Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Cat's Outta The Bag

I think I am sometimes a literary snob. Y'know, I don't try to be, but often when I'm reading I feel sick to my stomach at what makes it into print.

One of my bug-boos is category fiction. Like so many novices before me, I used to think cats were just a shorter length, simpler characters and plot version of ST. I wrote 2 medical cats and, not surprisingly, they were rejected as inappropriate voice, characters and plot for cat. Well der...... All those things I thought I'd improved on the medicals I'd read were the very things that made mine inappropriate. I just didn't get it at the time.

Recently one of my CPs started writing a cat for Nocturn. This is a girl whose ST work I love, whose voice I know well, and yeah, my stomach did the whole quigley thing just thinking about it. I wanted to be a good CP and be honest, but I was scared I would hate it. WELL, I did the crit anyway. It wasn't what I was used to, but you know, I didn't hate it either. I started to notice the differences between cat and ST. There's a whole lot more between them than length. Everything from heavy backstory in the beginning ( a no-no for ST), to simpler sentence construction and humor, less description/character dev/plot complexity, basically, lots of things that damage a good story.

I thought.

Then, I picked up and read one of Hartlequin's new line, Next. It was serendipity, because likely I would never have bought this book for myself, but wow! It threw all my ideas of what made up cat out the window. I love this line so much that I'm buying several more (I've NEVER done that before. I'm a buy-because-I-love-the-author girl). Next's heroine is older (maybe the 40 something viewpoint appeals now I'm looking at middleage???) but more than that, the story I read was closer to Women's Fiction than to straight romance. The characters were warm and full, deliciously portrayed, with many real-sounding layers I could root for. Yep, I'm hooked. On cat! Who'd have thought it.

So this is an apology to all those cat writers I may have inadvertently offended over the years. I was wrong. I don't hate cat, I just had to find the purrrr-fect line.

Next, please. :-)


Kristen Painter said...

I didn't know you felt that way, but I love that you always say what you think.

I agree with you about Next - those are good books, with great stories, great heroines. I think I like that they're older and there's more going on.

Here kittykittykitty...

Sela Carsen said...

I haven't read any of the Next line. The only categories I've read lately are a Presents or two (always good for an escape) and a few of the M&B Mod Xs. It's been a while since I picked up a SIM, which used to be one of my favorite lines.

Anonymous said...

It's wonderful when you find books you love :)

Babe King said...

yeah, well K, one of the best things about you is that you LET me say what I think but still know I luv ya to bits. CPing is all about improving the story, but I just wasn't sure I had what it took to fix a cat. Fortunately, yours didn't need fixing. :-)
(and does that sound too veterinarian???)

Babe King said...

Sela, I've never read a Modx. I wonder if we get them here? I just skim/scanned a M&B Sexy this morning- erk! It was everything I hate- labored, pointless, cliched, tired. Took me about 15 minutes to get through it all the while reaching for my bucket. I do that every so on to remind myself why I HAVE to be pubbed. Basically it was just bad writing.

Anonymous said...

NEXT is HQs Women's Fiction line. I wouldn't personally cal it a category line. I do like the books though..

Unfortunately, it hasn't been doing well and will probably be axed in the next year if something doesn't change.

But if you like that style/voice and want to write it you are in a very good place because almost every major romance publisher is looking for Women's Fiction now. Word length is 65-100K with other publishers.

Babe King said...

Thanks for the info, Maggie.
Typical though. I like something so it can't be popular! :-( I hope they pull the Next out of the glums. It's a really good line.
Not sure if I'll write it. Mostly my characters come to me and dictate the story line. I just do what I'm told.