Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Kill the darlings...

Faulkner said it. KILL THE DARLINGS... We writers know it: the creed. How does it go? Write what you know? Write honestly. Don't use pretty words for the sake of being pretty. Kill the darlings, the phrases and quips you adore because you think you're so genius (flawed from the start...) All the best writers have said these things. The biggest being: SHOW DON'T TELL, which for me is one of those rules I sometimes take exception to. I argue, "But I want to tell!" and "I want to draw attention to my narrative self." After all, rules are meant to be broken. But I'll tell you: something I am learning the hard way: I better have a damn good reason to break any of these rules. No ridiculous "because I want to."

I am proud to say that I'm up to chapter five "This Charming Man" in my latest revision of ALL THINGS BEAUTIFUL. A chapter a day... and in twenty-two days, I'll be finished with this latest revision. A girl can dream, can't she?

Any thoughts from you guys on the writer's creed? On revision? On Halloween? On All Saint's Day?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Happy Halloween 1975

In this picture, I'm the same age my son is now. That's me on the left and my sister, the Blue Fairy on the right.

Halloween is my favorite holiday. I like the daily make-believe scenarios my son creates. We spot ghosts and goblins everywhere we look. There are witches all around us. Some disguised, others not. I don't think I've ever skipped dressing up on Halloween. I like that it's kid-centered, and I like that we adults get to pretend too. (And I like chocolate--as I mentioned earlier.)

Other things I like about Halloween: that we used to give away bags of popped corn and candied apples--before the fear of razor blades; It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, Bela Lugosi vampire movies, making scary cupcakes, Halloween decorations, hayrides to pumpkin patches, carving Jack O'Lanterns... Every year, from second grade on up, I've carved at least one Jack O'Lantern. As a kid, I did this by myself, but now Danny, Christopher and I get to make Jack O'Lanterns as a family. It's so much fun! This year, we've already decorated some with paint, but we're still planning to do some carving.

So, what do you like about Halloween? Please share.

And we can't forget apple bobbing!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Nine pages in three weeks

It's that time of year once again. Apple picking, crisp nights, Halloween and the annual gathering of Richmond's eccentrics and humble at the Fitzgerald campout. I am all over it!

On the writing front, I am ripping my flaxseed growing hair out! I am putting my ass in the chair every day, but in three weeks, I've revised, rewritten and rewritten and rewritten NINE PAGES. That's nine pages in 21 days. To be exact, pages 306 to 315. Oy vay. I know that when it "happens" like this, it usually pays off. Maybe other pages will fly from beneath my approaching-middle-age fingers. Certainly they will. Don't you think? I spent two of these three weeks on pages 306-309, so at least I am making progress. Happy Fall to all of you. XXXXXXX OOOOOOOOO

Friday, October 2, 2009

Baking and writing what you know

So, we're all familiar with the old adage, Write what you know. Whether you know it personally or you've experienced it through observation or empathy, it still has to be something that you cane imagine and identify with.

Well, that all makes good sense. But what I find funny is lately my writing seems to be determining what I do. For example, yesterday I wrote about a baker mixing flour and vanilla, eggs and sugar, and without being conscious of it, I ended up baking Toll House cookies with my son this afternoon. (We usually only bake at Christmas.) I didn't realize the connection until flour was in my son's hair, the cookies were in the oven. Cookie dough on the dog. Oh yeah, and baking soda on the floor. And butter on a CD case.

Other examples: I'm taking photographs with a Brownie Hawkeye b/c one of my latest characters has one.

I started collecting Virgin Mary figurines after my character started collecting them. I wonder if this is "normal"?

I know. I know. What's normal anyway?