To The Limit

>> Sunday, February 04, 2007

I'm sleep deprived. My brain's not working correctly. Thoughts enter and exit randomly, chaotically. Evidently, I get my best ideas then. (Or maybe not--you tell me.)

I attended a scrapbooking weekend with my sisters in Scotts Valley--the mountains of Santa Cruz in California, and I had fun. Kind of. It was a bit out of my comfort zone, but I try to do those things that push my limits because, 1) I have a lot of limits due to bizarre personality traits that get stronger as I get older, and 2) that's just kind of who I am, a person who pushes limits, tries new things, takes risks.

Driving home, my mind drifted to the tag line issue I've been thinking a lot about lately. If you haven't seen the contests already -- you can win CHOCOLATE by coming up with the best tag line for me. Contest ends Feb. 14th. So, go over to Romance Worth Killing For and put in your suggestion!

So, in this class I'm taking on promotion, the instructor suggests looking at the themes in your books to hone your message. I also recently read a blog by a suspense author who was working on finding her message. One of the suggestions she gave (offered by her publicist or her agent or someone) was to consider audience, because a tag line isn't about telling your reader what you write, it's about how your readers perceive your work. Or, in an unpubbed world, how you want your reader to perceive your work. She chose her tag line from comments her readers made about her books.

Which got me to thinking...who is my audience? Me. Women just like me. Mothers, wives, professionals. They're the intelligent, confident, take-charge type. Even if they have to tone it down at PTA, it's in there. They've probably been around the block a few times, and while that may include their bedroom histories, most have been progressive in their education and careers. In that group there's bound to be a number of women who have doused their own dreams to meet their family's needs. Kids, husbands, aging parents. Maybe they've put personal desires on hold for work.

Generally, IMO, women make a huge number of sacrifices for others.

So, why do they pick up a romantic suspense novel? Escape--number one. Another reason, IMO, is so they can live vicariously through the hero and heroine, watch the characters go in an out of danger, fall in and out of love from a safe distance. Maybe even fantasize what it might have been like if they had or could move past their own current limits, consider how much better they could be, what they might look like if they'd pushed themselves like these characters do.

I thought about my novels, about the way I push my characters to their limits--personally and professionally--by throwing conflict after conflict at them. I ask myself, what could be the worst possible thing to happen to this character at this point in their life? Then I make it happen. I ask myself, what is their greatest fear? Then I bring it to life.

Which brought me to the tag line: To The Limit.

It's about excellence and perseverance. It's about being your own personal best and pushing past the limits levered on you by yourself and society and family and friends and profession. It's about taking risks, trying new things, giving everything you do your all. And while I'm not going out skydiving tomorrow, and I have no intention of taking up bungee jumping, I like to think that's what I strive for in life. So, the line seems to fit both my personal motto and my writing.

I'm still thinking it over...playing, adding, subtracting, changing.

What do you think?


Elisabeth Naughton 8:16 AM  

I like it, but for someone who doesn't know you, I don't think it tells enough about what you write. So I think you need to somehow combine it to get the desired effect:

Passion. Danger. Excitement that takes you to the limit.

Romance so dangerous it'll take you to the limit.

Joan Swan 8:28 PM  

Yes, good point. Guess it will be a while before people know me. :-( I like your suggestions. I love the words passion and danger. Maybe ... Taking passion and danger to the limit? Still thinking.

Joan Swan 8:30 PM  

Or what about...

Passion. Danger. Suspense that takes you to the limit.


Suspense that takes passion to the limit.


Elisabeth Naughton 10:29 AM  

OOoh. I really like that:

Passion. Danger. Suspense that takes you to the limit.

Joan Swan 9:37 PM  

Yeah, I kind of like that best too. :-)

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