I’m devoting more time to my blog for patrons at Patreon as a matter of survival. If you enjoy this blog or my other writing, please consider supporting my efforts – $1/month or more – and tell a few others who’d be interested. I’m not exaggerating regarding survival. I have been job hunting for a while without results. This is an alternative to support my writing, but it only works with your help.
After much prompting from those who know my story, I am writing a memoir and it’s hell to write. Hardest thing I’ve ever done is revisiting stuff I have minimized for decades.
This is more than writing for me. If we as a society decided that we wanted, really wanted, to stop child abuse, we could. Dr. Gene Abel and Nora Harlow wrote The Stop Child Molestation Handbook. If we at least try his suggestions, the improvement not only in individual lives, but society as a whole, could be dramatic. Lowering incidence of PTSD, depression, and physical problems would help all of us. That is my purpose, too. For whatever reason, I’m the transition person in my family. I stopped the abuse. I did not abuse my children and they will not abuse theirs, nor were they abused. It can be done. It’s become a cliche for a reason: if telling my story helps show one person the way to stopping the cycle, it’s worth it.
As for this blog, I will continue as time permits, but you’ve no doubt noticed a drop off in posting and now you know why. The memoir needs the bulk of my attention and there’s not much left over as I continue working on it. Thank you for your understanding and support.
More voices are joining counsel at William Morris with concerns about Google’s settlement with authors that would allow Google to profit from digital versions of millions of books it has scanned from libraries. The Justice Department is involved too. If you have questions or want to opt out, go here.
Could you toss a 500 page manuscript?
Review of Richard Russo’s latest. Something to look forward to.
Have mentioned before how much I enjoyed Russo’s Straight Man. It’s one of the best comic novels I’ve read so far. He has a new one out and here he is in conversation with Sam Tanenhaus.
Laurie Hutzler breaks down characters according to 9 types. She has a free ebook and newsletter on her site. Her emphasis is on film and television, but characters are characters and this is one approach.
Another piece of advice is in the current issue of Poets & Writers magazine. Benjamin Percy discusses the Geometry of Dialogue, specifically giving your characters something to do when they’re talking. You will add layers to both your narrative and your dialogue. It’s worth checking out.
the debate goes on, sorta… http://www.flatmancrooked.com/archives/3238
I’m about to get my MFA from a low residency program. There are disciplines that are well-suited to the online format and writing is one of them. It’s been a great experience to have a community that loves books as much as I do. We debate, share, offer moral support, and compare notes (time for a shameless plug for ANNOTATION NATION
I’m about to head into my last residency and will let you know how it goes. Keep writing.
Just got my free cone from Ben & Jerry’s in Burbank – barely a line, chocolate fudge brownie ice cream and they were collecting for a charity. How outstanding is that? It gets better…. Have to admit I can’t remember what I donated to (muscular dystrophy?) because the fireman who served my cone was HOT! 😉
Then I came home and finished my novel.
Okay, kidding about the last bit, but the rest is all true. And I am writing… back to it.
And now for something completely different:
It’s been a week for strange stories. Robert McKee, screenwriting guru, said that people do bizarre or awful things more often and worse than you can imagine. They also have things happen to them that would challenge the most vivid imagination. Add in accidents, mistakes and catastrophes, and real life usually outdoes fiction. The crash of Continental Flt 3407 took the life of a 9/11 widow. She died in a fiery crash – her late husband died on the 98th floor of the south tower. Would you add such a twist to a fictional story? A woman was allegedly beheaded by her TV exec husband. A chimpanzee tore the face off the friend of its owner. Bizarre twists, tragic stories. McKee was hardly the first to note that life is stranger than fiction.
The chimp story did remind me of elements for the novel I’m working on now. Keeping exotic pets is very dangerous and we have developed a naive hubris about them. They are not just like us. There’s some exotic pet-keeping in my book and I need to address the danger. The book’s tone is darkly comic. If you’re writing something lighter, then you have to pull back in some way from the danger or explicit violence – either not showing it or showing it in an absurd way. However, that doesn’t mean that the danger is not present.
Been catching up on movies this week. A friend is having an Oscar party so I may as well be prepared. Started the week with THE WRESTLER – good film, hard to watch for a few reasons. Yesterday, saw DOUBT and THE READER, both written by playwrights so it was interesting to see them on the same day. You could see the play in DOUBT. Both good, well acted. Today, REVOLUTIONARY ROAD (book was better, which is usually the case). Once I catch up, I’m hitting the art museums to hopefully fill up enough to propel me to finish the novel (my 4th!). I have been waking up with ideas, better ways to tie elements together – so grateful when that happens.
Haven’t had the time to finish Carl Hiassen’s novel, LUCKY YOU, but he’s teaching me to push the envelope. He makes unlikely situations believable.
Rec’d chapters back from my mentor with comments. Never fails to amaze me that I can overuse a word in two paragraphs and not see it. For me, editing fiction is much like learning to listen to different instruments in a piece of music. I have to go over it and look at different elements each time.