The Jennifer Crusie Method for Story Writing

RWA has a new writing series for new romance writers called from Pen to Paper, and I just did a phone interview for it with the wonderful Erin Novotny. She wanted to know my process (stop laughing, you loons, have some respect) so I wrote up a quick outline which I’m including below. I think the interview is mostly us laughing, so the outline is probably more coherent.

The Jennifer Crusie Method for Story Writing
(Not Efficient, Fast, or Logical; Not Really Recommended)
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This is a Good Book Thursday, May 13, 2021

Read some new books but nothing I’d recommend with enthusiasm. Reread a lot of Georgette Heyer, whom I can recommend with enthusiasm. Also read a lot about my new phone which is so freaking complicated it took me two days to find the phone app (shouldn’t that be the first screen and not the camera?) and then another two days to find the hoop to jump through to find my voice mail. I need another Heyer just to calm down.

What did you read this week?

Working Wednesday, May, 11, 2021

So I have a new project. This is really to distract me from meddling in Bob’s Shane book because I have Ideas that he doesn’t need (although he’s polite about it). I have a WiP that I’m determined to finish some day; it’s called You Again and it’s my Golden-Age-people-trapped-in-a-snowstorm-and-somebody-dies book. SMP turned it down (because it was a mess) and Bob once tried to save it–I remember getting e-mails as he read through it that said, “Okay, this has problems, but we can fix it,” to “This is going to take a lot of rewriting,” to “What the hell did you do to this?” so it’s not an easy fix. But then Atlas Obscuraa is offering a class starting tonight on how to write a murder mystery party (not a book) and I thought, “What if the people trapped in You Again were at a murder mystery party and the fake corpse turned up really dead?” So I signed up for the course. It’s five weeks, so maybe in five weeks I’ll have enough of a grasp on the plot and done enough of rewriting that You Again will be alive again. At least I’ll stop harassing Bob about Shane. Oh, and I cleaned up more soot and threw out half my kitchen. I’m going to be cleaning soot until fall, at least.

What did you do this week? Continue reading

Argh Re-Reads: Georgette Heyer

When interviewers used to ask who my inspirations for writing were, I’d say, “Georgette Heyer and Dorothy Parker.” I think that’s still pretty accurate. I loved the liquidity of their writing, the smooth flow of words that let the emotions flow through, the fun of the story over the depth of the meaning. And I loved their humor, not obvious slapstick jokey stuff but subtle plays of language and character, the way they both looked clear-eyed at the insanity of their societies. The difference between them? Parker was acidic, scathingly funny in her indictments but with a sharp edge. Heyer was softer, wrapping everything in the promise of a happy ending for her emotionally healthy characters. They both wrote at roughly the same time although Heyer set her romances in the past, but Parker sat back with her cutting edge while Heyer leaned in and laughed her way through bouncing love stories. I wondered at one time if that wasn’t because Parker was American and Heyer was British, but I’m sure it was also just part of their personalities. Somebody once described Parker as a cross between Little Nell and Lady Macbeth, while Heyer always seemed to me to be the embodiment of one of her book titles: a Lady of Quality. Of the two, which one do I reread? Heyer, of course. If I’m needing a reread, I want that happy ending. Continue reading

Happiness is Living Through Motherhood

Happy Mother’s Day to everybody who is surviving the experience.

One of my earliest memories of motherhood was when my tiny little daughter who was too young to talk yet crawled all the way to the top of the stairs in the two seconds I took my eyes off her, and then when I called her name, turned to look and fell all the way to the bottom. My latest memory? Talking to her on the phone last night about surviving motherhood (hers) and life in general and hearing about her three terrific children, none of whom has fallen down the stairs that I know of. As if that weren’t enough on her plate, she mothers me. Guess she’s forgotten the stair debacle.

Call your mother, Argh. (Not necessarily the person who gave birth to you. You know, the person who mothers you. That one. Call her. Or him. Or them. Pick up that phone.)

If Good Authors Are Bad People Should They Be Published?

So it turns out that Blake Bailey, the author of the latest Phillip Roth biography, has been accused by multiple women of sexual assault along with predatory behavior when he was a public school teacher. If the accusations are true, that’s bad. The biography had been getting good reviews, but his publisher, W. W. Norton, pulled it and cancelled all future printings based on the accusations.

So here’s the question: Was that the wrong thing to do? Continue reading