novel critique

January Thaw Cleaning

I had the privilege of hosting the novel writing critique group in my home on Tuesday so last Thursday I was dusting, de-webbing, and otherwise cleaning the house. Hence the lack of a blog post on the 18th. With such a good start, I told Husband we were going out on Saturday so he couldn’t possibly start any projects; they invariably end up with sawdust and/or fiddly bits strewn about. We went out to Red Robin because he likes their burgers then to see Blade Runner 2049 on a big screen. I know I tweeted this, but it bears a repeat: If anyone ever says my plot is convoluted, I will point to that movie and say, “It’s not THAT convoluted.”

I had a lovely time with Gina Detwiler and Mary Akers. There were green grapes, coconut macaroons, and chocolate-covered pretzels. The conversation was fun; the ideas and suggestions flowed. I made cheesy cauliflower bites, quiche, and lemon ginger tea. And I got to use my pretty new teapot.

1.25.2018

After waiting far too many months, I received the critique I’d been waiting for. Even if it hadn’t come, I made a deadline of finishing the revision on January 31st – and I’m hoping I can make it. Friday I won’t be able to work on it at all. Saturday, I have my library shift, and Tuesday is the library appreciation dinner. Luckily, the book is in good shape and I finished the critical first 10 pages. I did more than that, but I listened to those pages repeatedly and know they are good. Of course, now I’ll have to have someone look them over and see if they agree – IF I don’t look at them today and decide it’s all crap and I have no business writing anything. At all. Ever.

Procrastination does work out sometimes. I’ve admired this one J. Peterman dress (yeah, only one. HA!) for a while but it was pricey and I didn’t have a good reason to buy it… Well, Niece in Boston is getting married in April (Congratulations!) so guess what I’m going to wear? And on top of that, there was a sale going on. I am so excited. I got notice it shipped yesterday so soon I’ll be able to try it on.

So those are the happy bits from here. Oh! I nearly forgot! My piece, “Spliced Alike” will appear in Ellipsis: Two and “In a Mad Girl’s Eden” is slated for the May/June issue of Ink in Thirds! I’m keeping up a can-do, positive attitude because Friday might be awful. That’s why I’ve made plans to be places and do things. Distraction can be a beautiful thing.

Thanks for stopping by and for the read!

1.22.2018

 

Oh, there were fresh flowers, too!

 

 

(*These are my creekside reflections. Your experiences should vary.)

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It’s Not Cabin Fever Exactly… It’s More Like Cabin Anxiety

This past Monday, I attended the novel critique group meeting at Gina’s. I’ve never worked this way, handing over twenty–now up to 25 pages–at a time. As I’m revising “The Life and…” I’m realizing I really have to slow down the pace. The recent installment included an added scene I thought I’d get slammed on, but they seemed to enjoy it–Mary said it felt like I’d nailed the voice. I’m glad of this, as I felt I had lost it and that’s why I had to take it back a few pages so events I’d glided through in the rough draft could be strengthened. I think the end result will be tighter, but I’m only a quarter of the way there. I know, I said I’d send out agent queries for Ellie’s Elephants, and I did get two out after the ambiguous “this doesn’t sound like a form rejection, but I don’t know how to respond either” response from Sobel. Meeting new people is hard enough. Needing to introduce myself and say, “Please, like what I write, too”…that makes me anxious.

So, I had enough “when I” and put brush to canvas. It’s not the worst thing I’ve ever made, and I’m nowhere close to finishing it, put it’s a start. It felt good to mix colors and paint. The longer I was painting, the more that came back to me–including the fact that you can’t finish a painting in one sitting. Well, the one guy could, but I’m not him nor do I have my own show on PBS.

2.6

Speaking of that realm…WBFO, my local NPR station is doing an extra pledge week. OMG, enough. Here’s the thing, I love their work, the coverage, etc. However, they are on there telling me if I don’t pledge, my favorite shows will disappear. How many years and how much money have proved that to be a lie? Everything was great until Mark Scott retired. The resulting crapola version of a program lineup disgusts me. Why this station pays for programs that are great but plays them when no one listens and plays boring shows when people are tuned in is just stupid. There was a time when pledge week ended early. The reason for that was simple. They had there shit together; now it’s not worth it. If you also tell me how I have to pay to keep the programs I want to stay on the air, I will recite the ones they dropped when I sent them a few bucks and when I say I, I mean Husband. Whoever is in charge of programming is clueless, or trying his best to kill off this station and the rapid decline in listenablity has me thinking it’s the latter. WBFO, please, hear this and fix it. The person in charge of programming needs to go.

Otherwise, I’m excitedly looking forward to the 15th when I get to do my first official reading. It will be at the West Falls-Colden Library where I volunteer, so I’ll have the home field advantage. I find it a bit strange that they have a signup sheet for it. I mean, that makes sense if it’s a card making class, but a reading? Gary Earl Ross will be there as well as Susan Solomon, George Morse, and Lou Rera. We will be reading from Queen City Flash at 1:00-3:00 on Saturday 15th if you’re up for it. Jeff Schober did a reading there on the 1st while I was working. It was good to see him again. Boneshaker is a follow up to Broken and Profane and he’s working on two more in the series. 

Anyway, I’ve had a few “close calls” on acceptances. I was told one piece made it to the final round of cuts. They only take four stories per issue, so I guess I made their top five or top eight, which is nice, but I then sent that piece to another venue where it didn’t make it past the first cut. *Sigh.* I also got INK!!!! from The Sun. They held it for 8 months, so I’m considering that something. I sent that story to two places yesterday. I don’t know what it is. It’s gotten so many “almosts” but that just makes it more frustrating that it hasn’t found a home yet. I know, I’ve heard the stories yet those don’t make the personal rejections any less disappointing.

So, enough of this ranting about the problems I have because I love them all, including the fact that there’s more snow and I can’t wait to go for a walk in the woods, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon. Ah well…

 2.6b

(These are my Creekside Reflections. Your experiences may vary.)