Monday Notes


There was a wasp in my bedroom a couple of weeks ago, and I thought about getting a shoe and killing it, and then I thought, “No, be one with Nature.” Then it stung me on the bottom of my foot, incredible pain (I beat the damn thing to death with my slipper), and then I limped for two days. Fuck Nature, this is MY BEDROOM. Then last week I looked up and there was a spider the size of Milton (almost) on my bedroom wall. So I cut the top off an empty water bottle, trapped it inside–sweet Christ that thing was huge–and then took it out on the porch and threw the whole thing over the rail (the spider lived, I’m not a monster). I know spiders are Our Friends, but not in my freaking bedroom. Also, they bite. Then last night, a giant bee started harassing my reading lamp, so I water-bottled it and flung it outside to buzz again, too. And that’s before we get to the no-see-ums and other general insect population munching on my flesh. (Benadryl Itch Stopping Cream: it’s like 42, the answer to everything.)

This has been your Nature in New Jersey post for the month. Continue reading

Nothing to See Here . . .

poster-DOTHEMOSTGOOD_grandeIt’s been glorious here in northern New Jersey where it’s pretty much always beautiful, but now is also balmy, if you can call temps in the 80s balmy, which I can because I have air conditioning. Also allergies, so I’m sneezing a lot.

I am also going down for the third time under the weight of the news. I hate Donald Trump, not just for the dire threat he poses the republic, but because he’s such a banal asshole. If I have to read about this jerk every day, the least he could do is be interesting instead of repeating stupid and dangerous. Stupid-and-dangerous was interesting for awhile, I grant you, but now he’s just churning his schtick. The problem with Donald Trump’s narrative is that he doesn’t ARC. His character path is a flat line. If you’re gonna be the center of a story, Don, you have to change. Sad! Continue reading

They Are What They Wear: Character and Clothing

I’ve mentioned here before that I don’t like lavish description. Significant detail, that’s the ticket. Readers are going to latch onto anything you put in a story that seems significant to them, but if you bury the good stuff under a thousand details, they’re going to start skimming and miss it. Plus general description is not action, folks, so you’re slowing down your story if you stop to describe everything. Short significant detail given as part of the ongoing action is the way to go. (As always, your mileage may differ.) One place detail is particularly important for character building is clothing. Continue reading

Drafting Nita Dodd

As we all know, it takes me forever to write a book. That’s because I don’t know what the story is until I see what I’ve written. And then I think about it. And then I write another draft to add what I’ve thought about. And then I look at the shape of it and realize that it has no shape, so I start thinking about antagonists. And other stuff comes up. And I rewrite it again. And then . . .

Well, you get the drift. Continue reading

Today in Research

I have a tab across the top of my browser labeled “Nita” and it’s where I put the bookmarks for anything I find that I want to get back to later for the book. Of course, once it’s there, I forget about it, but I just put a new mark in there (for a real post that’s coming up tomorrow probably) and for once I stopped and looked at my research:


That’s not all of it, of course, but it is a reminder that I should probably put “I’M A WRITER, NOT A SATANIST, OKAY?” somewhere in there. Writers are like porn readers; we really need to make arrangements for somebody to come in and clear out our browser histories and bookmarks after we die or people will get the wrong impression.

I have other research, of course, including the map of Nantucket that came today to join the map of Mackinac that came yesterday, the multiple books on demons and angels, and the pajamas I just ordered, but I think the bookmark tab pretty much says it all.