Thursday, January 7, 2010

What types of books do you enjoy?

We readers and writers are a unique and diversified group. Some enjoy sweet romance while others delve into mystery, fantasy, or suspense.

Please read the following questions in this short questionnaire and post your answers as comments. You can elaborate as much as you like, or write concise answers.

Okay.....here goes!

1. Do you perfer (to read or write) a book with plenty of conflict, or would you rather have the conflict toned down?

2. Which do you prefer? Historical reads or present-day? Your favorite time era(s)?

3. Do you prefer a strong, macho hero (not a chauvenist), with a feminine heroine? A milder hero with a strong woman?

4. Do you enjoy the story more--or less--when weaknesses are portrayed in the hero/heroine?

5. Do you prefer stories that are character driven? Plot driven?


Thanks for participating. Can't wait to read your comments!

46 comments:

Miss Mae said...

Hi Laurie,

1) Quite a lot of conflict.
2) I do like historicals and some contemporary. If a contemporary appears to be too violent, too sexual, etc., then I'll go for the historicals as they tend to be milder.
3) Definitely a strong hero and feminine woman. I don't care for these "tough", 'becca spittin' Rambo women! LOL
4) I do like some weaknesses, I guess, but then I want that overshadowed with lots of strength. (made strong because of the weakness)
5) Plot driven, for me.

That's my two cents worth! LOL

Laurean Brooks said...

Very insightful, Miss Mae. Great answers! Thanks for participating in the questionairre.

Next....

Anne Patrick said...

1. I like conflict both in the books I read and the ones I write. Why? Because it's more like real life :-)

2. Present day.

3. A milder hero with a strong woman? Although my heroines aren't what MM would call 'becca spittin' Rambo women'*hee hee* she cracks me up! My heroines can usually take care of themselves but often times lands in so much trouble she needs a handsome man to come rescue her.

4. We all have our weaknesses. So yeah, I want my characters to seem as real as possible and try to show as much growth as I can throughout the story.

5. Hummm...I'm going to have to say character driven. As a reader I like to connect right off with the main characters. And as a writer, my characters usually take over the reins shortly into the story.

Donna B said...

Here you go - mark up your score board
1.Mid-range conflict - enough to keep the story moving and prevent it from being too predictable. I like a few twists.
2. Contemporary please!
3. Strong and macho - MAKE MY DAY
4. Weaknesses are good - it keeps the characters real.
5. Character driven more so...

Be interesting what the consensus is.

Donna

Rebecca J Vickery said...

Hi Laurie,
Great questions and I too will be glad to see the results.
1. lots of conflict - turn those characters every way but loose.
2. both - as long as the Historicals aren't history lessons and the contemporaries aren't filled with bad language and crude sex.
3. I like the 'tough guys' with marshmallow centers when it comes to kids and crying women and the feminine woman who is inwardly strong, can get angry and go toe-to-toe with the hero, but is still a lady.
4. Like MM, I think you have to portray the weaknesses to make the strengths have a greater effect. Just like you can't appreciate light if you don't know what darkness is.
5.A good mix of both - I want it all. To me, one just doesn't work without the other. Guess that's why my books are so long, trying to get in everything. LOL
Good luck with the survey!

Laurean Brooks said...

Anne, I like what your idea about a strong woman, who is finally forced to admit she needs a strong man.

I, too, like a woman who "thinks" she's self sufficient, but lookout! Something happens that she can't handle and "Along comes John...smooth talkin' John." LOL

Laurean Brooks said...

Hi Donna. Yup, I just remembered that you do NOT like historicals.

A Strong and macho guy? Hmmmm. Me, too. But I also love to add "a sense of humor."

We are getting a lot of varying opinons here. I love it!

Keep the comments coming!

Laurean Brooks said...

Rebecca, I'm with you on the historicals. I like'em unless they turn into History lessons. "Keep the story focused on the characters and the plot," I say.

I also like the phrase you coined, "tough guys with marshmallow centers when it comes to kids and crying women." Sounds like my hero, Austin, in "Journey To Forgiveness." Hmmm.

Thank you for taking the survey.

Redameter said...

I at least one good conflict in the story
I like western historicals best, and contemporary.
I like a strong hero, and a savvy woman. I don't want her to be a whimp, but she doesn't have to be chairman of the board.
I like the good and bad habits shown, I perfer a strong man who can learn to bend. Same with the heroine.
I am character driven always. If the characters aren't real to me I won't likee the book.

Margie Church said...

Hi Laurean, Well, I write thrillers so they are laden with angst and conflict. They are plot-driven, contemporary, and spicy. I like a strong man but not one who uses his fists. One who can admit he's wrong when he needs to. My heroines are strong, independent women and some of my stories' conflict always comes from both of them trying to grab the wheel. The characters I identify with most are those with all the nubs and scrapes of real life - imperfect and endearing.

Laurean Brooks said...

Redameter,

thank you for commenting. I like "savvy women" as heroines, too. For heroes: "Strong men who can learn to bend." ??

Food for thought.

So far we all seem to agree on the male's personality. Which is revealing, since you've probably noticed in the past decade or so, the media's attempt to "feminize" and "dumb-down" the man's character in sitcoms and movies.

I daresay this little survey turns their strategy on its head.

Keep the comments coming. Thanks!

Laurean Brooks said...

Margie, thanks for posting.

A strong-willed hero and heroine combo could make for some mighty interesting tangles.

And I agree, weaknesses make the characters real. Don't you just hate to read a book about a "perfect" heroine?" LOL Makes me feel sooooo inadequate in all my imperfections.

Next....Let's keep this rolling!

Kara Lynn Russell said...

1. Not sure how to answer this. Yes, I like lots of conflict most of the time, but sometimes I need relaxation more than excitement!
2. I usually prefer contemporaries but I also love Regencies.
3. I like the hero and the heroine to be strong people.
4. Characters aren't realistic is they have no weaknesses. And perfection in a fictional character is really not very endearing.
5. I think I'd say plot-driven but still the characters should have more depth to them than cardboard cut outs.

Thanks for inviting me to take your survey, Laurie.

lastnerve said...

1) I love conflict because they have to work together more than usual. I like to see them fight to make it in the end.

2) I love contemporary although I have read some Historicals that I fell in love with.

3) I love the strong hero but I also like a strong female character.

4) I love when there is some weakness shown because no one is perfect.

5) This is so hard for me. I love both.

Great questions and I had fun answering them.

Val

Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

Hey Laurie!

Love the blog template! Where did you find it?

Here are my answers.....
#1 - I like enough conflict to keep the story interesting but not so much that I'm on an emotional rollercoaster the whole time.

#2 - as long as its a good story and a romance - don't care about the time period.

#3 Strong hero and a LADY - regardless of her strength or weaknesses, the heroine needs to be a lady (even if her nickname is Temper LOL).

#4 I think a certain amount of weakness in the h/h makes them more realistic.

#5 Both -

Laurean Brooks said...

Thanks for answering, Kara Lynn.

I can understand your need for a relaxing read, especially before bedtime.

And you are right. Characters should be "real", not cardboard cut-outs with no flaws.

Laurean Brooks said...

Great answers, Val.

Thanks for responding. As a reviewer, you should have a wealth of knowledge on this subject.

I noticed that you like both strong hero and heroine. Hmmm. That could make for a lot of interesting scenes, huh?

JoAnn said...

1. It's just one of those things... in life there's conflict both internal and external, so reading it in a story makes it seem real.

2. I like to read a wide variety of time settings. Keeps things fresh. :)

3. I enjoy reading books with a strong hero!

4. Weakness, like conflict is part of life. Our weakness is an oppertunity for God to show His strenght.

5. I like a blended story which has both character & plot driven aspects.

Laurean Brooks said...

Thanks for your reply, Pam.
Another author friend re-did the blog for me. Isn't it gorgeous? Isn't she talented?

It's still unanimous. Everyone, so far, loves a strong hero, though the views on the heroine differ somewhat.

I wonder what we would get if we asked a man's viewpoint. ??

Laurean Brooks said...

Thank you, JoAnn. Your replies are interesting.

It's hard to put you in a box. You enjoy so many types of characters and settings.

You are right about conflict and weaknesses being part of life.

Still, the strong hero reigns!

So glad you stopped by, JoAnn.

Next.....

Larry Hammersley said...

1. I like conflict.
2. I like modern day.
3. I like mild hero and strong woman. I want the woman to be an intellectual and the man to be dependent on the woman's intellect but he has something to offer her too. All my stories seem to tend that way.
4. I prefer less stress on weaknesses of the protagonists.
5. I'm equally divided on plot or character driven.
Larry

Laurean Brooks said...

Larry,

Thank you for participating in the questionnaire. We needed a male viewpoint.

Your answer to #3 caught me offguard.

A huge difference between a woman's and man's idea of the perfect hero.

Interesting. Anyone else?

Read To Review said...

1.plenty of conflict.

2.I like them both as long as they are clenly written. Historical times I like around the civil war era, but read all era's.
3 A strong Hero, but not a Macho man who thinks hes God's gift to women.

4.I like everyday character type. if they are a little weak, and the other is strong.

5.Plot driven

Laura Shinn said...

Laurie, here are my comments on your questions:

1) Regarding conflict - Whether I'm writing it or reading it, the amount of conflict depends on the genre. If it's a sweet romance, light conflict is fine. If it's a murder mystery, high tension and conflict is a must! *g*

2) I used to read Historical novels all the time. Now I read mostly contemporaries in various genre. As for time period, I've always had a soft spot for the 1800's, like in Gone with the Wind. *g*

3) The strength of each character is something you can't pin down. For reading, I like a strong-willed man who shows his soft side when needed. In writing, I try to remember that my characters need conflict, and that can sometimes mean opposing points of view. By the story's end, though, my characters have either learned to read each other so well they could almost share each other's thoughts or they've learned to agree to disagree. LOL I love it when I read a book and the characters throw me for a loop by their actions. Unpredictability is good.

4) Weaknesses are a necessary part of ANY story. Unless the story is about an alien, we are all human and fallible. If the story is going to have any believability at all, the characters must show weakness. The question is: how will the other character respond when those weaknesses are shown? *g*

5) Character driven or plot driven - Hmm, both. *g* I want to see the characters grow, learn and love as the book progresses. The plot should work with that progression hand in hand. The marriage of the two will serve as a very entertaining read. *g*

This was fun, Laurie!! Sorry I'm late...5:10 am late. LOL But at least I made it here. Thanks for inviting me. You had a really good turn out! *g*

Laura

Obe said...

1. Do you perfer (to read or write) a book with plenty of conflict, or would you rather have the conflict toned down?

Oh heck, I want conflict. I want to worry about how the heroine is going to figure her way out of this situation or that and root for the hero to get there in the Nicodemus of time

2. Which do you prefer? Historical reads or present-day? Your favorite time era(s)?

I can do either but my love is historical. My favorite time era would be after the civil war about 1870 - 1895 when the west was being settled.

3. Do you prefer a strong, macho hero (not a chauvenist), with a feminine heroine? A milder hero with a strong woman?

I want my hero a bit tortured but male.. all male. He can be a normal man perhaps quiet but some set of circumstances makes him rise above and come out of his shell so to speak

4. Do you enjoy the story more--or less--when weaknesses are portrayed in the hero/heroine?

We all have weaknesses so our hero and heroines portray that. Its the ability to rise above and how they do it that intrigues me. I don't want a sniveling woman.I want a woman to have angst to have something to over come and grow in from their experience. The same with hero. I want to see how they overcome their angst. Perhaps it will help me find my own solution to everyday problems

5. Do you prefer stories that are character driven? Plot driven?

Hum what's that line? For every action there is a reaction. Something happens that sets off the story. Whether it is a new man in town or an horrific storm that pits man against nature to save his cattle. As long as either is a good solid idea it works.

Rachel Rossano said...

1. It matters the book. Any book needs some conflict in order to engage the reader. If the conflict is well presented, described, and used the amount will fit the book and the situation.

2. I prefer historical or fantasy, but I will read a present-day book if it grabs my fancy. :)

3. Either combination can work, but I prefer the strong man and equally strong female combination. I like characters that I can admire for at least some aspect of their character.

4. Weakness is necessary for characters to be human. Without them, characters are not realistic or easy to relate to. We all have our weaknesses; that is why we need others to fill in where we are not as capable.

5. Definitely character driven stories are for me. If the characters are not interesting and engaging, I will probably set the book down before I am finished and never pick it up again.

Danielle Thorne said...

Fun Questions, Laurean.

1) Yes--conflict
2) Regency and pirate Historicals and Contemporary with strong natural themes.
3) I still love my heroes to be tough guys with attitudes that are brought to their knees by soft, modest women.
4) I like a weakness but nothing border-line abusive.
5) Must have an exciting plot that helps the romance develop, or frankly I get a little bored as the story comes off mushy.

K.M. Daughters said...

Hi Laurie,

1) We like to read and write stories with abundant, credible conflict - not so high or contrived that it frustrates, rather than excites.
2) Contemporary.
3) Can we choose option "C"? Strong hero and heroine?
4) Oh, yes, we accept characters' flaws, or we can't identify with them.
5) Plot driven.

Thanks for the invitation to participate!

Laurean Brooks said...

Thanks for posting, Lynn.

Looks like you are a well-rounded reader of modern day and historicals.

You agree with the "Strong Hero" that is almost unanimous.

I do wish we had more male input on these questions. It would be interesting to see their answers.

Laurean Brooks said...

Laura, wow! You said so much that I don't know what to add.

I think you "hit the nail on the head" when you said that the amount of conflict depends upon whether it's a sweet romance or high tension murder mystery.

That's food for thought. Hmmm. Great answers. Thank you for participating.

Laurean Brooks said...

Hi Nancy,

You like lots of conflict? You must be a high-energy person who reads for the excitement.

Never a dull moment for you!A tortured male?....Okay... Hmmm. A new thought for me to mentally sift through.

Thank you for your views.

Laurean Brooks said...

Rachel,

Good to see you.

Interesting characters do make for an interesting story. And you like the hero and heroine to be equally strong. That could spur interesing interactions.

Thank you for participating.

Laurean Brooks said...

Dani,

Pirate Historicals and exciting plots? Who would have thunk it? LOL

Yes, girlfriend, you have a knack for writing in that time period.

Thank you for your views.

Laurean Brooks said...

K.M. Daughters,

You made a good point when you said, "credible conflict." I agree. If the conflict is "over the top" for a typical romance, the reader may toss the book aside. Still, you need quite a bit. Just have to sense when it goes too far.

Genres like fantasy, suspense, and science fiction, would require more conflict, problems to solve, etc.

Thank you ladies, for your thoughtful input.

Next, please....LOL

Carol Langstroth said...

1)A lot of conflict that drives the plot
2)I love historical and as long they are not as sexual as some of them I have read.
3)I love both..there is nothing wrong a strong woman with a womanly side.
5)Plot driven for sure.

Laurean Brooks said...

Thank you, Carol.

Good Point. "Nothing wrong with a strong woman with a womanly side."

And you, like several others, enjoy "Plot-driven" stories.

Thank you for your participation.

Donna Hatch said...

I like books with either a lot of conflict, or a lot of tension

My favorite era is Regency, folowed by medieval.

I love the alpha male, but I've enjoyed betas too if they're still strong in their own way.

I enjoy the story more when the heroine, even a very strong one, has vulnerability. I just hate tough chicks who can totally beat up the men (I don't identify with them)

I guess I go more for the character driven stories, but I like heavy plot, too.

Laurean Brooks said...

Thanks for dropping in, Donna H.

I think we all like the heroine, no matter how strong she is, to show vulnerability.

No totally tough chicks for these gals.

Sharon Donovan said...

Hi Laurie. Here goes:
1. Conflict and plenty of twists
2. Contemporary
3. Alpha male with soft heart and tender female with sass
4. flaws to make it real, even the psychopath to show why he or she became a demented serial killer
5. character driven and plot steered, like soup and sandwich, can't have one without the other.

Laurean Brooks said...

Thank you for your views, Sharon. I like how you coined, "character-driven and plot steered."

But I see what you mean. Guess I'd never thought of it that way.

Tallying all this up could be tricky. I'll get'er done by Tuesday...maybe even by Monday night.

Then I will post the results right here on Laurean's Lore. Ya'll check back, ya hear?

Joyce DiPastena said...

1. Do you perfer (to read or write) a book with plenty of conflict, or would you rather have the conflict toned down?

To me, conflict is what drives the story. If there isn't any conflict, then there really isn't a story.

2. Which do you prefer? Historical reads or present-day? Your favorite time era(s)?

Historical reads. I feel like I "live" contemporary, so when I read, I read for escape, and that for me means escaping to a different time period than my own! As for favorite time eras, I enjoy anything from ancient Greece/Rome through the Regency period and maybe a little beyond. My interest begins to taper off around Civil War times. (Unless it's the English Civil War, then that's another matter. ;-) )

3. Do you prefer a strong, macho hero (not a chauvenist), with a feminine heroine? A milder hero with a strong woman?

An overly macho hero drives me nuts and makes me want to throw the book at the wall, screaming, "Why in the world would you fall in love with such a jerk?!!" I like the hero to be strong, but not so arrogant I want to hit him. I guess you could put me in the Beta hero camp. I like a heroine who is both feminine and strong. I don't see why the two must be mutually exclusive.

4. Do you enjoy the story more--or less--when weaknesses ar portryed in the hero/heroine?

Every hero and heroine need weaknesses to make them "real" to me. If they're too perfect, I can't relate. (One reason I had trouble relating to Edward in the Twilight series, which I know puts me in a minority, but he was too perfect for me. Jacob, being flawed, felt much more "real" and therefore, "relatable" to me.)

5. Do you prefer stories that are character driven? Plot driven?


I like a combination of character and plot. I get bored if there's not much plot, but I don't enjoy the characters if they're not well developed, either.

Fun quiz, Laurean! Now I'm going to read what everyone else said!

Laurean Brooks said...

Joyce, I can tell you are a lady who knows her own mind.

I've never read from the ancient Greece period, but have watched movies about that era and loved them.

Maybe I should broaden my horizons....

Thank you for taking the survey.

prashant said...

Great answers! Thanks for participating in the questionairre.
data entry work from home

Anonymous said...

Well, this quiz seemed way off. It sounded more like Hitler than me! I don't avoid conflict (half the time I seem to start it), I do get involved and don't avoid that either (my father says I do it too much, and must learn to not give so much of myself away so often), and stubborn? I wish? My problem is not being swayed by other people's advice. I avoid talking to some people on the phone because they can switch me around with a ten minute conversation, because I'm always seeing "the other guy's" viewpoint too much! Sheesh! The Quiz and I aren't very good together, I guess!

Rob Shelsky

Laurean Brooks said...

Rob,

Do NOT Despair! Maybe it's just because you are only ONE of two men who participated.

We females (especially those who write romance) have almost the same brain. LOL.

Laurean Brooks said...

Prashant,

So glad you enjoyed the questionnaire. Come back anytime!