For the rewrite of my latest novel, I’ve decided to cut several wonderful themes and plot points that involve cartoony physical action, which I love. It’s lights, camera, action! Not lights, camera, brooding introspection. I’m trying to change. Action scenes … Continue reading
The workshop I went to recently was called “advanced” because you needed product. You couldn’t walk in with just an idea or an outline. I went with 75,000 words, the ninth revision of a suspense novel. What I learned at this workshop was … Continue reading
Against Sincerity To frame a discussion of literary vs genre in marketing terms encourages cynicism, because marketing pretends discourse while designed only to separate you from your money. So let’s forget about how the distinction between literary and genre is used … Continue reading
I bought a new refrigerator. It’s lovely, stainless steel, lots of space, plenty of features. One feature is a carbon-matrix air filter to take out smells, supposedly replaces the box of baking soda. Was that a problem? It could be so construed.
But the feature that perplexes me now is the refrigerator light. Those have always posed a difficult epistemological question anyway: How do you know the light goes out when you close the door? And if you don’t know that, what else happens, or doesn’t happen when you’re not looking? It’s a deep philosophical problem.
But my new refrigerator solves a problem I didn’t even know I had. When you open the door, the light does not come on instantly. For a moment it’s dark inside. Then, over the course of about 1.5 seconds, the light comes on, dimly at first, then surging to its’ full 40W strength. Every time I open the door, my reaction is “Damn light’s broke.” Then it gradually comes on and I think there is something wrong with my vision. Did I just experience a blackout?
I’m sure I’ll get use to it, but I’m wondering, what problem does this technology solve? I never had any issues with the refrigerator light coming on when I opened the door. Maybe if it were the middle of the night and I were grazing for a sandwich, I would be dazzled by a bright light. “Omigod!” I would shout, “What blazes creep hither?” I don’t know. Has that ever been a problem for anyone? Sleepwalkers?
It’s a helluva struggle to write anything on a road trip. Finding the time is one problem but the far bigger issue is finding the brain. It’s hard to focus. In the morning I have a visceral urge to hit … Continue reading
Like millions of other Americans, I’ll be on the highways in July. I’m taking a novel manuscript to a writing workshop in Iowa City. A sensible person would fly. Even though driving is far more dangerous than flying, not to speak … Continue reading
Elizabeth Strout is on the cover of the August, 2013 The Writer magazine. She has a new book, Burgess Boys, which I haven’t yet read. I enjoyed Amy & Isabelle, and I rank Olive Kitteredge as one of the greatest-ever collections … Continue reading
I just read a book review in The Economist of Daniel Dennett’s recent book, “Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking” (http://www.economist.com/news/books-and-arts/21579427-tools-pondering-imponderables-pump-primer). I haven’t read the book, but I know Dennett’s philosophy of mind from reading several other of his … Continue reading
I got a haircut this week, and while my barber was jabbering on about deep sea fishing (something we don’t do so much around Tucson), I was thinking how odd it is that I can’t see the back of my … Continue reading
There’s always a big project. There’s never a time when I’m not writing or editing. It’s often hard to tell when a project is over, and even when it has started.
Right now I’m temporarily between projects, which is why I’m working on this web site. I just finished my 5th revision of a detective novel, working title, “Quinn Cassidy, Detective.” The first draft of that was completed in 2012, based on a short story written in 2011. Is it done? No, I just got maxed out poring over it, line by line, word by word. It needs a rest.
A few months ago, I finished the 9th revision of another novel, “Being Ruby.” I’m pretty sure that will stick as its title. It’s essentially complete, but it has voice problems. The main character is an adolescent female who starts the story at 18 years old and finishes at 21, but whenever she talks, she sounds like me. I’m taking her to the Iowa Summer Writing Festival, where I hope to get some pointers on what to do with the voice.
My Next Big Thing? I’ve got an outline for a novel, working title “Chocotle.” I’ve got a half dozen characters sketched and the broad outline of a story. The outline is from January, 2013, but I’m reluctant to dig into it just a week before heading off to Iowa with Ruby. Each project is all-consuming when you’re in it.
I also have an idea for a novel that might be called “Forgetfulness.” I need to start sketching that before I forget what the idea is!