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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Another Party Heard From

I'm the third member of the Lyrical Pens, and like CJ somewhat new to the world of blogs. I'm told the world is hanging by a thread to find out what I ate for breakfast and how many days I've procrastinated about cleaning out my flowerbed. I'll call that last sentence foreshadowing and keep you in the dark a little longer. One thing you'll notice as I write, I'm a big fan of descriptive adjective and adverbs, often over the complaints of my critique groups.

I am a voracious reader, mysteries - both new-age (Patricia Cornwell and Janet Evanovich) and pre-twenty first century (Anne Perry, Jeanne M. Dams, and Jacqueline Winspar.) I truly like cozy mysteries. They make the reader think for a change and yet they don't get mired down in the unbelievable violence of so many of today's books. My second major reading interest is in character driven plots (Sue Monk Kidd and Pat Conroy.) I think the study of human nature and familial interactions are too, too amazing. Real life is the true drama or "where it's at" as the kids say. I absolutely adore subtle humor intertwined with the story.

I fell in love with books sitting on my mother's lap while she read poetry and fairy tales. By the age of ten, I was driving the librarians crazy in the small Georgia town where I grew up because I had read every biography and mystery for my age group and kept wandering into the adult sections. Finally, with my mother's permission, the librarian would help me pick out books that "didn't reveal too much." My mother's favorite book was Gone With the Wind from which she often read excerpts to me, so I was weaned on character driven plots blended with humor, tragedy, and adventure.

After highschool, I got busy with life and went to nursing school while I still wrote copiously in too-many-to-count composition books for twenty years. I was in healthcare management for those same twenty years and at work, I wrote manuals, procedures, bylaws, etc. I started my own writing and editing company during those years (and still do some) helping businesses and other healthcare businesses with their documents. I tend to be very organized, so that was a bonus in the business world. {If you saw my office right now, you would fall over laughing.}

In 2001, I retired and got serious about writing fiction and personal essays, but guess what I did first? I spent many, many, many (love those adjectives) hours reading through all those stacks of composition books, studying my plot ideas, my characters, my settings. It was all there, albeit a bit messy, and I started to write, using all that valuable material as the foundation for my stories. Several of my personal essays sold, which was gratifying. My first serious critique group looked over a number of the short stories and told me I had a novel in progress. Imagine my surprise! I'd been writing a novel and didn't know it! I've just finished it, after a lot of study on the craft of writing - books and classes and DVDs, and now I am a stack of compostion books short now that it's all in the computer and in a contiguous story format. And guess what? It is full of character studies, humor, and suspense. Who knew?

While I'm doing the first of, no doubt, many major revisions to the manuscript, I'm wading back through stacks of notes and ideas {I have a file cabinet full} to decide what novel I want to write next. I love ghost stories, so who knows....?

As for my flowerbeds, it's too hot in Mobile to work outside right now, unless you do what a friend of mine does. She puts boxes of frozen corn or peas or whatever's in the freezer in her bra and heads outside to thaw them while she gardens. I just don't see myself digging in the dirt with frozen veggies stuck in my undies, so the garden is on hold till the spring. Oh, I didn't eat breakfast this morning.
Open a Book and Discover the Possibilities!

1 comment:

  1. Okay, Mahala. It rained yesterday and is quite a bit cooler out now. I expect to see some beautiful flowerbed photos posted soon!

    Glad to hear you finished your novel. Looking forward to reading it in its entirety and seeing what you have for the Christmas anthology this year!


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