Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Looking for help with your novel?

I was stuck at home this morning waiting for a FedEx delivery.  (If you live in my building, any package left at the door is considered fair game for thieves!)

Because I had a few extra minutes I was able to give a querier some extra help.  My tools involved a hatchet and a bucket to catch the blood spatter.  "Murder your darlings" took on a whole new meaning.  She sent me three pages; after I was done she had about six paragraphs.

Fortunately this is not a story about a writer who didn't value feedback. She did. She was very nice about thanking me for slicing her work to pieces.

Unfortunately, I am not at home waiting for the FedEx delivery man every day.  Most days I'm at work brutalizing the minions and calling for the heads of uncooperative editors. Most days her work would get a form rejection and not a comment more.

If you're getting form rejections and you can't figure out what the problem is, you might want to take a class so someone can murder YOUR darlings.

There's a pretty good one being offered by Jenny Milchman and Butch Edgerton starting Feb 23.  One of the best things about this is it's offered via Skype.  You don't have to be in NYC to take advantage of it.

The details are here.

Both Jenny and Butch are pals of mine.  They come with my highest recommendation. Butch is the author of HOOKED a book I recommend to writers as a must-have.  Jenny is the hilarious and talented events wrangler at Wachtung Books in New Jersey--and the author of a book that I am very much looking forward to buying when it's published.

Whoever told you math isn't beautiful and elegant flat out lied

And here's the proof.

For more about what this video is check out the Harvard Natural Sciences lecture demo about harmonic motion.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Never before revealed footage of FPLM agent at lunch

The No-Pants Club Inducts a new member

Somehow I thought the No Pants Club would be limited to my talented if slightly insane clients Sean Ferrell and Jeff Somers.

No, no I was wrong.  Here's an email from a potential client, who as far as I know has never met Sean or Jeff, although of course, she's a writer, thus slightly insane (in the very best way of course), explaining her recent run-in with TSA on her flight home from DBW.

And yes--it was a "sweater dress" that is somewhat short on normal sized people, but is like a crop-top on me. I usually wear it with skinny jeans, but I forgot my jeans. So I threw on some thigh-high tights, tied a long-sleeve sweater around my waist, and clipped it in front with a hair clip.

As I was getting ready to walk through the detector, the TSA guy says, "I need you to take off the sweater around your waist."

Instead of beating around the bush (so to speak), I said point-blank: "I'm not wearing anything underneath it."

This caused quite a ruckus as I got ushered into the glass enclosure to await a female TSA ass-grabber. She arrived and said, "I understand that you aren't wearing any pants."

Instead of affirming her statement, I pulled up the tied-on sweater and flashed her my thigh-highs.

"Ma'am!" she yelled, holding up her hands at me to shield herself from the horror. "No one's asking you to do that!"

Since the email was NOT sent from JFK, I am hoping she got home safely! Either that or there's great wifi at Rikers.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Listening to Elmore Leonard

I swam over to the Center for Fiction last week to hear Elmore Leonard in conversation with Jonathan Santlofer.

Jonathan Santlofer was an exceptional moderator. He was concise, conversational, and didn't insert himself into every question. He should be cloned and made to moderate all panels forevermore.

Elmore Leonard told us:

"I spent 10 years writing short stories, or ten years 'getting better'."

"I started out imitating Hemingway till I found out he (Hemingway) had no sense of humor."

"I always write from the point of view of a character, major or minor."

"I never intrude. I never want to be seen telling the story."

"If it sounds like writing, rewrite."

"Outlining means you go with an idea that could be old or outdated as the novel develops"

"Not outlining allows for surprise and something else to happen."

"Verbs other than 'said' for dialogue call attention to themselves."

"Don't muck it up with -ly words"

"I write longhand then use a typewriter. No computer. No email."

"Watch for words that don't belong in the book because they are not natural to the characters"

The event even made NY Magazine's Approval Matrix -- thankfully on the correct side of the grid!

I only get 15% of the blame for this, right?

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

What Three Things Are You Grateful For Today?

As regular readers of this blog will know, I am a devoted fan of ShelfAwareness. I'm a particular fan of Marilyn Dahl, the book review editor, who is very influential in my book buying choices (MATTERHORN springs to mind, as does DARK END OF THE STREET.)

I read her article in the Readers edition of Shelf Awareness about gratitude.  It's here: Resolution Restart

Here are the three things I am grateful for today:

1. Cafe Bustello. It's a consistent pleasure to drink this coffee every morning.

2. Being able to work from home on days like today when the galloping crud is having its evil way with me.

3.  Marilyn Dahl of course. 

What three things are on today's list for you?