Sunday, November 21, 2010

Shoes and ships and ...

Before Sunday School started today, a couple of us women were talking about shoes. I guess that was still on my mind when I looked down and compared the footwear of the three men sitting at my end of the table. One wore ankle-high work boots, another a pair of comfortable slip-ons and the third a pair of highly polished wingtips.

Even though I know each of these gentlemen, I could tell by the boots who was the outdoors handyman, who was going to be on his feet for the next hour preaching and who was the businessman.

I thought then about the shoes the characters in my WIP wear. Morven, the heroine, wears a pair of sturdy boots outside the house and soft moccasins inside. When invited to a dance, she takes some stiff material and sews a pair of slippers that she knows will be ruined by the end of the evening.

Morven also is infuriated when the town assemblymen decide not to grant her the money to purchase her ward, Elisabeth Anne, her annual pair of shoes on the grounds that she has stopped growing and therefore can continue wearing the pair she has.

In another scene, Morven snares the rabbit that has been nibbling in her garden. She takes the skin to a tanner so she can make Tamsen's baby son a pair of fur-lined booties for winter.

Tamsen loves to work in the garden or sit outside weaving her baskets. She goes barefoot except in the coldest weather.

The villain, who manages to control Morven's life even after his death, drowns when his jackboots fill with water and drag him under the raging current.

Are shoes important to the story? Probably not in themselves, but they are details that add to character and setting -- and in the villain's case, the plot.

This doesn't mean I wasn't paying attention to the lesson. I was -- but don't we all have moments when our minds wander?

If we didn't, we wouldn't be writers.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

One down and miles to go

After spending hours formatting my journal, I submitted it to Create Space. I should get my proof copy Monday and if all looks good I will sign off on it and then figure out how to get it on Kindle. Thanks to Raymond Griffith who made a special trip to take the photograph I described to him. So that is one thing I can cross off my list!

And, I am halfway finished editing "The Lunch Club." This was a fun book to write and I hope I get it polished enough to start sending it out soon.

Several people have asked me why it is so important to get my work published. Surely the personal satisfaction of having written a book is enough. "You got it out of your system," they say, as if a novel was one of those songs that get stuck in your mind until you want to scream.

One of the people who asked this baffling question was an artist. I asked her what she did with her paintings after she finished them. "Do you stack them in your closet?"

"Of course not," she said. "I sell them and people hang them on their wall to look at."

She didn't put all her talent into something that no one would ever see. I told her that a writer's published book is the same as her framed painting. It isn't finished until others read it. Publishing is a kind of vindication that our time and trouble were valuable to someone else.

It's a lot of fun, too, but I didn't tell her that. Artists are supposed to suffer.

Friday, November 5, 2010

I had a really good Idea for my blog. I thought about it around 3 a.m. and actually remembered it in the morning.

I also woke with a bad cold and was sick in bed for three days and recuperating for the next three. I didn't feel like doing anything but coughing, sneezing and whining.

I still retained some remnants of the Idea. But after I recovered, I had to catch up on my paid work (clients have the idea that their stuff should be posted as soon as they send it to me). So that took time, and my Idea got a little fainter.

Then my sister and her husband came to visit and I couldn't work on the computer while my company sat around, bored and unentertained -- and the Idea faded away to a wisp.

Now I am feeling better and have (almost) caught up on my work; the house is still clean from our frantic pre-company cleaning; someone actually bought a copy of my book from (I have a tracking site and was obsessing for a few weeks, then made myself stop looking). What fun to see the arrow dip down the chart to show a sale!

And, I have the cover in hand for my CreateSpace nonfiction book and after one more run-through to spot typos, I am ready to submit it. So, some progress is being made.

Sure wish I could remember what the great blog Idea was, though.