Friday, December 04, 2009

This, That & Stuff

Dec. 5, 2009

I've had some crazy, busy times lately. Lots of fun with visits from kids, grandkids and granddogs. But, that's what Thanksgiving is all about - family, love and being grateful. So, it was all a success, but now it's back to the real world.

On Nov. 21, we had out LHCWG meeting. Always interesting. I had submitted an excerpt from my current novel in progress, 'Stephen's Boys'. I didn't think is was one of the better episodes and was a little worried about the feedback, but it all came back good. In fact, it was interesting that when Buck gave his feedback, he commented that he felt that John was the older brother of Stephen. What good feedback. Stephen is older, but he's the weaker of the two, so Buck's comments indicate that I'm managing to get dynamics of their personalities across.

Speaking of 'Stephen's Boys', way too much research is needed. I now know more about the second world war and the activities in the Pacific than I ever wanted to know. Dave is reading the novel for our one-on-one crits. He came across a glaring mistake on my part. I had Josh and his copilot crash after the back of the plane and all the men in that section had been killed. Well, the problem with that is that Josh took off from the U.S.S. Enterprise in a fighter plane, not a bomber per se. He wouldn't have a copilot much less a crew in the back. So, I went on line today and tried to fix that snafu. What I found is that some planes called Douglas SBD Dauntless were, in fact, launched from the Enterprise and they were two seaters, one for the pilot/bombardier and one for the gunner. So, while I'll have to get rid of the crew in the back of the plane, I'll be able to keep the scene with copilot, Ed, only I'll have to call him a gunner. Yahoo! Great catch, Dave!

The kids arrived early the week of Nov. 23rd for our annual Thanksgiving reunion and dinner. Had a great time with everyone, but not much time for writing. Everyone left for home on the 28th, so I was able to get back to my daily schedule of writing for 20 or 30 minutes. It's become second nature to me and I really miss my characters when I don't visit them.

Went to my WNEA meeting on Dec. 3rd and got some good feedback on 'Hannah'. Also, gave a copy of 'Hannah' away in the gift exchange.

On Dec. 4th, Dave and I drove down to Parker to see Cindie's high school drama class in their annual Christmas performance. They wrote, directed and acted out all the parts for a drama called 'Troubles With Chewing Bubble Gum'. Again this year, I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of their work. It must be the leadership of Cindie, their Drama teacher.

Today was the LHCWG meeting. The chairman, Jim, deserves a medal. He is doing a great job pulling together a lot of cantankerous members of the group. After some discussion of possible changes to procedures and by-laws, Vern commented that perhaps we are trying to fix something that ain't broke. I tend to agree. One of the subs today, named me as a 'literary figure'. It was a cute story by Grace Painter about a reporter that ends up killing her interviewee. But, I got a little upset today at the caliber of crit I received for my last submission. My allotted time lasted all of just short of 60 seconds. And, the comments on the pages handed back to me were just as terse and bland, if any. It's very discouraging when one tries to give feedback to fellow members, then gets little or nothing in return. One of the suggestions for our crit sessions was to eliminate discussion of punctuation. I couldn't believe my eyes when I read that. I definitely expressed my lack of support for that change. Punctuation is one of the most important parts of writing. Try to get an editor to read your work if you abuse a comma versus a colon or a semi-colon. Or worse, use sentence fragments like I'm prone to do. I hope this group never stops questioning punctuation.

I talked with three of the folks in my novel group today. I want this group to be self-governing without rules and by-laws, but I hope each member understands that they will be expected to crit with detail. A 'that was nice' will not work. They all agreed. Also, it is going to be limited to a six member group.

Enough grousing. I went to see quite a few movies recently. 2012 Excellent visuals. Especially the freeway collapsing scenes. The story was good, but very politically correct. Blind Side Good, but a bit sappy and the focus on the kid getting a scholarship seemed wrong. This rich family treated this stray kid like a son, but wouldn't pay his tuition. A focus on grades to quality for a college ed. would have worked better for me. Old Dogs Funny in places, but not near as good as the biker movie about old guys. Everythings Fine Good acting by DiNero, but I think it would have made a better read. Although, I did like the way the father saw his children. They were all adults, but he still saw them as children and that's kind of the way I see mine. Interesting.

So, this is way too long. I've got to get ready for a book signing in Bullhead City tomorrow. It was supposed to be the Four Goddesses, but Lois and JoAn aren't feeling well. Cindie's husband Doug will be handing out a flyer that offers a chance to win a $20 gift certificate. Hope it works to draw folks to our table to talk with us and maybe sell a couple of books. I'll think positive!

I'll close tonight with a quote that really speaks to my feelings these days about my writing and about my life in general these days. “To love what you do and feel that it matters, how could anything be more fun?” Katharine Graham


carolina said...

Me encantó lo de los spaguettis. Disculpe que escribo en castellano, es que soy muy torpe para el inglés, pero lo entiendo muy bien y lo que escribió es magnífico. Me gustaría algún día ser escritora como usted pero me falta muuuuuuuuuucho. Saludos

Sharon Poppen said...

Thank you for your nice comments on my spaghetti story. I'm glad you enjoyed it and thanks for letting me know. Good luck with your writing.

I loved it from the spaguettis. I am sorry that I write in Spanish, is that I am very clumsy for English, but understand it very well and what he wrote is magnificent. I would like to someday be a writer like you but I need muuuuuuuuuucho. Best regards