Life’s a crazy ride nowadays, with constant change, invading technology, and permissive lifestyles. Are women’s novels out of sync or idealistic?
Women’s fiction seems to lag behind changes in society. In real life, people are constantly bent over a device while in restaurants, stores, or theaters, waving their fingers and mumbling to unseen visitors. However, novels still focus on characters, plot, description. They interact. Occasionally, mobile phones DO now appear in fiction, and a woman in danger turns immediately to a cell, but few heroines or heroes spend the amount of time online that occurs in daily life.
Married couples spend more time online than they do in bed with one another. I can barely go shopping without some seller urging me to download a new app. Internet, Twitter, Pinterest, smart phones, text messages, demand for techie contact has become so constant and so fast, even people on the shady side of forty can lose their balance in the net.
Novels haven’t adapted to this transformation, at least not to the extent I see out and about. In books, human interaction requires face-to-face contact, if not body-to-body; and text messages or Tweets are used, if at all, as quirky plot developments..
The diversity of communications methods mirrors what seems to be occurring in women’s personal lives. According to experts, as well as popular films, television, and songs, women are leaping in and out of bed (or in cars or on tables or outdoors) with enthusiasm and are increasingly casual in their sexual encounters, if not outright promiscuous.
Why then do novels continue to advocate stable, monogamous relationships? While wedding rings may be far fewer in stories than in the 20th century, the preponderance of women’s fiction has the heroine and hero in a happy clinch by the end, not a clutch of partners.
So how can the poor writer decide how to publish a story and what equipment to feature? Should we write in 148 character series, as one novel I read did in an introduction to each section? Are young readers going to dump fiction unless it’s available on phones? The phenomenon in Japan is the cell phone novel with chapters of less than 200 words. Are our characters moving toward no physical contact, just phone sex?
One thing’s for sure. In fiction, the chaste (and chased) virgin of fifty years ago, frequently a nurse, secretary, or teacher, is far outnumbered by her more adventuresome sisters. They may not be “loose women,” but they’ve been around the block. Plots are reflecting reality, as studies and surveys show attitudes toward casual sex and multiple partners continue to become more liberal.
Are romance novels old-fashioned and out-of-date? Are they read by little old ladies or spinsters hiding in their rooms? Or are we reflecting and espousing standards, even hopes still treasured by most in our society?
At the conclusion of any written adventure, whether the novel is a sweet romance, erotic, historical, sci fi, literary, steamy or whatever, everyone’s still just looking for love. Real love. True love. Which continues to mean one partner, with whom we communicate face-to-face, even if he’s a vampire. Maybe writers aren’t out of sync with society, simply idealistic like their readers.
(Bonnie McCune is the author of three novels from Prism Book Group, the most recent “Falling Like a Rock. Visit her at www.BonnieMcCune.com)
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Watch out for falling rock! A mountain town and its rugged mayor captivate a woman in search of a new life and love.
Unloved and unemployed. That’s Elaine Svoboda, after she’s sacked, then flees across country to her boyfriend who drops her flat. Teetering on the abyss of disaster, she calls an old friend who invites her to a tiny mountain town with fresh prospects. There she meets rugged, hunky Joe Richter-Leon, mayor of Falling Rock.
Before they can build a new life on the ashes of the old, she must overcome a few obstacles like a broken ankle, an eating disturbance, his stubbornness, her own fears, finally a forest inferno. Funny and frank, poignant and perceptive, when two people are “Falling Like a Rock,” they learn surrender sometimes means victory. (199)
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Barnes & Noble paperback http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/falling-like-a-rock-bonnie-mccune/1119907983?ean=9781500386474
Blog : BonnieMcCune.com/blog/
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Bonnie McCune lives in Colorado and is the author of novels, novellas and short stories. A writer since the fifth grade, her interest in the craft led to her career in nonprofits doing public and community relations and marketing. Simultaneously, she published news and features as a free-lancer. For reasons unknown (an unacknowledged optimism?), she believes that one person can make a difference in this world. Bonnie’s writing explores the highs and lows of everyday people and their unique lives with humor, close attention, and appreciation. Her blog addresses “ordinary people, extraordinary lives” and also features samples of shorter works. Visit http://bonniemccune.com/ to connect with her.
Blog : BonnieMcCune.com
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She knew she had to leave the main road and find help. She swerved onto a pull-off that appeared as if by a miracle, turned off the motor, and sank into the seat. In all directions she saw flat monotone prairie. If spring was about to arrive, no sign of it blossomed here. An occasional bush of greenish sagebrush nodded, but most of the landscape consisted of earth-toned dirt and dirt-toned pebbles scoured by a constant wind, which threw a thin top layer of particles hither and yon.
What she knew about auto mechanics fit on a matchbook cover. She’d been shown where to fill up on gas and wiper fluid, and that was the extent of it. She flicked the ignition off and on several times, peered at the dashboard, even popped the hood. Nothing looked out of place or broken.
She returned to the driver’s seat to think and worry her tooth with her tongue. It wasn’t safe to sit out here alone, and dismal warnings from her parents to never trust a casual passerby in a situation like this darted in her mind. So she hauled out her cell phone. No service. She slumped in her seat.
The plains spread horizon to horizon around her, and an appreciation rose in her for the courage and hard work of the pioneers who had traveled one slow step at a time over an endless landscape to reach their new homes. At least nowadays an asphalt ribbon transversed the plateau. On the road an occasional semi whooshed past, rattling her vehicle as it traveled. One trucker slowed to a crawl and honked, but by the time she decided he was offering help, he’d disappeared.
She twisted her brain in knots to find some way to save herself. Surely if she were careful, stayed in her car and blinked her lights and beeped, someone should rescue her. Clouds began to build in gray billows, flowed from west en route the east, and the sun plunged toward twilight. If anything terrified her more than an appeal to a stranger for assistance, it was spending the night out here in the open. In her rearview mirror, a battered Land Rover appeared, and almost on impulse, Elaine switched on her hazard lights and leaned on the horn.
The vehicle slowed but didn’t stop. Not until it was some yards down the road. Next a tall, lean figure climbed out, the engine still in operation. A man dressed in jeans, ski jacket, and a black Stetson. Elaine would have laughed if she hadn’t been worried about the security of the car door locks. She was in the West now. It made sense for a cowboy to show up.
He approached with careful deliberation, halting a few feet from her, and she rolled her window down several inches and studied him in case she had to describe him later to the authorities. Not particularly suave or polished, but certainly with the rugged strength typically associated with cowboy types. Dark, as if he spent time outside or had some Mediterranean or Latino ancestors. A prominent nose, off-centered, perhaps from being bashed once too often.
“Need help, ma’am?”