In a couple hours, my daughter Meredith and the 419 other seniors of Hatboro-Horsham High School will finally graduate!!!!!

*tries to put on brave face*
*vows not to embarass daughter by wailing at ceremony, or attaching self to daughter’s ankle*

Know that everyone in our extended, blended family is mad proud of you, sweetie. You rock our world!!!!

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Is it October yet?

June 10th and I’m already moping about the heat.

Hot weather sucks. It makes you stick to furniture and lose your appetite and your car is an oven and the air is foul and the garbage rots in an instant and your feet smell bad. If your skin is as white as mine, you have to stay out of the sun or cover yourself in yards of cloth or worse, white, sticky goo so you don’t fry up and turn to ash. And if you have crackly, asthmatic lungs, forget about it. Between heat, humidity, and ozone, you need a stupid Darth Vader ventilator.

Yeah, I’m cranky. Want to make something of it?

OK – here is a real-time effort to change my mood. (Happy thoughts, happy thoughts, happy thoughts.) Happy birthday, Maurice Sendak. And a million tulips of the heart to daughter Meredith, who kicked righteous butt at Senior Awards Night last night, bringing home an armload of recognition for her work for the marching band, on various committees, including Prom and GSA, and who also got a Golden Apple, because she is such an amazing woman. (Yes, I cried. Again.)

Didn’t get much writing done yesterday (which is also contributing to this mood) so I updated the website. Check out the PROM discussion questions. Please send me more, via this journal. Let me know if you want me to credit your name. Also updated the What’s New page and my CV.

If you’re bored today, read this interview with Jon Scieska. Me, I’m going to lay down on an air conditioning vent.

Big SPEAK Movie News

Drum roll please!

The American premiere of the movie version of SPEAK has been changed. The film will be shown on both Showtime and Lifetime cable channels on Monday, September 5th, 2005. Yep, this is Labor Day. (Don’t have a time yet.) The Powers That Be in the film world say that this kind of simulcast has never been done before. Whatever. I’m am just thrilled that it will finally be shown!! Many thanks to Annie Young Frisbie, co-producer and co-screenplay writer, for passing on this great news!

If any of you are going to have SPEAK viewing parties, let me know here, OK. Not that I want to crash your party, but it would be fun to know the details. I can’t wait to hear what you guys think about the movie itself.

Here are some links for the curious: film details on IMDB and my web page about the movie (don’t have corrected dates on it yet).

One of my most faithful correspondents, Max, has been anxiously awaiting the film. In honor of his patience, I’ll pull his latest note from the mailbag today. (BTW Max, you get the award for asking the best questions!)

Max writes: This may sound like a dumb question, but do you think a lot of dialogue is required in a book? Do you think that dialogue should be a huge chunk of the book, or are some books better off with more descriptions and personal thoughts? Sometimes, I just start writing dialogue but then later, I feel it would might have been easier to get my point through by just writing what she thought instead of a whole conversation. I also want to ask you about the revision process. Is there a certain way that you revise your books that really works for you?

There is not an easy answer here because it depends on the needs of the book and the character. There is not a lot of dialog in SPEAK because a major plot point is that the main character doesn’t talk much. There is much more dialog in PROM because that main character has a busy family and friends, so it makes sense that she has to talk a lot.

The book I’m writing now seems to be going this way: Step 1 – develop a scene that has a long, long chunk of dialog. Step 2- Fret about length of dialog. Step 3 – Cut dialog. Step 4- Fret that scene is missing crucial elements. Step 5 – Write new dialog. Step 6 – Finally figure out character motivations and the point of the scene. Step 7 – Develop actions that will remove the necessity of some dialog (SHOW DON”T TELL). Step 8 – Trim back dialog again. Step 9 – Vow not to look at scene for a week or so. (a week later) Step 10 – Trim dialog even more. Less is always better, IMHO.

Grindstone whirring

Fell asleep thinking about my new story. Woke up at dawn thinking about it, too. This is a good sign.

I’m staying in the cave and typing all day.

More coffee!!