I'ts Finally Friday!

Friday, March 9

I don't know about you, but I can't wait for the weekend.  I knew going into this week that my routine was going to be turned upside down, and I would have very little free time...but in the back of my mind I kept thinking that I would still be able to find some time for myself.  That didn't really happen :(  

So this weekend is me time.  I plan to work some more on the TBR project, maybe read a book, hopefully it will be good, and watch the few TV shows that I DVR'd this week that I couldn't watch.  And maybe even write a few reviews so I have them ready for next week :)

One of my more pleasurable events this week was being a guest blogger at Elise Rome's on Wednesday.  I know many of you stopped by and I loved reading your comments.  I thought one of the questions that she asked was really interesting.  It was this one:

"With an ideal romance, an author would hit a high score on several different aspects: well-drawn characters, interesting plot, great sex scenes, sigh-worthy romantic scenes, superb quality of writing, and evocative settings. For you personally, which of these is most important? What do you look forward to the most when you’re reading a book? What’s the first aspect you would sacrifice if you could have all the others?"

If you read my interview you know what my answers were.  But I'd like to know from you, if you were to answer these questions, specifically rating the six aspects (Characters, Setting, Plot, Sex Scenes, Romantic Scenes, Quality of Writing) how would you rank them and why?  (1 being the highest importance, and 6 being the one you would sacrifice)

Any Musings follower who answers the question will get a chance to win the prize that was not selected by the winning commenter at Elise's blog. 

Here's your chance to win the collection of Historical Romance print ARC's from Avon Romance including The Bride Wore Scarlet by Liz Carlyle, Viscount Breckenridge to the Rescue by Stephanie Laurens, The Duke is Mine by Eloisa James, Between the Duke and the Deep Blue Sea by Sophia Nash, and last but certainly not least A Rogue by Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean.

Ways to earn entries:
  • Mandatory: Rank 'em & tell me why... and tell me if you are a writer or a reader. I'd also like to know that.  Just curious to see if we would rank them differently. (good for 1 entry)
  • Mandatory: You MUST be a Google Friend Connect (GFC) follower in order to be eligible to win (unfortunately an email subscriber, or subscription in Google reader, and a follower are not the same thing so make sure you are signed up as a follower if you'd like to win this book)
  • Any one who commented on my post at Elise's blog on Wednesday, and answers the question posed today will automatically get an extra entry into this giveaway as a big thank you for not making me feel like a complete loser :)
Rules and disclaimers:
  • This contest is open to US addresses only
  • You must be at least 18 years or older, or of legal age in your country
  • The contest will end on March 11th at 11:59 pm EST and winner will be posted after they have been selected
  • Winner(s) will be selected using Random.org
  • The winner(s) will have THREE days from the date they are posted to provide a mailing address. If you do not contact me within three days a replacement winner will be selected. NO EXCEPTIONS
  • The book(s) will be mailed directly from the publisher or author and no substitutions are allowed
  • Winners will be subject to one copy per household, which means that if you win the same title in two or more contests, that you will only receive one copy of the title in the mail
  • Seductive Musings is not responsible for prizes that are not honored, distributed in a timely manner, lost, stolen, or damaged during transit 
  • All giveaways are subject to change/cancellation without prior written notice
Good Luck!
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*Seductive Musings is an Amazon affiliate and receives a very small referral fee for purchases made via the links on the blog and through the Seductive Musings Amazon Store. Read the full disclosure here.


Carol L. March 9, 2012 at 4:43 AM  

I'll list my choices here:
1.First and foremost would be the characters. If I can't connect with them from the beginning the others don't matter at all.
2.Romance scenes--
3.Quality of writing--that's just a given for me.
4.sex scenes--I agree wit there having to be sensuality in them. Without the sensuality, it borders on graphic with no meaning or feeling.
6. settings and location I can let go. They really don't matter to me if I can't find the first 3.
GFC name is Lucky47.
I commented but late. :)
Thanks Carrie for this opportunity.
Carol L
Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

Andrea March 9, 2012 at 7:23 AM  

I love this question and can't wait to see what everyone answers. For me it's:

1. well-drawn characters - if I don't like the characters then I won't like the book

2. interesting plot - the book has to keep my interest and the plot is what does that

3. superb quality of writing - I've read some poorly written books and they can ruin a good story

4. great sex scenes - I choose hot sex over romance any day as long as I feel the chemistry between the characters

5. sigh-worthy romantic scenes - not my thing, I generally skim through them

6. evocative settings - I read small descriptions but if they go on and on I skim through them too

please don't enter me in the contest, I'm buried in books right now :)

erin March 9, 2012 at 10:29 AM  

Thanks for an generous giveaway! I loved your post at Elise's site and I love that you're expanding that here :)

I guess my ranking would be:

1) Quality of Writing
2) Characters
3) Plot
4) Setting
5) Romantic Scenes
6) Sex Scenes

I've always said that I'd read about a vampire shape shifting turtle man as long as the writer could make me *believe* it. I definitely value quality of writing over sex scenes in a romance and even the romantic scenes, when written well, are enough for me. I guess I'm not reading for titillation but genuinely for story. If the romance is written well, it can be as chaste as a Jane Austin and I'd still love it. But on the flip side, the sex scenes can be a natural and important aspect of the romance, when written well,and most importantly, flow smoothly and organically into the story. I hate when a story is just fodder for the sex scenes. And I ranked characters highly b/c even with quality writing, if I can't engage and connect with the characters, it doesn't matter what happens to the story b/c I'm done. Who wants to read about the lives of characters you can't stand? I've DNF a book that everyone loved b/c the heroine put me off so severely, I couldn't stand to see her HEA b/c I didn't think she deserved it.

Thanks again for a great and thought provoking post :)

Lexi March 9, 2012 at 3:45 PM  

Hahaha, you were not a looser with your post. I enjoyed reading it, and reading how you ranked each point. A good question by Elise, made us think.
If I were to rank I would pick:

1-Quality of Writing
4-Romantic Scenes
6-Sex Scenes

For me 3 and 4 are really equal, I want great characters but there has to be a spark too. Great characters with no spark gets a little boring, a romance should have some romance.
Thanks for the fun at Elise's post and here!

GFC follower Lexi
eyesofblueice (at) gmail

Maureen March 9, 2012 at 4:21 PM  

But I'd like to know from you, if you were to answer these questions, specifically rating the six aspects (Characters, Setting, Plot, Sex Scenes, Romantic Scenes, Quality of Writing) how would you rank them and why? (1 being the highest importance, and 6 being the one you would sacrifice)

It's hard to pick since my favorite stories seem to incorporate all these aspects. I think I would rank them as follows:
1. Characters
2. Plot
3. Quality of Writing
4. Romantic Scenes
5. Sex Scenes
6. Setting
For me the characters are most important since I lose interest in the story if I am not interested in the characters. The plot is very important too since wondering what will happen next will always have me turning pages.
I did comment on your post on Elise's website.
I follow on GFC
mce1011 AT aol DOT com

chey March 9, 2012 at 9:06 PM  

1. Quality of Writing
2. Plot
3. Characters
4. Romantic Scenes
5. Sex Scenes
6. Setting

gfc follower

Ivy March 9, 2012 at 10:59 PM  

1. Quality of writing, for me that means it grabs & holds me..

2. Characters~if they don't click w/ me, the rest isn't much good.

3. Has to work w/ 2, be believable or good enough to make me suspend belief.

4.Setting...has to work w/ 1 & 2 & be interesting.

5. Romantic Scenes..has to be @ least 1 that makes me sigh & go mushy.

6. Sex Scenes..if all the above are good enough I have no problem w/ a fade to black here.

Dtchycat March 10, 2012 at 4:51 PM  

A reader here...
1) Characters, I have to be able to connect with the heroine most importantly. If she is annoying, to stupid to live - forget it, I just can't get into the story what so ever. The hero...well...I am a bit more lenient...
2)Romantic scenes, there has to be romance going on (romance, not sex). I want to feel goosebumps when the hero/heroine are in the same room.
3)Plot, there definately has to be some sort of plot, but sometimes I think historical romance writers go overboard and what you end up with is an erotic action flick wearing historical costume.
4)Quality of the writing, yep, as a reader I am shocked that this is so far down on my own list...surprisingly though, I have found that there are alot of potentially good authors out there in the self-publishing market that have really good ideas but need a bit of polishing - so I have found myself being more lenient on the quality *except if I am spending big money on the books...then not so lenient...
5.Setting, don't get me wrong, setting is important when buying a book, I tend to purchase most of my books with settings in the american west, great britain or australia, and they are usually 1800s-1900s, but I will read other stuff if I know that others think the characters, romance and storyline are to die for.
6. Sex scenes, believe it or not, some of my more favorite books have been the YA historicals, why? Because it isn't about the sex, it is about the romance!

Setting, Plot, Sex Scenes, Quality of Writing

LilMissMolly March 11, 2012 at 11:24 PM  

These are my favorites in order:
interesting plot,
sigh-worthy romantic scenes, well-drawn characters,
superb quality of writing,
great sex scenes, and
evocative settings.
I'm not really sure what evocative setting is. :D I like anything in the British Isles, or America, but that's it. The reason the sex is so far down is because too much sex is distracting from the story.
lvsgund at gmail.com
GFC follower

librarypat March 12, 2012 at 3:05 AM  

1. Quality of Writing - this is most important. There may be a goo story idea and good ideas for characters, but if the writing isn't good, they will not be presented well and the story won't work.
2. Characters - a good story needs good characters. They should be well drawn. A good character will be able to exist in any setting and can carry a weak plot.
3. Plot - You need a good story. The characters can carry a story just so far. A well drawn plot will allow the characters to shine and make it enjoyable for the reader.
4 - Setting - It was a toss-up with Romantic scenes for this one. The setting is important because it contributes greatly to how the story can happen. The time period, the locale, the society all work together to make the plot happen. A good setting almost becomes another character in the book.
5 - Romantic Scenes - A bit of tension, humor, warmth and closeness all work together. Romance is more than just sex. It is the connection of two individuals and what they bring to their meeting. There has to be a reason behind the romance, a logic for them getting together.
6 - Sex Scenes - I have read them well done and way over done. I don't need 5 pages of description of what is going on between them. In this case, less is more. A tender kiss , then a closed door, and let the imagination take over. Too much can actually bog down a story.

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