Monday, November 29, 2004

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Hitting The Keys Again

So my mini vacation is over like everyone else's.  Tomorrow I have to go back to writing my novel.

I discovered what Johnny said to Faye and it moves the relationship forward.

Now I'm about to introduce two new characters.  The parents of the surprise character, the murder victim.  Faye is waiting for them in their living room.  They and Faye's client know that daughter and sister has been murdered, but they don't know another piece of information that will surprise them all.

And although I know what this info is, I don't know what it means yet.  I guess more will be revealed.

The new cover art should arrive this week.  I'm crossing my fingers.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Carpe Diem

Larry Brown died yesterday.  He was 53.  He wasn't a well-known, writer, but he was a damn good one.  He wrote 5 novels, 2 short story collections, and 2 books of essays.  He won The Southern Book Award twice. His books were mostly about the seamy side of southern life, which is probably why he wasn't a popular read. 

53 years old.  Much too young.  He had lots of books left in him, I'm sure. It makes me sad to think nothing more will be coming from him.

"She came down out of the hills that were growing black with night, and in the dusty road her feet found small broken stones that made her wince. Alone for the first time in the world and full dark coming quickly. House lights winked through the trees as she walked and swung her purse from her hand. She could hear cars passing down the asphalt but she was still a long way from that."

From Fay: A novel.

Monday, November 22, 2004

A Declaration?

Today I stopped writing when the love interest, Johnny, says, "Faye, there's something I want to say."

This after they've had a long kiss in the vestibule of her apartment.

I wonder what he wants.

Because it's 1943 I will never have to write a sex scene. This makes me so happy I could click my heels.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Two Things

I wrote to my editor about my jacket and the cover art I objected to. I included pictures of what women were wearing in 1943. On Monday, when he got the email, he called me and said he would pass it on to the art director and what I said made perfect sense to him.

I told him I didn't like the colors too much. He said he did. He thought it made the book stand out. I mulled this over and showed the jacket to several people. They liked it. The thinking was with these colors the book wouldn't be confused with chick lit. Mine are yellow to orange in the title letters and teal for the frame which houses the silhouette of the woman and a backdrop of a city. I decided to keep the colors.

The Surprise Character

I know who she is now. She was identified by the detective's client. This happened yesterday. I was shocked to learn who she was. I ended chapter 5 with this revelation.

This morning I woke early and before I went back to sleep I kept writing opening lines of chapter 6 in my head. But I didn't use any of them when I went to work this morning.

Since chapter 5 ended with a name I had to open chapter 6 with more information about who this victim was. In learning this I've set myself a lot of new problems. I still don't know why she was found where she was or why she was murdered. Needless to say, I don't know who killed her.

Next week will be short. Three days. It would be nice if I could answer some of these questions before Thanksgiving. If I don't it will be nagging at me. So what? That's part of writing a novel. Any novel. Not only a mystery. I think all good novels are mysteries to the author until they're completed. Then people read all sorts of things into what's on the page and this becomes more of a mystery to the author.

Friday, November 19, 2004


Outside of a dog, man's best friend is a book.  Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.

Groucho Marx

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Cover Art

The cover art for my book, THIS DAME FOR HIRE, arrived on Friday. My editor loved it and hoped I would, too.

I don't. It's all wrong. I'm not being a neurotic writer who would think nothing is right. I've loved all the jackets on my books except one before this.

The reason it's wrong is because the book takes place in the 1940's during the 2nd WW and the silhoutte of a woman (my protagonist) is dressed as though she is living during the first WW. I know that the artists seldom read the book, but surely he/she knew when it took place. What would be so hard about finding out what women wore then? I did. There are lots of examples on the Internet if you don't want to look in a book.

I also don't like the main colors. My name is in white which is fine. But the title and border are not pleasing to my eye. I'll give on that if I have to. It's the woman in the silhoutte that is most important. It sends the wrong message.

I've sent an email to my editor (which he'll get Monday) gently telling him how I feel. My agent said not to worry they'll fix it. I'm not worried. But I am disappointed.

Problems like this are another reason you need an agent. This publishing experience was going so beautifully until now. Still, I'm confident it'll be remedied.

Thursday, November 11, 2004


Even now, my ideal for writing fiction is to put Dostoevsky and Chandler together in one book. That's my goal.

Haruki Murakami

A Little Discouraged

My writing hasn't been going well this week. I'm on Chapter 4, page 4. I've been there for 2 days.

I have no ooomph. And I've been playing around on the Internet. No, not looking at email. Trying the new Mozilla browser, for instance, and going from site to site. Please. Now I see I mustn't launch a browser before I start writing. Come on. I knew that. I simply don't want to write.

I know you can't wait until you feel like it. You have to do it everyday, anyway.

I've had people ask me if I wait for inspiration. My answer is that if I waited for that I'd write one page a year. Maybe.

I don't want to write today and I'm not going to. And I won't tomorrow either because it's one of those movie days I've described earlier.

So, I'll try again on Monday. I'll more than try. I'll sit here as I've said one should, no matter what. I won't get involved on the Internet. No launching of anything except my Word program and Gurunet. That's a great program for looking up things you need while writing. Dictionay, Thesaurus, search engines to find out things like: how much a subway ride was in 1943. But it can be distracting, too. Still, I need this program. I'll have to use self-control. I can do that.

I hate when a week like this happens because I don't feel I deserve a weekend of doing whatever I want. I like to write my 5 days and then reward myself. It's not going to happen. Oh, I'll do the same things I would if I'd written all week. But I'll do it with a smidgen of guilt. Never any point in feeling too guilty, is there?

Wednesday, November 10, 2004


The words! I collected them in all shapes and sizes and hung them like bangles in my mind.
Hortense Calisher

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Advance The Story

I finished chapter 3 today and I still don't know who the dead woman is.

But I'm not nervous yet.  Usually a character's identity is revealed to me eventually.  It will have to be within the next few chapters so I can advance the story,

I used to keep a sign on my bulletin board that said:


It's not a bad thing to do.  The sign, that is.  It doesn't matter what kind of novel you're writing you need to always advance the story.  I'm not talking about cliffhangers here.  Just keep the story moving along.  No flights of fancy, please.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

The Surprise Character

I forgot to mention that last Monday I had my protagonist searching a hotel room for clues to the missing man. She opened a wardrobe and the body of a naked woman fell out.

I didn't plan this at all.  It happened.  I have no idea who she is or what she has to do with the missing man case.  The woman falling out of the wardrobe was the way I ended chapter two.

I'm 4 pages into chapter 4 and I still don't know anything about her.  The police have arrived now.  Don't have any idea where this is going to go.

Yes, it's a bit scary not to know, but it's also what makes writing without an outline fun.  Maybe tomorrow I'll find out who she is.

Saturday, November 06, 2004


A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts.
William Strunk, Jr.

Never Give Up

Yesterday I was in my local library when a man came in and said "What happened to all the Barara Pym novels? I've been reading her and now they all seem to be missing."

The librarian looked her up on the computer. She was there. But when the librarian and the man went into the stacks Pym was, indeed, missing.

After a search Pym was discovered in the discard pile that was going to the Book Cottage. The BC is behind the library and is open from April through November Wednesdays and Saturdays. For a quarter or two dollars you can pick up some great stuff. Most of it is junk, but you never know. Now some lucky person will discover Barbara Pym.

Who was she?

Her first novel, Some Tame Gazelle, was published in 1950, followed by five more books. In 1963 the new chief editor of her publisher rejected An Unsuitable Attachment, because, as he wrote, "in present conditions we could not sell a sufficient number of copies to cover costs". In 1969 she sent The Sweet Dove Died, written in 1968, to many publishers, with no success. Discouraged, she stopped writing.

But in 1977 she got her revenge. The Times Literary Supplement asked some eminent literates to list the "most underrated novelist of the century". Barbara Pym is the only one who was mentioned twice, by poet Philip Larkin and by Lord David Cecil.

Pym was established as a major novelist. Her next novel, Quartet in Autumn, was readily accepted and she was able to publish two more books before her death in 1980.

The above bio is in thanks to Claudia Di Giorgio

But all those wonderful novels are going to the Book Cottage because in our library (and I suspect in most small libraries) if a book hasn't been taken out in two years more than once it's chucked out.

So if you're rejected, don't give up, and if you get accepted don't take yourself too seriously. You might wind up in the Book Cottage yourself someday. Still, in between you'll give some readers pleasure.

Read Pym.

Friday, November 05, 2004

A Three Day Week

I skipped writing on Wednesday because I stayed up very late watching election returns. Also woke up early.  Now I'm skipping today, Friday.


Why? I'm not sure. My partner is away. I got up a little late and had to take care of all the morning chores that we usually divide.  Big deal, right. But before I knew it it was almost 10 and I told myself to take the day. I'm playing hooky have stuff to do...write in this blog, shop for food, answer email, pay bills, take back videos and...


Nothing else.


Face it. I'm playing hooky and that's all there is to it. I have today and the weekend to catch up on reading and other enjoyable things.


Monday I'll start writing again. It's not so awful...I have two chapters and 4 pages of chapter 3.  So I don't have to push myself to write, right?


I feel happy!

Tuesday, November 02, 2004


"There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are".
---- Somerset Maugham