Thursday, March 10, 2011

Shake it Off, and Shake it Up!

Thought for the day: Cheer up! That mighty oak started out a little nutty, too.

Know what? It's time for me to shake off this silliness and get serious.

I mean, really. I dunno if it's an early case of spring fever,  or what, but I'm definitely having a hard time concentrating here.

I did manage to tear myself out of bed before the butt crack of dawn this morning, just so I could do some writing, but it turned into a write, scratch out, write some more, and scratch out some more kind of session. A teensy bit productive, but just barely.

Have you read the delightful Janet Evanovich's book about how she writes? Like her novels, it's very easy and enjoyable reading, but I swear, she wrote the first chapter of that book just for ME! Honest to goodness, she may not have dropped my name in there, but I'm sure that's only because it slipped her mind. The content was definitely directed at me, I'm sure of it. And what she told me is that it was time for me to stop fooling around with that first chapter, dammit! Made me laugh out loud when I read it, because at that point, I'd already written and rewritten the first chapter of Hot Flashes and Cold Lemonade so many times I'd lost count.

And though I've finished the book, and edited (and re-edited) it several times by now, you guessed it ... I'm STILL fussing with that first chapter. In fact, that's what I was working on this morning. But that first chapter, that first page, HAS to be perfect, doesn't it? I mean, it'd turn my poor innards to fish food if someone like the marvelous Janet Reid were to chew up that first chapter,  spit it out, and then (ohmigod!) yawn!

So, how do you KNOW when that first chapter is as good as it's gonna get? How do you KNOW when you've finally got it just right? How do you know when to stop fooling around with it, dammit? You guys who've already gotten an agent, already gotten a publisher, you lucky (hard-working) dogs you, how did YOU know?

For those of you who are still looking for some straight answers about the oomph factor of your book's first page, have I ever got a suggestion for you. Ray Rhamey is a writer and "developmental editor". (I'm not sure EXACTLY what that is, but it sounds quite impressive, doesn't it?) Anyway, he writes a blog entitled Flogging the Quill, and one of the things he does, and does extremely well,  is provide a first-page critique service for writers. Neat, huh? He offers his well-informed opinion as to whether or not that first page is strong enough to compel a reader to keep on reading. You can find his blog here.  And, tell ya what,  if you submit your first page, I'll be sure to read it. I (ahem) haven't gotten up the cojones to do it yet myself ...

OK, enough seriousness for the day. Time to play. No, better yet, it's time to wrap up that first chapter, once and for all. Dammit.

Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.


  1. LOL! Love your thoughts for the day.

    Re knowing when the first chapter is "done": honestly? I don't thing you ever totally KNOW. Eventually you just get so sick of fiddling with it, you send it out anyway. ;)

  2. Hi, Linda.

    It's funny. I used to write an incredibly long newsletter every month, filled with a ton of information about the amateur radio goings-on in our state and beyond, emergency communications, human interest stories, technical tips and info, heads-up on legislation and rules with a potential impact on amateur radio, and on and on. It took a lot of work to put all of that together, but here's the funny part. In between each section of the newsletter, I would insert these corny little one-liners, and of alllll those pages I wrote for that newsletter, those one-liners were what people seemed to enjoy the most. So, voila!Those corny little one-liners are coming back as thoughts for the day. (Corniness rules!)

    Darn it, I was afraid the "secret" to knowing when the first chapter was done had something to do with being sick to death of looking at it. Crap. I was really hoping for an epiphany.

    Not sure why, but most of the time, when I try to post comments on your blog, it tells me the comments have been disabled. Or, I'll see the comments that are already there, and then POOF! they disappear. THEN it gives me that "disabled" message again. (I'm about to get paranoid here...)

    Anyway, for your blog question today... OOOOOH! Pick ME! Pick ME! (But not my nose, not my nose! Too funny) I'd LOVE to catch your bouquet! Those bridesmaid's dresses are so awful, in the end, no matter how many times the bride says that you can shorten them and wear them for "other occasions"...

    And ya know what? I hope you get to be the "bride" many many times.

  3. Ugh. Sorry about the comment problem at my blog. The Intense Debate commenting system is apparently not without its glitches. I like being able to reply to comments individually, and I also like the email notification of replies, but there are definitely some freak failures. I'm hoping to figure it all out soon!

    And thanks! I'd be happy to be a "bride" many times over, as long as I never have to put on a wedding dress again. ;)

  4. No sweat, now that I know it's not "just me". When it comes to computers, I'm afraid I still suffer ESO problems from time to time. (Equipment Superior to Operator)