Monday, March 29, 2010

Add Cleverness

I hate it when the characters are supposed to do something particularly clever.

I put it in brackets. 
[Adrian and Justine figure this out, being clever] 
And then when I come back I sit and look at it and can't come up with anything.

I am not feeling clever at all.
The garbage disposal has stopped working, which may have something to do with a quantity of activated charcoal getting down into its little innards.  The light bulb on the microwave has broken. I have never had the lightbulb in a microwave stop working.  And the bottled water dispenser beeps at me when the water runs out. So stupid of it.
I know there's no more water.  I push the button -- see -- and nothing comes out.

I am disgusted with civilization.  I am going to get me nine bean poles and a hive for the honey bee and just not possess anything with electrons running through it except possibly the computer. 

I will get next winter's firewood delivered and go stack that and maybe put my spirit on a more even keel.

In other news, I have figured out that I own 80 linear feet of books.

I'm rounding the corner on the last section of the ms. Looks like the Very Rough Draft of JUSTINE is going to fall at 100,000 words. That means I'll be adding much layering and description to the Second Rough Draft.

I go back and forth on liking the plot structure. Right now, I feel ok about it.

I just finished reading Laura Kinsale's Midsummer Moon

(Pause to say -- Why did they give Kinsale such dreadfully bland and forgettable titles?  Why?  Why?  Why?  That one should have been titled 'What the Hedgehog Saw' and then I would remember the title and everyone else would too.)

I will not be able to read Kinsale again till I am at a stopping point in JUSTINE because she is so good she makes me want to cry and just stop writing prose and go be a greeter at Walmart or go back in the Foreign Service and get sent to Afghanistan.


  1. I know what you mean. I'm reading For My Lady's Heart right now and had to force myself to put it down to take a breather.

    That said, your books have had a similar effect on me.

    Good luck with your clever-adding and your gadget-trimming.

  2. Ah. Brings to mind my most mind-numbing note to self: "add riddle".

  3. Hi Katrina --

    I am trying to weed my keeper shelf. I have come up against this physical impossibility of adding more books to a shelf stuffed full of books.

    I pull down an old favorite. I read. I ask myself whether this book can be eliminated. I put it back on the shelf and try the next one.

    This is not making room on the shelf. (sigh)

  4. @ Word Gardener --

    Why IS a raven like a writing desk?

    The best answer I heard was, 'Poe wrote on both.'

    I'm working on a bilingual puzzle of sorts that turns up in a letter. Difficult. Yes. But, at least it's not a riddle.

  5. Anonymous7:39 PM

    My current least favorite Note To Self in the margin is: MORE.

    Sometimes it means more dialog, sometimes it means more stage direction. Often it means more emotional response.

    Mostly it just means: This isn't good enough.

    My current favorite NTS: LET HER GET DRUNK ON CHAMPAGNE.

    I'm looking forward to that.

  6. Ah! I do the notes to self in brackets, too. Currently I'm grappling with [discovers body murdered in unusual way]. Considering death by elephant, but it's probably a little late in the story to introduce an elephant trainer.

  7. Anonymous10:03 PM

    Books; for me a rough guess is 150foot shelf space shared with DH and often hosting two layers of books. Plus kids books in their rooms and the attic... But I have a solution at least to minimize the number of new books; both DH and I just bought nooks. I can't quite face buying real favorites electronically, but lots of others I can. (And I do try to give away anything I won't reread or lend out...) Still, they accumulate like snowglobes in that Terry Pratchett book...
    There is a nice Anna quindlen quote about being the kind of person for whom decorating is mostly a matter of having enough bookcases. I agree in principle but what is enough?

  8. @ Anon One --

    The 'MORE' in the margin sounds very much like my wonderful Supereditor.

    Instead of saying, 'Change this to [followed by several lines of clarity and beauty,]' she writes 'Unclear,' or 'What?' or 'Nothing happens here.'
    and I am left floundering and uncertain.
    Which is good in that it leaves me full artistic integrity in fixing this mess but less good in that I have no one to blame but myself for what doesn't work.

    In Forbidden Rose I seem to have written long. I had thousands of words crossed out by the editor -- all internal stuff. The book is better off without the navel gazing, but I miss some of it.

    JUSTINE, so far, is coming in short. I have imagined it thinly. I'm rather in the case where I should write [MORE] everywhere.

  9. @ Linda --

    It is never too late to introduce an elephant, (jo says judiciously). Or maybe a runaway Hummer.
    And there's walruses, of course, and mysterious dark strangers seeking the walnut-sized ruby plucked from the Eye of Diorama in a temple in the Rajput.

    But I suppose we must direct our efforts to Death By Something Reasonable.

    Now . . . I am a great fan of 'just deserts'.

    The man who betrayed family and honor for wealth, drowned by the weight of the gold he carried. The man who used a government position for personal gain, killed by that government. A man attempting to destroy inconvenient relatives, left vulnerable to the executioner when those relatives turn their backs on him.

    That is -- I like to see some relationship between the life and the ending of that life.

    Not so easy for a minor character, of course. But it's a nice touch.

  10. I'm counting my linear feet to include those books stacked behindwards. That is, the three-foot shelf that's stacked two book deep counts as six linear feet of books.

    Your 150 linear feet sounds very moderate if we're talking two and maybe more people. I'd bet 150 feet is p'rmuch average for writers and enthusiastic readers.

    There is something in us all that looks at a blank wall and asks -- 'Why doesn't that have a bookcase on it?'

  11. Technology fail is about the most dispiriting thing there is! You have my sympathy.

    Estimating how many linear feet of books I own would make me anxious. Not to mention I'd have to figure out a way to count the boxes taking up space in my closets and under the bed. Both my sons are studying literature in grad. school, which means they raid the shelves when they visit. This helps a bit, though one has a tendency to leave the dust jackets. I've decided to find this adorable. Still, there's nothing like reaching for your copy of Our Mutual Friend, only to discover all you have is the overcoat.

    Jo, I keep forgetting Adrian isn't real. My first thought when I read "Adrian and Justine figure this out, being clever" was "why would this present a problem? Just let Adrian be Adrian." Now I'm all confused.

    Only two months 'til Forbidden Rose!

  12. Jo,

    *cogitates* You have just given me an idea. It involves an orangutan.

    No, you didn't mention orangutans, but the walrus somehow led to it. (Trust me on this. It's how my brain works.) And I already have an orangutan in the WIP, so...yes, this could work.

    Thank you!

  13. @ Linda --

    I am so pleased my walrus led to an orangutan. Pleased also that you had one handy.

    I am feeling quite tame with my ferret.

  14. Hi Annie --

    Somehow I only lose books I particularly love. Or book three of five.
    I will learn, eventually, not to lend books.

    My kids, rather than running off with books, seem to shed them here.

  15. Jo, I think those of us who love books often can't keep ourselves from lending them. I feel they have a life of their own--sometimes they need to go to someone else.

    I'm the storage facility for most of my sons' books. It's just that the ones they find most useful right now are mine. Hmmmmm.

  16. @ Annie --

    I'm 'seeing' the books on my shelf fluttering about like broody hens, considering whether they should move on.

  17. LOL! Jo, I'm so happy to see that you do that bracket thing, too. Mine is [More here. Interesting.] Thank goodness I'm not alone!

  18. @ Sarah --

    This is one of those dirty little writing secrets, I suspect.


    [big plot hole. fill.]