Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Saturday, March 25, 2006
We talked about friendship at my writer's group meeting last night. Can you really make friends on the Internet? We all agreed you can use it to maintain already-existing friendships over wide distances, but what about friendships where the initial contact is on the Internet? One person thought no, because it's so easy to disguise one's identity. I'm more sanguine; while it's easier to accumulate a lot of pleasant acquaintances by using only a keyboard, I suspect it's also possible to find good friends here and there. As with traditional friendships, they take time and common sense to develop, and recognition of the limitations of thinking you know someone you'll probably never meet.
Sunday, March 19, 2006
A conundrum. I'm in a writer's group with people I've known and whose opinions I've valued for many years. So now I am reading segments of a work in progress where a young girl has been kidnapped and her captors talk between themselves about how best to make money from her: ransom or kiddie porn? When I got to that point in my reading, my friend made it clear that she would stop reading. Fair comment. Good and decent people have different thresholds for this type of fiction, though, and I wonder if it isn't better to stay with my original direction and see what happens.
I've read and thoroughly enjoyed several books in Lawrence Sanders' hilarious McNally series, so I was quite surprised when I delved into his The First Deadly Sin, which is about as dark and unfunny a story as I've read in a long time. Sections of the book with the point of view of the killer are so hard to take that I've nearly stopped reading. A whole book of that would be far too much. What keeps me going are the terrific writing and the anticipation that I'll soon get to read about the very sympathetic and human protagonist. No doubt my good friend would never tolerate the book, yet in its own way it is excellent.
So I'm inclined to go where I'm inclined to go.
Friday, March 17, 2006
As the Internet age clearly shows, ignorance doesn’t stop us from writing. It used to be that writers wrote on yellow lined pads or hunted and pecked on ancient Royals. They always had to be careful near the end of a page so that the last line didn’t slant away. I used to painfully type a complete page of what was supposed to be clean copy only to look back in horror at a typo on the first line—and then of course my eraser always left a smudge. Or my carbon paper would be in backwards on an otherwise perfect page.
So who wants to keep piles of handwritten or poorly typed work, be it inspiration or dreck? Every few years I threw out piles of my pale efforts, unread and unlamented. Today, through the miracle of modern technology, I never have to throw any of my precious words again. It can stay on hard drive, on CD, or, God bless us, in cyberspace for everyone to enjoy.
But if word processing gives us the means to produce typo-free dreck, and the Internet gives us the means to assault the world with it, we also have the means to learn what we don’t know and to verify the rest.
Sunday, March 12, 2006
Distractions have always come easy to me, so daily-life experiences like lighting fires under real estate agents provide the perfect excuse not to snuggle my butt into my chair and finish my current novel, or, for that matter, to market a completed one to agents.
I've been better than this. I had a groove that produced a modest but steady output of pages over the years. Now my story has a dark plot line involving a child's kidnapping that a trusted friend in my writer's group says would be too dark for her to read. That's actually good news, because even though my writer friends have talked me out of the darkest of the story line, I've discovered that I can write some fairly creepy stuff. So now to go back and add some balance, which may mean giving the villains at least some minimal touches of humanity so they don't come across as cartoon bad guys. I have a lot of notes from our Saturday meeting--and from previous meetings--which will help me a lot in fixing story problems. I'll work on it later, because first I have to find my groove. If you have any information as to its whereabouts, I'd like to hear from you. I will accept its return with no questions asked.
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
Well, I've never been a little girl, so I'll have to read the scene to my writer's group, which consists mostly of women. They will set me straight on the blunders I will certainly make, and then my second draft will be on the right track.