Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Scottish St. Patrick

For me, the cool thing about writing fiction is getting to create interesting characters and then set them in motion and surround them with circumstances to see how they'll react or how they'll change.

It's not easy, and that's probably why people often confuse fiction with reality because you have to start somewhere, and the safest place to start is with yourself. You know, the ole "write what you know" logic. (That's also assuming you won't try to sue yourself.)

Creating consistent characters is one of those basics of fiction. If you can't do that, well, there's always nonfiction. Or music!

Speaking of music (again), I'm thinking that's another reason why so many writers use music for inspiration. Songs can really help you visualize characters or remind you how one is motivated. It really works. I've heard of writers going so far as to create iTunes mixes for books they're writing. It's not a bad idea.

So everyone knows I'm shopping Debut Novel, and at this point, I've got a few agents I like looking at the full manuscript. Well, imagine my horror when I decide to sit down and read DN again (it had been a few weeks) and made the startling discovery that somewhere around Chapter 4, Main Character exhibits some uncharacteristic behavior.

How did this happen? How did I miss this? I know I read this book at least three times before sending it out. I even had test readers read it.

Now, I worked for many, many years as an editor. I still do to a certain extent, although nowhere near as heavily as in past lives. So I might be a little hypercritical. Also, it's my book, so that could make me oversensitive. I can admit these things.

But I should've caught this.

So I made my discovery and naturally I announced we were having Lebanese food for dinner because I falafel. (Insert little drum-cymbal sound.) Also, naturally, my little family went into goof-off mode to make Mommy feel better.

I love those guys.

Part of that effort involved Richard telling us all the story of St. Patrick and why he has his own special day. It started out that he was born in Ireland and that he died on March 17.

But somewhere around Chapter 2, Richard's accent went from something like Bono's to exactly like Mike Myers's dad in So I Married an Axe Murderer.

Then he told the children about how St. Patrick made a flute and danced around to the tune of the bagpipes. I think Richard also mentioned St. Patty loving the heather and the loch. And at one point he mentioned the Saint having a shpilkis in his genechtagazoink. (Me: That explains what he's been doing in Boca Raton.)*

Did I mention I love those guys? (Note to the girls' teachers and fellow classmates' parents: I'm sorry.)

All this to say, I've been sort of wigged out for 24 hours. The nice thing is Favorite Agents have acknowledged receiving corrected pages, and hopefully won't move Debut Novel straight to the "kindly pass" pile.

Note to aspiring novelists who are reading, when you get the request for the full manuscript, you're probably safe to take a day and read through the whole thing one more time before sending it. That is, of course, unless you've written Moby Dick or Insomnia.**

Finally, filed under funny/odd coincidences, on the front page of the Baldwin Register today, there was a great picture of a cute little Gulf Shores High School cheerleader named Alex along with my Get to Know feature on Karen Kyzar.

Since it's the luckiest of all days, I wanted to interpret this as a sign of some sort, but I couldn't figure out what it could mean. So onward and upward. As my Irish-Jewish former boss (who I loved) used to say "we live in hope."

*The Thighmaster is neither a thigh nor a master. Discuss.
**I pick on these books because it won't matter to the authors one bit if I say I think they're completely unreadable.


JRichard said...

1. You forgot to mention how St. Patrick used to love playing golf, shopping for kilts at Ye Wee Kilte Shoppe, Ye Barsted, and kissing the Blarney Stone.

2. Insomnia is the worst of SK's novels. There, I said it. I keep trying to reread it and make it better and it just won't work.

3. That poor Karen chick. Will she ever again be able to claim modesty?

LTM said...

1. LOL!!! I did forget the golf.
2. I get insomnia at the thought someone might try to make me read it. (Dara says we're both wrong. But she's an artist.)
3. That wasn't Karen, that was Alex.

Ex-pat Odessa said...

So I married an axe murder, funniest movie EVAH!!! HEED, Moove!!! Look of the size of that boy's heed, looks like an orange on a tooth pick! That's a fact!!! BAHAHAHA!!!!

LTM said...

1. Charlie, run along with your mother and try on one of her bras while you're in there.
2. Go, ya stayed yer hour.
3. HEED, turn up the Bay City Rollers... :D