Saturday, June 19, 2010

Silly short story

So, there I was last weekend, badly needing a break from querying and revising and editing, when a silly idea for a short story popped into my mind. Now, I rarely read short stories and I even more rarely write them. But this idea was so stupid that I had to capture it.

The premise: what if a single woman living in a major urban environment chucked everything and went of to live in the country. Seeking peace and silence, this unnamed woman buys a farm, only to find that nature isn't silent. Neither are the toys in her house. I didn't go much further than this and took it to my Valley Writers critique group.

I have tons of comments about the start of the story. I think it needs to be much more sarcastic, very snarky, very contradictory. Very all the things not in the first draft. I thank everyone for scribbling red ink over the draft.

But one comment left me cold. "It sounds like you are rewriting Green Acres." Green Acres? Took me all the way home to figure out the reference. I never watch sitcoms and had only one gray cell that recalled the name of this old TV show.

So, no, I have no conscious reason to rewrite Green Acres. This will just be me being my snarky best.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Cow in the lake

On Saturday evening, just as Terry and I were heading out to dinner, a neighbor called to report a dead cow in the lake just off the end of his dock. He wanted to know what to do with it.

I suggested he drag it ashore, butcher it, and stock his freezer. He was not amused. He seemed to think that because Terry and I are on the homeowner's association board, we should remove said dead cow. We thought not, gave the neighbor several numbers to call (Coast Guard Axilliary, Marine Fire and Rescue, Applachian Power (who owns the license for the lake), Virginia departments with varying degrees of responisibility for health, water safety, etc.). The Coast Guard and Marine Fire and Rescue eventually showed up and circled the dead cow. My neighbor went out as well. Everyone agreed that the cow was indeed thoroughly dead. And then they left. Cow remained in the water.

Cow was in the water on Sunday. Today, it's moved on or down, who knows which.

So, what is the story about the dead cow? Becky Mushko wants to know if it committed suicide. Looked like a young cow, so I don't think suicide is likely. Of course, it could be pregnant and not happy about it. . . .

Was it murdered? Did a jealous cow lure it into the water just as lightning was striking all around? Was this an act of a jealous god who decided that the cow was a bad influence on her herd and should be destroyed?

Without roping the cow and dragging it to a dock, we'll probably never know what happened. CSI wasn't called. The police were not interested, even if the cow was a murder victim. Alas, this inquiring mind is not likely to know what happened. Bet Sally Roseveare can do something with the cow in the lake in her next Smith Mountain Lake Mystery.

And no, I didn't take any pictures of the bloated corpse.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Series, series, series

I am querying for my first Mad Max novel and find myself facing a dilemma. Do I work on the second Mad Max book, which is in draft? Or, do I return to another draft I wrote a few years back and begin a serious rewrite of Patricia?

I read copious blogs that say pitching a series is not a good idea. I'm not, but if I am fortunate enough to attract an agent, which do I work on next? I can hear many of you saying "work on Patricia" because you don't know if Mad Max will catch on enough to become a publishable series.

Only one problem with that: Patricia is a 350,000 word trilogy. And yes, it's in draft and yes it can/will be broken into three sections. I just don't know if I can condense Patricia into a single work. Maybe it will rain this weekend and I can read the whole thing cover to cover.

Either way, I need to work on a series bible of characters, phrases, events, etc. so that I have the backstory straight and know what tag phrases each character uses.


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Muses and Musings

I never know when an image will strike me, or when I will smell something that sends me down long-forgotten mental highways, or where the smallest item dropped on the ground might be the next clue or trigger for a scene.

To wit, last weekend Terry and I slipped away from Smith Mountain Lake and drove through the Blue Ridge Mountains to Blowing Rock, NC. Terry had been through there with his wild hog biker buddies and thought I would love it. I did. Sitting on benches with a terrific cup of coffee watching people walk by. Drifting in an out of shops, doing some early Christmas shopping, more looking than buying. Finding wonderful restaurants with good wine lists. Dropping in on a British pub for a late afternoon pint.

And then there was the little white baby sock lying near the sidewalk. I wonder who owned it. I wonder who dropped it. I wonder if there is a half-barefoot baby in a stroller some place, kicking its bare toes in the sun. I wonder when I will use this wee bit of ephemera in a story.