Join me next Saturday, Feb 10th, 4:00 – 5:30 PM ET/2:00 – 3:30 PM MT for a super fun panel: “In Our Romantasy Era” – how and why romantasy stories are resonating with readers and authors today. The event will take place in person at Beastly Books in Santa Fe, NM and online on Instagram live @farofeb and @beastlybooks418. Should be a great conversation!
The challenges of building a secondary fantasy world while still keeping the pace moving along. Also, the plum blossom rule and how it applies to people always finding something to critique in your work.
This week at the SFF Seven we’re talking about what makes readers invested in a story. It’s an interesting question, really, and the subject of much debate. I think every author would love to know the “magic formula” for making this happen in every book. Sometimes, though, it can be a real surprise what readers latch onto. There’s always an element of unpredictability there that’s part of the joy of creating and storytelling. (Which is one reason why I believe Artificial Intelligence (AI) will never supplant human creativity, but that’s another discussion.)
So, my thoughts on ways to engage readers and entice them into being engaged in a story?
Give them characters that feel like they could be best friends
Whether it’s found family, besties, romance, or a protagonist we fall in love with, readers want characters who feel like real people they know and care about.
Give them a world they want to live in
We read to live in other worlds, even if they’re a simulacrum of the world we live in. Readers love that opportunity to step outside of their daily lives.
Give them a story that inspires emotion
Happy, sad, tragic, romantic – the feeling of a story is what lingers after we close that final page. Even if a reader can’t recall plot details, they’ll remember how a book made them feel.
*Of course, none of this is actually simple. It takes craft, talent, and lots and lots of practice. Read widely. Re-read your favorites. Observe how other authors accomplish this and emulate shamelessly!
About the evolution of recognizing oneself as a writer, claiming the name, and other steps newbies can take to move from the furtive phase of writing to feeling confident in that skin. Also, it’s FaRoFeb!
Good morning everyone this is Jeffe Kennedy author fantasy romance and romantic fantasy I’m here with my first cup of coffee.
Wonderful I did sip on it previously and it’s ever so slightly cold I have a busy morning today today is Tuesday February fifteenth and in this um. Ah, you know coming together of the various of Venn diagrams of my existence today is my author spotlight day for faro feb 2022 fantasy romance February so I posted a video talking about me. And my books I’ve got all my books piled up here because I was like showing covers boom. Um, and there’s lots going on with faro fab I also have a post in the Faro Feb Facebook group who are wonderful. And so yeah, that’s going all all this month lots of wonderful authors participating so you could check that out at http://farofi.com and so I did that and then I’m also completely unrelated but I so said that I would. Be 1 of the fantasy novelists featured in the read for pixels project which is advocating against violence against women and so I am doing a our fantasy Reddit. Am a ask me anything today and I so I to get on there and both of these things were supposed to be up by like 10 am m eastern time which is 8 am m jeffie time also known as mountain time but you could call it jeffie time it you know it’s funny I I think I’ve talked about this before but it always kind of. Mildly irritates me that people don’t include mountain time on the listings and yes I know we are the slice of the country with the lowest population. Well unless you count like the ones that include like Hawaii and the virgin islands I take those or even less. But. Nobody even knows what those are called I know the one with the virgin islands is called Atlantic time. But I I don’t know what it’s called where Hawaii is so maybe it’s Hawaita. We could call it that so anyway, um, but you know like they told me to have it posted by. 10 am easterner time or 9 am m central standard time and it’s like what about mountain time jeffie time but I let it go because I’m ah I’m forgiving that way.
So I’ll include a link in the show notes for the pixel project. They really are doing great work working to eliminate violence against women which I’m sorry if you don’t advocate for ah a project like that I I can’t help you.
so so yeah both those things had to be up by eight o’clock my time and I did pretty good I mean I got it like within 10 minutes of eight o’clock and now I am doing just my usual posting with you guys? Hi yeah so. I’ll put a link for the um, the our fantasy Reddit fantasy group a a it’s your chance to come in and as build ask me anything. Um, yeah, happy to to answer. Any and all questions whatever you guys come up with ah things are percolating along pretty well here at Caso Jeffffe um Cassa Kennedy it’s funny because you know my husband’s last name is not Kennedy, but he gets. He’s very accustomed to being called Mr Kennedy he gets mail to Mr Kennedy he’s a wonderful man. So um, let’s see where am I at so I did finish the revision of gray magic yesterday. Those of you who listened yesterday. You knew that I only had like 10 pages to go so I got those and I added 2300 words I didn’t add 3000 words but 2300 considering I spent an hour revising I was happy with that I took it I was pleased I didn’t work longer than that and. Trying to keep myself evenly paced. So now I’ve got almost 95000 words on this book and somewhere in the neighborhood of a little less than 11000 to go so so far on Target to finish by Friday. I think it’s going fine Karine’s read Assistant Karine has read what I’ve written so far and now she’s reading the chunks as I write them and she says it’s good. Of course she says everything I write is good although we’ve had this argument before she says she would tell me if it wasn’t um. But she said it’s really tense and exciting. So yamy, yeah, so and I I know how it’s I think I know everything that’s going to happen now I’ve been having various um epiphanies on the story and how things are going to end out. As I mentioned yesterday and probably before this I am definitely gonna be writing more books in this world as you read this book. You’re you’re gonna see where it’s gonna go and karine is a big fan of where it’s going.
She is like I know what the next book is going to be and so it’s exciting I may post a snippet later today to go along with my author profile stuff I’ll do it after I’m done with this podcast exciting. Let’s see oh um, I’m not very organized but at least I’m not as badly book-brained as I can be sometimes on the r fantasy reddit it’ll say on my post but I will come back and answer the questions tonight. So you have all day to think up your questions and post them and then I’ll pop in and answer them. This evening. So yeah, yesterday was good day I got those words done and then I I actually got through a ton of sifwa email I tried to go for inbox 0 yes I am one of those people my inbox tends to be like a to do list. I try to keep it ten box zero I get behind and um so it goes but I did catch up a lot of things yesterday and that felt good I saw an interesting I guess it’s getting passed around. But. I saw an interesting article and I will link to it in the atlantic on friendship and you guys know this is one of my themes so there was stuff in there that was really interesting including and I do have it pinned up here that. Let’s see I’m probably gonna have to let’s see if I could do a search. Okay, yeah, so ah in 2009 a dutch sociologist we love Dutch people don’t we assistant Karina Dutch ah the dutch sociologist Gerald Mullenhorst I’m probably not saying that with enough. Blem but you get it published an attention grabbber of a study that basically showed we but we replace half of our social network over the course of 7 years ah isn’t that interesting because you guys know I have been. You know, really interested in the fact and that some friendships seem to come and go and the the article’s very well done I understand why people are passing it around and I I in general agree with it. There are a few things that I think bear discussion and. I’m having drinks with my friend Megan Mouly tomorrow night and Megan is um I sent her the link to the article and I said here’s your homework assignment for discussion tomorrow night and she said on it which I think is just like a perfect example of our friendship.
Love that I could send her an article and say read this so we can talk I don’t know that we’ll have much to debate on it. But I thought it was very interesting. The person who posted it into my timeline said that she didn’t feel like she had these. Big friendship breakups. You know that she knew people drifted out of her life but that she didn’t feel like she had these breakups that the article talks about and the article really explores how we in a way sideline friendships ah compared to. Romantic relationships or family relationships which is something that you guys know I’ve talked about a whole lot and that they the author was arguing who and she’s a Jennifer a few years younger than I am but that’s that’s all. And she was arguing that maybe those friendships should be more important and that for her losing a friendship does feel like a divorce and so I found it very interesting that the person who is also a real life friend as well as a Facebook friend we have to make that distinction now don’t we. She ah you know linked it into my timeline. That’s where I saw it and she said that she felt like she hadn’t had that experience and nothing against her and this may be a generalization actually it is a generalization that people who say that I know a few other people who say that that they don’t feel like they’ve had these friendship breakups I think that there’s the people who actually tend to ghost other people and and leave the the ghostees feeling like what did I do? Why did our friendship end. Whereas these people are like trilaly. Yeah you know friendships come and go. But you know we and that is something that doctor talks about is how we view friendships differently and she mentioned it’s framed around. Ah, particular friendship and 2 women who were trying to put together a book and and how she could see their friendship disintegrating over the course of trying to put this together which I think thought was a fascinating frame. But. She also talks about a pair of friends who actually went into relationship counseling when the friendship had become rocky and I don’t know if I mean I think we all react react the same way where we’re like really he’d got a relationship counseling for a friendship but.
I mean if you would do it for ah a romantic partnership. Why not do it for a friendship and she mentioned someone else a friend who says well isn’t that the opposite point of having a friendship that a friendship is something that it’s special because you opt into it. Because you don’t have to do all of this emotional labor like go into counseling to preserve it. But the author a sister Jennifer makes a lot of the same points that I’ve been thinking about that ah sprint and maybe it’s our our generation but she said you know as we are growing older. That we are becoming aware of that. We’re going to lose our the generation that’s older than us will no longer have that support network. Um, a lot of us don’t necessarily have children I have step I’ve stepchildren but you know it’s we we’re looking at. Who will be with us in our older years and probably it’s going to be our friends right? I mean I look around and I see that you know Grace Drven and I keep I’ve been mentioning grace on here a lot lately. But um, you know. Grace and I have our particular fantasy built up about like when our husbands are gone and we live together and what we’ll do it. It may or may not include a house on the mediterranean and cavana boys. So you know and it’s not a real super realistic plan. But at the same time. It’s something that we are both aware of um, you know her husband had ah a medical emergency recently and she’s been pretty open about what happened with him and my husband has Parkinson’s and so it’s an interesting thing being a woman of this age and looking at the fact. That which really sucks and I even said it to my mother. My mother who’s been twice widowed that the first time was you know when she was quite young and my my dad her first husband died he was an air force spider pilot and he died in ah in a plane crash. So and he was young but then my stepfather died of progressive supernuclear policy a kind ah of Parkinson’s and now her third husband is getting older and it has alzheimer’s and you know you look at this thing where as a woman does. That’s totally unfair but you know that statistically our husbands are going to die before us and so then what do we do? who who do we have I didn’t mean to make this so sad. But you know it is looking around at who.
Who matters in your life who who are you connected to these networks and someone she quoted someone who had sarcastically said. Um, yeah, but your friends are not the ones who will take care of you when you have dementia and some of us are looking around and thinking. Well. Actually maybe our friends who will do that. it’s a it’s a shift maybe it’s a generational shift. But anyway it was a very interesting article on friendship and I’m looking forward to discussing with Megan because we have talked about friendships and how. You know this this seven year thing is really interesting to me because you know that that puts me back to like twenty fifteen half of a social circle so you know you still have people who’ve been your friends much longer than that. But i. I look around and I see that’s true that the people who are a vital part of my life right now. Ah yeah, we’re not seven years ago and there are people who seven years ago were a big part of my life and now I you know barely talk to if at all in some ways that’s reassuring. It’s like well you know it is a natural process. The the friendships coming and going. But 1 thing that Megan and I have really noticed is and and she and I became friends because we’re writers we knew each other from the writing community from the romance writing community. Met each other at a convention in like 2014 and now she happens to live here in Santa Fe but it’s kind of a coincidence that brought her to Santa Fe my pendant fell off there. It’s got a little gap on it I’m gonna have to fix that on the ring. So we had this conversation. It was during the pandemic during lockdown because I know that we were it was one of our um campfire cock cocktail hours where we went out to um, Santa Fe Brewing H Q where they would have the camp fires send the chairs around it and you could drink outside. You could order you know another round of drinks and a cord of wood. Not a cord but a bundle of wood to put on the fire and I know snowing and we were just talking about who were our close friends who were really in our intimate circle now. And she was talking about how that’s changed for her. Um, in you know this sort of mid-life place who are your really good friends. So 1 thing I did love about the article too was that there were.
Discussions of how do you maintain friendships you know like do I don’t know that you would necessarily go to I don’t know if I would go to counseling but there are definitely friendships that I kind of wish we talked about things and she talks about how to manage that envy in the. Relationship being especially if you are people who’ve come together because you’re working in the same field and doing similar things. You know how how people take care of each other knowing not the reality of envious there. And I really loved that about it. It’s like no, we don’t we don’t say oh you shouldn’t be envious because human beings are envious, right? it’s 1 the 7 deadly sins she she says that she thinks it’s the least popular of the 7 deadly sins and I think that there’s probably a good point to that nobody wants to admit it. You know it’s easier to be admit to being lazy or greedy or lustful but it’s harder to admit that to envy but we are all envious and so we just have to know that our friends may have envy for us and we have to manage that if. Friendship is valuable so I thought that that was really yeah, insightful. That’s what I’ve been thinking about and I’m still reading Juliet Marilier’s daughter of the forest which I’m gonna have to go in and fix because the transcript. Really barfs on her name and it gets my name wrong every time I have to go and fix that too. But I’m I’m opting in I’m keeping the professional model I think that the paying my $20 a month I think the Transcript’s really good I don’t know how many people are reading. It. But. It’s it’s been a minimal amount of effort compared to what I tried to do before and the expense of that totally different. So go Zencaster on that zencastr pro model at twenty dollars months works. Great. So um, yeah, I’m really loving daughter of the forest and it’s remarkable to me how much how many parallels there are to the mark of the talla. That’s really just which I’ve actually got right here because I was talking books right. Here it is the mark of the tunnel. But ah yeah, it if I had if I had read daughter of the forest. It’s like I would suspect that I had like cribbed stuff directly from that story but I hadn’t.
So isn’t that interesting that those story archetypes are there so many parallels things that I wasn’t consciously drawing on at all I think that’s why we love these fairytale stories because of these old. Tail archetypes in them that speak to us and now I’m going to go right? So hope you all have a wonderful Tuesday try in on the r fantasy Reddit tonight the ama supporting the read for pixels project. And I will talk to you all on Thursday you all take care bye bye.