Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday the 13th or "Friday the 13th?"

It’s Friday the 13th…I’m sure many of you have a feeling about this date, whether your opinion is that it’s just another day or you believe it means something more.  Some view Friday as an historically unlucky day while many view the number 13 as an unlucky number.  Rolled together into one, they can cause instant fear.  For those who have this fear, the year 2012 may be tricky as it has its fair share of the superstitious date (three times rather than just one or two).   I personally don’t have any issues with the day, the number or the date myself; I’m glad to say that in the past I’ve actually had good things happen on Friday the 13th.

Or, maybe you don’t even think about the date at all, you just think about the movie. 

While I enjoy a good horror film, I have to say Friday the 13th has not been one of my favorites, not the first, second, third…how many did they make?  I’m not sure I’ve completely watched even two of Jason’s movies.  Back when both were a hot item, I was always more partial to the Nightmare on Elm Street movies.  Freddy Krueger was a villain you could easily detest and who, with his scarred face and knife-wielding fingers, could promote nightmares in all ages; much more, in my opinion, than some guy in a hockey mask wielding some sharp instrument. 
And what, pray tell, does this have to do with writing? 

Well, my focus today is what draws people to a book (or a movie). 

Is it the story? 

The title? 

Interesting characters? 

A good story is just that, a good story, regardless of the title but you can hope a good story also comes stocked with great characters.  The story may be one you already know, say, like the Titanic.  The story hasn’t changed; the title doesn’t change much from book to book or movie to movie because, after all, it is about the sinking of the Titanic.  You are already familiar with and won’t be disappointed by the story which gives you time to enjoy learning more about the characters.  Who was on the ship?  What were their lives like before they decided to board that fateful ship?  How did their lives change afterwards as one of the few remaining survivors? 

Some titles are used again and again as a draw but the story plot may change, as well as the characters.  Friday the 13th was not an original title and previous stories and movies with this name aren’t all about a weapon-wielding, hockey-mask-wearing guy named Jason.  But with the superstition surrounding the title along with the character who gave young teens nightmares (back in the day anyway), this version of Friday the 13th will retain its place in history where any other story by this name has long since been forgotten.
Characters are obviously a draw, as with Jason in Friday the 13th and Freddy Krueger in Nightmare on Elm Street.  Those who watched every single movie kept coming back for more because of the main characters, not because of a story plot which basically remained the same.  I don’t believe anyone familiar with either movie will ever think of the names “Jason” and “Freddy” without first comparing them to the movie characters.  Honestly, because of that fact, I doubt I would ever call any character in any book I write “Jason” or “Freddy.”   

When it comes to searching out a good book to read, the trick is finding a good story with great characters.  Can you go beyond what your friend or mother recommends or what is currently on the best seller list?  I’m not saying these aren’t terrific ways to add books to your reading list but what else would make you decide to read a book?  There are so many to choose from and not all books worth your time end up on the best seller list. 

So how do you pick out a book if you only have the book title or cover to go on? 

Like a hummingbird to sugar water…is it what strikes your senses when you look at the cover that causes you to even pick up a book to inspect it further?

Have you ever purchased a book based soley on the short synopsis and how the title or cover caught your attention? 

I have been there many times, wading through the book store, carefully looking over each book cover, hoping to find a book that will draw my attention and prove to be the perfect find.  However, I am interested in what catches your attention…is it an author you are familiar with, a title you find catchy, a cover you are drawn to, a riveting brief synopsis on the cover, or something else entirely?
Okay, let's be honest.  My real question is…what, other than the fact that you might know me, would interest you enough to make you pick up one of my books to read it? 

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