Friday, January 6, 2012

26 Simple, Silly Letters

How hard is it to take the 26 letters that we use in the English language and turn them into intelligent communication? Pretty hard, it seems.

I read several books over the holidays. Only one, Jo Nesbo's The Snowman, lived up to the book review hype. Well written, well translated, well told, the story hung together until almost, but not quite, the very end. In the last couple of chapters, the killer told us all about his motives and actions. I'd rather the police had really solved the crime, but that disappointment won't stop me from reading more by Nesbo.

Now, a woman of leisure with my retirement on Dec. 30, I told my husband that I planned to lie around on my chaise, eat bonbons, and read trashy novels. Terry reminded me I hate bonbons and don't have a chaise. Hmm. Guess I'd better try an alternative. Can I translate those 26 letters into words and words into a story people want to read? I think so.

Not to seem too scattered as a writer, I have a couple of projects well under way. I've been working on the first of a series featuring Mad Max Davies, a grandmother who comes out of child-rearing retirement to raise her two grandchildren and solve crimes at the same time. The manuscript, which I've edited to death, is in my agent's hands. Let's hope she likes it.

In the meantime, I'm refining the draft of the second Mad Max book. The shitty first draft is complete, but it needs a lot of Mr. Clean, Pledge and elbow grease to turn it into something my agent might like.

To counteract looming winter doldrums, I decided to play around at writing a serial killer book. Last year, I asked my Facebook friends if they had ideas on how to kill people without getting caught. Boy, did my friends know how to kill people! I created a private FB group and invited nine "midwives" to weigh in on several different points. Recently, we discussed the killer's physical features and occupation. The occupation discussion surfaced ways of drifting through society without making a ripple. Again, my friend's are really sick puppies.

I set out a series of writing resolutions for 2012.

1. Deliver the best manuscript of Max 1 I can write to my agent.
2. Polish, polish, polish Max 2.
3. Compete in three writing contests.
4. Continue with the serial killer book.

And live a peaceful, creative life. Without a salary, I threatened my husband with a diet of ramen noodles. He suggested I had lost my mind, as well as giving up my salary. He may be right.

Until one of us is proven right, I vow to continue turning 26 letters into words and stories that make sense.


  1. Good luck with your goals! And keep turning those 26 letters into something great. :)

  2. I love your way of putting 26 letters together!

  3. I love your way of putting 26 letters together!

  4. Clever post, Betsy :)

    Now if only I can remember not to give too much information away at the wrong place, by the wrong character, in my own stories...