Monday, January 15, 2018

learning to change

Like a mangy beast, the manuscript shifts and growls as I comb the knots out of its fur, careful around the wounds.
Pick fleas and crush them with my teeth.
 Smooth, but leave it wild and living, uncivilized, uncultured.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Blood on the pages

Sometime in the night, this happened.

Yes. Those are my first five pages he's chewing on. It doesn't hurt.

When was the last time you read a book that kept you up too late, made you laugh, made you sweat and made you say "NOW WHAT?" and made you sad when the ride was finally over?

Me neither. That's what I'm writing.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

ten of swords

Alone the next morning with her coffee and tarot cards, Anna was adrift in the ocean of sensations and emotions she’d been steeping in since the shooting and imagined that she glowed in the dark. Anyone who looked at her could see it.
She pulled one card from the deck - the ten of Swords. Her soul pinched her hard on the heart.

The dead man lay prone under a black sky, ten swords staking him to the ground, his cloak and the earth under him bloodied. She remembered the day Tam caught her trying to duck the same card back into the deck. She was eight or nine and it had frightened her. Tam pinned the card to the kitchen table with a strong finger.
No, no, little girl. There can’t be no light without darkness.”
Her aunt bent down beside her at the table and put an arm around her.
See this card? All them swords? All that blood? This is bad as it gets. Yes, that body is dead, but the spirit goes on, you know that. See his hand? Even dead, he blesses his killers, jes like Jesus. Freed him from trouble and pain, they did.”
Tam knocked hard on the table with her knuckles, like when they played poker.
A good job.Ten swords. Took a gang to bring this fellow down. And alla his blood? It’s blessing the soil. And that sunrise! I see a new day for his big spirit and a new body waiting somewhere on the horizon.”
She stood up and sat in a chair across the round, scarred table from Anna.
I see this card as a birthday. Them swords might as well be candles. Don’t try to duck death, sweetheart. Charm him. Ask him to dance. You’ll best him that way every time.”

Friday, December 15, 2017

from June 2013

 "The Killing" did not disappoint but there may just be a KILLING over the commercials!

 Yesterday I put off reading an article in the NY Times about the resurrection of the show -I didn't want to run into any spoilers and I won't print any here.  The article had tasty bits about the actual writing of the story. Much to think about for my own writing.

I've self-identified as what's called a "spontaneous" writer. A scene here, a character sketch there adding up to a whole pile of (very) loosely related fragments. Picture a cow shitting it's way across a broad pasture, wandering, circling and stepping in its old crap. It's become frustrating, pointless and messy.

I won't call it a plot but I need to make a map for myself with the things I like about a good story, well told.  A Start, a Middle and a Resolution - with plenty of wandering, woolgathering and time shifts and character exploration worked in along the way - just respecting those time-honored markers in the long run.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

revision as healing

I've been emailing back and forth with an unofficial beta-reader. Unofficial, but she's willing to read and comment and for that, I'm deeply grateful. She's a reader, not a writer. Bonus!

She was sad to report that, at the end of part one, she did not like my female main character one bit.
I was glad to hear it because that was my intention. I starting thinking back over how hard it's been for me to make her as fully faceted a character as the male MC. Then something the beta wrote about when she stopped liking Anna made me realize that, because of a very violent experience, Anna is suffering from post traumatic stress disorder which was not recognized, particularly for crime vicitms, unitl the 80's, the decade after this story takes place.

I did a little quick google and she has many of the long list of criteria found in the DSM. Although she spent a short time in a mental facility, the stay was adjudicated and she resisted what little treatment there was.

Now I have to go back and do more to show how this incident affected her and the decisions she made about her life going forward. Write about a crippling psychological disorder without using the jargon and without any notion of treatment or recovery is going to be challenging.

Bless the Betas for they shall make us better writers. If anyone is interested, please email me! 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

giving it away

My FB feed is flooded with ads where authors (or maybe it's their publishers) are giving away books for free. Nada. Nothing.  After writing several books worth over the past three years, all I can think is this.


The entire "me too" thing has given me some pause about my female main character. Have I given her enough agency? Is she weak?

  I let the question sit for a few days. I'm not touching it. The story is set in the mid 70's. Nobody even knew what it meant. She's not weak, but the price is steep. I'm not writing a comic book and I'm not going to pander to any current social trends.