Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Splitting the Sheets

First Reese and Ryan, now Britney and K-Fed head to divorce court. The first I find rather sad since they looked so cute together and I absolutely love her in movies. But the second - c'mon people. Is this really shocking?

Everyone trying to publish a book knows there's certain unwritten "rules" about what sells and doesn't sell. The three big taboo items are actors/musicians, athletes and politicians. Now, I'm not saying no one has done these topics before and sold. Rachel Gibson has made a fortune off of hockey and even Harlequin jumped on the sports bandwagon by creating a whole NASCAR subgenre in their line-up. Ally Carter managed to write a great high concept story with a hero that was an actor in Cheating at Solataire (and the followup, Learning to Play Gin), proving anything is possible in publishing if done well.

But is it any wonder why these people don't make good characters? Look at their lifestyles. No one is going to buy a politician in love because no one believes they tell the truth. Now, a politician telling someone they love them for political position or gain - whole other story. But not a story of romance.

Actors make terrible heros/heroines for romances because their marraiges so rarely work out. Some of them ( ie Brit & K) are so miserably doomed from the beginning. And then the stupid heroine thing comes into play, too. I mean, c'mon Brit - if you were going to buy a husband, couldn't you have passed on the "used" model and gone for a better looking new one?????

And maybe all of Hollywood should consider hiring some aspiring writers to pen their press statements. I'm sure we'd come up with something more creative than ".....they remain committed to their family and ask that you respect their privacy and the safety of their children."


1. No one's ever respected their privacy and that's about to get worse not better.

2. If they were committed to their family, they wouldn't be divorcing. Obviously someone (if not both) lost that lovin' feeling. The only thing actors tend to remain committed to is their careers.

Let's face it - there are probably accountants, scientists, data processors, pubic health workers and all other manor of professionals behaving badly. The difference is, it doesn't make the evening news. High profile people are hard to immortalize in a romance because all their dirty laundry is regularly aired.

So what's the hardest profession you've tried to write?


Kimber An said...

First off, I don't know who the heck these celebrities are. I'm too busy keeping my children out of the candy in the check-out aisle at the grocery story to read People.

Second, I disagree. See, I'm a former Certified Professional Nanny. I've seen both sides. There are good people in Hollywood. There are good politicians. There are good musicians. There are good professional atheletes. I'm not talking about ethical people who stay married and actually raise their own children with a nanny to just help. It's just like high school. Everyone pays attention to the obnoxious kids. The grown-ups forget that there any good young people out there at all. I always her nasty jokes about lawyers and I totally don't get it. The last two families I nannied for both sets of parents were lawyers, and they were all good people! I still visit their children and consider at least one a very good friend.

There's a lesson in this for writers, I think. In order to create a variety of multi-dimensional characters, we need to see the individual human beings around us and get behind their eyes, really study human nature with an open mind.

P.S. I love your blog!

Kimber An said...

Meant to say "I'm talking about good, ethical people." Wish they had an editing feature on these things!

Jaye Wells said...

Re: politicians, I'm reminded of Nora's McGregor series. And SEP had great success with her Chicago Stars football series. But let's face it, it's Nora and SEP.

I think Kimber An has a great point about not falling into stereotypes as writers. That's what keeps books about those larger than life figures from working.

Jana DeLeon said...

Of course there are decent people in every walk of life, but the problem is they are not the ones appearing on television or the front of grocery store magazines. Editors think selling a moral politician/actor/musician is a hard thing and they shy away from it. That's just the reality of publishing.

Now, of course, Nora and SEP could probably write convicted felons and make it work but I have slim chance of ever being a Nora or SEP so I don't think I'll stretch my neck out that far.

And certainly writers should delve further than stereotypes, but you can't ignore them either since your readers see them too. It's a fine line to walk between perception and reality and the very talented (and mostly established) seem to be able to make it work.

kimber - lol on keeping the kids out of the candy at the grocery store. They know just where to put it, don't they?

Colleen Gleason said...

Well said, Jana!

As far as hardest professions I've tried to write...I'd say vampire slayer would be one. ;-) After all, she's got a lot to balance, and she thinks she can have it all, just like SuperMom. Plus she lives in the time of long gowns, chaperones, and propriety.

Not an easy task.

But one I enjoy writing about.

Jana DeLeon said...

LOL Colleen - vampire slayer is definitely the hardest profession you've written. It's hard to write an action heroine in a time that didn't allow women to wear pants. :)

Tori Lennox said...

I was sad & surprised about Reese & Ryan, too. Britney & K-Fed... not so much.

The heroine of my 1920s murder mystery is an actress. Am I shooting myself in the foot with her? Beats me. I do find her amusing, though. :) The hardest profession, though... Hmm. Possibly the one that's tap dancing around in my head now. The heroine is a landscape designer. Personally, I have a black thumb. *g* On the plus side, however, it'll give me an excuse to re-watch my recorded episodes of BBC America's Ground Force which is the coolest gardening show in the world. :)

Jana DeLeon said...

Tori - the fact that your story is set in the 1920s may make using an actress different. Society was so different then that I don't think you run into the same problems as with a contemporary.

And a landscape designer is a great idea. What better person to dig in the dirt and find a body?

Anonymous said...

Let's see... pubic health workers... seems like that might make a wash-my-hands- and-my-mouth-out kind of job.

Sorry, couldn't resist.. I proofread for a living... but agree with about everyone in that public identity is not always what it seems. People are all interesting, it's just the take on interesting we make them. Even the pubic workers... well, maybe not them...

Jana DeLeon said...

lol anon - for years I've been looking for anything remotely interesting going on down at the DMV, but so far nothing. :)

Tori Lennox said...

Hm. I hadn't thought of her finding a body. I was looking more at it as a chick lit type book. But a murder could make thing much more entertaining... Must figure out how to make that work! :)

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