Away for a few days… tell me your resolution

Harold I. Anderson Jr. died this afternoon. It hurts, but he was suffering, and we know that he feels better now. He was born in 1926, fought in WWII, sold coffee and tea and chocolate, and loved his family beyond words. He was a good man and a wonderful grandfather to my daughters. He taught me about gardening and the proper way to eat mashed potatoes and patience. We miss him something awful.

I’m headed to PA to hang with that side of the family for the next few days. I head home to NY and will be back here in LJ land some time after the funeral next week.

A safe and inspired New Year’s to all!!! Here’s the question, of course: What is (are) your resolution(s)??

View from a hermit’s den

We’ve had a wonderful week of family, love, joy, food, and a new kitchen floor, laid on December 24th, because my husband is a carpenter and a bit of a nut at times. Our house is still decorated with trees and lights. The presents were lovely and our clan gathering was a blast – no tension or strife, just laughter and hugs and copious amounts of food. Life is good.

Life is also sad. My first husband’s father, the grandfather of my two girls, appears to be dying. He is a very, very good man and it is hard to think of the world without him. I was up early this morning and I sat in the darkness waiting for the sun to appear. It felt like the Christmas season was timed to give us strength to get through the months of darkness ahead of us.

I am writing and reading and praying today.

pretending to be asleep

So the foot that the doc sliced open? Healing. I left the house for the first time yesterday. I can almost walk without a limp, as long as I walk slowly.

But the back? Different story. When my foot was killing me last week and I was getting around the house with a crutch or hopping, or hurtling myself from one room to the next, I apparently tore or strained the Big Muscle in my back that is connected to all other muscles. But I am so sick of all this pain stuff I am not talking about it any more. In fact, I am pretending that I am sleeping right now, and this is all a bad dream.

Christmas officially beings at our house today, with the arrival of our daughter Meredith. YAY!!!!!!

And yes, I am still revising my book. Thanks to all of you who wrote in the great revision questions. If you care about revision, be sure to read through the discussions that cropped up in the comments section of last Friday’s post.

In reading news, I finished Anansi Boys, by my all-time fav, Neil Gaiman. I loved it. Now, when not writing or thrashing on the floor clutching painful body parts, I’m reading Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell, by Susanna Clarke and loving that, too. And I just ordered a bunch of new books at the library, so I am a happy camper, (edit) a whiny, happy camper.

About my revision process

I am finally approaching the end of my WIP (work in progress). For those of you with a score card, this is Draft #7. I have never done a novel in fewer than seven drafts. I sure do wish I could, but so far the slow and tedious route seems to work for me. I started this book in January, 2005. I had to take several long breaks away from it for school visit travel, and some family concerns.

I am a fluid writer, meaning that during the early drafts I go where the character wants to go. I don’t force myself to follow an outline. Outlines bore me, so I don’t use them, though I know a number of authors who can’t imagine working without one. I use the early drafts to get to know the characters and to focus on the voice of the narrator. Then I work on structure – what happens, and what happens next, and what happens next.

In this book, working with the structure of the novel has been a fascinating ride. I think I finally have the right course…. ask me in a couple days and I’ll know for sure. At this point I think I’ve written and thrown out nearly four hundred pages. It used to kill me to do that. I’d moan and gnash my teeth and tear out my hair and stomp my feet. I got over it. All of those pages were necessary to help me figure out who my MC (main character) is and what he wants. It does not matter how many pages you write. Anybody can write pages. What matters is that you select the right scenes, with the best balance of action, dialog, and narration, to unfold your story in the strongest way possible. If I could find a way to do that in one or two drafts, trust me – I would. But slow and steady seems to be my lot in life.

Once this draft is done, I’ll put it away for a few days. When I pull it back out, I will edit it for consistency issues (though I think I’ve already taken care of most of those) and language; making sure that I’ve described things well, and that the dialog doesn’t run on too absurdly long. Then I’ll send it to my editor and pace nervously (def. a challenge on crutches) for the verdict.

What other revision questions do you have?

Guys on the roof

There are men on the roof of our house. Men with shovels. Three stories off the ground.


Because there is two-and-a-half feet of snow on our roof and the temperature is going to skyrocket up into the twenties today…. and then we might get another 18 inches of snow. We need to de-snow the roof for two reasons: 1) so the roof doesn’t cave in, and 2) so the melt-off doesn’t back up under the shingles and drip through the ceiling and require major repair.

Last winter I was visiting up here and saw a grandmother shoveling off her roof. Granted, it was only a one-story ranch house, but still. She looked like she was in her mid-seventies. That’s the kind of spirit and spunk that I love about the people who live up here. Central NY is the best.

I tried to do too much yesterday. Duh. The mangled foot turned hot and swollen and began an unfortunate resemblance to a baseball bat with toes. My BH gently but firmly suggested I stay completely off my feet today. So I am working in bed, with a carafe of tea by my side. I feel like a princess… a princess with a bad foot. Stupid glass slippers, they always cause problems.

Be sure to wish sdn a Happy Birthday!!