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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

GUEST BLOG: ALINA ADAMS

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WRITING A ROMANCE NOVEL ALONG WITH MY READERS!

By
Alina Adams


As far as I’m concerned, Rhett Butler comes back to Scarlett O’Hara (the movie makes it even clearer than the book. Did you see how foggy it was; where was he going to go?)


Also, Romeo & Juliet are just napping, The English Patient is a little more prompt, the second Mrs. de Winter is not doomed to spend the rest of her days with a wife-killer. Oh, and Dr. Zhivago manages to stop communism.


Yes. I’m that reader. The one who, when she doesn’t like how a story ends, rewrites it in her head.


But, I suspect I’m not the only one.


In addition to publishing Regency and contemporary romance novels with AVON and Dell, as well as figure skating mysteries with Berkley Prime Crime, I also spent over a decade working for soap operas, first at ABC Daytime, and then at Procter & Gamble Productions’ As the World Turns and Guiding Light, where I wrote the tie-in novels Oakdale Confidential, The Man From Oakdale, and co-wrote Jonathan’s Story with Julia London.


And if there is one thing I learned from working for a serial drama, it’s that all fans have an idea of how they want to see their story go (and it is their story). And that they get very frustrated when they believe their voices aren’t being heard.


Romance readers are the same way. Though, in their case, unlike a daily tale written as it goes along, it’s a bit late to register one’s objections after the book is already written, edited, printed, sold, and in your hands.


Maybe.


Maybe not.


While at Procter & Gamble Productions, I developed a property for them called AnotherWorldToday.com. AnotherWorldToday.com was a bi-weekly serial picking up, ten years later, the narrative of their show, Another World, which went off the air in 1999. The most innovative thing about it was that, at the conclusion of every episode, readers were asked to vote on where the story went next.


The response was quite vocal, passionate and enthusiastic (though, I must say, no matter how seemingly obvious the question, there was never, ever a landslide victory for any poll. People are just too different in what they like and don’t like; or maybe they were just messing with me).


When I started AnotherWorldToday.com in 2009, electronic publishing was still finding its footing. Three years later, a great many things are a great deal clearer.


The clearest is that it is possible to write, edit and publish books on a much faster time-table than under the traditional model. Amazon and BN.com can have a title up and available within 24 hours of it being uploaded.


Which makes a reader interactive serial a technological and creative possibility.


Taking what I learned from writing romance novels and mysteries, not to mention my experience working in television and on the Internet, I have published an original work, Counterpoint: An Interactive Family Saga, which will release a new volume every month. At the end of each book will be links to where you can go to voice your opinions about future storyline developments. Your thoughts and feelings will be listened to, counted, and ultimately included in the next volume.


Do I think I can pull this off? I don’t know.


Just like I didn’t know if I could pull off taking my figure skating mysteries, Murder on Ice, On Thin Ice, Axel of Evil, Death Drop, and Skate Crime, and adding professional skating videos from The Ice Theatre of New York to turn them into enhanced e-books. Now instead of just reading about my characters’ performances, you can actually watch them.


But, I did it anyway. Because I wanted to try. It’s up to my readers now to tell me if I succeeded.


And, because as I mentioned above, I love interactivity – I genuinely hope that you do!


About the Author:
Alina Adams is the New York Times’ best selling author of soap opera tie-ins, figure skating mysteries, and romances, including Annie’s Wild Ride and When a Man Loves a Woman. Her latest project is Counterpoint: An Interactive Family Saga. In addition to turning her own backlist into enhanced e-books, she has produced enhanced e-books for others, including Dan Elish, whose middle-grade fantasy novel, The Worldwide Dessert Contest, now includes its own original musical score. Learn more at http://www.AlinaAdamsMedia.com.







2 comments:

Karen H in NC said...

Hi Alina,

You are a new-to-me author and I enjoyed reading your post today. I agree with you about sometimes wanting to re-write a story ending but I'd prefer to wait for a real writer to do that for me...that's why you're the writer...and and I'm not! LOL

I think it's fun, as a reader, to be able to choose the next path a story will follow. The only other author I know who did that was Jenna Petersen. Several years ago, she ran a 6 month long contest called 'You Tell Me the Story' where she wrote a chapter leaving 3 different options as to the direction of the next chapter. After the readers voted, the majority winner was the direction she took the story the next month, and so on. She did this for about 3 years in a row and later turned those stories into ebooks selling them on Amazon. Great idea to promote reader participation and author identity.

Alina Adams said...

Thanks for stopping by to comment, Karen. I didn't know that about Jenna Peterson. Will definitely check it out, sounds exactly like my kind of thing!

Best -
Alina