Monday, January 26, 2009

To Detail or Not To Detail

January 26, 2009

Had a quiet week-end with no meetings. I spent Saturday working with my on-line writing groups playing catch-up. I reworked an old story to meet the prompt of one group and using the new prompt actually made the story better. Then, I combined the prompts from two others and wrote a new story about an abused wife who has had enough and puts a permanent stop to it. The feedback has been interesting. The story focuses on what she does. Only hints of the why are given - black eyes, cheating, on-going treatment and an abusive father. One of the groups liked it very much and felt it hit the mark without getting caught up in maudlin details. The other group felt it was almost an outline. They didn't feel her pain or understand what got her to that point. I just love it when my stories can be read so many different ways.

Last Thursday night was our monthly Hastings meeting. Good crowd showed up. The readings were good, as always, and the conversation very stimulating. Got lots of good reviews of 'The Shack'. I must start reading it so I can discuss it with Liz when I see her in the next few weeks.

Friday I met with Dave for our crits. He's giving me good feedback on 'The Woman Between'. I try to give him good feedback on his poetry, but I have two problems. One, his work is so good that it's hard to find fault and second, I don't know poetry rules, so I can only tell him how it makes me feel. I suppose that's helpful, but he really needs to work with another poet.

Speaking of my 'The Woman Between', the brothers rumble worked out well. The stronger brother actually ended up with a broken nose. Now I'm heading into the end of the story and it is sad for one brother and a new start for the other brother. I just hope it's working. Dave tells me he is liking the wild brother better, which is probably a good thing.

Half the time when brothers wrestle, it's just an excuse to hug each other." James Patterson

slan agat (goodbye)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Regardless in the Mail

January 21, 2009

'Regardless' is in the mail. I can only hope the editor Gods find favor with the story and I get a positive response. But, at least it's out there to be judged. Did I mention that I hate the administrative side of this lovely writing experience. I once told Shirley Wolford, a widely published friend of mine who passed away last fall, that I was looking for someone who would give me an hour a day to work on the administrative necessity to sell/publish what I've written. I told her that I would pay for all the copying and postage. Then, should we hook up with a publisher and make money, I would be willing to share any profits 50/50. She looked at me like I was crazy. "50%," she yelled. "Are you crazy?" I laughed and told her that, in my opinion, 50% of something was a whole lot better than the 100% I get when I don't do any submitting. She just laughed and said she had to agree.

I also found time to send off a short story to The Chick Lit Review and am now working on sending something out to Bent Pin, an ezine. But, that takes away from my time with my writing. I'm still managing to move 'The Woman Between' ahead each day. Today was fun. The brothers are about to rumble. I love working with the dialog that will lead to a few punches.

Had our local writer's meeting on Saturday. Lots of good subs, lots of good crits. I had submitted an excerpt from 'The Woman Between' and it went over well. Most commented that they could 'smell' the cigar smoke. I appreciated hearing that!

We had a lot of discussion at the meeting about doing research. Yep, you don't want a guy in 1860 driving a Ford. But, how much 'fact/teaching' should be included in a ficion novel? I know how annoyed I was in reading 'The Da Vinci Code' by Dan Brown. I was bored to death with his 'number of steps', 'bolts in the frame' and such. I only finished it because he was the author of the month in my book club. When I read fiction, I want characters working their way through a story. So, in my opinion, research, but don't insert an educational book into my fiction novel. JMHO.

Heard from Anne Conners today. She's back in town. She says she hasn't been doing much writing, so she's eager to work with the local group. She is such a talented writer in both prose and poetry. I was glad to hear that she is thinking about self-publishing her novel. We talked about Xlibris, which has done well by me. But, Publish America has been very good to JOan Hobernicht, so I told her to check it out.

Tomorrow is our reading night at Hastings. I always look forward to that and to the discussions we get into after the readings are over.

This is not a political sight, but I must mention yesterday. I didn't always agree with George W. Bush, but I respect the sincerity of the man and his duty to country. There was some booing yesterday and it made me sick. Of course, the group I saw booing looked like prison retreads so I guess they wouldn't recognize a good man. I hope that President Obama turns out to be one of our great presidents and that he uses his time in office to help keep America the great country of insured freedoms that we all cherish and want to continue. I want him to protect our borders and keep terrorists from our land. But, I desperately hope that we Americans keep our free choice in medicine, guns, relationships and state's rights. Protect our borders, but leave us our freedoms in our daily lives.

So, I agree with Mark Twain who said, "Loyalty to the country always. Loyalty to the government when it deserves it."

dóchas and saoirse!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Manuscript Prep - Grrrrrrr

Jan. 16, 2008

What a week. I received a call from Lois who said she found a publisher that might be interested in my Romance/Sci Fi 'Regardless'. It has a gay situation and my problem when I was sending it out a couple years ago was, that the gay publishers didn't like the sci-fi aspect and the sci-fi publishers didn't want gay issues. I checked out the site she suggested and she could be right, this publisher might be interested. But, they only take hard copy, snail mail subs. So, I've spent the last four days working on it. I've had a couple folks read it, so I had so great upgrades to work with.

When I originally wrote it, I put each chapter in a separate file. I always print out a hard copy of my work and copy it to a disc. When I initially wrote 'Regardless', I saved it on floppy discs (remember them?). Each time I upgraded computers, there have been three, I copied 'Regardless' to the new computer. Up until now, I've not lost a file. I could always use my backup. So, much to my dismay, when I got to Chapter 7, it was missing. So, to the floppy I went. It refused to open Chapter 7, said it was corrupted. One of my computers takes the floppy and and the CD discs, so I tried to copy the floppy to a CD, but no go. As a result, I had 25 pages to type. But, the upside to that was, that I really got to visit with my characters, who I dearly love.

So, between retyping some of it, I've been cut and pasting all 14 chapters into on long file, which how I do my novels now. I've now got it all formatted, with page breaks and all. Now, I wonder if I should reread it one more time before I print it and send it out. I believe that if a publisher takes your manuscript, you have another shot at editing before it goes to print. Grrrr, how I hate the administrative part of writing. But I did enjoy spending this week with Tom and Michael.

I am making time (about 30 minutes) each day to move 'The Woman Between' forward. I'm at an awkward segment where I'm trying to bond Stephens ex-wife and current wife in friendship. It's driving their men crazy and so much fun to work with these women.

Oh, I did take time out to go see Gran Torino again. Wow! The man I saw it with is a veteran, though not of Korean. He was so moved by the movie, he could hardly talk afterwards. Lots to think about and the ending is ..., I'm at a loss for words.

Tomorrow is my local writer's group meeting. I missed the last one, so I don't have subs to crit. Feels strange. I always look forward to the stimulation that the group engenders.

I've been lax on all my on-line groups due to 'Regardless'. I miss them.

And so I leave you with - '"Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia." E.L. Doctorow

slan a fhagail ag duine (goodbye)

Monday, January 12, 2009

He'd or He did - What to do!

January 2, 2009

Had an interesting discussion recently on the use of 'd in narrative. Feedback that I received from one of my on-line groups said that in dialogue the use of she'd or he'd and such is acceptable. But, in the narrative, you must spell out 'did'. A couple of writer friends say that's not a rule. It's just someone's preference. I can't find that rule anywhere, so I'm just going to look for it in the novels that I'm reading.

A wonderful day of writing. Added more to 'The Woman Between' and I'm happy with the way the story plot is allowing an odd friendship to blossom. Then, I received a call from Lois who is going to submit a manuscript to Gray Wolf Press. In reading their submission requirements, I find that they will accept stories about gays. I would so much like for my 'Regardless' to make it to print. I checked out the site. They don't want sci-fi or romance, but I think 'Regardless' rises about that. So, I decided to get it ready to send out. I have it written in fourteen different word documents, a chapter in each one. Today, I put the first four chapters together and did a lot of editing. Hopefully, I can have it ready to mail out by this weekend. What the heck, all they can say is 'no thanks'.

Denise sent more info about this 30 second blog 'commercial'. I've never done anything like that, so I'm a little nervous. I'm going to listen to blog radio and see how the ones already on line sound and maybe then I'll feel more relaxed about it. I'm not sure about my voice. I think in some ways its raspy deepness is effective, but in other ways I think it can be annoying. But, this whole experience sounds exciting.

Oh, got word that 'Hannah' probably won't be available in print until the end of February. I did so want to have it for sale at my Spring Frenzy classes. They are coming up on Feb. 2nd, Short Story Writing, and Feb. 3rd, Journaling. I know I already have some attendees signed up. I just love doing it. I meet the most interesting people.

I need to call my writer/artist friend Jean over in Oxnard. I didn't hear from her at Christmas, so it worries me. She sure could write the mysteries and her navy memories from when she was a Wave in WWII were so interesting.

Well it's back to work on 'Regardless' for awhile, so I'll leave you with this thought. "Writing gives you the illusion of control, and then you realize it's just an illusion, that people are going to bring their own stuff into it." David Sedaris

Sunday, January 11, 2009

A New Year, A New Start

January 11, 2009

Ahhh, so little time so much life to live. I don't make New Year's resolution, as a rule. But, I am promising myself to do a better job of blogging in 2009. For one thing, it helps me keep my writing as a top priority in my life. I'm home from California and while I had a great holiday with the family, I'm a firm advocate of Dorothy's sentiment - "There's no place like home!"

Let's see, what have I been doing since my last post. In early December, I attended Shakespeare's 'A Midsummers Night's Dream' as presented by my friend Cindie's students at Parker High School. It was a darling presentation. Her students put their heart and soul into the scenery, music and acting. Cindie did a wonderful job bringing everything together for the standing room only audience the play drew.

My book club had its annual Christmas story meeting. I brought a book on Ireland that told of their traditions between Christmas Eve and January 6th. It also contained a how-to for decorations and a lovely Irish fairy tale about a poor Irish lass who appears only on Christmas Eve, each year, to feed the poor and homeless. It was an interesting book. I gave it to my daughter for her book collection.

Had my crit meeting for my 'The Woman Between' with Dave. He is pointing out ways to improve the story/writing, but I'm really pleased about is that he is liking the three main characters, which is what I'm trying to accomplish. He said some nice things about my creating scenes that bring the reader into the moment and asked if I 'live' the scene. And, I do.

Had our Havasu writer's meeting where my 'Not Accused, Found Guilty' was critted. Lots of good feedback. It's not one of my favorite stories, but the feedback has me reevaluating it and I may send it out to a couple of places.

Our Lake Havasu City Writers Group ( ) had its annual Christmas party on Dce. 20th. What a fun party. Veronica outdid herself in opening her gaily decorated home to the group. Lots of good food, lots of good desserts, lots of good wine and a fun filled gift exchange. I came home with a talking Christmas tree!

I drove to Calif. on Dec. 22 and stayed there until Jan. 5th. Had a wonderful Christmas with the kids and grandkids. Oh, there was some excitement. My dog Twinkle bit my niece. It was a small nip, so I hope it won't leave any scaring. But, despite the fact that the dog had all her shots, I had to keep her quarantined at my daughter's house for ten days. Grrrrr. Why do we have to get the dog shots?????

Had our Four Goddesses writer's meeting at Denny's on the 8th. It was great getting back with Cindie, JOan and Lois. They critted my story, 'Old Friends and Revelations'. Good feed back from one, but lots of upgrades from another. I love it when readers see, or miss, different aspects of my stories.

Dave and I met again on the 9th for more feedback on 'The Woman Between'. He is still liking it, but while he still likes all three characters, he is getting a little frustrated with Stephen. As to where I'm leading the story, I think his observation is right on. He is only submitting poetry to me to crit. I'm not sure I'm helping him much, because poetry is just the opposite from novel writing. In poetry, one word must often convey paragraphs, while novels need depth through the weaving of facts from chapter to chapter. Totally different techniques and I'm no poet.

On Jan. 10th, the book club discussed the books of Jacqueline Sussan. Surprisingly, many of the club members had trouble finding one of her books. Our local bookstore doesn't carry her books and the used book store doesn't buy her books because they don't sell. Wow! In the sixties, she was one of the hot sellers. While many of the group said they'd read another one her books, we all felt that she did a lot of 'biography' writing of famous people, just changing the names and places to be able to claim that it is fiction. All did agree that she did know how to tell a story and was great at characterization.

Saw lots of movies over the holidays - Grand Torino, best picture of 2008! - ...Benjamin Bottoms, boring and disturbing in some scenes. - Seven Pounds, disoriented despite Will's Smith great performance - Australia, beautiful scenery, but just a very long western. - Day the Earth Stood Still, I'd say horrible, but that's being too nice - Transporter 3, a fun, fast paced action flick and good eye candy with Jason Stratham.

It's good to be home! So today I'll leave you with this lovely thought - "Reading makes immigrants of us all. It takes us away from home, but more important, it finds homes for us everywhere." Hazel Rochman