A Writer’s View of Always the Baker Never the Bride

 

Always the Baker Never the Bride by Sandra Bricker is a delicious read.  Between each chapter of this novel are recipes, wedding and party tips, menus and invitations. So fun! Gives the book a you are there feel.

I loved the unusual family dynamics of Emma and her love interest Jackson. Emma’s parents have a very dysfunctional relationship. Emma works hard to maintain peace not understanding what is under the surface.  Jackson sisters are so protective of him after the loss of his wife.  Working alongside supporting their little brother’s new hotel venture. Succeeding in driving this accomplished businessman to find secluded places for refuge from the smothering.

From a writer’s standpoint the dialogue is so believable.  It offered a great peek into all the character’s personalities. Jackson’s older sisters are a delight to get to know. Sandra Bricker captures their adorable southern drawl with a few words like sistuh, sugah sprinkled in but doesn’t overdo it with lots of phonically spelled words.

Our heroine, Emma Ray Travis is a world class baker who also has diabetes. That adds a special flare to the character. But to me was also the negative. It was like the smoking gun. Why give your character diabetes and not write some drama around it? A diabetic who has total control of her disease especially under stress seemed unbelievable. I was disappointed that Emma never once needed rescuing from a diabetic reaction.  Sandy Bricker made it a point to emphasize how good Emma was at keeping on top of her disease. I couldn’t decide if the author was trying to show the reader Emma’s need to control everything or if it was a statement that diabetes is not a death sentence to a normal life.

That observation aside I learned a lot about the art of writing reading this one. I will be looking for more of Sandra Bricker’s books.

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Excellent Titles are Important Marketing Tools

Titles are so important in grabbing the attention of your reader. A title can make or break a book.  Loved the titles of the last two books I just read. Love on a Dime by Virginia Smith and Praying for Rayne by Elizabeth Goddard. Are those not delightful sounding? What images do they bring to your mind?

 Love on a Dime has the heroine writing dime novels–the original novella of the late 1800s. The plot focuses on her dilemma—being discovered by her high society peers as a writer of romance novels. The title drew me to the book. I wanted to know what a dime had to do with love. I learned a lot about wealthy New York society of the time period and their skewed perception of right and wrong.

Praying for Rayne wasn’t what I thought the title implied. Although prayer is an intricate part of the book it is not about a sinner named Rayne who needed to be saved.  I found this contemporary novel about a fountain designer fascinating.  However, my subconscious mind was searching for the origin of the title Praying for Rayne. As the book is coming to its conclusion our heroine tells her true love that she was born during a drought. The day she arrived so did the rain in answer to the farming community’s prayers. How clever is that? Love the connection, enjoyed the prayer challenges and personal battles of the lead characters.

Notice that the titles are short and to the point, grabbing your attention without giving anything away.  As a writer we need to spend as much time working out our title as we would on outlines and character development.

Writer Reads for Sensory and Emotional Satisfaction

Homespun Bride by Jillian Hart, Steeple Hill Books is a fascinating read. The heroine of our story, Noelle is blind. All of her observations are sensory. She feels the snow on her face. She senses the mood in voices. The footsteps of her beloved Thad are unique as well as his scent. She describes his voice as baritone. Love that word. Writing from all the senses gives the reader a different vantage point. It causes us to draw from our memories as we relate to the characters. It takes a gifted writer to capture those senses and draw the reader through the scene with them.  

Jillian has done her research as she describes how Noelle does everyday tasks. Counting the steps from the door to the stairs, placing her finger in the tea cup as she pours so the cup does not overflow, the rough feeling of a calloused hand in hers all come to life.  Her description of 1880s Montana in the winter paints vivid scenes. Noelle and Thad’s struggles are mirrored in the descriptions of the weather.

As I read this book with my writer’s eyes I kept wondering why the author was delaying the happily ever after of the two lovers. Then I saw it. There was another emotional connection that had to be addressed. There was something more than her obvious blindness and feelings of being damaged goods.  Once that emotional layer was revealed and addressed the road to Fin ran seamlessly.

That conflict of the soul was the key to keeping me turning the pages. Let’s face it in real life we want things cut and dry but they aren’t. We want people to take a chill pill and get over themselves. But they don’t, we don’t, the world is complicated. Excellent writers create those characters that causes the readers to say out loud take a chill pill and get over yourself but continue to read to find out how they overcome. 

As I rewrite my novel I am more aware of my use of all the senses or the lack of. What are they touching, smelling, hearing, tasting? The character need not be blind for the author to describe what she holds in her hand. Taking a closer look at my characters and asking how deep do their struggles go? Knowing the root causes flow deep makes the plot twist obvious. I know the reaction at any given moment which shapes my characters into real people.

What are you reading with your writer’s eyes that taught you something to improve your writing?