Archive for the ‘Stories’ Category
I’m afflicted — cursed, if you will — with being that most heinous of attributes: Nice.
Some people — normal people — might think nice is a good thing. And that is, indeed, the case when you’re dealing with fellow human beings. A little kindness can go a long, long way.
But when you’re an author trying to make life difficult for your hero and heroine, a nice streak as wide as the mighty Mississippi just gets in the way.
Trust me, I know. That’s my CP’s main complaint with the MS she’s reading for me right now — and it was the main point of one of the agents who gave me detailed feedback on my 2011 Golden Heart finalist.
Obviously, it’s a problem for me.
I think it boils down to this: My characters are like old friends (some of them very old, having been knocking around my head since the mid-1990s). As I wrote in a guest post on the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood last spring, they’re folks I’d enjoy meeting for coffee or dinner.
And because I like these people, the last thing I want is to see them suffer.
But suffer they must. In the words of my CP, I need to “Make them wiggle. Make them squirm. Make them unhappy. Uncomfortable. Put roadblocks in their way. Conflict is what drives a book and keeps the reader wondering how they will ever end up together.”
I can see her point. There’s not much keeping someone reading if they know the hero and heroine are meant for each other halfway through the story, is there?
That means I have to accept that torturing my characters — as much as I hate to do it — will make the story stronger in the end.
So I’m taking off the gloves. Now I just need to figure out how to channel the meanest person I know.
About 12 years — and four computers — ago, I submitted a one-act play to my theater group, to be considered for their one-act festival. Not long after that, I moved to Arizona and started writing a book based on that play.
That book is “Blind Date Bride,” to date my only single-title MS:
1 very shy accountant + 1 outgoing veterinarian + 2 meddling friends = 1 marriage of decided inconvenience
This week, I got word that the group plans to include my play in their one-act festival. (You might have seen my tweet or Facebook post spreading the news.) The news was completely unexpected — and thrilling.
To be honest, I forgot about the play … or at least forgot about submitting it to Civic Players of Logansport. But I’m honored that they kept it in their files all this time and decided to put it onstage.
It was designed to be about 10 minutes in length, with a cast of four and a simple set: just two doors, perpendicular to the stage, separating the heroine/her friend and hero/his friend. The friends were in the “hallway” together, with the leads shut in separate rooms in the church basement, complaining about the mess their friends have gotten them into.
The scene later became the first scene in my MS.
I’m bummed that I won’t be able to see it, since I’m in Arizona and they’re in Indiana. But they’ve promised to send me a DVD of the performance. I can’t wait to see my words brought to life.
Indiana peeps, you can see “Blind Date Bride” as part of “Theatre One: A Collection of One-Acts,” in March. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. March 9 and 10, and 2:30 p.m. March 11, in Logansport.
I’m off from the day job for this long, holiday weekend (thank goodness), but I plan to use my time wisely and get lots of writing-related things accomplished.
On my to-do list (after updating the blog, of course):
- Finish my current WIP, tentatively titled “Diva in the Dugout.” It’s the companion to my GH finalist, “Beauty and the Ballplayer” — the one I started in March, after getting the GH call … the one I figured “If that’s the story that’s going to succeed, I’d better write another one in the same series.”
- Get back into the swing of writing “Trouble in Paradise?” — the one I put on hold to write Dave & Melinda’s story … and the one I plan to enter in the 2012 GH. I’d like to write at least 5K new words.
- Re-edit “My Fair Fiancee” so I can get it out to my volunteer beta reader. (I lost the edits somehow — probably the same way I lost the edits on Meg & Matt’s story — and have to re-enter them. Thank goodness I have a hard copy to work from.) I’m planning to put that one in the GH this year, too (different category).
- Judge at least 2 of the 5 Golden Pen entries I received. I don’t want that deadline to creep up on me with 5 left.
- Write a synopsis and query for “My Fair Fiancee” so it’s ready to go.
There you have it: My weekend plans. Wonder if I can squeeze it all in before the Boyfriend gets back from his tennis tournament and wants to play? I sure hope so!
If I do, I’ll be able to curl up with Anne Marie Becker’s “Only Fear” when it’s delivered to my Nook on Monday. Right now I’m reading Jaci Burton’s “Changing the Game.”
Sometimes you just need to retreat.
No, I’m not talking about the kind of retreat where you curl up in a ball and hide from the world because rejection number three thousand five hundred and ninety-nine has just found its way to your inbox.
I’m talking about the “lock yourself away and write until your fingers fall off” variety.
That’s the kind of retreat I’ve been blessed to undertake for the last several days while on vacation from the day job.
Okay, I still have all ten fingers … nine of my toes, too. The tenth is numb after its run-in with my exercise bike. Being the klutz I am, I kicked the dumb thing while I was walking around.
Having been at my office for 10-plus years, I get a ridiculous amount of vacation to burn off every year (four weeks) — and this summer, I have to take it before our staff goes down in number. (One of my fellow page designers is leaving at the end of the month.)
So I’m off work for two whole weeks and the Boyfriend is out of town. He took his kids to California to see where he grew up.
What’s a pre-published author to do with all that free time? Write, of course.
One day, I poured out 3,500 words of my WIP (the one connected to “Beauty and the Ballplayer.”) Another day saw a word count of 2,ooo. The other two days were 800 and 1,100 — and that’s with breaks for movies. (Being a comedy fan, I went to see “Bad Teacher” one night and “Friends with Benefits” another afternoon.)
Even today, with grocery shopping and softball practice, I’ve written about 700 words — and reached a turning point. In fact, I’m going to get back to it now. See you on the other side … hopefully with a fully finished first draft.