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Archive for the ‘Writing Rambles’ Category

People keep telling me sprains take a long time to heal. It’s been over a month now and I want it back to normal. Nope, got to wait a bit longer. Two months or more depending on the severity. I’ve got to clomp around in a cloth brace. That’s better than a moon-boot I suppose, but in summer SC, any added bit of clothing article is too much. Even on your foot. Every day I think, okay, tomorrow I can ditch the thing and then my ankle hurts a bit so it’s on for another day.

I’ve taken to wearing one of my shoes and one of my Dad’s. He wasn’t a large man so his shoe fits me and the brace almost perfectly. I’m sure I get some weird looks, but who cares? It works. I can walk. Now if only I can do my daily walking exercises. I missĀ  them. And I don’t miss them. The time I used for walking is now re-appropriated to drawing lessons from a book and to my writing. What’s not bad about that? I’ve been able to write more. I’ve finished a story and written two (very) short stories and am working on a Christmas one. I’ve not written a new one in the while and I’m excited about this one.

Back to the ankle. According to the x-ray, a ligament tore a bit of bone off and that’s causing some of the trouble. It’s better than having the ligament torn and needing surgery. I’ll have to take what I can get. As long as it gets better soon so I can continue my photo trips. Since I’m walking better, with no limping and no pain, that should be soon.

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I’m reading through my old books, deciding which to keep and which to sell or give away. A number of books are Star Trek novels. I’ve already given a lot away, sold them. I didn’t get much. There’s a glut of used Star Trek books on the market.

On the technology side, Star Trek books are usually up there. Even if our twenty-first century tech trumps it, it didn’t matter. You can accept the difference. This one, however, not so much. It was about a huge bomb exploding on the planet Centari. In it, Chekov washed dishes, Kirk called the front desk for room service, and citizens drove gasoline powered cars.

Really?

Even if it was written in the 1980’s, it’s out of date. People were even smoking cigarettes.

I thought first I’d keep the book because the premise wasn’t bad, but the technology kept getting in the way. It almost read like a book that had been written for the seventies in the seventies, but revamped for the future. I’ve read plenty of older books where modern technology surpassed what was in the book, but it could be forgiven. The science fiction books from the fifties are so from the times, you take it in stride. In those, the main characters are male oriented and they use flying cars and head off to Mars in rocket ships. That’s excusable. This Star Trek book was not.

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The Perfect Pen

When writing my first drafts I prefer to write with a pen in a notebook. There’s no battery to monitor. There’s no powering it up and opening up a word document. Just grab the notebook and the pen and nestle on the couch to write. Pens are perfect. Except they do run out of ink. And not all do the job well.

The wrong pen puts a kink in writing. Some fight you, dragging you down, making the words come slow and sloppy. Other pens gush ink so freely it runs the letters together marring the page. Finding the right pen isn’t easy. When I used to go to conferences, finding pens wasn’t so hard. I picked up tens of them and would go through to select the best ones. They might be cheap, give-aways, but they wrote smooth and fine. Now I’m at the bottom of my pile, the rejects, and they are so not working.

It’s off to the store I go. The inexpensive Bic pens and their other brand counterparts will not do. The nib is hard and the ink doesn’t roll off the tip. I find a more expensive kind, wishing I could try them out. Maybe I should have gone to the office supply store. I decide to take a gamble and pick out a pack. There are five in the pack and it’s advertised to be smooth. And it is. I’m happy. Except I wish they didn’t run out of ink so fast. A good pen should last a good novel’s length plus. This pen conks out before then. I may have to find another pen, the perfect pen.

 

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My last post made me remember me telling my mother that on all those houses they show on the HGTV channel we’ve seen any with bookcases full of books. Seriously. Some don’t even have a single book anywhere. Today we watched an episode of Property Brothers with a family of four in their cluttered home and I didn’t see a book anywhere. Sad.

My mother and I watch HGTV in the morning. First a look at the weather (my mother seems to think it’s always raining even when there is full on sun shine outside), then a scroll through the news (politics and more politics), and then HGTV. We don’t watch long, just during the time between she takes her first pill and she eats. She has to wait thirty minutes between the two events. To keep her occupied I turn on the TV. How long she watches depends on her headache and how interesting the show is. I was set to turn the set off today, but the amount of clutter the family had tossed around the house astonished us.

I also use HGTV to figure out what I want in a house. The draw for me is bookshelves. We saw a picture in a book where there was shelving in the hallway! Now that’s my kind of house. Mom asks where the library will be, the home library. I keep telling her the whole house is going to be one. I mean, she has it in her house. Even the kitchen has some books. At my old house the only room without books was the tiny dining room and that because there wasn’t any room after you put the table in. And the bathroom. I don’t want to potentially damage the books there.

I hope one day I will find a show in which the house owner has books, lots of books. I’d like to see how they cope with that, with the moving or the renovation. I guess I have to keep watching.

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I’m reading through the children’s section, going backward Z to A because that’s just how I decided to do it. As I go, I’m reminded of authors I’ve read long ago, books I’ve enjoyed. So when I get to an author I like, I’m all excited. Yes! I can reread by favorites. Except they’re not there anymore. Where is ‘The Bully on Barkham’ Street by Mary Stolz. Or ‘The Ornament Tree’ by Jean Thesman? Come on, I tell myself. If they have Robert Westall, they should have plenty of books by these authors.

I look in the card catalog. No ‘Bully on Barkham Street’ and it’s companion ‘Dog on Barkham Street’. I always thought it was so cool how one book was about the victim and the other about the bully. I was crushed there was no ‘Ornament Tree’. Hopefully I have a copy somewhere. With my books squashed and scattered about I’m not sure what I have at the moment.

It made me sad to think of all these great authors and all their work being disregarded and not read. Some of the books I see on the shelves just can’t compare. So many are so alike – kid spy, kid wizard, etc. But I guess if the kids read will read them, then so be it and it’s a good thing, but they sure are missing out.

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I’m still working on my historical novel, doing the research thing, and anguishing over every little detail while telling myself to stop being so anal. It does not have to be 100% accurate. I mean, it’s a story, a mash of mystery with disaster. Or maybe it’s more the other way around. But I do want to kids to get a feel of what it was like in the late 1800’s Charleston.

I recently read something from the same time frame, also set in Charleston. The story was interesting, but it was more a romance novel with a focus on the relationships than what was happening politically and culturally and I left feeling a bit disappointed. Maybe it’s because I’ve been reading so much about South Carolina history. Maybe it was because while I saw some parts that were accurate and I had my doubts in other sections such as how the whites interacted with their black servants.

So, how much accuracy should there be in a novel? Where does one draw the line between the story and historical info dump that could alienate your reader? I’ve another story that I’m typing into the computer that deals heavy with the third crusade led by Emperor Frederick of the Holy Roman Empire and as I retype I’m thinking: that can go, that can go. Maybe I find it interesting, but I don’t think everyone will. The trouble is I haven’t felt that way about the Charleston story. I’m going to have to do some heavy thinking on that one.

And more research. I need to know about funerals. Did you know they already embalmed people back then? I didn’t. That was new. The Pinkertons. Were there Pinkertons in Charleston? I might change that one. Or I won’t. I can be a little free and just mention something in the ‘what’s true and what’s not’ section. I just can’t quit the teacher in me.

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I am shamelessly plugging my new book here.

http://www.blurb.com/b/7500143-the-year-it-snowed-kitty-treats

001-cover

It’s one of my annual Christmas stories based of my cats Mietze and Talbot. In the book they are Roly and Poly, two kittens who disobey their mother and sneak out of the house to gather kitty treats that mingle with the snow. The greedy, little kittens eat all the treats they can get their paws on. When their mother finds them she is shocked at their new appearance.

 

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