Working Wednesday, November 2, 2022

How the hell did November get here so fast? I wasn’t through with September. Oh, well, today I am Kondoing my kitchen: I’m looking at the broken pink ice cream dish I never really liked and telling it that it can go. I am organizing all the utensils I keep flinging different places. I am establishing a place for all my small appliances and working through them one by one to see if they really are going to make a difference or if I should put them in a box for Krissie to play with. (My gut feeling is “put them in a box” but I’m going to try every one of them.) And then there’s the burned out stove I’ve been ignoring; I hated that before I caught it on fire. So today, I get savage in my kitchen.

What are you working on savagely (or gently) this week?

State of the Collaboration: New Book, New Fights

So while we have agreed not to start writing a new book yet–I have Nita to finish, he’s doing publishing stuff–we are talking about what might be in the new one, Rose and the Guy Hiking the Appalachian Trail with His Dog. I know you all have been wondering what we’ve been talking about (if you haven’t been, keep it to yourself, I need my illusions) so here are parts of the conversations we’ve been having:

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Happiness is Doing Good Work

I’ve been working on Nita and the thing is, I really love this book. It’s flawed, it needs help, but I did good work in this book. And Bob and I did good work in the Liz-and-Vince books. This isn’t the go-out-and-brag kind of public congratulations that’s all about selling things. This is quietly looking at what I’ve done and knowing that even if nobody else ever sees this, I’ve worked hard and made something good, a private but very satisfying happiness: This is what I do and I’m good at it. Self-confidence porn. Since usually I’m very self-critical, this is extremely happy-making.

How were you good and happy this week?

Revising Scene: Nita’s First Scene AGAIN

I started Nita in 2016 (I think) and there’s a page in the Works in Progress menu here that shows six revisions of the first scene, one for each year from 2016 to 2021. (Don’t read all six. If you’re curious read the first and last one, reading all six will make you hate the book.) So now it’s 2022 and this is the last damn time I’m doing this because it really does get to the point where I’m washing garbage.

So here’s my method for revising scene.

I do not do this for every scene in the book. It would make me insane. But there are two times I need this kind of analysis. One is for a scene that just is not working but that I know I can’t cut. Like the first scene in the book that introduces the protagonist. The other is for a major scene, a turning point, that has to be absolutely precise in what it’s doing. Like the first scene in the book that introduces the protagonist. So here we are, using the “analyzing a scene by beats” method to fix the first scene in the book that introduces the protagonist. Continue reading

Argh Author: Nancy Yeager’s When We Were Friends

Frannie and Lexi were best friends. Sisters of the heart. Partners in crime. But when they got caught, only one of them went to prison.

Five years later, ex-con Frannie is back to claim her share of the money they stole, then she’ll disappear and start a new life.

But with her ex-best friend, a lonely kid with a mangy mutt, and even Frannie’s high-school crush pulling on her heartstrings, leaving doesn’t look as easy as it once did. When an old enemy surfaces, though, Frannie realizes her staying endangers everyone she loves. And even though she might have found her heart’s true home, there’s no guarantee she can keep it.

Buy it now on Amazon.

State of the Collaboration: Next Book

Bob and I are taking a break because we strained our brains writing three books in seven months, but we are starting to talk about the next one.

No, seriously, he wants His Guy walking the Appalachian Trail with his dog. I want to know what My Girl is doing on the damn Appalachian Trail. She’s in long skirts and sparkly flats, and she runs a second hand store, plus she’s the single mother of a high school senior. She doesn’t have time for the Appalachian Trail. This may be the first romantic adventure where the two leads never meet.

Reminds me of that time when he said, “Who’s Your Girl this time?” and I said, “A food writer,” and he said, “My Guy’s a hitman.” That worked out okay. Still, I have grave doubts about Rosie and the Guy Walking the Appalachian Trail with His Dog.

But first we take a break. He’s finishing the next Phoebe book and I am going to get Nita out the door for once and for all.

Then I’ll deal with the damn iceberg.