Monday, March 30, 2009

What makes it a DIK - Part 1

When I found out I was up on the DIK blog I wondered what I should blog about for three days. Then I started thinking. I read A LOT of books. But what is it that makes some of them stand out above the others and came up with a few ideas that make a book work for me. Unlike many readers, I have rather a large number of DIK’s, maybe because I’ve been reading so long and I read in many different genres. When I think on my top DIK reads they all have something in common.

1. Respect between the hero and heroine is crucial. In a wide variety of books there is tension between the hero/heroine. That is the basis of many a conflict and a book needs conflict. Opposition between the two main characters is almost a given in many books at some point or other. But if the hero/heroine maintains a high regard for each other during this time, overcoming it can be easily believed. So that isn’t the issue as long as underneath that conflict there is basic respect for each other the book has a chance to be a DIK. What can ruin a book for me and keep it well below DIK status is disrespect shown to either.

2. It is essential that I respect the heroine. I just did a post on how I couldn’t finish a book because I didn’t respect the heroine and the choices she made. The heroine can cover a wide range of personality traits from wide-eyed innocent to jaded and I can even dislike her if I see signs of change at the beginning of the book, but I have to respect her. There have been a couple of books that come to mind that are DIK’s where the heroine started off shallow, but within a very short period of time started examining herself and started on the road to respect. The worst thing a heroine can do for me is be a ninny. I loathe ninny heroines.

3. It goes without saying if I have to respect the heroine, I also have to respect the hero. I know it’s probably a double standard but I’m more tolerant of a hero then I am of a heroine, but I still have to find something admirable in him. I love both alpha and beta heroes but it’s trickier to write an alpha hero I think. It’s sometimes a fine line between a self-confident hero and a jerk hero. But if done right, well there is nothing finer. And of course that’s not to take away from the less macho hero. But again it can be a bit of challenge to have the beta-type hero have enough strength to hold up to a strong heroine.

Now how about you? What does it take to make a book a DIK – besides fine writing of course? What do you think of tension between the main characters or do you prefer the tension to be an outside force?


Carolyn Crane said...

I love this respect thing. Especially respect between hero and heroine. These are great points, and so important but easy to lose sight of. Thanks for the great post.

Lea said...

Hi Kristie:

Excellent post. I do like character driven books that have both internal and external conflict to work through.

Strong characters that leap out and grab me from the pages are the books that have ended up on my keeper shelves over the years.

Best Regards

LVLM(Leah) said...

Nice points Kristie. I have to agree on the respect thing. If I don't respect either the heroine or hero, you betcha, I'm not going to think much of the story.

While it's usually a combination of things, including characters or story telling that inspire a passionate feeling in me, the main thing that separates a good book from a great book for me is the writing. Nothing gets me off more than excellent writing quality.

For instance, Shannon McKenna's books. Her heroines are often TSTL and her heroes, uber alphas that act like jerks a lot, both of which piss me off to no end. And yet, I can't get enough of the way she writes. Just for her style of writing I will put up a bunch of crap.

So DIK for me is great writing.

Tracy said...

I am with you on all of these items most definitely.

I think for me an HEA - in romance - is pretty damned important.

LesleyW said...

Sometimes I think it is easier to define what isn't a DIK.

My pet hate at the moment is when either the hero or heroine (or other hero if it's m/m) treats their partner like a thing rather than a person.

Saying that all my keepers have generally caught me up in some way - either making me laugh, or cry, or having me on the edge of my seat 'cause I didn't know what was going to happen next.

Jenre said...

Some great ideas there, Kristie, and I agree with them all.
A DIK for me also has to have that WOW factor. Either I want to turn around and read the book again straight away or I'm still thinking about it for days afterward or I sit back and marvel at the skill of the author. My DIKs are all different in author/style/content, but they all have the wow!

Kris said...

A great topic, Kristie.

My keepers all vary; some I've kept because I love the characters, others it's the plot, some it's the writing, (as Jen says) it can be the WOW factor, books that really challenge me to think outside my own box as well as that general feeling of being satisfied at the end of a story.

The biggest thing for me though is the kind of knowing you get when you finish a book and - for whatever reason - think I'll be re-reading that; maybe not straight away or even withn the year, but I know that I will re-read it. Those are the books which make their way to my shelves.

Joanna Chambers said...

I'm going to go back to your DNF post here Kristie and say it's got to be a 'page-turner' (as opposed to an attention-drifter). It's got to have that momentum that makes me want to keep turning those pages, no matter how late it gets.

VampFanGirl said...

Great post Kristie!

I definitely enjoy tension between the H/h verses and it coming in through an outside source. Great abd believable chemistry between them is also a must.

Thankfully there have only been one or two instances where I've lost repect for the hero or heroine. But I agree, it definitely takes away the keeper status for a novel if respect is lost.

:) VFG

Unknown said...

Hi Kristie!

Great post! I have to believe in my hero/heroine no matter what genre I'm reading. The HEA is important too, but not all stories are meant to have an HEA, sometimes it makes the characters grow throughout the series. But if I don't believe in the character--DNF pile.

Dottie :)

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