie, best erotic male-male character study:

MY EROTIC VALENTINE: ADVENTURES OF MAXWELL HUNTER by A. Scott Boddie

MY EROTIC VALENTINE: ADVENTURES OF MAXWELL HUNTER by A. Scott Boddie

 

 

Cover Reveal: MARK’S PASSIONATE HEART

Mark Allan is new in town, seeking to make a fresh start after a bad experience in his former hometown. His subtle, sensual nature captures the attention of two lonely, but beautiful women, and their lives are not quite the same after this…

MARK’S PASSIONATE HEART, the first in a two-part series, will be available on Amazon and Smashwords from 16 September 2014, and other bookstores to follow.

MARK'S PASSIONATE HEART

MARK’S PASSIONATE HEART

 

 

 

Interview with author Susan Buchanan

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Susan Buchanan, author of the novels SIGN OF THE TIMES, THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT, and THE DATING GAME, and welcome her to my blog.

Susan Buchanan, author photograph

Susan Buchanan, author photograph

Welcome Susan!

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Q: For how long have you been writing?

A: Since I was about seven, but properly writing novels, for about twelve years, with a few breaks in between – for work.

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Q: Have any life experiences inspired you to write your books?

A: Not the content of the characters or their personalities, but yes, I have sometimes drawn on my travel experience, and I like to think that’s an integral part of my writing (with the exception of my Christmas books, although even in The Christmas Spirit there was an international flavour too). I’ve been to Italy many times and that’s why part of Sign of the Times is set there. I used to live in Barcelona, which made writing The Dating Game scenes there particularly pleasurable.

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Q: Each writer works in different ways with reference to writing. Do you have a writing program/schedule that works for you?

A:  Well, it has all changed now with the baby and also my new editing and proofreading company. I used to write during the day with many breaks for snacks. I’ve never understood writers who could write for ten hours without so much as a biscuit – I can’t think if I’m hungry! I am also an early bird, so I can write from six onwards. I’m not much good at writing after 11 p.m. Now, well, I write whenever I have time, which is very unstructured, but interestingly when you have less time, you use it more wisely. You have no choice!

I also tend to work out the launch date I want, then allow time for e-book formatting, proofreading, cover design, editing and that gives me my deadline for when I need to finish the first draft. It gives me a sense of purpose and either stops me procrastinating, or, as is happening currently, scares the heck out of me!

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Q: Do you have any favorite book genres which you love to read?

A: I love chick lit, anything with a travel theme and mystery/crime fiction.

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Q: Are there any favorite books and authors who have been influential upon you and your writing?

A: Probably many, but Maeve Binchy, the sadly deceased Irish women’s fiction author, and Carlos Ruiz Zafón are two who spring to mind.

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Q: After reading THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT, I was taken with the subtle yet warm creation of a Christmas atmosphere for the reader, and I very much liked the descriptions of food and beverages, which perfectly complimented the novel. I also enjoyed the explorations into the psychology of the characters, and what Christmas meant to them in their individual situations. What do you most derive pleasure from when writing books which feature multiple characters, and stories connected by a common theme?

A: So glad you enjoyed all of that. I think food is a key element throughout all of my novels – I did say I got hungry! I love the diversity of the characters. They need to be having very different life experiences from each other, otherwise readers get confused over who is doing what. I love weaving them together. Sign of the Times has 12 characters all woven together, although it was much easier to do it with the six in The Christmas Spirit.

I also make little character plans for them and as I envisage the characters, maybe whilst I am out and about another detail about them forms in my head, I add to the list. I don’t always use all of the info, but I am great believer that there should be information an author knows about their characters which doesn’t get used. That means you really know your characters inside out.

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Q: Amongst your stories, is there one which is closest to your heart, and why?

A: Probably Sign of the Times because it was my first and because it took me six years to write. You learn such a lot from your first book. It was also by far the most difficult book to write because of the 12 main characters based on the signs of the zodiac. There will be a continuation to it, I just have another 1 1/2 novels to write first!

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Q: Do you have any favorite TV shows, either from the past, or currently on the air?

A: I love anything with Rupert Penry Jones in it – so Silk, the legal drama, Whitechapel, the crime drama, in fact I like most crime dramas. However, I don’t watch much TV, except quiz shows and the occasional movie. I have about three months worth of quiz shows recorded ready to watch, but no time to watch them – too many other things going on!

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Q: Are there any hobbies or pastimes you like to participate in when you have spare time?

A:  I’d quite like to get back into running again. Particularly with Glasgow hosting the 2014 Commonwealth Games it really does make me want to get fit. Apart from that, I’d just like to have time to read more and go to the cinema. With a 15-month-old baby, you don’t have a great deal of spare time!

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Q: Would you like to write stories in other genres?

A: I will probably write some travel stories at some point. I’m also currently editing a children’s book, which really makes me want to fulfil my dream of writing for that market too (9-12 years).

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Q: Do you have any other writing projects, or new/upcoming releases, that you would like to mention to readers?

A: I am working on a follow-up to The Christmas Spirit. All going well it should be ready in time for Nov/Dec release. I was also working on What If, but the Christmas book called to me more (same as happened last year). I will definitely finish What If before I write a third Christmas book!

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I am certain you will join me in thanking Susan today for her time, and that we look forward to reading more of her works in the future. If you wish to contact Susan, she is available on:

*Twitter: susan_buchanan

*Goodreads

*Facebook page

*Amazon.com

*Susan’s Blog

*Susan has a proofreading company for authors, Perfect Prose Services, which is at the following address: www.perfectproseservices.com

- Susan’s books can be accessed by clicking on the book covers below:

SIGN OF THE TIMES by Susan Buchanan

SIGN OF THE TIMES by Susan Buchanan

THE DATING GAME by Susan Buchanan

THE DATING GAME by Susan Buchanan

THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT by Susan Buchanan

THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT by Susan Buchanan

 

BLAKE’S HIGH SCHOOL REUNION is featured on author Roy Huff’s website

My new release BLAKE’S HIGH SCHOOL REUNION has recently been featured on author Roy Huff’s website.

Roy Huff, Author Photograph

Roy Huff, Author Photograph

It can be found at the following page:

BLAKE’S HIGH SCHOOL REUNION on author Roy Huff’s blog

BLAKE'S HIGH SCHOOL REUNION

BLAKE’S HIGH SCHOOL REUNION

Be sure to check out Roy’s great books, please see Roy’s website for more information.

Marcia

Meet Blake, Alexandra and Brenda from BLAKE’S HIGH SCHOOL REUNION

Blake Matthews is a handsome, affable young man who built up his exercise business based upon his love of exercise, which was borne out of the teasing he endured in high school because of his struggle with his weight. He has carried a grudge for many years because of this treatment, but life takes many consequent twists and turns.

Blake from BLAKE'S HIGH SCHOOL REUNION

Blake from BLAKE’S HIGH SCHOOL REUNION

Alexandra Masters, like Blake, was massively teased because of her supposed lack of fashion sense, as seen by certain members of their high school, but is now a top model, with elegance, poise, and a cutting wit. She and Blake were both terrorized by Brenda Backus, the most beautiful girl in high school ten years ago…

Alexandra from BLAKE'S HIGH SCHOOL REUNION

Alexandra from BLAKE’S HIGH SCHOOL REUNION

Brenda was certainly vain, and took it that her beauty was her ticket to treating those she regarded with sheer indifference, and great meanness. What will take place, though, at the Campbell Vale High School 10th year reunion, will not only blow away Blake, Alexandra and Brenda with its unexpectedness, but also, herald a new era for this tortured threesome which Brenda, especially, never saw coming…

Brenda from BLAKE'S HIGH SCHOOL REUNION

Brenda from BLAKE’S HIGH SCHOOL REUNION

BLAKE’S HIGH SCHOOL REUNION is now available for readers on Smashwords, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and I-Tunes.

BLAKE'S HIGH SCHOOL REUNION

BLAKE’S HIGH SCHOOL REUNION