Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Logic of Writing

I love when a story is working. When one scene leads naturally to the next. Folks always consider writers "creative types." As if we're all airy and light, tossing back bonbons with one hand, dreaming up stories in a pink, frothy cloud of distraction.

I don't see it that way at all. In fact, I mentioned in a post not long ago that I'm IT for my family. I have a facility for technology and I think it's the same kind of thing that works for me with writing. Logic. Being able to decipher a problem because of what should come next.

I couldn't care less about muses. My goodness, if I waited for one to show up, I'd never have finished the first book. (Two small children, little league, guitar lessons, violin lessons, school choir practice, a husband constantly on travel--and oh, yeah, a full-time day job.) So, muses--I don't think so--not unless he or she had shown up with a driver's license and the undying devotion to my children that schedule required! (Have you ever noticed how few people are as willing to slave for your children as you?)

However, I believe in story logic, in the logic of the English language, in using both to write a story that appeals to me, because I am kind of my first reader, and those pages where I'm going "let's get to the good stuff" need to suffer the plunge of the delete key.

The book I'm tidying now has been one of the most difficult I've ever written. Do all writers get one that writes itself? Cause, hello, I'm tapping my foot with impatience for my shot at that! This one has been start and stop, running gleefully into a brick wall, realizing my hero and heroine had no real problems so I dared not let them be in the same room or they'd declare themselves in love. And why couldn't they? Why, because I was writing a romance. (Kiss of death for romance writer who wants to offer an involving story.)

So, my friends, Jennifer LaBrecque (Harlequin Blaze and NASCAR) and Susan Floyd (SuperRomance) helped me to an answer and suddenly those pages and scenes began falling in place. Scenes I'd already written had purpose (hiding, just out of my view until the conflict was right). Usually, when I'm this pushed and--let's be frank--late--I start to hate writing, but not this time. I'm loving the logic of a story with all its pieces intact!

I wish I knew it was perfect. I wish I had faith that it will grab a reader with the emotions I'm feeling as I write it, but I never feel that kind of confidence, and I'm just grateful for a lovely editor who's willing to point me in the right revision direction. But work is going well. I'm gleeful, and I'm not too afraid of that wall sliding out of nowhere again.

If you're working today, I hope you're enjoying, too.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Small Towns/Hot Weather/Christmas in July/History Lessons

I live in a small town. So small my girlo and I visit the bookstore taking shape to admire the new changes which mean we won't have to rely on online stores and a 45-minute trip to feed our addiction. That's right--I live in a town so small, watching a bookstore rise is a pastime.

We have one road that falls prey to traffic, but if you get on this 2-lane parking lot, you're on for the duration. Yesterday, I forgot to look at the time before I made that deceptively clear-looking right turn. Over the hill and into a string of red lights, wavering in a heat shimmer--a traffic jam that lasted for the length of 2 programs on XM's Radio Classics.

I love the glimpse of history on Radio Classics, and this is Christmas in July week, where they play radio shows from way back, all set at the Christmas season. While I whiled away an hour on a stretch of road that takes five minutes w/o traffic, I listened to Bob Hope and Bing Cosby performing for wounded veterans in a California VA hospital in 1946.

Bing's Christmas wish was that next year the hospital would be empty because all of these wounded soldiers would be at home. Bob's was that the holiday spirit had so filled the hearts and homes of soldiers and sailors who would not be coming back that their places were not empty.

So little changes. I usually ramble on this blog--whatever's on my mind--and I actually care about not offending folks because I hate a rant, but I have to say, just this once--even in my lifetime, history has provided lessons we ignore.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Family Pictures

My cousin and I have been talking about a vacation that she and her mother and our aunt and my beloved and I (four women, one guy, and his golf clubs) are taking. In the process, we've swapped a couple of photos. When she and I were this age, people thought we were twins. We know my brother and both of hers, and she and I are both almost positive we know which of us is which--but I distinctly remember wearing the coat that she's wearing. Weird, although we may have swapped.

And how does this pertain to writing? Look at those boys. They're adolescents, fully personality-ridden, one leaning into the air, another an older brother, covering his younger, taking over at the handlebars, and the last, a cousin, clinging, white-knuckled, but all on the verge of racing into the parent taking the pic. We two girls are so young we're just kind of grinning. We're not so comfortable in our personalities yet--passively sitting, not willing to state who we are with a pose. Someone just set us on the horsies, and we're staying put.

We're characters without characterization yet. (Sorry to my sister/cousin if you see this. I could be wrong! And since you were so quiet and "ladylike"--and I was so not--I'm sure everyone who knew us, knew us apart, even then!)

Gotta go fill up a character with some characterization.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

It's Tuesday

No time to read; no time to swim; gotta write.

Always time to sort out my family's IT problems! :-)

Here's a silent plea that next book I get the conflict right the first time! ;-) However, even though I'm doing a rewrite because of that slightly sideways conflict, I love these characters, and I'm thinking I want to move to Honesty, Virginia!

Just before I hit the Publish Post button, I saw that I still can't spell "right." It always comes out "write." Or perhaps I'm flaunting my Freudian slip!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Lovely Photo!

A picture of our favorite child! (Sorry girl and boyo!)

But look at that charm! And we just pretend not to notice his addiction to chewing anything made of hard plastic.

Mondays Look Different to Me Now

I've been lucky in that I've always made my living by writing or editing or both, but some of those writing/editing jobs weren't as much fun as writing romance. I can remember Sundays when I spent all day dreading Monday.

Not so, now. Monday is a new day, a new week, a new chance to get ever so much accomplished! I hope everyone finally comes to a job where Mondays look so good.

As for me, I'd better take advantage of all this newness!

Thursday, July 19, 2007


Remember when writing was purely fun? I sort of do. Right now, I'm 'rasslin'.

The old conflict--wasn't. So, my friends Susan Floyd and Jennifer LaBrecque sorted me out. Sometimes you just can't see that stinking forest, and I apparently had a redwood in my eye (to mix metaphors or analogies?).

I'm back at it, but panicked so everything else is moving slowly. I took a break to plant some stuff by the wall this morning. Now I'm back at those pages. Imagine the shock of running straight into a five-page scene that totally deflates any conflict ever. You'd think, after 14? 15? books, I'd know better.

Monday, July 16, 2007

A New Blog Day!

That's what it is for me because we've finally given in to satellite Internet access. I hope to be a bit more faithful in showing up!

We're having a lovely day in the South, not too hot, crickets/frogs singing up a beautiful, raucous storm (you can't imagine how much that sounds like home until you haven't heard it in 5 1/2 years!), and my girl's sitting a few feet away, catching up on her Harry Potter re-read. She reads the whole "oeuvre" again each time a new one comes out. How sad to think this is the last new one! I love those stories, love the characters, love the battle, hate to see it all end. (And who else is worried about stumbling on the answer to the "big" question?)

Can't hang around long. There's this WIP deadline... And my friend, Kate Walker, is still having her international blog party, and she's invited me to join in--so I have to finish getting some stuff together now that I can finally send it in something less than two days. Thanks, Kate for your extreme patience!

Back soon!

Sunday, July 1, 2007


Long time, no blog. I've been buried in a deadline and house stuff and the false promise of high speed. ;-)

However, lovely news draws me out again. Romantic Times gave The Man from Her Past a 4. Yay! I haven't actually seen the review, but I saw the number. Exciting! I never actually remember to send the ms. out for reviews elsewhere so this is a moment I wait for each book.

I wish you all a lovely summer, and I'll be back tomorrow.