Tuesday, February 22, 2005
Computer is still down. Thank GOD for the public library system! Toilet is now unclogged and I'm beginning to suspect that ds acts like he's on a sugar high all the time. It's amazing the things that get done without a computer, though. The story is moving along veddy nicely, although I've come to a bit of a sluggish spot. Or maybe it's just me that's sluggish. My bruised and bloodied couple have earned a slight respite from the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune (sic). Slings and arrows...bullets and fists...same thing, right?
The nice thing about the library is that, hey, did you know you could actually do some research at these places? I'd nearly forgotten how to use a library. I am now in possession of a copy of Bulfinch's Mythology. Yesterday was rainy, so I read everything from Cupid and Psyche to the abridged version of Malory's La Morte d'Arthure. My eyeballs have only just now stopped spinning. Great stuff, including a line about Viking runes that I may be able to use. At some point this week, I plan to finish the Mabinogion and go on to Irish mythology. Not sure how useful it'll be, but I'm looking forward to refreshing my memory of the stories.
Saturday was all kinds of fun. I went to the South Carolina Book Festival in Columbia and attended a couple of master classes. The first on "Writing Fiction" was pretty generic and kind of useless except to learn that the Q&S is Very Important Stuff. The other class was on Writing the Short Story and it was great. The teacher was almost a stereotype. Just finished alcohol rehab, college professor in ratty T-shirt under rumpled jacket, needed a haircut. But he was a great teacher. His name was George Singleton and he writes Southern short stories. Very clever.
Anyway, he had a great idea for plotting out short stories. He called it the 500 word sentence. A massive, ugly run on, complete with bad grammar and tangents. But by the end, you're plotted. Seems to me that I could use something similar for novellas. The down side was the dearth of publishing opportunities for short fiction, but I already knew that. Somebody remind me why I write short? Oh yeah. Because I just do.
After, I went into the hall where lots of different businesses had their booths and met the editor of Echelon Press, Karen something-or-other. For once, it's not that I didn't catch her last name, she just never pitched it. I would give you the link, but I can't do fancy stuff on the library computer. So you'll just have to find them the old fashioned way.
Time's almost up and I must segue from doing the writer thing to doing the mommy thing and go shop for groceries. Thanks for keeping up with me here. I hope to be back regularly soon.
Me and Hemingway
Monday, February 14, 2005
Computer blasted. Raining. Toilet clogged. DS hyped on Heart Day candy. Spent morning with a dozen 3-4 year olds. No writing. Need coffee.
Telegraphic enough for ya? Be back when computer is healthy again.
Party on, Dudes!
Friday, February 11, 2005
3 1/2 more pages and my H is still bleeding on the seat, although the rate of blood loss has slowed due to a handy dandy pressure bandage. And my h is pretty sure she's going to die slowly and painfully. Woohoo! And it's only page 13!
I also garnered an invitation to a local bookstore's Mystery Book Club. Said invitation was extended by a published author who wrote "G is for Grafton" about Sue Herself. Kewl! So, essentially, yes. I got pulled into a conversation, but it was ok because I needed a short break right then. Maybe extroversion
isn't such an awful thing after all.
Anyway, thanks to Suzanne for inviting people over here. The beer is cold, the pastries are hot, and there's chocolate for all!
Blog Party Here!
Looks like Suzanne is throwing a surprise party here today, so belly up to the bar!
Chocolate, wine, chocolate, coffee, chocolate and ummm... chocolate!! I'll put out a spread of banana muffins, cranberry muffins, pumpkin muffins (Yes, I know the muffin man), as well as savory puff pastry and baklava.
Y'all have fun while I hit Starbucks and pound out more of my mystery man, who I left bleeding in the front seat of a BMW...
Thursday, February 10, 2005
I finally got off my duff and submitted my link to Romancing the Blog
! How fun!
You know what else tickles me to death? Seeing a link to something here in someone else's blog. That's a guaranteed grin for at least an hour! Thanks, y'all!
Short vs Long
Wednesday, February 09, 2005
Give me a choice between a single title novel and an anthology -- and I'll choose the anthology every time.
Why is that? What is it about the short story/novella length that has such an appeal? I know that those with more limited leisure time say that it's nice to be able to read an entire story on their lunch break. But my life is less structured. I can, on days when the house looks like people instead of pigs live here, sit and read an entire novel if I choose.
So why would I choose an anthology? I've always been a short story reader. I sympathize with Rudyard Kipling, who wrote brilliant short works to critical acclaim, yet forever bemoaned the fact that he was incapable of sustaining that kind of storytelling ability in a full length novel.
Mark Twain's longer novels have never interested me, but I've read countless short stories. Bitter Ambrose Bierce, who should never be read on a gray day, attracts the dark side as does Poe, whose Cask of Amontillado
still gives me shivers.
There is a difference between a short story and a novella that has little to do with length. A short story is more of a slice of time and its most important feature is the twist in the tail. A short story that simply ends is like a joke where you give away the punch line too early. The story structure is simple and there's little room for deep characterization and intense description. It's all about the story.
The novella is a balance between short story and novel. I recently finished a plotting workshop where we wrote the first scene and the black moment. Then we filled in 4 major plot points, then we were supposed to find 10 smaller plot points. Whoa there! If I could do that, I guess I would
have a novel. But the story I'm telling is much simpler than that.
There's more room for characterization, for description, for emotional tension. I can introduce secondary characters and even a small subplot. There's space for down time after intense scenes, but it's still all about the story.
After the spate of anthologies I've read recently, I believe I can state that there are novelists and there are novella-ists. Some people can do both, but not as many as think they can. They either try to cram too much plot into a teeny space, or they think "Oh hey. This is where I can stick this one scene from my series that my editor made me cut."
A novella isn't just a slashed down novel, it's a form in its own right. I've read enough of them now that I can tell who respects the form and who's just marking time.
Monday, February 07, 2005
What is it about me that attracts people? Now, if I was saying this in relation to 20-something hardbodies, it would be disgustingly vain. But no. I attract old people and middle aged weirdos with nothing better to do.
I made my customary trek to Starbucks this morning and was busily tapping away on Bertie (my Alphasmart, for those who don't know me) when suddenly this woman who looks like Debby Downer from SNL just starts chatting away.
At this point, I made a bad decision. I responded. Duh!
Never, ever respond! The approved solultion is to make a non-committal noise and go back to whatever you're doing. But nooooo. Not me. I have to be polite and friendly and outgoing.
I swear, extroversion is going to be the death of me. I'll talk to anybody who talks to me first. It's an oddball American trait, more prevalent in the South. Brits caught in line with me at the supermarket would get this trapped, terrified look in their eye when I started chatting with them.
But this time, I was actually working. Right in the midst of the immortal line "How did I end up in a remake of Bullitt?" *sigh* I tried, I really did, to go back to work, but she kept chatting. Bertie turned himself off several times as I attempted to get back to the story before the next round of intrusion.
They rearranged the Starbucks so that all the tables but one are in one seating area. I'm going to have to try for the anti-social table next time. When the weather warms up I can sit outside, but until then, I'm getting kharmic brownie points for excessive politeness.
At least I'd better.
Is it just me?
Sunday, February 06, 2005
Am I the only person who doesn't read romance reviews? Reviews seem to be a hot button (although I'm probably the last on the blogger bandwagon here) and have been the topic at riemannia
and Maili's blog
But I don't get it. Why would I care about someone else's opinion of a book? What if they don't share my tastes? I've had friends recommend books they love that I think are absolute duds. Serious wallbangers. Which then sometimes calls into question the taste of said friends. I've also had friends recommend books that end up on the keeper shelf, but that's quite rare. I've read books that I've really loved, only to see them panned by people who set themselves up as being "in the know."
What do they know? They know what they like. Congratulations. I know what I like, too, and it probably isn't the same thing.
The general point of the aforementioned blogs is that reviewers should be honest and not pander to author's fragile egos. What the heck do authors care anyway? They made it, baby! They have accomplished the increasingly impossible task of actually getting a real live paperbound book out there! If that ever happens to me, you can bet your sweet bippy that I'm not going to be wasting my celebrating time reading someone's review.
So tell me. Am I the only person who really doesn't care about reviews?
Manolo is the best
Friday, February 04, 2005
My buddy Vanessa
has this link in her blog and I've become so addicted, I added it to my links, too.
cracks me up! Today's blog is sooo perfect, being a woman of "a certain age."
I was seriously down in the dumps for a few days. Not posting anything new that wouldn't be the most depressing thing in the world. I'll admit I'm not on top of the world yet, but I do believe the fog is burning off.
How's that for a mixed metaphor?
I have my new, handy-dandy inhaler nearby for my next coughing fit. I'd forgotten how much I love inhalers. Finally. Medicine that works.
Anyway, I've decided I really can't face Dude again yet. I know, there's not much left to work on, but I really can't do it right now. Soon, though. Soon.
In the mean-by (meantime + by and by = mean-by), I've been noodling with the short. Finally found my hero's first name -- Colm. I've also changed the location. From Israel to Ireland. Do I know anything about Ireland? Probably less than I know about Israel and I know absolutely nothing about Israel. There you have it, folks. I'm living proof that you can know LESS than absolutely nothing.
For instance, is an Irishman more likely to say, "Shit" or "Shite"? Anyone know the answer to that one?
Speaking of foul language, a board buddy on eHq posted the most hilarious site of Naval language.
My favorite is WFW = Waaah F***ing Waaah.
Hack Cough Ow
Tuesday, February 01, 2005
I've now strained muscles in my chest and abdomen from coughing.
Doc's appt isn't until Friday, so watch me heal miraculously on Thursday night. I hope. I don't know why I go. They can't do anything for me except give me cough meds that make me too sleepy to function, but it'll make my family and my friends feel better. Good for you guys.
Wrote, did the grocery shopping, mailed off RNA form. So far, so good. Now, to get back to editing the transition scene. Nothing but plot climax including the MOD -- Moment of Doom (never let it be said I can't learn from my friends and I'm not going the BM route) and denouement after that.
Reminder to all to incorporate the five senses to deepen impact. Here, try this exercise. Use as many senses as you can to describe an old chair.