One Thing Not To Do If You’re Writing A Book and You’re Me

So I had this idea of the love interest in the Anna book, a guy who would look trust-fund rich in a suit and then turn out to be very different (because Anna would be looking for somebody who would annoy her ex which would also pay off later), and I’d added eyelashes and cheekbones because I was looking for universal markers. I forgot jawline which according to an article in Vanity Fair is essential for testosterone laden characters:

“That chiseled, rugged jawline, as well as prominent cheekbones and heavy brow ridges, are all built by testosterone,” said Dr. Helen Fisher, Biological Anthropologist and Chief Scientific Advisor for “Testosterone is also linked with the behavioral traits of dominance, interest in sex and aggression. As a result, those with these angular features can signal confidence and manliness (in good characters) and aggression and predatory behavior (in bad characters)—depending on the context.”

The problem was, I had no real idea of what this guy looked like. I’d pretty much built him from things that would bother Anna’s ex and intimidate Anna so that when she went over to him, it would be a really brave thing to do. That was a bad idea.

So here’s what never to do if you write like me: Don’t describe characters until you have their placeholders. Continue reading

Happiness is a Great Loaf of Bread

I know, I’m down to the basics, but given where my country is right now, the staff of life is just what we need. (Well, that and a new government.) My local grocery has brioche and challah, and I have butter and cheese and wine, so I’m pretty damn happy right now. Also I have a new potato recipe thanks to Ann.

What made you happy this week?

Random Saturday

Bob and I decided not to do HWSWA this week and ended up e-mailing all week instead. So no HWSWA. Do you have requests for topics? Because we’re out.

I have also discovered that an automatic “absolutely not” follows the words “alpha billionaire” in a book description for me. It’s right up there with “can he save her” and smirking. On the other hand the ingredients “chicken thighs” and “lemon” together make me hit Bookmark and the grocery. What is it about lemon and chicken anyway? Well, lemon and anything. Limes, I don’t get, but lemons? Hoo boy.

But I digress. Continue reading

This is a Good Book Thursday, October 15, 2020

This week I mostly read Anna, finding things the Girls sent up and I wrote down without much thought that now seem like foreshadowing. I love my Girls. I did try another Mary Stewart and realized that whatever made me love her in the past is now gone. That’s okay, she was great for me back then. I reread some Rex Stout, too, and a lot of Book Bub samples, and started a book by a mob daughter. Coming soon in the mail: used books about Russian icons.

So what did you read?

Working Wednesday, October 13, 2020

I’ve been cooking, trying to clear things out for winter, working on Anna. Bob and I decided to skip this week’s HWSWA, and then e-mailed about our plots anyway. He wrote that he was giving an old character an identical twin. Secret twins are death in fiction but no shutting people down while they’re in discovery, so I said something like, “Uh huh.” Then he e-mailed back: “Joking.” Turkey. Very excited about tomorrow; I get to go to the grocery, buy stuff to make vegetable soup, nachos, spaghetti. Much chopping for comfort food for cool weather. Hey, small pleasures count.

What did you do this week?

Every Book Makes Its Own Rules

I have just realized that I’m writing this book in chapters in chronological order. I NEVER do that. It’s the weirdest thing, but that’s the way it’s coming to me in chunks of 5000 to 6000 words. It’s just bizarre. I’m fairly sure I’ll break free by the time Act One is done, and of course there will be copious rewriting, but I’ve never written a book like this before. It would worry me, but I figure I can blame Bob. He’s very linear. We’ve been talking about writing for weeks. It’s his influence and his fault. Continue reading

Plotting, a Whine

By now, it’s obvious to anybody who reads this blog that I am not a natural plotter. Some people think in plots. Those people would be Bob and Krissie. Normally these would be aim-for-them-when-I-drive people, but they are important to my life, so I just have to put up them. Meanwhile, I make tables and conflict boxes and mind-maps and act diagrams and scream a lot. Really, I just want to write people having snarky conversations; a reason for those conversations seems a lot to ask.

Take Lily and Anna, for example. I don’t think Lily is ever going to have a plot. At most, I’m guessing it might be a novella. It’s just a bunch of people I like sitting around eating food I like and flirting. There is nothing wrong with this as long as I don’t show it to anybody (well, except for you guys, you’ll read anything). So I really don’t think Lily is ever going to be a book. But Anna . . . Continue reading

Happiness is Comfortable Clothes

I remember a time when I had to wear pantyhose. Those were dark days. Then I quit my full time job and became a student/TA, and my wardrobe got much simpler. Then I became a full time writer, and my wardrobe bifurcated into Tour Clothes and Writing Clothes, aka pajamas and nightgowns. Then the virus hit and I left the Tour Clothes behind forever and now it’s Writing Clothes all the time. I’ve never been so comfortable in my life. I even have one Writing Clothes dress in several colors. It’s this one. Long enough to cover everything up without looking like a tent. Stretchy so it never binds. Hoodie if my head gets cold. And bonus, if I put this jacket over it with the hood down in back, it looks like I Made An Effort. Also, POCKETS.

The virus is a horrible thing, but it has made comfortable clothes a possibility 24/7. That makes me happy.

What made you happy this week?