Nita: A Progress Report

So I’m going back to the original manuscript and starting my pruning from a different perspective. I had cut a lot from the book, but it wasn’t getting better, it was just getting shorter and thinner, not as much depth, not as rich, and it felt rushed. Maybe it needed to be 135,000 words? No. I knew the book was lardy, over written, Too Much Stuff. So I reconceptualized my approach. (That’s the way we MFAs talk. Actually, I just said, “Well, this sucks, Crusie, try again.)

I started with that classic, “What is this book about?”

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Argh Author: Brenda Margriet’s Allegro Court

Brenda Margriet’s new book, Allegro Court is out now, the first in her Bendixon Sisters series, and for a VERY limited time (like the next five minutes), it’s available for 99 cents. You all know Brenda from here on Argh, but here’s some more about her:

Brenda Margriet writes contemporary romances with heroes you’d meet at the grocery store. And by that she means real-life men – sexy, smart and looking for the love of their life. Her heroines are bold, savvy and determined to accept nothing less than the man they deserve. A voracious reader since she was old enough to hold a book, Brenda’s idea of the perfect holiday involves a comfortable chair near the water (ocean, lake or pool will do), a glass of wine, and a fully-loaded e-reader.

And then there’s Allegro Court:

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Questionable: Description, Yes, No, Lots, Little?

Kate asked:
What types of description do you think are needed in novels, and what do readers just skip over? Do readers like to know she has brown eyes and a dimple?

My take on needed description is “not much,” mostly because readers like to imagine their own characters and will overrule your descriptions if they get in the way. 

Another reason is that I’m a bear about PoV and the only way a PoV character can describe herself is by looking in a mirror (NEVER DO THAT) which is completely unnatural. (Think about the last time you looked in a mirror; did you describe yourself?  No. The last time I looked in a mirror, I thought, Who is that old woman and why is she wearing my pajamas?).

Another reason is that if we’re interacting with somebody in real life, we get impressions, we don’t stop to do inventories because that takes time, and the long pause and the staring will cause comment. So if a first person or third limited PoV character goes on for a paragraph about what somebody looks like, unless she has a good reason–she’s a detective analyzing a suspect, for example–she’s going to notice only a few telling details (telling to her and the story) and move on.

So what description can you use?

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Happiness is Being a Cheap Beer Sign

My friends and family and therapist have all noticed that occasionally I sign off on them, staring into space with no apparent cognitive connection whatsoever. I have explained that it’s because I’m a writer and when people start talking in your head, it’s rude to ignore them, at which point my daughter says, “There are people talking in front of you, and it’s rude to ignore them, too.” My therapist says, “Okay, where did you go?” like I know where I went (out of the here into the nowhere, I just went). So I have to work on that, but I have come to realize that my ability to just drop out of reality has not only been a career move, it makes me happy. Reality is all well and good, but fantasy lifts the spirit.

And then I saw this Agnes cartoon:

Somebody else will have to get the Cheetos, Agnes and I are not thinking at the moment.

How did you grasp happiness in the moment (there or not there) this week?

Cherry Saturday, March 23, 2019

Today is Introvert’s Day, which means it’s my day. You’d think as social as we all are on here, we’d all be extroverts, but we’re being social in front of screens alone in our homes, so nope. Or maybe I’m projecting. I’m an introvert’s introvert; I moved to the middle of nowhere and go for days without talking to anybody but the dogs. And you guys. Then while looking for an image for this post, I came across a page of introvert T-shirts. I want them all:

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