In every book writing process, there comes a time when you absolutely cannot see where you’ve gone wrong. And, friends, we have reached that time with Nita’s book.
I’m still rewriting Acts Three and Four, but Act One is ready for beta reads. And since I’ve posted earlier drafts on here before, I’m giving it to any of you who care to read 42,000 words of too long fictional first act that you probably have read too many times already. (For those of you new to this, a first act must introduce the protagonist and introduce or foreshadow the main conflict, preferably on the first page, introduce all the major characters, foreshadow the antagonist, introduce all the subplots, and end with a turning point that spins the plot in a new direction and makes the story new. Backward and in high heels.)
So I need fresh eyes, aka beta readers that are not me, to look at this act. I know some of you have read a thousand drafts of this already, so “fresh” is stretching it, but any help you can give is appreciated. And if you can’t, that’s fine, I’ll just sit here in the dark alone.
I don’t know why I didn’t figure this out on my own (it’s #68 in the happiness book) because when you think about it, it’s obvious: Doing things we’re good at makes us happy.
Success usually makes us happy, but I think even more the process of succeeding, doing something we’re confident about, making something we’re skilled at and enjoy doing, has to achieve something like a state of flow, the sense that where we are and what we’re doing is exactly where and what we were meant to be. Which of course puts Working Wednesdays in a whole new context. Doing what we’re good at is good for us (assuming we enjoy it, just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean you have to do it).
Yesterday I spent the day at the hospital waiting on doctors to tell me what they’re going to put in my chest to keep me from dying. Fortunately, my kid was with me, so it wasn’t a completely annoying hurry up and wait experience. Today, I’m finishing up Act Two and Three which I would have been finished with earlier this week if other traumas and the hospital day hadn’t sucked up my brain bandwidth. The problem with making things isn’t making things, it’s getting all the stuff out of the way that’s keeping you from making things.
I loved the names you came up with for the bowling alley, but I couldn’t stop laughing at “Pins and Sins” (thank you, Lynn) so I made it a bowling alley/massage parlor. The mayor bowls there. I think whoever said the realtor would probably be something like “Demon Island Realty” was probably right. You’d want something that didn’t sound like a joke if you were spending thousands of dollars. So thank you all very much for playing.
And now I have Button and Max going through the closed-for-the-season amusement park and I realized I didn’t have many names for rides and concessions. I had the names below, but I’m always open to new ideas. Anybody want to play again?
Maybe I’m still on Santa Paws time, but after a day fraught with conflict and repressed anger, I am happy that I have three small dogs snoring in my bed. There’s something so completely serene about all three of them snoozing away, Milton under the covers, Mona with her legs in the air, and Veronica languishing like a diva in the quilt. I figure it’s like yawning. You know how when somebody yawns, you yawn, too? I think the complete lack of tension is catching. It’s very hard to be tense while you’re watching a puppy chases rabbits in his sleep or an old dog sigh and smile while she snoozes.
Of course, it doesn’t have to be a dog. Could be a cat. Or another animal. Maybe Chris Hemsworth. You choose.
It’s the first of December and it’s getting cold, especially for the pets in shelters. No matter how much cherishing shelter workers give them (and let’s give thanks for shelter workers, that job must break hearts daily), these abandoned animals need forever homes. Until that day arrives, they also need food and blankets and toys, which is why December is Operation Santa Paws month. Give what you can to your local shelter, and while you’re giving, check out the clientele. The best gift you ever gave yourself may be right there, waiting for you.