Monday, July 16, 2012


Last week started my cavalcade of editing content and structure of my second manuscript.  Yea.  Can you feel the enthusiasm?  No?  Yeah well neither can I.  This is the part of the process where I hate my characters, hate my story, and I’ve considered using the 206 page piece of crap as kindling in my fireplace.  And yeah, it is July in Arizona.  So you know it has to be pretty bad.

Well, maybe not bad per se, just boring.  So very boring I would actually rather work out, vacuum, or format this post to have a different font every other word, than sit down to edit anything having to do with Donna or her pathetic life. 

Basically, fuck this manuscript.  The title is awful and doesn’t fit the content.  My characters are thin and no one is going to give a crap about their stupid little problems.  Geographically I’m being a fraud because I set it in Boston (of course) but I’m not set in Boston anymore.  Plot, scene, structure, character development – all crap.  Crap, crap, CRAP!

Then I remember to breathe.

Because I’ve been through this once before.

The problem isn’t necessarily with the writing; the problem is with my head.

I know I can write it to be a more fully developed story.  I also know it isn’t winning a Pulitzer but that the writing is better than Fifty Shades of Grey.  Or so I’ve been told.  I’m not intending on reading it to find out just how good or bad the grammar and spelling really are; I trust the horrified posts from my fellow writers and plan to stay clear.  But some rumors about it are likely to be true.  For example, the content.

Which means that single book is like a time bomb for writers like me.

Writers who celebrate the joys in subtle cuteness.

If you read Ripple the Twine you know I’m not one for sex scenes.  I mean I have Sara and Ben flirting mercilessly with each other, bantering, kissing, making out in public places, but the part where they jump in the sack?  Well let’s just say I appreciate the art of the ‘fade-into-the-flickering-candle-light’ device that most daytime soap operas use to cut away at that point.

I’m not all Victorian about it or anything but the chance you’ll see the following words in my books (when referring to something other than construction of course) is pretty slim:
-      Nail
-      Caulk
-      Hammer
-      Heaving
-      Throbbing
-      Nipple (Yes I’m serious, this is a plumbing term)

Wow, I could seriously write the sexual innuendo book if I felt like it.  Thing is though, I don’t feel like it.  I’ve been relying on my imagination to fill in blanks like that my whole life.  I really don’t get when fiction lost the ‘show not tell’ concept.  I don’t want to hear exactly how they did it.  Book porn (ahem, sorry, I mean the genre of Erotica) has never been my thing.  To write or read.  To me it’s so much hotter to imagine what the two of them might be doing.  So that’s how I write.

If I can show the tension sparking between them then your mind is going to do a better job of knowing what happens next.  Me telling you is kind of a letdown.  At least that’s how it works for me.  Because everyone’s idea of what happens after the kiss is so vastly different that I don’t want to read the version of it that someone else decides, these characters are living in my head (every time I open a book).

But now, with the emergence of the already mentioned Fifty, mark my words, sex is going to take a front seat in television, movies, books and any other media deemed appropriate to share a nipple or a caulk. 

And here I am writing cuteness.

But, and this is a huge but, I refuse to change what I embrace writing.  Because, even though being a sellout is something I can wrap my head around, I still have my limits as to just how far I’m willing to sell out.  Which means in the eyes of the larger public these days I’m bor-ing.  Go ahead, ask me if I care?  You’re right, I don’t.

So when I sit down to do rewrites on my cute little girlie story the only thing I’m reading for is if the writing is boring – did Donna seriously just try to tell us what she ate for breakfast?  Because, no.  Well, at least not in that much detail please.  That kind of stuff is fine for Facebook but not for a real book.  Because on Facebook it really holds no bearing if people ignore it.  In a real book situation being ignored is about as career-ending as it gets.

And I’m just in the infancy of mine, looking for an Agent and working on only my second MS, so ending it isn’t in the plans.  I’ll clean up and clear out all references of bacon and eggs that aren’t truly integral to showing what Donna is about.

I only hope I can connect with an Agent who understands that, when reading and writing, sometimes a girl likes her hammer to be nothing more than a hammer.


Almost Precious said...

Gheeze Louise, I've no idea what happened to the comment I just made. Perhaps it was deleted, perhaps it was sent on for approval, perhaps it vaporized itself (more than likely it went down the rabbit hole and Alice is now reading it). I didn't even get to look it over and make sure I didn't type it with my fingers on the wrong keys. (you know, those great sentinces like: "Ehsy yhr Guvkinh zhrll fo you yhinh yout foinh zzz/"

I just wanted to say that the most important thing is being true to your own convictions. I applaud you for doing so.

Imagination is, or should be, a major part in the reading and enjoying of a fictional story. I also think that each generation has attempted to out shock the generations that came ahead of them - will there be anything shockable left for the following generations? I suppose they'll think of something. :)

I had to put my novel on hold as when I re-read it, I found it to be ... yawn ... boooorrring ! It has potential but will require a complete make over and right now I find myself daunted by the sheer amount of time that this is going to require. Blah !

Almost Precious said...

Was never the greatest speller but I really do know how to spell sentences and I know it's not with an i. =O

Insomniac #4 said...

I keep hearing about Fifty Shades of Grey but I honestly don't know a thing about it other than it's supposedly racy and taboo (2012 terms? really?) but I guess it would have to be in order to generate this kind of buzz. It really doesn't surprise me to hear that it's poorly written, either. Our entertainment standards have been getting lower and lower: movie theaters are filled with overdone remakes, music is repetitive and uninspired, and don't get me started on 'reality' TV.

All that said, I'm glad you're not letting literary trends change your vision and style. Hinting at romance (rather than explicitly describing sex) shows faith in the collective imagination of your audience. And what's wrong with quirky and cute? You grew up on John Hughes movies, yes? So did millions of other women (and men -- I'm not ashamed to admit I'm a fan) who don't need to be hammered over the head with caulk and..throbbing nipples. Lol. It's one advantage to being self-published; you're not told what will or won't "sell" because you can prove that it will. And you have. The only thing separating you from greater sales is distribution, not content. Unfortunately you need a publisher for the distribution part. And they will probably tell you that your book won't sell. It's a vicious circle.

Your Facebook-style descriptions of breakfast remind me of problems I had early on. I was sooo overly descriptive before I learned about 'trust your audience' and 'show, don't tell' now I might have the opposite problem! But yeah it's so tempting to set the scene as realistically as possible: Donna stumbles out of bed in her favorite satin pink pajamas. She makes coffee while half-asleep, the grinder startles her. She spills a bit on the countertop ....etc etc. Where is this going? lol... I hear ya. It's hard to sift through all the garbage and pick out the good stuff. But you did it once, and you can definitely do it again. Don't kill your characters. Reinvent them, shuffle them around, analyze them from a different angle. But don't kill them.... yet ;)

Suldog said...

Personally, I like reading about bacon and eggs. Food porn!

The crispy bacon lay salaciously on the plate, it's pliant pinkness now a distant memory. A small rivulet of delicious grease drained ever so slowly toward the eggs. Having been scrambled just minutes ago, could they take this new assault on the senses? The buttery English muffin lay nearby, pondering whether to intercede (but remembering that the tart marmalade might be upon him momentarily if patience were displayed rather than bravado...)

Suldog said...

Sorry - got lost there. The greater point I wished to make was that you should be true to your own muse. Write what you would like to read. Screw everyone else (although not literally - Ha! It's a writing joke!)

The greatest art is always produced by those striving to please an audience of one, and sometimes the artist is the one.

Insomniac #4 said...

That's it. I quit writing. Suldog's impromptu breakfast description was 1,000,000 times better than mine. I shall now do the only honorable thing and stab myself repeatedly with a ballpoint pen.


Almost Precious said...

Hi Jenn - this has nothing to do with your post but I wanted to invite you to read a tale that I swiped off of an etsy forum and posted on my blog. Of course I did so with the approval of the person who wrote the tale, Heidi O'Brien. Since you've an etsy shop I'm certain you will enjoy and appreciate the humor in Cabaret Ghost Productions satirical tale. :)

Joan said...

Exactly..."everyone's idea with what happens after". I can think about those things myself. That's the fun of it! :)
Your first book was amazing. This will be too.

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

I have only semi-fallen off the face of the planet...

Thanks for your comments everyone. Its funny when a major life thing happens right after you write something and then you go back to read it to realize just how trivial this kind of drivel is. Legit concerns, sure, but something I should waste time waxing analytical over anymore? No, not so much.

I promise any of you (who see this, care, aren't friends on FB...) that are interested in stuff going on with Matt I'll be writing a post mid week next week to discuss the gist of how our journey is going there.

Thanks for being my super heros and never failing to check in & leave a few kind words my friends! ♥

Rosebud Collection said...

Reading your feelings about how much or how little should be written in a book on love scenes..I always think of an artist friend of mine..saying..he
was never interested in the nude model, but the gal sitting next to him with her skirt just above her knees..I think that says it all.
Weather here has been very I wouldn't dare complain, but I am not getting much done either. Cooler today and we do get the sea breeze..but it comes on us all of a sudden. To me there is no happy medium here in Maine. Hope you are happy in your new home..Think of you often. Sending love/Carolyn

lettersfromlaunna said...

I love the passion you write with, you can tell that you love your characters and that is how to write a book, if you can make someone fall in love with the characters, they can probably fall in love with the story:)

Alice said...

1. In case you were unaware, 50 was a Twilight fanfic, and nothing against fan fics (love them) you can tell. (Read it for book club)
2. I much prefer your style with all the flirty and ...
3. Did you know there is a publishing company taking a bunch of classics (austen, bronte) and adding erotic sex scenes to them because of the success of 50? I kid you not. It was an article on yahoo. they claim that of course that it was unrealistic for the characters not to have had sex? Huh?