Friday, March 19, 2021
Friday, February 19, 2021
Today I thought I would blog about a very important topic for writers: coffee. The way your take your coffee and how your make it can provide very important information about a writer, and for the writer to be able to describe their characters. I am inspired to write about this for a very important reason: it seems my newest percolator has died. 😞
Before I get too far, that photo above is not my newest percolator. That is the percolator my grandfather used going all the back to when I was a little kid. But I chose to use that photo because not only is that percolator coffee maker still working, but it also makes better tasting coffee than my new percolator system! I don't know what its secret is (magic?), but that damn thing makes the best freaking coffee I've ever tasted (screw you, Starbucks!).
There's a meme that goes around with various coffee makers and what it says about you. Under the percolator system it says you're either pretentious or an old Italian. Well, that percolator pictured is from my Italian side of the family (mom's maiden name was Notarione). Both my parents were big coffee drinkers, my non-Italian dad even moreso than my mother. I can't say my parents knew everything, or that they did everything perfectly, but I can say they were correct about the percolator system being superior to the new drip systems.
So how do I take my coffee? I'm not so traditional that I take it black, but I do need a little cream and sugar. I'm also not a big fan of those longer coffee drink names you can find at Starbucks and other similar places. I have a hard time getting myself to spend as much as those modern coffee shops are asking for a cup of joe. I can't even imagine drinking iced coffee. I don't want to insult anyone who does like these types of coffees, but they are just not me.
Isn't it interesting how much you can learn about a person just by knowing what kind of coffee they drink and how they take it? So how do you like your coffee? And if you are writing, how do your characters take their coffee? Or do they drink coffee? And if they don't drink coffee, what do they drink, and how do they drink it? This can be important information for your readers.
Friday, January 29, 2021
In a recent blog post, I wrote about editing a novel. Since I recently finished editing that novel, I would like to post an update.
It was the first manuscript I ever finished and edited to the point where I felt it was ready for prime time. By that I mean I felt comfortable enough to send it to agents and publishers, but to get it to that point, I had to edited it over and over again, to the point where it felt like the movie Groundhog Day, I keep living the same novel over and over again. It actually got the point where I promised myself I would never edit it again, so I could concentrate on completing other projects. Or at least I would never edit it again unless a professional like an agent or publisher asked for edits. Of course that would warrant another edit.
Then I applied to the Horror Writers Association to have a mentor, and was assigned one some time later. Since this was my only completed work, I sent him this manuscript. He provided me with some important feedback to the manuscript and pointers about my writing in general, which you can read about in the link above.
Since then, I set out to edit that novel one more time. It had been looked at by a professional author, so that warranted it one last edit. But the process at this point really did feel like Groundhog Day, working on the same thing over and over, reliving the same novel over and over. Well, that process is mercifully over once again. Don't get me wrong, I love that story I created, and feel it has great potential, and even after this many edits, there was some joy in revisiting it one more time.
But once a project like this over, there's nothing left to do but submit it. So I reviewed, once again, how to write a query letter, researched a number of small presses to submit it to, and geared my query toward one particular small press that seemed appropriate for my work. I also sent this query to my mentor, since he mentioned he often looks at former mentees' works from time to time, and I asked for his advice. I was very pleased he did not have any edits to the query. I have sent queries to professional writers before and have always had some edits in the past, so it was nice that for once, I seem to have mastered at least one part of the process. And I do think I wrote a pretty good query this time.
So the next step in the process is to continue editing one of my other novels and get it ready to send off to agents and publishers. This novel is starting from a different place than that previous one was. I think I have learned a lot since that first completed and polished manuscript, so I don't think this one will require nearly as much editing. I will likely also research more agents and small presses to send out that first manuscript, so several places can have a look at it at one time.
Such is the life of a writer: write, edit, submit, repeat.
Thursday, December 31, 2020
Thursday, July 30, 2020
1. People rarely, if ever, speak proper English. I assume this is probably true of speakers of other languages as well. We use figures of speech, idioms, slang and often try to appear witty to others. When someone does speak proper English in a normal conversation, we would think of that person as stuffy, uppity, pedantic, arrogant, or other unflattering adjectives. In fact, most people don't even speak in complete sentences. We get distracted, have other thoughts to convey, or just don't have the time.
“What’s wrong, Linda?” Eric asked his translucent girlfriend as she sat on a large wooden box in the college physics laboratory. He placed an opaque hand on her see-through shoulder in a comforting gesture.
“I’m just not sure I want to go through with this. I mean what if something happens to me?”
“Awe, come on babe, don’t you trust me? I mean what can happen? You’re already dead, right?”“Don’t call me babe! You know I hate that.” She stood up, threw her arms down, and turned away, her faded white dress flowing in the motion, the long belled sleeves trailing behind her. “And how can I forget I’m a ghost and you’re not when you keep reminding me.”