Texture: It’s the Details

My brain has always focused on the details of a scene. The minutia. I remember the wallpaper of my bedroom when I was two. It was tan with cowboys and lassos on it. My grandmother wore my favorite apron the day my parents brought my baby sister home from the hospital: white, with blue tea kettles on it. The kitchen was yellow, and the bassinette was next to the stove.

I think putting the details into a book adds texture. The details reveal character. Susan Elizabeth Phillips is a genius at doing this. What I Did for Love is full of texture, and that’s why it’s one of my favorite books. Jennifer Crusie does it in Bite Me.  The books I go back to and re-read  all the time have the little details that appeal to me.

I need to remember to add these things in my own writing.

 

When Writing Comes Together

I’m in the throes of starting a new book. The working title is Night Shift. I’m learning about the characters, both of whom have been in previous books–the hero in three, the heroine in one.  The hero was a minor a character in the first two books. He played a larger role in the third (the fourth Toke Lobo & Pack book, which is pending, TBA). I kept seeing him as Seth Rogen.

Even though one part of my brain kept seeing this, I knew it was wrong. My hero is not a funny guy.

I caught part of the Espy Awards, thought maybe Jake Wood could be the visual.

I thought wrong.

For giggles, I wondered about the guy who plays Jon Snow in A Game of Thrones. Now, for the record, I do not watch this show. I know nothing about this show except some memes I’ve seen on Facebook. So I went to Pinterest and typed in JON SNOW. This is what came up.

Well, if that wasn’t a sign I was on the right track for the hero of Night Shift, I don’t know what was. So I typed in the actor’s name: Kit Harrington.

OMG, this is my character. Jean jacket. T-shirt. Jeans. So that was settled.

I decided to do some reading about the character in the show, just to see what was what–if he was a good guy or a bad guy and so on. Good guy. That works. But he’s called the white wolf? He has a white direwolf as a pet? I was flabbergasted.

But yeah, I think I’m on the right track for the hero of Night Shift.

 

#UpbeatAuthors: Self-Respect

When I become interested in an author, I will read all I can about that person. Many years ago, someone recommended A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf to me. I read it. I liked it. I bought several of her books. Didn’t care for her fiction. I took out volumes of her letters from the library and read them. I purchased A Writer’s Diary, a book with excerpts from her journals as compiled by her husband after her death. There were relatable moments. One might say I studied Virginia Woolf as an author.

A friend of mine was involved in a book discussion group at a local university. When the group was scheduled to discuss Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own, my friend invited me to attend with her. We went to the college professor’s home for the discussion. I was young, impressionable, and feeling rather awed that these educated people were including me, with my high school diploma, in their discussion. We drank tea in a room with red “oriental” carpets strewn over shiny wood floors. There may have been Georgia O’Keefe prints on the white walls. I was a little intimidated.

I didn’t say much. After all, who was I?

I now regret not speaking up at the end of the session, when the professor said, “We should all strive to emulate Virginia Woolf.”

As I said to my friend in the car as we drove home, “Why would I want to emulate a woman who committed suicide? Killing myself isn’t my definition of success.”

My friend was shocked. She didn’t realize Woolf had indeed killed herself. She berated me for not speaking out. I confessed my intimidation. She replied: “But you’re right.”

After that night, I didn’t feel quite so belittled for skipping college to get on with life. Not having a degree doesn’t mean I’m ignorant. It merely means I’m self-educated.

 

#UpbeatAuthors – Following Your Dreams

I cannot remember a time when I did not want to be an writer. Does that make working toward becoming a published author a dream or a goal?

I do know one thing: my children saw me working toward fulfilling this dream. I like think that gave them a positive role model to pursue their own dreams. They watched me cry when I received a particularly hurtful rejection; they celebrated with me when I had a writing contest win; they witnessed the hard work that goes into making dreams come true.

I hope I taught them that dreams are important.

Mondays with MJ: #UpbeatAuthors

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m mixing up my social media a bit in 2018. One of those changes is blogging on Monday instead of Sunday. The logic behind this move is that last year, I became of a group called Upbeat Authors, which is a “group of authors who support each other and take part in weekly, themed posts about happiness and positivity through their own social media and other outlets.”

We all need happiness and positivity.

This week’s topic is: one resolution you’re making this year you’ve never made before.

Except I don’t make resolutions. I set goals.

One of my goals this year is to self-publish a novella I wrote a couple of years ago. My critique partners and I came up with a theme for a self-published anthology, but due to life changes, that project never came to fruition. I, however, now have a novella about a werewolf baseball player.

And I’m going to self-publish it in 2018. As we used to say when I worked in TV: stay tuned!