I’ve never understood those who read a novel and never return to it. If a novel moves your heart or soul then it’s worth reading again. And maybe yet again. Sound odd? Not really. I have a small collection of novels that I’ve re-read time and again. Small—well, I’m not counting but it’s less than a library! Small—such a relative word. *grin* The point being, I just re-read the final book in Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series AND re-read the final book in her Infernal Devices series. In the near future I’ll re-read Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Those are only three books that I revisit now and then. You see, those books speak to me. As a writer, I like knowing how all the loose ends of a series of novels are tied up in the final book. I enjoy the clever way authors like Morgenstern entwine the stories of two couples who are actually years apart yet come together in the end. To be honest, in Night Circus, I didn’t catch the timeline thing until I read the book the second time! I’ve read it a third time and so many things now make more sense. You see, if a book is well-written, with intriguing characters and fascinating plot twists then you just have to read it more than once to get the sense of the whole. Nothing against those who read once then move on. But I applaud those who move on yet take a step aside at times to revisit old friends in the world of books.
I love to write. I love to create original art. I love sewing fabric together to make a quilt. However unless I manage time well, I seldom can do all three. I hate starting a story only to lay it aside. Therefore, since my first love is writing I won’t. That means some piece of art or the blocks that make a quilt top lay on my sewing table or art table and wait. Since my art table is directly across the room from this writing desk that means I see the unfinished work daily. GRRR! Right now one piece of art is completed, another only needs a few finishing touches and yet a third one waits—it’s so totally different from anything I’ve ever done I want to ‘clear the decks’ as they say in order to work on it without other obligations hanging over me. Starting today, I’ll work on art or quilting in the morning and return to writing and editing in the afternoons. I find that routine works best for me and allows me to, at least, touch two of my favorite activities in a day. Trying to do some of all of my loves in one day would probably drive me crazy so I reserve the right to do what I can.
I took part in an international writing activity in November. The goal was to write a novel of at least fifty thousand words from November 1 to the last day of the month. I not only started and finished my latest Young Adult novel in seventeen days but finished at sixty-two thousand words! YES! Granted I wrote myself dry…I spent the weeks since making two special quilts. Just finished the second one today.
So…that novel…it’s been sitting in my computer, fermenting like fine wine. In 2016 I’ll start editing it. When you write fast like the project demands, you are writing a first draft of your novel. It’s by no means ready to present to the public! I’ll go back over it, clean up the spelling, grammar and punctuation as well as make sure all questions in the story are answered by the time the reader gets to The End. The very first novel I wrote took me six weeks to complete. Did I think I could write this one in thirty days? Oh yeah. But to write it in seventeen days? Hey, high five! Even I didn’t think that was possible. I just might have to participate in that writing project again next year!
Temporary cover for Ghosts in My Soul
We all have them, those odd little quirks that are so individual. And flaws! Wow, a million of them—oh, not all at once. We each have one or two that tend to irk someone now and then. Fears—what do you fear? Though I’d not exactly use the word ‘fear’, I get extremely anxious and frightened around water. People talk about taking a cruise and I almost get sick. Blame it on the 1953 version of Titanic with Barbara Stanwyck and Clifton Webb. I remember seeing it as a child in black and white, and let me tell you, the memories still can give me nightmares.
If these quirks, flaws and fears are so potent, then why not give them to our characters when we write? Ah ha! Writers do! I’m preparing to write a novel in less than thirty days. I began a short story totally unrelated today and managed to write almost four thousand words in about four hours or less. I practiced, you see, adding those little personality bits that make each character so unique, just as each person is. Though the story I am writing at the moment isn’t for the novel writing month of November it is excellent practice in making sure my antagonist and protagonist as well as the supporting cast are as distinctive as possible.
If someone asked you what quirk do you exhibit, what would you tell them?
If someone asked what flaw irritates your family the most, what would you say?
If someone asked what do you fear, would you admit to the real thing or come somewhere close? Like I do.
Ever read something that makes you tear up? I did—just now! A wonderful review of my Young Adult novel Until I’m Safe. This is the review done by Janelle Fila for Readers’ Favorite at
Reviewed by Janelle Fila for Readers’ Favorite
Until I’m Safe by Jane Grace is a young adult story about a girl who finds herself lost in Hurricane Katrina. The story starts with Marguerite Aucoin at home in a volatile situation. Her father and mother are fighting and her father hasn’t been quite right in the head lately. When he pulls out a gun and threatens Marguerite, she does the only thing she can think of. She runs. But outside is Hurricane Katrina. Marguerite doesn’t know where to run to. She’s lost her hearing aids and is virtually deaf. When a stranger named Amand rescues her, Marguerite is grateful but also wary. She deceives Amand and lets him believe that she is Toots Gentry, the name of the fictional character that Marguerite writes about. But as Amand starts to fall in love with Marguerite, he begins to unravel some of the story that she is telling, threatening to separate the truth from the fiction.
This is a sweet, romantic story about a girl struggling to be brave. Marguerite wants to be everything that Toots is, so it should be no surprise to readers that she takes on Toots’ identity. I think readers will appreciate the setting of this story and the fact that it gives life to Hurricane Katrina. It is also refreshing to have a main character with a hearing disability, but not have the story be all about hearing loss. Very nicely delegated.
At church Sunday morning I caught the eye of Bea—a lady who bought my Young Adult novel, Until I’m Safe. Even across the church as we rushed to hug each other, she mouthed “I loved it!” As the author I basked in the praise for my efforts to portray a hard-of-hearing young woman in the midst of not only a natural crisis—Hurricane Katrina—but a personal one as well.
Bea had two questions for me: When will you write a sequel?
I do plan to write a sequel but not just yet. I am preparing to write another YA novel in November in the national writing movement called National Novel Writing Month. (Check out http://JanieCarver2011.wordpress.com this week for more on that).
Her second question was: Why did you write this novel under a different name? (I wrote it under the pen name, Jane Grace.)
I explained that many authors use different names if they write for both adults and young adults. I write adult romance, mystery and sci-fi under the name Jane Carver, but write fiction for younger readers under the name Jane Grace. Authors don’t want younger readers aware of websites for older readers.
Bea thought it over and agreed that was an excellent reason. But as she left my side, she reminded me, “I can’t wait for that sequel!” What a delightful challenge!
–Fire and Ice YA is an imprint of Melange-books.com–
Okay, so I’m preparing to create another pair of teen characters for a new novel I want to do in November. I’d forgotten how much I needed to know about those characters before I start writing. Imagine trying to describe a new friend to someone if you don’t know a lot about them yet. Same goes for writing a story about a girl and a guy if you don’t know them yet.
So, using all my good writers’ resources, I fleshed out their fears, first impressions of each other (not so good, let me tell you), their flaws (everyone has one or two or…well, you get the idea) and the theme of the novel. Wait, there’s more. What sorts of persons are they—a person who parties hard, a loner? What hobbies do they have, phobias, quirky little traits that either drive the other nuts or endears them to the other person? Who are the most important persons in my characters’ lives? Where’s their happy place to go to when the world comes closing in, and just what fine point will break them?
If you think these are just points to research for a character in a novel, apply them to yourself—these didn’t come out of thin air. These are character points about real people! You and me—we can answer these questions for ourselves!
As for the novel—now that I’ve got these tacked down, I can find a picture for the heroine and hero (I like visuals) then get ready, set, GO!
Oh, and meet Emma and Dylan.
Ever go to the grocery store these days? So many people! I live in a smaller community north of Houston and if you want to get in and out of the major grocery store there, you’d better do it before 5:00 in the evening. Otherwise, the entire community hits the store before going home. That quick trip in for dog food and milk turns into a major event!
All those folks seem to have a list. The younger folks appear to use their cell phone. Others like me have notebooks or a slip of paper. I’ve been a list maker since the time I entered junior high. I just made my grocery list for October 1 when we get paid. Will all those groceries last a month? Of course not. Almost immediately I’ll begin a new list—something I forgot to put on the original list. I’ll probably add to this October 1 list before I even get to the first of the month!
Lists are a good thing…an excellent way to stay organized. If you’re a list maker, think about the time you rushed out and forgot the list. Oh My God! Naturally, you had to return to the store the next day with the pared-down list of all the things you forgot.
I collect journals and keep one on my desk. In it I write down essential things for a month. Writing a To Do list per day is a waste. You never know what’s going to interrupt the day. But a list for a month is do-able.
Lists are a wonderful thing. Kudos to those of you who don’t need them—you’re obviously smarter and more organized than I am!
When my boys were young, they were in 4-H then FFA in high school. While raising an animal for show then sale is not a requirement, the boys raised chickens, turkeys, hogs, lambs and steers. No rabbits, though we had two that were big and mean. And no goats…they weren’t ‘in style’ back then. But in the past decade, goats have gotten to be the in-thing. Most county fairs now have goat competition. While we have dogs and cats at home as pets (the boys’ families do as well) one of the boys and his family acquired several goats as pets for the little one. While the nanny and young female goat are cute, the pigmy runt they brought home this weekend is adorable!! That’s not saying I want one; I’ll visit theirs, thank you, but seeing the little one playing with that tiny goat is something that brings a smile to one’s face and a sigh for just how darn cute the whole thing is. So now we add goats to the list of pets; this will be a fun new and interesting experience. 🙂
PG-13 is one of those areas where parents are warned to monitor what children watch or read. According to Hollywood movie experts, the official definition is:
PG-13 rated movies stand for Parental Guidance-13, with parents strongly cautioned, as some material may not be suitable for children under 13. Again, it’s a matter of what isn’t in the film; any nudity has to be non-sexual, any swear words have to be used sparingly, and, in the event of the specific obscenity we politely call the F-word, not used in a sexual context. (You can say “Oh, (BLANK) this!” in a PG-13 film, but not more than once, and never “I’d love to (BLANK) Denise …”) Violence in PG-13 films may be intense, but must also be bloodless – see Jurassic World or any Marvel Movie, for example – and it is, as per usual, the Ratings Board’s call if the film is deemed to be more than PG but less than R.
At times, it’s hard to remember that you CAN include nudity or certain unsavory words and they are appropriate if used without sex involved. However, I think of all ratings this one is the most difficult for parents (and some children) to determine. If there’s ever a serious question about a movie or book being appropriate for a child, first consider the child’s maturity. If you as a parent don’t think the kid can handle the subject, then by all means, don’t allow the child to see the movie or read the book.