Saturday, February 25, 2006


This is my word count today--a little high for me. On good days I usually do around 1100; and my overall average tends to be around 950. So I feel as if I ought to celebrate somehow--I'm planning a trip to the library. These are the excitements of the writer, or at least this writer. I sometimes think that if I lived in NYC or Hawaii my life would be more exciting, but I'd probably still be sitting at my computer and then going out to buy some bottled water and asparagus on my way to the library.
I'm going to pick up Caramelo, by Sandra Cisneros, , and Pure Chocolate: Divine Desserts and Sweets, by Fran Gage, both of which I ordered from OhioLink. And then I'll come back with my bottled water and sit and read and listen to the wind whipping around the house, which is probably what I'd be doing in Hawaii, although the wind would be warmer.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

the love of a good character

I'm writing Isabel's point of view today and finding it hard going. Why are some characters so much easier to write than others? A question for the ages, and one I don't have an answer for. It's not because she's bitchy, because I can find quite an enjoyment in writing a bitchy character. You get to put in the character's mouth all the things you long to say to people who annoy you, but that you don't say because once you were a good Catholic girl, and you're stuck with certain behaviors.
In another novel, I had a difficult character, and the difficulty lay in my knowledge of her: I just didn't know enough about her, even quite far into the book. And this might be Isabel's problem, or mine with her. She disappeared from Logan when she was a teenager, and her past is something of a mystery to the other characters in the book--she wants it that way. But, of course, it shouldn't be a mystery to me, and it is.
Maybe we need to get together over a drink and thrash it out. Maybe I need to write a journal for Isabel (except that she never would). Or a blog--what would Isabel blog about? Or maybe write an unconnected (to the novel) short story that would take on Isabel's past. I have a good title that's been banging around in my head, "Isabella, Queen of Spain," and maybe I'll use that, although I'll have to figure out what Isabel has to do with Spain. There's nothing to beat the pull of a good title though--sometimes, a great title can draw you right into a story you didn't know existed.
Did you know that when Columbus died in 1506, he still believed he'd found Asia? A warning to explorers and writers everywhere.

Friday, February 17, 2006

novel novella novelette

I worked on the novel on Wednesday, and I stopped as Nancy came into the house and listened to her phone messages. The phone rang, and she decided not to answer it, because she'd just gotten home and didn't want to talk to anyone (I regret to say that this is something I do, unsocial as it is). It was time to go to the West Side Market and buy a pork roast, and so I stopped, even though (or maybe because) I had no idea who was calling Nancy.
I thought that perhaps something would come to me before I sat down at the computer again. But nothing did. I bought the pork roast, made a cake, ate dinner, forced my sister to look at the slide show of 98 digital photos I took of my grandsons, taught a class on Margaret Atwood's Surfacing, met with students, developed a sore throat, ate ramen noodles, watched an episode of Charmed (Phoebe brings a baby home that has been abandoned by its father so it won't be killed by a vengeful ghost), and nothing at all came to me.
Fortunately, when I sat down this morning, I realized that it had to be Carl calling her: who else! Jason is in trouble again, but this is no surprise to anyone.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

nearly night

The window of my office looks blue, that blue that outside starts to look in winter when it's not dark yet, but almost. Nearly night. Not twilight, because this seems to me to be more of a summer thing, not like this steely blue I can see outside my window. Usually I'm not in the office this late, or at least not to write.
Inside the light is yellow, my characters are receptive to direction, and there is a box of caramels on my desk--which is reason enough to be happy.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

lost post

I wrote what in retrospect seems like a brilliant post on Saturday which got swallowed up somehow--maybe because Blogger was having problems or maybe because I tried to put a photo behind the title on the banner (didn't work). But in any case, it's gone, and the inspired comparison I made between the ghosts in The Shining and a lost fragment of a story which I resurrected for my novel is lost forever in the outernet.
Today it's snowing, which I should be prepared for because it's February, but which nevertheless I resent, and the post-its are mounting apace on my desk, and I have run out of Evian and therefore must drink Trinity, which even though it comes from 2.2 miles deep in the ground and "flows naturally through crystal-lined granite" is not as good as Evian. Plus I'm reading Incendiary Circumstances, a book of essays by Amitav Ghosh, which is sure to make me feel like an intellectual lightweight. Thank goodness for my chocolate stash.