August 30, 2010

Writing a New Summary/ Or setting as Character

After I sent my 80,000 word novel, HUNGRY FOR CHOCOLATE, to the publisher last week, I decided I needed to do a new summary for this particular publisher.

Since the book is set in West Virginia and that's where the publisher is located, I felt I needed a summary that incorporated all the mountain state elements and flavors of the story.

Earlier summaries of this story centered on the surrogacy itself and on the relationships between the characters. Setting wasn't mentioned. Not so, this new one.

I wanted to play up the setting as character. The story takes place in 1998, in the small fictional town of Shady Creek, West Virginia. The people are close knit, not tolerable of strangers, or new ideas. And, surrogacy to the people of Shady Creek was indeed "strange."

The fact that the main character lives in a historic landmark, an old Victorian home built in the late 1800's, that First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt visited in the late 1930's when she toured West Virginia was never mentioned in any other summary but in this one it's relevant.

It felt good to tell this story from the perspective of setting. Funny, but you think of a story as having only one summary. I can see now how a story can have many summaries. It all depends on perspective. Looking at the story from another lens, or from another angle.

Am I crazy or do you think this is true? That a story can have many or at least more than one summary? I'd never thought about this before now, until I experienced it.

Let me know what you think.
And blessings to you whatever you think!

August 24, 2010

Small Steady Steps plus Hungry Update

This post is about small steady steps and how going at writing in this way leads to success, in my opinion. Success being totally subjective and having different meaning for all of us in regards to our writing endeavors and how successful we want to be or even think we are.

I've never thought much about the process of writing or of how I pick and choose when and how and what I write. I just know I do something each day toward writing. One small step. And it's satisfying.

Whether it's journaling, blogging, reading - a huge piece of writing well, or working on an essay or a piece of fiction - somehow I am attending to the side of my self that needs to create with words. Small, steady steps.

My first story to get published was one of the first I wrote. That lead me to believe that getting published was easy. All I had to do was jot off an essay that was mildly interesting with a dash of humor, Erma Bombeck style - give it a nice beginning, a good strong middle and an ending that satisfied - at least myself. I had a run of several months of publication of my essays, for pay, with the Cleveland Plain Dealer back when they took slice of life pieces and paid for them. And then like that, it was over. The editor that liked my style retired.

Last spring the essay that I wrote on health care ran in two large newspapers and I was paid for neither. The success of that piece came because I said something that I needed to say about our health insurance concerns. And that to me was very satisfying.

Most of us are not in this to get wealthy. It happens but not frequently. We're in it because we can't do anything else. Most of us, anyway.

Since those early days it's been hit and miss and I have to admit I've loved every second of this ride. Not especially those months of hammering out a piece of fiction that simply wouldn't work or wouldn't work at that particular time.

And I have a fair share of stories that have been stopped mid way. Either because of a short coming on my part or that of the story itself. I could go back and moan and groan over the work that I didn't finish. (and I have to admit - I've done this at great length over the years.) OR, I can move forward and feel good that I learned something from each project and can take that information with me into my new story.

Thus said, I'm ready to start afresh on KILL ME OR DRIVE ME TO FLORIDA with Frank and Daisy and Lily. I look forward to getting re acquainted. I believe I left them stranded at the COAL MINER MOTEL in a snow storm.

NOW for a quick update: Hungry For Chocolate is now in a pdf file with a publisher in WV. It will take several months for them to review it. Wish me luck, send me your prayers and all that.

Now, let's get cracking. The day is a-wastin'


August 16, 2010

The Writer - The Pancreas - AND Octomom Lips

Dang pancreas. It's had its way with me one too many times. I'm done with it. AND I'm declaring WAR on IT and any other body part that intends to stand in the way of my writing. FOR NOW AND FOREVER MORE!

I've had to stop too many stories, often for months at a time, to deal with the havoc it wrecks on my life. Not to mention my health. And that of my family.

After three or four such bouts with this cantankerous organ, I had to stop again recently while editing HUNGRY to tango with this persistently unhappy body part of mine.

Our dance was done a few days ago at Ohio State University Hospital. Outpatient with Dr. G and his staff officiating.

A balloon - perhaps a robust red party balloon - who knows? - was used to stretch some sense into the duct - hoping to put an end to all the shenanigans it had been doing, and then to assist the balloon a plastic stent was inserted to keep the little "devil" duct open as it is supposed to be naturally.

After a much needed talk and some roughing up from the doctor, the pancreas and duct should be believers. That remains to be seen.

After I recover in a few days - and my lips go back down, they somehow got mashed in the process and I came out looking like Octomom - I'll once again be ready to pick up the tools of my trade, my pens and pencils and laptop, and take to the writing fields.

Because I have HOPE, an endless amount, I believe that this time will be the last time.

But as I said, I've declared WAR. If it comes back we'll do battle again.

I hope while I've been dancing YOU have been working.

PS Previously, the pancreas duct was damaged by gall stones, leaving scarring which prevents its working at times.

August 9, 2010

Fifties Music Cure for What ails you...

Yesterday I was feeling sick but went grocery shopping anyway to pick up a few things we needed.

I shop at one of those stores where you can buy everything from groceries, to the latest movie, to tires for the car.

I passed one of those machines that plays music. The ones where you punch the song you want to hear and it takes off. Mostly the machines offer Celtic tunes, or peaceful songs to lull one to sleep. Not this one. It had some great selections.

My choice was SODA SHOP CLASSICS and when it started playing, I was whisked back to the late fifties right there in the music/candles aisle of the super store. Back to when I was 12 or 13, just at the age when all of life seemed impossibly tragic and out of my reach.

WHY MUST I BE A TEEN AGER IN LOVE by Dion & The Belmonts sent chills up my spine because I remembered singing that to the Ricky Nelson and Elvis posters on my wall when my first boyfriend shunned me, pretend mike in my hand as I sprawled on my twin bed with the blond headboard. (Remember blond wood???)

Next came The Beach Boys singing, "Ba Ba Ba, Ba Ba Ba-A-RAN, Oh, BARBARA ANN," my own namesake song. I sang along with the boys as I twirled around the room in my skirt with a dozen starched crinolines underneath, my blond pony tail bobbing against my shoulders. The ribbon from the pony tail flying around my head as I flew across the room.

Oh those were the days. And those were the songs that made my heart beat faster. Still make my heart beat faster.

Since I bought the cd, I can whisk myself back to the fifties whenever I want with a turn of the knob on my cd player.

And you know, I don't feel nearly as bad now as I did before I went shopping. In fact I think I might be cured!

Blessings to you all and here's to you finding what makes your heart beat faster.