Happy Sunday! I come to you without stitches! This gives me freedoms I haven’t had in a couple of weeks, like baths. And CBD cream. And pants. That last comes at the perfect time since it’s suddenly quite chilly here. We went Summer to Winter with barely a Fall. We have a big neighborhood party today, with fire pits and hot dogs and bbq and chili and s’mores. It’s always so much fun to connect with the folks we only wave at most of the time as we’re driving in and out.
It was a long, strange week. We lost an uncle who had been ill for some time, and the funeral was unbearable, uplifting, and everything in between. He was an Air Force veteran, so there was a full military service graveside, and that was the strangely uplifting part for me. The playing of Taps, the flag-draped coffin, the ceremony and respect helped, in some ways. So too did the baby changing station in the bathroom. Such an odd reminder of the circle of life. Rest in peace, Joe. You will be missed.
I also think I have the book figured out. Three big plot breakthroughs, lots of waking up to write myself notes and scribbling away in the notebook. Oddly, I didn’t get a lot of writing done, but I’m working on the outline now.
Last week at Southern Festival, Jeremy Finley and I were talking about outlines. I don’t like to outline until I’ve been writing on a project for a while; he won’t start writing until he’s planned out exactly what he’s doing. Neither way is right, neither way is wrong. Both are valid, both get you where you need to go.
I like to do my outlines at this point, when the first third of the book feels really solid, when I’ve set up several plot points, and I know the why behind them. I can see the threads of where things are going, why the characters have made their moves, and know many of the scenes I want to write to make it all come together.
And by “outline”, for me, that’s just putting one or two lines about what happens in the scene. I don’t map it out deeper than that, just make a note about what I want to accomplish in the scene. It gives me a little bit of a road map. My notebook is littered with scenes broken out by character. At this point, I take those, lay them into Scrivener, and the shape of the story reveals itself.
Hmm. Maybe I should stop referring to it as outlining, and starting using roadmap instead.
And with that, I’m back to it. A happy writing and reading week ahead to you all.
Oh! Be sure to keep an eye on the Bargains page. Lots of deals rolling through right now and there’s more to come.
On to the links!
THE LATEST ON THE INTERNET:
How To Search Books By Color. Great tips for those of us who have rainbow bookshelves or want to know what that book with the red cover is. Because trust me, when you know the book cover is black but the spine is red, it causes all sorts of issues.
Waldsassen Abbey is the Fairy Tale Library You Need to Visit. This is so gorgeous!
Are the Women of ‘Succession’ Finally About to Smash the Patriarchy? If you're not watching Succession on HBO, you should be, because it engenders fascinating conversations like this.
Pottery Barn Is Launching a Harry Potter Holiday Collection. This is tempting…
What Fan Fiction Teaches That the Classroom Doesn’t. “A fan-fiction site is a uniquely energetic learning environment. Unlike in the classroom, where a writing prompt is as likely to be met with groans as with enthusiasm, writers on fan-fiction websites are thrilled to be there, excited to write, and passionate about the material—because it’s based on a book, TV show, movie, video game, or something else they already love.”
The germiest place in your home and the best way to combat those microbes. ACK! At least I feel better about Jameson’s love of drinking out of the toilet.
Could you be suffering from ‘book burnout’? “Don’t get me wrong, I love reading, but it’s got to a point where I feel like I’m only reading to keep up with the zeitgeist, rather than for my own sheer enjoyment or learning.”
WHAT I’M READING:
GONE GIRL by Gillian Flynn
When we talk about unreliable narrators in novels, Amy Dunne is almost always at the top of the list. Gillian’s brilliant book almost single-handedly resurrected the female villain/unreliable narrator device, and love it or hate it, it’s here to stay. It never truly went away; read any Du Maurier book and you’ll see this device front and center.
It’s always been my goal not to overly victimize the women in my novels, especially those who die at the hands of a male killer. Now that I, too, have pivoted toward writing books with unreliable narrators, I’ve been thinking about how the female villain can too easily be forced into this role, becoming the victim in other ways.
I’m also interested in how many writers have changed from having women as victims to women being the leads, albeit often as unreliable narrators. Is it any different? Or is it just the other side of the coin? Would love to hear what you think...
That’s it from me. Make some popcorn and sit by the fire, work on strengthening your core with some great yoga (Adriene is my favorite), rake up some of your neighbor’s leaves, and I’ll see you next week.