Sunday, July 31, 2011

Writing a Novel by James Andrew Wilson

I admit, I wanted to see how he depicted the next stage—letting it go. Actually letting others see the creation.

I'm in EDITING. You'll know when you see this video that I hope and pray there is something beyond the editing stage.

Or . . . am I in a Stephen King novel, perpetually stuck in the middle of the forest with nowhere to turn?

Please, no.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Rewrite? What was I Thinking?

Through the wonder of morning pages, I became convinced that the manuscript I completed about a year ago would be better as a police procedural. It needed some rewrites anyway, so I figured this wouldn't be much more involved.

Yeah, right.

Don't get me wrong. This is still the best way to go—and I'm oh-so-much-more excited about this story—but it is requiring some careful crafting and so many changed scenes/new scenes/deleted scenes it's almost like writing from scratch. Sheesh.

So, Rough Waters continues to be about black market organs and the importance of organ donation, but with a competent detective in charge rather than a distraught father.

Have you ever changed the direction of a manuscript you're writing? Or have written?

As a reader, have you ever read a book that felt like it was missing something? That if the writer would have taken just a bit more time and fleshed it out, she would have really had a winner?

CR: I confess I'm currently reading a book that's interesting, but not engaging. It's The Apostle by Brad Thor. Kind of a military thriller. I think my husband will enjoy it a lot more.

It's all better with friends.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Crazy Gratitude

I'm grateful tonight for so many things, and I need to express that feeling. (It's my blog and I'll do what I want.)

In no particular order:

I'm grateful for having a husband and soul-mate who indulges me in every way he knows how. He has seen passed the 19 year-old fresh-faced, semi-firm-bodied girl he met more than thirty-six years ago. His desire for me is to see a manuscript of mine turned into a book, and read by people I've never met. Can there be anything better than that?

I'm grateful for Cedric. Our wounded deer who I pray for every day (well, two so far), and wonder at the way God works. We've had an array of odd animals at our home over the years. From lost dogs and cats to snapping turtles to foxes to mallard ducks to peacocks . . . what's the big deal about a deer? Except for right now, God has placed him—at least partly—in our care.

I'm grateful for the friends I've met, both online and in person, who are part of the structure that supports who I am, and the dreams I have. Some of these friends I've know for decades, some only days. But I'm grateful for each one of you. You bless me.

I'm grateful for the familiy that extends beyond my husband. My sister, my nephews, my mom and dad and all of the bonus-people in my life. That's Paula and Cameron and Tyler and Jason, Shirley and Bud and Judy, Darla and Jeff and Krysta and Akila. Kel and Sheila and Joni and Gin and Ginny. And more. Way more. Okay, to be real here . . . my sister Paula weighs in heavy as a primary person. I'm just sayin'.

And, the idea that spurred this post? That's actually writing related? I'm grateful for finding the exact right name for a new minor character in the manuscript I'm rewriting. In case you're curious, his name is Efraím Tómas Hanks Madrigal. I'm thinking he might turn out to be a little bigger character than I had planned.

The thing I notice is . . . not one thing I'm grateful for involves a bank account or a flat screen TV.

So for today, I invite each of you to indulge in some Crazy Gratitude and the counting of blessings.

CR: The Apostle by Brad Thor.

It's all better (way better) with friends.

A Writing Distraction

If I didn't know better, I'd say there was a good chance this would be my Crime Fiction Collective partner, Andrew E. Kaufman, working hard on his next novel.

But it really isn't about him . . .

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A lot of you know that my most recent manuscript involves what I call "Hero Dogs". To me, Hero Dogs include Search and Rescue, Human Remains Detection and Therapy dogs. They all give back to us in ways we can only hope to match. And yet, I think all these dogs want is our love.

The following picture shows you that S&R dogs are not only discerning, but even they have lines they will not cross.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Not For Publication—Until Now

One question I get asked a lot is how and when I decided I wanted to write.

As a student in a writing class, we were told to write a story that might be selected to appear in print in a special publication, either by the school or the district, I don't remember which. At the top of my story, I wrote "Not For Publication." The instructor gave me an A, but wanted to know why she couldn't submit it.

I didn't have an answer for her.

I don't remember the story I wrote then, but I do know this. If I'm moved by something, I write. If I'm angered by something, I write. But those are words for me. They're private. They're "Not For Publication."

I was involved in what was (in those days) a very hip journalism class. We were the cool kids who knew how to make things happen via our school newspaper. Journalism was okay, but I found it restrictive—that truth thing, I think. And almost everything I wrote for the newspaper was flat. Without magic. It may have been interesting, even controversial. But to me, because there were no private bits of me tossed in the mix, it was all finally forgettable.

People who loved me encouraged me to chose something more predictable in terms of income and stability. If writing had happened to be on my list, it quickly disappeared. I created a passable success in Corporate America and enjoyed, for the most part, both income and stability.

Decades passed, and I found myself caring for a family member requiring additional attention while he rehabbed from a stroke. He'd been with us for almost two years when it suddenly hit me . . . I may have been home all day, but I was not focused on the post-stroke exercises all day.


Today, I try to put just enough of me into every scene I write to bump up the magic. I'm old enough to know that whatever private thoughts or secrets I have, they're not unshared by others. It makes publication okay. Probably.

So, what about you? How did you get serious about this business?

CR: The Apostle by Brad Thor.

It's all better with friends.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

When The End Isn't

I wrote my ending the other day. Relief flooded me. I had struggled and fought and avoided and did all of those clever things writers do when what we need to do is sit our butts down in the chair and press a few keys. And then a few more.

Don't confuse my having written the ending with actually finishing the first draft. I'm now facing the stickies on my computer reminding me about the threads that need to be pulled and tied up, but Irrefutable Proof is one step closer to the next phase.

And, just so you know, I now have two additional stickies related to the ending thanks to thoughts from my go-to guy for all things law enforcement. If this thing ends up working, it's thanks to Denny. If it doesn't, no one will ever know because it will be in a very dark (and deep) drawer.

For a manuscript that began by almost writing itself, it sure didn't turn out that way.

CR: Just finished Think Twice by Lisa Scottoline. It really held my attention, moved fast, and I love, love, love short chapters. There were over one hundred chapters in this book, so you know there were some teensy ones. I'm thinking about either a Brad Thor or an oldie . . . This Rough Magic by Mary Stewart. I loved it once. Will I again?

It's all better with friends.