Like apparently everyone else during this time, I am rereading obsessively. And it occurred to me that maybe this week, I could just list my top five favorite rereads of all time, the books I am returning to obsessively for comfort and the joy of reading.
But I’m gonna cheat and count a series as one book. Because it’s my blog, that’s why.
Here in alphabetical order are my top five fave rereads:
Aaronovitch, Ben; the Rivers of London series
Heyer, Georgetts; the Regency novels and contemporary mysteries
McQuiston, Casey; Red, White, and Royal Blue
Pratchett, Terry: the Discworld novels
Wells, Martha; the Murderbot series
Anybody else want to play?
Yesterday, I ended up with so much on my plate that I forgot to meet Bob in Slack at 5 to talk about character arc. Fortunately, Bob is a pretty laid back guy unless we’re talking about prologues, so he let me off the hook. I still had to get groceries, wrestle the recycling to the curb, try to fix the air conditioner and then get the same air conditioner out of the bedroom, plus the various other things that take up time: cooking, showering, trying to get all the clothes off the floor, yelling at Milton to get his butt out of the road, the usual. I was a little frazzled by the end of the day, but then I looked back and thought, “These are not problems. You have no problems.” Because work is not a problem, it just gets in the way of my reading and writing.
And now it’s late on Wednesday, and I’m rereading Murderbot and Rivers of London, and I have PLENTY of Diet Coke and brioche in rolls (because they didn’t have bread, damn it, and what’s with the lack of bok choy at TWO different groceries? Is bok choy the toilet paper equivalent in the vegetable aisle?), so I’m going to kick back and have dinner before midnight when WaPo puts up the new crossword.
What did you work on this week?
We’ve been doing the Heart of the Story discovery stuff on HWSW, and it’s made me rethink Surprise Lily because, as I wrote over there, a story is nothing without a strong antagonist, and of course, as we talked about here, Lily doesn’t have an antagonist.
Except I’d been thinking about Dorothy, Louis’s admin assistant, lurking in the underbrush at the museum. And I love a doppelgänger antagonist, so I thought, “What if Dorothy loves the museum as much as Lily does?” And then to add some more motivation (that’s what I’m writing about now, motivation), what if Dorothy had been in line for directorship (?) (note to self: research how museums work) and Louis had been given the job from the outside because of his connections, and then brought in his nephew Sebastian. Lily would have been upset for her, but they’d have been coping, and then they would have found out what an idiot Louis was. I mean this clearly needs a lot of work but I can see them aligned on that.
Plus once I’d named her Dorothy, I thought she’d keep a stuffed Toto on her desk, so I went to Amazon to see if there were any and found this awful cheap Toto-in-a-Basket that would be perfect for hiding a recording device or a taser. And I kind of fell in love with Dorothy. She’s like a nefarious Cheryl.
Below is my first Dorothy scene. Way too much thinkin’ and info dump, but it’s a start on character exploration. Dorothy might be fun to write, too. And maybe if I throw an antagonist into the plot, the voices will come back. I miss Cheryl.
I was outside yesterday, typing away on a gorgeous afternoon, and a bee distracted me. It was just one, and it buzzed in, apparently to see what I was working on, and hung there for a moment, just beautiful, and then it went on its way. I have a yard full of clover, but I don’t see many bees, and that worries me, so seeing this one was aa real charge. And the a couple of days later I read about Matthew Willey, whose mission is to paint 50,000 bees and whose work is beautiful. And that made me happy, too. Plus, there’s honey.
from Atlas Obscura
What made you happy this week?
The second new HWSW post is up, and there’s another post after that since Bob and I went off subject to talk about Nita. We’re having a bit of trouble sticking to one topic–this Tuesday we were supposed to be doing character and I started in on Prologues and Bob was the Voice of Reason, and you can imagine how that went.
This week’s post is The Central Conflict.
Next week is Outlining. Yeah, we’re meeting in the middle on that one, too. Maturity. it’s not exciting.
I got sucked back into the Rivers of London series when I realized I’d reread Murderbot too many times. Also a fairy tale novel called Thorn, by Intisar Khanani, which was interesting, distant and cool with a great plot adapted from the Goose Girl. It has that epic distance feeling which is usually not my thing, but it was so well-written that I was drawn in anyway.
What story were you drawn into this week?
Bob and I logged another HWSWA post and I’m still trying to figure out how to make the old blog usable. I’m slicing and dicing the Liz outlines, thinking about Lily, and keeping Nita on the back burner until I can figure out what it all means. Also filling multiple garbage bags because I need the Living room as an office and the kitchen as a kitchen.
What are you up to?
The Old HWSW Blog:
The 2007 He Wrote She Wrote Blog has all the posts and comments. That’s good. They’re all on one page. That’s bad. It’s that way because it’s a rescue site: Mollie just captured the whole blog, put it on one page, and then hid the site from bots since it was essentially an archive. That was a great, efficient way to save the content, but it makes searching for anything a nightmare (whatever you’re looking for is on that one page). I am slowly trying to reconstruct the blog into posts. It’s gonna take awhile. Therefore, if you go to the old HWSW blog in the next weeks, some of it is going to be in posts, and some of it is still going to be in that mammoth page. Everything is there, I swear. I’m just trying to make it easier to access. Slowly.
Revising Lavender’s Blue
I’m also going back to Liz because having done all the Getting Started posts (three) for the new blog (second one will be posted Saturday), I went back and applied them to Lavender’s Blue. That was illuminating. The Getting Started posts are The One Sentence Idea, the Central Conflict, and Outlining, so I tried to put Liz into one sentence, isolate the conflict, and do an act outline. Surprise: It’s all over the place. Is it a romance? Is it a mystery? (This coming Saturday’s Central Conflict post on HWSWA has me talking about the same problem for Nita. This may be a recurring problem in my work (YA THINK?). Continue reading
You know what made me happy this week? Scalloped potatoes from the grocery fridge case. I’m not allowed anything grainy or crunchy or chewy, but I can have these suckers and if I scare up a protein I can fool myself I’m eating well. (I know, I need better veggies, but did you miss the part about no crunchy or grainy?). I don’t even have to make them, I just rip off the plastic, stick ’em in the microwave for four minutes and find a large spoon.
Oh, and my oldest grandchild turns twelve today. Remember when Callie was born and I put up her baby pictures? Yeah, that was twelve years ago. And she’s amazing.
So what made you happy this week?
And we’re back.
This time, the blog is called He Wrote She Wrote Again, but it’s the same two writers (Bob Mayer and Jenny Crusie) and (mostly) the same topics (see below). We’re just older, and more experienced, and a lot more tired.
The plan is that Bob and I will meet once a week to talk about some writing topic from the past, each of us posting a short (ha) essay in the chat first and then talking about it. Then we’ll edit the transcript and on Saturdays, we’ll put it up as a post on the new blog with links to the old blog. I thought we’d be arguing again, but it turns out we’ve evolved toward each other, so in the first set of posts, we’re not that far apart. (All bets are off when we get to flashbacks and prologues, but that’s not until September.)
Below is our tentative eighteen-week plan: Continue reading