Sunday, July 31, 2011

Me sentimental? Never!

A few things you won’t hear about our book:

·         “unforgettable journey of the heart”
·         “heartbreaking, mysterious, and soulfully funny”
·         “tonight, on a very special Blossom”

Does that mean I’m not sentimental? Probably. Or maybe I’ve already had enough drama for a lifetime and I don’t need anybody else’s.
           Even so, after sorting through some boxes from my attic this week, I grew a bit melancholy. I e-mailed Larry and told him about finding old prom pictures, letters from track (in another life I was actually athletic), and notes passed to me in class when I should have been studying.
He said he was surprised that I was waxing sentimental.      
I have noticed that as I age the more sentimental I become, and maybe that’s typical. I don’t like it, though, all that touchy feely crap.
The non-sentimental side of me is what you’ll see in our novel. That’s how I am in everyday life, which is why Larry was so surprise by this secret part of my personality.
Give it another 30 years, and I’ll be packing up to go to the nursing home or a smaller town house, I’ll run across these things I’d forgotten, and it’ll bring back all the feelings that I have again boxed away.

Until then, here are a few things that actaully have been said about our novel:

·         Great pace and character development
·         WOW!!! I love how we’re learning about this - I can picture it.
·         This section is the appropriate level of gross, I think

Monday, July 25, 2011

I'm not addicted, really I'm not!

I never considered myself particularly “wired”. I don’t glance at my cell phone every fifteen seconds, I don’t live with my IPod strapped to my arm, nor do I spend more than an hour a day on the computer—well, unless I’m writing. Maybe I’ll turn on the TV during the day, maybe I won’t. Social networking, blogging and e-mailing take up only a fraction of my time.
But take it away from me and I’m rampaging around the house flipping switches every half hour just in case it’s spontaneously fixed itself. Got home from a weekend at the farm and cable was out—my call to the cable company was met by an automated greeting which I’m paraphrasing: “Yes, we know, your cable is out. Did you hear the storms? We’re working on it”.
I couldn’t watch TV. Couldn’t cruise the web. I don’t even own a radio anymore because I always listen to streaming stations.
So I finished one novel and started another, listened to some CDs in the DVD player, and made a nuisance of myself with Comcast. They were fast, though. Twenty-nine hours after my first call (I won’t admit to how many I made) someone was on my pole.
This brings me to the challenge of my pending move—remaining a member of the critique group and starting Book 2 with Larry. I’ll be too far away to meet with them in person, so we’ll have to do it all electronically.
On dial-up.
Of course it can be managed. It’s not like I’m losing access to internet completely. I mean, people used to write books on typewriters, right?
We’ll do what we have to, but I’m telling you right now, I may become one of those weird people in the corner of a wi-fi restaurant, drinking coffee and pounding on my laptop because it’s actually faster to drive to town than wait for the computer to get online with dial-up.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Hello. My name is Larry, and I’m confused…

I got a real education at our critique group a few weeks ago. Another man in the group wrote a scene where one of his male characters made a phone call to two women (late 20s, early 30s) and said, “Are you girls about ready to go yet?”
It was suggested by woman in the group that female readers might be offended by the word “girls.”
It was explained that a grown man would be offended by being called “boy,” so it follows that a grown woman would be offended by being called “girl”.
Now, I understand that a black man might be upset by being called “boy,” but I specifically remember one instance where I said to a group of men, “Come on, boys, let’s do this thing.” No fists were thrown, no threats were made, no objections were voiced about the wording of the statement. I tried to think of a time when I got pissed by being called “boy” and came up empty. 
I’m not saying she’s wrong about using the word “girl.” Maybe the use of that word is a man thing, and if so, I accept that. After all a woman would know more about what offends her than I would.
I admitted that I got a waitress’s attention by saying, “Excuse me, ma’am,” and the women in the group agreed this was acceptable although Becky, in particular, did not like being called “ma’am.” I think it was unanimous that “madam” was out and “lady” may or may not be acceptable depending how lady-like the person considers herself. Gal wasn’t high on the list, either. Although I didn’t ask, I’m pretty sure that “honey, sweetie, sugar, babe, and sweet cheeks” are out too.
So, how would a woman like to be referred to? If any women are reading this, I would really truly like to know what would be generally acceptable, because ways to refer to female characters is kinda limited.
Whaddya say, girls?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Gratification? When?

If you decide to write a novel, it’s important to enjoy the process—if you want instant gratification, go for the milkshake and fries.
Right now, our manuscript is out to the first wave of beta readers. Even after you’ve typed THE END at the bottom of page 350, you’re really not done working on it. There’s the rewriting, and re-rewriting that makes the process time consuming, arduous, and in the long run, extremely rewarding.
            Lucky for us, we enjoy the process which is its own reward. We love making up nonsense. We don’t write to change somebody’s life, to touch their hearts, there’s nothing Oprah in it. Our goal is to make people laugh, lighten a day, and if we’re lucky, discover a plot somewhere along the way.
            So until we hear back from our beta readers, we’re on a bit of a break. Larry’s doing some plumbing and carpentry, and I’m packing for my move.
            Now that we’re in a holding pattern, I don’t feel quite the sense of urgency I expected to have at this stage to hunt down agents and editors. Maybe that’ll come after our beta readers are done with it.
In the mean time, patience is a virtue and process is its own reward. Also, I would like a Tropical Blizzard and large fries to go.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Time Travel and Land Lines

“There was a time when people used a dictionary the way it was intended—for looking up dirty words.” George Waters, The Wa Blog
            I’ll be moving in a couple of months and have been going through the house sorting, tossing, donating, and packing. And one of the things that I studied carefully before deciding which pile to stack it in was a dictionary, the one I used in college back in the early 90s. Paperback, tattered, and yellowed, just holding it brought back fond memories of a companion that never left my side.
            When did I stop using it? Years and years ago. Once Google came into my life it was much easier to find the definitions I wanted online, and handier, because I was already sitting at a computer.
            Now that I have a Kindle with the built-in dictionary, when I’m reading and don’t recognize a word, I just scroll to it and a bubble pops up telling me. I don’t even have to leave my reclined position!
            Maybe I should hang onto the paper dictionary, though. When I move, I’ll be going back to where I was raised, a farm in the middle of nowhere, and I won’t be able to Google things on whim (dial-up takes FOREVER), and my Kindle doesn’t receive a signal out there. Neither does my cell phone.
            It’s like time travel to the past. Land lines. Paper dictionaries. Colloquial sayings that make no sense: “I wouldn’t have that up my butt if there was room for a threshing machine!”
Maybe I should hang on to my dear old tattered friend. It may not help with colloquialisms, but it is nice and fat and should have most of what I need. And if it doesn’t, I guess I can turn on the computer and take a nap while waiting for dial-up to connect.