Friday, December 11, 2015

Words Are Important

I am one of those annoying folks who will use move quotes in my daily conversation. Luckily I have a friend or two who also participates in such nonsense and so we run with it as often a we can. I will share some of my faves and how I have used them in a bit, but I just want to explain why words are important.

The obvious is they convey everything we need someone, even ourselves, to know. In some cases, our poor choice of words can get us into hot water or our excellent choice makes us shine. But sometimes we just don't know how to say what we need to say so we do what comes natural . We borrow or steal someone else's words. There is the infamous quote "Good artists copy, great artists steal." attributed to Picasso, but was actually written by T.S. Eliot in his book, The Sacred Wood: Essays on Poetry and Criticism. (See paragraph 5 and replace 'artists' with 'poets') I don't steal in my own writing, though I admit certain phrases uttered by an Edith Wharton character or two has made me think of ways to sound refined yet removed from the situation.

Anyway, there are times yelling out "It's good to be the King." works. There are also times speaking as if you were Hudson on the original "Upstairs Downstairs" also fits. At least in my world with my one particular friend who is as big an Anglophile as myself. Without further ado, here are lines written by others in book or in films, I have tossed around in conversations, just used randomly or when the situation calls for it and I am not ashamed one bit.

A Room with a View - "I never venture forth without my mackintosh squares." - Eleanor Lavish

"Here is where the bird sings! Here is where the sky is blue!" You have to point at your heart like Denholm Elliott did as well.

"Did you know you were a Leonardo?" -  Cecil Vyse

"Mr. Beebe, matches!" - Freddie Honeychurch

"Beauty!" - George Emerson

I have yelled out "Helllooo!" like Mrs. Doubtfire on many occasions. No one gets it.

Family Guy - "It's good to have land."

Wings of the Dove - "Look at my view Milly, isn't it wonderful?"  - Lord Mark

30 Rock -  "What the what?"   "I want to go to there." -  Liz Lemon

Sense and Sensibility  "Do sit down."  To be fair this phrase is in every Jane Austen book/film so can be ascribed to more than one character.

"Do be careful girls, the horses have been here."  - Mrs. Jennings.

Rosemary's Baby - I adore the book and the film and the creepiest line for my friend and I is when Roman Castevet says, "To 1966! The year 1!"

The Producers - "That's it baby when you got it flaunt it! Flaunt it!"  

One of the best deliveries of a line ever.

I have tons more, but unfortunately my son with a cold needs my attention so off I go. Have a beautiful weekend.


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Query Is Out

Yes. I have sent it off to Mr. Sambuchino for a thrashing. Am I nervous? I would be a big haired liar if I said I was not. To have an actual professional take a gander at what I have struggled with is scary and also giggle inducing. I chalk that up to nerves and my third large cup of tea. Now it is work on synopsis time as well as a the outline of the sequel to Deconstructing Angels. Oh I'm sorry, did I fail to mention there is a second part to this story? Yes there is my dears. Also a touch scary, but if all is a go with the first book, I will be ready to write out part deux.
In the meantime, the next story is all lined up and ready to begin. Problem is, I am not sure if it should be a book or a script? I think it will tell me while I take a few days to catch my breath and prepare myself for more query overhauls. Breathe in and out, in and out...

Dean Winchester makes everything all better. 

When people scoff at those who go into the Arts, they fail to realize just how much time, effort and sanity goes into those fields. Who in their ever-loving right mind wants to work on things for years which may or may not give you a payout? Artists. We are the only human beings who get that art matters. Even to those who don't think they care for art. Your boss may say he can't tell a Miro from a mirror, but he drives a fancy colored sports car with a sleek design and upscale touches throughout. That's art baby, not just technical "put the lever" here stuff.

Arts are not for the weak I tell you, but you all already knew that. My favorite quote in regards to how art burrows itself deep into someone is from the movie Frida. Alfred Molina who is playing the artist Diego Rivera is asked by Frida, played by Salma Hayek, to give his opinion on her work.

"What do you care about my opinion? If you're a real painter, you'll paint because you can't live without painting. You'll paint till you die."

And here is the scene:

Create on my friends, create on.


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Social Media, Progress and Amen

When you are a writer, they say you need to have a web presence. Makes sense since your job is pretty much to make sure the entire world knows you are selling wonderful tales of (insert genre here) that they will want to read over and over. If you have fan they will want a way to connect with you and even possibly engage in banter if you allow them. Also, your agent and publisher need to make some bucks from investing in you. Promotions, tours, and maybe one day having you get on NPR or Charlie Rose is what they strive for and they are not wrong.
This means I keep toying with signing back up for Facebook. While I am no fan of what it perpetuates, it really is one of the easier ways to stay in touch with those we love that live near and far. It also allows you to cultivate a nice fan base which is crucial when you chose to embark upon a creative endeavor. Or just want to self promote. Shamelessly of course. :)
While I have this blog, I have been remiss about keeping it up. Part of the reason is the actual novel and the query letter, more on that later, and the other part is I have not had much to say. Even if I did, sometimes I didn't think it is blog worthy. But perhaps I am wrong. Allow me to share such minutiae.
My son now has a thing for navel oranges and tangerines. This was brought about because my husband and I have decided to no longer eat sugary sweets or potato chips. No big deal you think, but in our house Trader Joe's Hawaiian BBQ chips were filed under food group. Oh the shame...I also have high cholesterol that has not seemed to budge with diet or exercise which made food changes necessary. So far, so good. We have a lot more fruits and veggies in our diet and as pescetarians I am embarrassed we were not eating this way all along. I admit my exercise sessions seems sharper and I feel better and less sluggish and not as easily irritated. Inflammation in my body is lowering I gather and that is a very good thing considering heart disease really loves the paternal side of my family. So that is that.

I have been reading a very clever and funny book by Margaret Atwood called The Penelopiad. I don't always enjoy when an author chooses to retell a story, all those damn vampire/zombie/Jane Austen books please just stop already. But this one, from the point of view of Penelope with of Odysseus from The Odyssey is marvelous.
One of the reasons I picked up her book is I had read an author's story about how she could not figure out what was wrong with her own fantasy genre book. After putting it in a drawer, she went and got hold of a bunch of different fantasy novels and read. Just read. To see what was missing in her own book and it was an eye opener.
Now, I follow Neil Gaiman's "rule" of read everything you can because you cannot create worlds if you don't understand how the actual one and the ones created by other authors exist. The one thing I have NOT been reading was fantasy for fear I would end up incorporating someone else's idea in my book or seeing something similar to what I wrote was there and freaking out.
Foolish and silly.
Off I went to the library and looked high and low for many a book, but most of the first in a series was missing so I grabbed me a good 'ol stand-by, Margaret Atwood. I think for my next read, brace yourselves, will be "American Gods". The one novel I have avoided the whole time I have been working on my book. Which leads me to the next thing.

The query letter is done. Yes, done. Yes, I screamed with joy. Pure, unadulterated joy. I am not ashamed to say this has been exhausting and liberating. Yesterday, after much struggle I decided to read the back of a few famous novels for inspiration. It was when I read the second one that the clouds lifted, birds sang and ten thousand pounds of pressure left my brain. Once again, I have Neil Gaiman, along with Terry Pratchett, to thank and their novel Good Omens. The synopsis on the back of the book is probably one of the best I have ever read and I am indebted to those words for breaking me out of my block. The gentleman I have hired to critique my letter may hate it or love it or think I am insane, but for me it is progress. Can I get an Amen???

So there you have it my dears. Though if I was on Facebook you would know all this already without all the filler. :)


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

A Month Has Passed

And much has gone on my friends.

The day I finished my fantasy novel, "Deconstructing Angels", I whooped so loud I scared my dog. I currently have about four people reading the book to inform me of plot holes, loves and hates so I can revise and send out the best possible novel. Since I need to wait on the feedback, I have decided to forge ahead and get in the process, the serious nail biting process, of writing my query letter and synopsis for "After The Fall". When they are complete I will send them to a professional to be edited.
This means I now have a serious amount of panicky writer's block and low self esteem.

Cue Dickens, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..."

Even though I am struggling, I will get it done. The challenge is exciting, but man I hate the fact that this is making my brain twist itself into unintelligible knots! I can barely think straight at times and when I do I stumble over my own ideas. It is frustrating and makes one question if they are in the right field.
Thankfully there are tons of blogs written by various writers, agents and editors with all sorts of tips and guidelines which are incredibly informative. From the library I got Chuck Sambuchino's book, Get a Literary Agent, to help me understand better what is required of me and stop fumbling in my head. Truth is, I am hoping osmosis will compel a brilliant query. Ha! If only...
I am certain the genius or the faking of such a thing is in me, I just have to get it out. Extractions of all kinds will be happening and that may not be a pretty picture, but hey this is my small arena.

On the upside, I have been living a life

I went to an actual movie theater, I know, I know, and saw the movie Suffragette and thought it was brilliant. Too many people, women especially, have no idea what our sex went through just to get the right to be heard in a voting booth. The shocking part to me is at the end of the film where they list the countries and dates for when women get to vote. Saudi Arabia just allowed voting. In 2015.

In other earth shattering news, I just finished reading a book. An adult book. Hooray for me! While I have enjoyed many a children's book over the years, if you have not read Max the Brave to your little person, you must! I am happy to read one for me, myself and I.
Through some weird rabbit hole, I found out about this birthed genius named Taylor Wilson. I then found out he had a biography and had to check it out. I must applaud author Tom Clynes for making physics and everything else science-y readable for a lay person. Taylor's parents really had to find ways to feed his passion for nuclear fission as well as make sure their other son, who happens to be a math genius, gets the proper schooling as well. These are problems I am glad I do not have. LOL The public school system does get questioned and battered a little in this book and rightly so. One of my biggest peeves is throwing money at a school district, Newark NJ anyone?, expecting it to be a panacea for all the prior mishaps. We have all been told that poor children, middle class children, rich children, everyone deserves an excellent education. I agree, but right now our schools have the mentality that middle of the road teaching works best. Nope. Nada. No way. Kids get lost when they are in poverty and they get lost when they are bored due to the fact they need more mental stimulation. Some schools are trying to conform lessons around each individual child's needs. That will not be easy, but it is a start. I always felt grammar and middle school should be more like college. You have four core courses; Math, Science, English and History. After that it is up to the student what they want to take. Some may want more math or science, others may request sculpture or auto shop. This would mean a major dismantling of the schools system as it is now and I firmly believe too many people would be aghast at such a suggestion. Also, I am not in education so I would be considered an arty farty writer freak who should go sit down. Though me at a Town Hall meeting would be pretty entertaining for everyone.
Excuse my digression. Bottom line, if you are looking for an interesting read, I highly recommend The Boy Who Played With Fusion.

Have a spectacular day.