Happy Sunday! It’s the first cool weekend of the fall here in Nashville, and I for one am thrilled. I can’t do a lot of walking yet, but I can sit on the porch and enjoy the sounds and smells that are so specific to this season--the crackle of leaves, the scent of the fire, the rustling of the breeze through the thinned out trees. It’s perfection.
Oh, before I forget: Today is the last day of the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville, and I am appearing on a panel at 1pm with my friend and fellow author Jeremy Finley. If you find yourself downtown today, we’re at the NPL auditorium, and would love to see you!
So that paragraph in and of itself tells you how I’m doing. I’m getting back on my feet, slowly but surely. I am down to one crutch already, and the swelling is going down. Stitches out later this week, and then it’s all healing, all the time. I admit, I’m getting a little claustrophobic not being able to move freely, but I keep reminding myself that this too shall pass. I had that feeling last surgery, and I’m so far ahead of where I was at the same point last time that I’m sure I’ll have full motion soon.
The enforced downtime made for good writing this week. I’m trying to get a draft of this book done by the beginning of December so I’m not frantically writing through the holidays. I’ve had some trouble nailing down my main character, she simply refused to reveal herself to me. I finally realized I’d named her wrong. When her real name came to me this week, boom went the dynamite, and the story is flowing again.
I don’t believe in writer’s block, but I do believe in the power of a story to drag its feet until you dread to open the damn thing because you know you’re going to circle around what you’ve written, feeling like something is wrong but not being able to nail it down, until you give up and go binge-watch Succession. I have done this enough to recognize the signs, and I know not to force it. Whatever’s wrong with the story will eventually let itself be known.
My rule of thumb: if it’s been a couple of weeks and I haven’t moved forward, I start looking at where I went off the tracks. I don’t panic. I don’t flip out. I don’t tell myself I’ll never write again. I give it some slack, read a fabulous book, get some inspiration, and tackle it again, starting at the beginning. Often times, there’s something in my original concept that’s off, and if I let it go and accept where the story has gone instead, things resolve themselves. Sometimes it’s a tense issue, or a POV. Sometimes, it’s as simple as a name. Regardless, you have to respect that this is art, and sometimes, art doesn’t want to behave. Like a child, you can indulge to a point until you are forced to lay down the law.
With that, I’m off to the festival. If you’re in town, I hope to see you there. On to the links!
THE LATEST ON THE INTERNET:
Fall 2019 YA Books: 90+ October–December New Releases. There goes my TBR... There are SO many great new books out this year…
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Caroline Vs. Natalie And My Personal Essay Identity Crisis. Shannon Keating gives us lots to think about...is laying bare your soul for the world to see healthy?
How Your Phone Is Ruining Your Relationships. “Society changes as technology changes.” We’ll never recover, I fear.
All about the inaugural MMD Book Club Retreat. How much fun is this? Modern Mrs. Darcy always comes up with the cool stuff.
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True Life: I Inherited a Private Library. Great story. Can you imagine???
Study finds that learning to read enhances the brain in more ways than one. More proof that reading is good for you!
Reese Witherspoon's Book Club Is Keeping Hello Sunshine on Top. Interesting behind-the-scenes article.
WHAT I’M READING:
THE SECRETS WE KEPT by Lara Prescott
The hype surrounding this book is so well-deserved. I'm a fan of anything lady spy, especially CIA, so I pounced the moment it came out, and it was so worth it. Elegantly written and realized, Prescott has done a fascinating moment in history justice. I had no idea about the backstory of Dr. Zhivago's long road to publication. Prescott presents all sides of the story, from Russian gulags to the swans of a D.C. summer, from the keen eye of multiple fascinating narrators. This is a get smart kind of book. (see what I did there?) I loved it!
What are you reading?
That’s it from me. Enjoy a cool afternoon in front of the fireplace, find a new show to binge-watch (I highly recommend Succession), try a book in a genre you don’t normally read, and I’ll see you next week.
PS: Since Succession season 2 is over tonight…what do you recommend I watch next?