into the woods…

While waiting for the critiques of my manuscript, I’ve been venturing into the woods of my next book…considering characters and their motivations…daydreaming about plot paths… I’m trying to keep things casual; it’s not time for me to telling any tales about these people yet. But I’m dropping breadcrumbs to make sure I can find my way back when it’s time.

Meanwhile a second critique (thank you H—-) of my manuscript has arrived! Another very thoughtful and thought-provoking critique. I have such freakin’ smart readers helping me here. I obviously still have some work left to do on the book, but both of the test dummies readers who’ve finished the book have given me some great ideas of how to improve the novel. Yeah!

One of the things that I’ve discovered is that creating an unreliable first person narrator is tricky. When the character’s actions don’t really mesh with her inner thoughts, it can make the character’s voice feel uneven. Here she’s thinking she’s so tough, and then in a fight with her boyfriend she doesn’t act very tough.  Hmmmm….  The problem is, that’s what I want, but I want the reader to understand that she’s unreliable, not think that I just don’t know what the hell I’m doing (which may well be the case, but I don’t want the reader to know that.)

Several writers I admire make creating an unreliable narrator look easy, but here I am discovering that it’s more difficult than it seems. Reader H—- (Goldilocks) found that in some scenes the protagonist was tooooo tough, but in other scenes she was tooooo soft.  Now I just need to pay attention to the scenes that were baby-bear juuuust right so I can fix the others. I can do this…as my late father would tell me, “That’s no hill for a stepper.”

And so I searched for Goldilocks on youtube and mostly came up with exactly the lame videos you’d expect…except I also foud THIS!

See…I KNEW there was a reason I needed an iPhone!

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a stud muffin by any other name…

BTW, here’s the painting I mentioned last week–now finished. (It’s actually not blueish on the bottom in real life, although that looks kinda cool. That’s a lighting/photography problem.) Anyway, I think it turned out okay.

So, the other day I was talking to the-man-to-whom-I-am-married. (Notice how I skillfully used whom and also how I avoided ending a sentence with a preposition…that’s advanced writer shit.) He mentioned to me that the hubster is not how he would prefer I refer to him in this blog. He suggested L—– but, I explained that some people who read this will not remember that L—– refers to the-man-with-whom-I-share-a-bathroom-and-sometimes-wish-I-didn’t.

And so began the search for a new improved moniker for the-man-with-whom-I-also-share-a-closet-which-sucks-sometimes-because-he-makes-unwelcome-comments-about-how-many-shoes-I-own. Anyway, I came up with some really good ones:

  • Romeo
  • Stud Muffin
  • Lover Boy
  • Sugar Britches
  • Italian Stallion
  • My Hairier Half (in the spirit of full disclosure this would only be true from the eyebrows down)
  • Macbeth (see, then I could be Lady Macbeth which would make doing laundry much more awesome. “Out, damn’d spot! Out, I say!”)

One year, he was the President of the local Radio Controlled Modeling club and I spent a fair amount of time humming Hail to the Chief when he walked into a room and referred to myself as The First Lady of RC Modeling. Sadly, he didn’t get to serve a second term; I think it was because he usually forgot to go to the meetings.

Anyway, despite all our nonexistent tireless work trying to come up with another name, nothing was decided, except that perhaps he would prefer hubby over hubster. However, any and all suggestions from my ten many readers will be happily considered and if they’re funny enough, used. (I’m sure he won’t mind, right?)

This video has nothing to do with anything except that I believe that there’s no such thing as too many terrible taxidermy commercials.

Enjoy!


crazy new shit

Now, you’re probably not going to find anybody who is less flexible and less coordinated than I am. However, there’s probably also not anybody who is more of a sucker than I am when it comes to buying self-improvement crap stuff.

So, here’s my latest crazy new shit: I signed up for 30 days of yoga.  (I did the Karma edition, of course, because…well it does sound cooler, right?)

Anyhoo, this was a couple weeks ago and I thought I would have already been started on the videos that will have me flopping around on the living room floor, but apparently the first several days of the class are composed of emails to prepare us for successful floor flopping. These emails have explained how I should spend some time either walking on the beach (I’m serious, it said this. As if I would need to take an online yoga class to relax if I could walk on a beach whenever I felt like it) or sitting quietly in my living room (okay, more reasonable, although I do have trouble sitting quietly–ask anyone) to think deep thoughts about my intent.

I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure that she doesn’t really want to hear about how the night I signed up, I had just eaten most half of a giant tres leches cake at Chuys and when I clicked on that payment button my intent was mostly to ameliorate the lingering feeling of bloaty-regret. So I have been spending some time walking on the beach, sitting here at the dining room table, thinking up a new intent that sounds more karma-yoga-ish than to punish myself for indulging in an awesome (yet overly large) desert.

The thing is, I’ve always wanted to be a person who does yoga and meditates and drinks exotic loose leaf-teas and is, I don’t know, calm and present-in-the-moment and filled with buddhisty-type wisdom. And not be the crazy-ass me who is exactly the opposite of every single one of those things except that I have used loose-leaf teas before but not very often because really I hate to clean out the teapot.

Sigh.

So I’ll keep you updated on my crazy new shit when it actually starts. On another note, all my manuscripts have been distributed to their readers…so I’ll let you know about that same old shit as soon as I know something.

Okay…now this is just scary:

for some weekend highlights

Friday: *
Got my wip (work in progress) manuscript ready to be distributed to my victims readers, who are:

1. S—–, who lives in California with whom I took an online writing class a couple years ago. She loves the same kind of books I love and seems like a no-nonsense type person who wouldn’t have too much trouble pointing out the suckiness.

2. L——, someone I’ve never met but who is a friend of a friend at work, H—–. This friend assures me that L—– would love to read the book, and that she’ll be a great reader/critiquer. The nice thing about this is, since I don’t know L—–, she’ll be able to point out all the suckiness without having to face my newly crushed soul every day afterwards. My friend at work neglected, however, to tell me until after the whole thing with L—– was set up, that L—– is an English teacher, so now I have just the teensy bit of terror concern about her reading it since I have not yet proof-read the book for the sort of typos that make English teachers cranky.

3. The last copy will be read by H—–, aforementioned friend at work. Although this goes against my policy of using readers who don’t know me well (or at all), H—–  has assured me that she will have no problem pointing out all of my book’s suckiness and then coming to work every day and sitting just ten feet away from the soul she personally helped crush. I think I am now either in awe of her, or frightened of her. Or both.

Saturday:
Spent most of the day painting (on a canvas, not a wall) and am mostly finished but not completely. I haven’t decided yet whether or not it sucks…when it’s finished maybe I’ll post it here and let my 10 many readers decide. I just can’t get enough soul-crushing. I’ve come to crave it.

Then I started a couple loads of laundry, and flipped on the TV and watched the last 20 minutes of Pulp Fiction (the best movie ever) and the first 20 minutes of Sex in the City II (from what I saw, the worst movie ever.) Went to dinner with the hubster, then came home and watched baseball (Go Rangers!) and spent sometime reading this blog which, to be honest, is much, much better than mine. All 10 of you should probably just stop reading my blog and read thebloggess instead. Seriously–she is fucking hilarious.

It wasn’t until right before bed that I remembered the laundry, but that’s okay because the stuff in the dryer was just the ninja-wear (the black scrubs the hubster wears to work every day). Somebody will be looking a little rumpled this week, but it won’t be me.

Sunday:
Drank my morning coffee and relaxed while watching the hubster mutilate spatchcock** cornish game hens to get them ready for dinner (I was too horrified fascinated to take a photo, so I got the one above from here). I then helped out by cleaning up the crime scene kitchen.

All the kids came over for dinner. DD and her BF brought over the granddog a spazzy darling 8 month old lab named Lexie. She and the greyhounds played–sort of (Lexie raced around playing with their toys while they chased her and considered eating her). Dinner was typical (some good, some burnt) but it was a fun evening–at least for me. Why is it that as soon as we finally get them to move out, all we want is for them to come home and eat mutilated food with us?

And now it’s Monday and there you have it. My weekend in a nutshell (if the nut was really, really big, or the font was really, really small because this post got a little too long, didn’t it?)

Enough about me. How was your weekend?

________

* Friday counts as a weekend day because I usually only work Monday-Thursday because I am a slacker.
**Even though most verbs put in front of the word chicken sound like a euphamism for self-love, spatchcock the chicken does not. Maybe it’s because spatchcock is a German word. Even the German word for masturbation, selbstbefriedigung (I can’t make this shit up) doesn’t sound very self-lovey.

Oh! And who knew? Google spatchcock on youtube, and you’ll discover that it has another entirely different meaning! This is not what the hubster did in the kitchen yesterday morning, but the day would have been way, way funnier if it were:

 

advice ignored and movies watched

Okay, just finished draft número tres. Three down, how many to go?

I have no idea. ¡Ay, caramba!

I’m snow-blind with this manuscript right now…I can’t even see the words. And man oh man I’m tired of it. I just keep trying to focus on how much I’m learning about the editing process and not focus on the fact that, as far as I can tell right now, I have written the most boring, stupid book ever written by any person ever. Ever.

I’m starting to wonder if I shoulda taken this guy’s advice.

On another, less whiny note, we’ve seen a couple of good movies lately. We saw Moneyball last weekend and I enjoyed it even though it was very basebally and I’m not a huge baseball fan. And this past Saturday we went to see 50/50, and I highly recommend it. Hubby said he saw 50/50 described as The Hangover meets Terms of Endearment. I don’t know about that, but I do know that you should go see it.

names are soooo hard…

Anybody else have trouble naming characters?

I mean, names like, John and Marsha (John, Marsha, John, Marsha…) start seeming blah, but when you start trying to get more interesting, things can detour into silly pretty quickly. If everyone in your book starts having names like Rafe and Ariana or Lance and Magdelene, the whole thing starts to read like bad romance. (Not dissing romance novels as a whole, just the baaaaad ones–even if you like to read/write romance novels you know the ones I’m talking about.)

Can’t you just feel it when the author has worked a little too hard to come up with names?

And now for a little more fun because fun is awesome: More Pearls Before Swine (love it) and one of my favorite videos (partly because the singer with the baseball cap on backwards–in the plaid shirt and khaki shorts–looks a lot like my oldest kid!)