Friday, May 27, 2011

The Memorial Day Weekend Movie Edition

This long holiday weekend is the un-official start of summer …which means movies, movies, movies. I go to the movies almost every weekend (all year long). I love the whole experience, from popcorn and Diet Coke to previews to the end credits.

Rarely am I disappointed because, after all, I enjoyed my popcorn and Diet Coke. However, I noticed a thread on Twitter recently about movies that didn’t do justice to the books that inspired the film versions.

My all-time favorite book is A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving. The movie Simon Birch was based loosely on the novel. It was horrible. I wished I’d never seen it. Blah. Gack. Brrf. Yet, I thought the Harry Potter movies did a fairly good job of keeping the flavor of the books.

I anxiously await the premiere of The Hunger Games movie. I LOVED that series by Suzanne Collins. I have high expectations based on the actors they’ve assembled thus far.

What are your book-to-movie experiences? Any movie really capture a favorite book? Any movie really mess up a favorite book?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Choose Your Weapon: Words or Sticks and Stones

We were taught at a very early age that “Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me.” I’m sure our parents meant well, but let’s face it…they lied. Words have a lot of power. To hurt. To heal. To inform. To deceive. To entertain.

As a writer, I appreciate that words can do those things and more.

As a human being, my feelings got hurt this morning when a jerk wrote the following about a one-page excerpt from one of my novels:

If more than three people in the world buy this load of catflap, I'll eat my laptop.

The comment was posted at, a site where authors post page 99 of their works in progress so that readers can vote whether they’d turn the page or not. There is a comments section…which is where I found the catflap nonsense.

The interesting thing is that I also received this comment:

The situation is instantly gripping and many details (the room smells of mold and cigarettes -- what a combo!) ignite on the page. This could be a John Grisham thriller. Good work.

The hurt I felt this morning passed quickly. And the pride about the second comment passed just as quickly. Why? Because how I feel about my writing – about myself – comes from within myself. Too often we base our self-esteem on how others view us – or how we want them to view us (rich, thin, sexy, smart, professional, talented).

Readers, what do you think? What makes you feel good about yourself despite what others might say?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Why I Need Your Crazy Aunt Myrtle's Dentures

As I writer, I keep my eyes and ears open for interesting settings, unusual people, strange conversations at the coffee house. I jot down these details in case they’re a good fit for a novel or short story I’m working on.

It may just be a germ of an idea that will take root later. For example, the other night my husband said he’d love to know the exact date and time of his death; that it’d make it easier to know how long to work, when to retire, when to take that trip he’s always wanted to take. I disagreed with him (long story) but the point is that I now have a great idea for a short story where a group of couples form a commune off the grid so that they can keep the dates of their children’s deaths a secret from them.

Sometimes I have really great luck in running across ideas. Other times (like now!) I am asking my blog readers to help me.

I am working on novel number three. The main characters are women in their 60s and 70s in a long-standing book club. I have some general ideas of who these women are: one’s a socialite, one’s a hippy, one’s a retired school teacher. But I need to see them in my mind. That’s where you come in.

Do you have a crazy Aunt Myrtle you could describe to me? Does she play with her dentures, eat only beige foods, or garden in the rain? Is your Grandma Hattie a socialite who’s lost all her money and traded in her real jewelry for cubic zirconia?

I’d love to hear any unique, quirky character traits some of your older relatives possess or possessed when they were alive. I may use these details -- or they just may be the germ of an idea that will blossom over time.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

One End, New Beginnings

Yikes! Where did the month of April go? And shame on me for not blogging once. I found these two quotes recently and wanted to share:
  • “The worst thing you write is better than the best thing you didn't write.”
  • “If you wait for inspiration to write, you’re not a writer. You’re a waiter.”

I haven’t really figured out my latest bout with writer’s block (writer’s procrastination). At first, I blamed it on my day job creeping into my writing days. But who let that happen? Me, myself and I. In truth, it’s more about a funk I’ve dropped into since completing two books and not finding an agent yet. It’s been hard to throw every bit of myself into these books, truly believe in them, and still not get them recognized.

Agent and prolific blogger Rachelle Gardner recently wrote a column titled 4 Reasons You Should Write Several Books before Seeking Publication.

Eye-opening, sobering and hard to swallow – yet pretty on target. Sometimes writers need to strengthen their craft. Sometimes they need to write a book that’s more marketable. Sometimes we need to let go of the things we love, even if that thing is a manuscript.

It’s time to commit to book 3 — I’d hate for it to be the best thing I didn’t write.