Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Beyond the Viehl

Wall painting from Herculaneum,
Museo Nazionale, Naples.


I won one of those on-line give-aways conducted frequently and generously by Paperback Writer Lynn Viehl - the bestselling author of 39 or so books and of one of the most frank, practical and brilliantly witty blogs out there.

My package included two from her vampire series: A Novel of the Darkyn.

Naturally I guzzled them. Immediately.

And one of my pet theories was immediately re-inforced.

Beyond a competent modification of a genre, ( paranormal/vampire variant/vrykolakas) beyond any interesting and unusual character(s) ( the first novel introduced a reconstructive surgeon as the human heroine), and beyond fast-paced, tight plotting, even beyond some of the best sex-scenes I've ever read, a story needs, for me, something else.

Somewhere, in the first few pages I look for a unique comment, an insight, a description - some casual observation that specializes the conversation between me, the reader, and the writer - that hooks me beyond the conventional "hook."

In If Angels Burn, I found it on page four:

"I will give Mr. Cyprien your message. Merci beaucoup, Dr. Keller." She hung up with an abrupt click.
Amazing, how the French always make Thank you sound like Fuck you.

Chortle, chortle. I nod my head.

And, in a crowded bar on page three of Dark Need, the most outrageous pick-up line in the world:

Come with me, he'd bent down and whispered against her hair. It's so much better than coming alone.

I'm not sure how one classifies this element of connection. But, minor as they may be in the overall components of a novel, the best writers always seem to produce these moments.


Anonymous said...

Bernita, thanks for pointing out her site. It is interesting. I need a brand.

Carla said...

Congratulations on your win! Memorable lines like that attract me, too (Terry Pratchett is full of them) - but I bet they are all different for different people.

Bernita said...

Her archives are worth every moment spent too, Steve.

"I bet they are all different for different people."
And they are probably different for the same people with different writers/stories as well, Carla.
A sweet and gentle observation in another book might well connect me the same way as these raunchy bits did here.
I think Prachett produces them on every page!

takoda said...

Hi Bernita, This is one of my favorite postings!

I agree with you about that 'extra' spark that deepens your reading experience. Those are the books that you recommend to others.

For me, it's with Katherine Paterson.

And now that I'm aware of it, I try to free-write so it comes out in my own voice. (It doesn't happen often). I just started a scene in my MG where 6 year old Justin crashes his bike into his neighbor's bushes and says "I'm a wreck when it comes to riding two-wheelers!"

It's lame compared to what you posted, but still fun when it happens and it enhances your voice.

Happy Morning!


Jaye Wells said...

That woman has some cajones, I'll tell you that much. One of her most admirable traits in addition to her sense of humor. Sharp wit in prose drags me in every time. Of course, false or forced wit is a repellent.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Chris.
Not at all - in context, with "voice" - that line would be an absolute howler. Kids DO say things like that.

Definitely, Jaye!
I like her independence, her generosity with information - and her genre parodies are hysterical.
Especially,SOILS - Sisters of the Immaculate Love Scene, and the John/Marsha skits...

Robyn said...

Oh, good Lord. Best pick up line EVAH. Thanks for the recommendation- I'll put them on my TBR list.

EA Monroe said...

Hi, Bernita. I've enjoyed reading Viehl's Darkyn series. At least I finished reading them -- for the very reasons you mentioned in your post.

raine said...

PBW is da bomb, and these lines are great. They sort of give you a hitch just under the ribs, followed by a grin and a nod. That's when I know I've been snared, lol.

Bernita said...

A shocking line, Robyn!
But she never overwrites the erotica.

And a very interesting paranormal society backstory, Elizabeth.

Bernita said...

That exactly describes it, Raine!

Charles Gramlich said...

I'll check this out. Always good to find another writer I can enjoy, although I feel a little burned out on vampire tales.

Bernita said...

She also has a popular SF StarDoc series, Charles, which might be more to your taste.

LadyBronco said...

I think the second line is oficially the best pick-up line ever.

I'm gonna have to try that one on the hubby the next time we go out on a date ~ hehe...

Bernita said...

Imagining his face, Lady B!