So a week or two ago, I promised to tell you all about JA Konrath's Bloody Mary. Did I mention, again, that you can try it out for free here? And then go buy his shorts (stories, that is) on Amazon, and his other books in the Jack Daniels series.
In conservatory, I wasn't too great with form and analysis. Not that I didn't understand it; I just didn't see the point in endlessly debating whether the Coda started in measure 346 or in measure 432 for a WHOLE HOUR, when, in the end, both answers could be construed as correct. What's the point?
But I did formulate my nice little neat rhyme scheme form that is simple and helps me memorize pieces quickly. I still use other forms, but with small changes that make more sense to me.
Boy am I off topic.
My point is that a certain amount of obsession with form has been indoctrinated into me. Even without the music study, form is a necessary for creativity. Some argue that the more limiting the form, the more creative you can be.
What's so pleasing and satisfying about reading Bloody Mary, is everything is organized. The chapters are real chapters, not random divisions. Each chapter feels like a full course: a satisfying ending and a hook to make you want to start the next chapter.
In other words, I get my short story kick while feeding my novel habit, too!
His Jack (Jacqueline) Daniels series features a female lead, but keeps a very male feel. I'm not sure why. The book just felt very male. The things she notices, the things she says, the way she sits ... and then suddenly the author will throw in designer wear. Still, the characters are interesting and strong, and it's satisfying in the way Jennifer Crusie's books are satisfying: when you close a book, you hold it in your hands for an extra minute, smiling and enjoying the ending for just a little longer.
But most importantly, Jack (Jacqueline) Daniels SAVED a cat! A dirty, mean, unlovable cat! Yay! Yay, yay, yay! Way to go, JA Konrath!! And the cat scratched the heck out of the awful Harry McGlade who KILLED the dog! Hah! I love it!!!!
Did you know that directors and screenwriters will put dogs in war scenes to elicit empathy from moviegoers? They've done studies. Evidently, we don't have an emotional reaction when humans get killed, but when an animal is threatened or killed, we fear for it and we cry.
Isn't there something just a little screwed up about that???
Yesterday, I was browsing through Borders and stumbled across From Baghdad, With Love. I burst into tears, right in the middle of the store. In the past year, I can't tell you how many books on war, spies, and death I've read. I can't remember bursting into tears once.
But you put a puppy on the cover and I had to put the book down for fear of bawling. The poor, innocent little puppy in Baghdad, abandoned by his family. Somehow the puppy left all alone was more sad to me than say, the fact that the family was uprooted and had to flee, losing their house and home and having to leave behind many of their possessions. You could have told me they'd all been shot down, and I still would have cried more over that poor little puppy.
I only dare admit this because, evidently, this is the natural human reaction. That's just weird as hell!