Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Out of the Ordinary

I was thinking this morning about how my life is pretty ordinary. I do so many things out of habit. I get up around the same time each day, eat the same type of foods, even drink the same beverages. I walk the dog, with or without the DH, I log in, work and play on the Internet, then watch TV or a DVD in the evening.

That's only a small part of my routine, but you get the idea. Most of the time I don't deviate, except for when something extraordinary occurs. It doesn't take much to qualify for me, but sometimes the DH and I go to the American Legion's pancake breakfast once a month, or we go out to lunch, get a carryout, meet a friend for dinner, or go to an indoor winter event or outdoor summer concert.

Another departure from the norm is when we go on vacation, but even that isn't much out of the ordinary, since we always go to our cottage in Wisconsin.

I'm not complaining, because I like it this way. I'm not much for traveling the globe or partying all night.

Such ordinariness in a book would be so boring a reader would stop reading right away. A life-shaking event must occur as soon as possible to the main character(s) to pique a reader's interest. It's such a fast world we live in, most readers are not patient about waiting for the good part in a book. They want the entire book to be the good part.

So, we must find ways to twist and re-align our character's routines, then do so again and again, until our poor character almost reaches the breaking point, and only then offer relief.

The start in a romance can be meeting someone new or learning something new about someone who's already been part of a person's life. Then, countless obstacles and questions present themselves.

Jake, the handyman, and Zoe, the rich artist,  meet in my romantic comedy, Her Handyman, when her dog drops a toy in the toilet, causing a bathroom flood in the middle of the night. Jake and Zoe are attracted to each other, but they lead very different lives. Also, he's got a fiance, which presents a problem.

In a mystery or thriller, a real or perceived threat works, with or without dead bodies littering the landscape. In my thriller, Forever Young: Blessing or Curse, Dorrie's husband dies, she loses her job, and life is turned upside down. She's desperate and takes a pill to be young again. You'd think her life would be all rosy then, but it turns out even more problems present themselves. Soon she's got the villains and the law after her.

Those are a few examples from my books. Please share how change impacts the ordinary routine of one of your characters or that of another author's character. Or if you wish, mention how something out of the ordinary changed your own life.

Morgan Mandel
Morgan's current release is the romantic
comedy, Her Handyman,

Her current thriller is Forever Young: Blessing or Curse

Soon to come is Blessing or Curse, the sequel to
Forever Young: Blessing or Curse.

Morgan's Website:
Twitter: @MorganMandel


Marian Allen said...

"They want the whole book to be the good part" -- Beautifully said, and so true!

Marian Allen
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Anonymous said...

Great post! Sometimes heos and heriones have challenges thrown at them that they would never ask for in a million years. Others go looking for trouble. My MC went looking for trouble and soon found out he was in way over his head.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

I love handymen stories! They make for the best romances. My latest romantic suspense novel DEATH LEGACY features a Brooklyn born psychiatrist, Daniel Reiner, who has an easy sense of humor and falls in love with an upper crust British woman who runs a "consulting firm" dealing in espionage. They are very different people.

Helen Ginger said...

Great post, Morgan. We do have to keep motivating our characters and mixing things up for them. Otherwise, both they and our readers would fall asleep.

Dr Bob Rich said...

Morgan, the most extraordinary thing happened to me in September 2007. As a counseling psychologist, it was hard for me to find a therapist I could work with, but finally did then. My infancy was very traumatic, and I wanted to recover memories from my first 5 years.
Well, I did, but also I slipped into vivid recalls of episodes from several past lives. And until then, I was skeptical about there being past lives.
My about-to-be released novel, "Ascending Spiral" is the result of this experience.

Morgan Mandel said...

Your past lives recollections sound amazing, Dr. Bob!

Morgan Mandel

Margot Justes said...

Great post, well stated.