Saturday, November 30, 2013

A Thin Plot Can Be Thickened

I’m happy to announce that I am writing again. Okay, so it’s not “writing,” writing. But I am finally back to working on my current manuscript, which was derailed some months back when I realized I was running in place, going nowhere, and the book was getting downright boring.

The fiction-writing community likes to talk about two camps of writers: outliners and pantsers (i.e., seat-of-the-pants types). I definitely have the personality of an outliner. I’m someone who makes endless lists, plans trips months ahead, and knows what I’m going to make for dinner three days hence.

an example of my organizational tendencies

But when I sat down to write my current book, Such a Smell of Sulfur (the sequel to my first m.s., A Matter of Taste), I was so eager to get going that I started writing before I had a clear plot-line in my head. Sure, I knew “who dunnit,” and why, and even had a list of suspects and red herrings. But the story arc was still a jumble. In other words, I was pantsing it. Bad idea.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Back in Hilo and Time for Some Pork!

We had quite the summer. Robin and I returned to California from Hilo in June, expecting to spend five months catching up with our friends, taking leisurely walks with Ziggy along West Cliff Drive, working on our respective blogs, and generally enjoying the beauties of Santa Cruz.

It was not to be. By the end of October, we had instead accomplished the following: moving my parents and a bunch of their furniture from Santa Monica to an assisted care facility in Santa Cruz; dealing with 50 years of accumulated possessions in their old home; contracting and overseeing the refurbishing of the house so it could be rented (this fell mostly to Robin); and then, to cap it off, helping my mom recover from a fractured hip. (For those who know my folks, they seem quite happy in their new digs.)

example of stuff at my parents’ house
(don’t worry—I kept Paul and Ringo)

Everything has settled down again, thank goodness, and we are once again in Hilo. It took about a week to get this house back in order. We had had to move lots of things upstairs which had been stored in the basement while there were tenants in the house, and the garden required massive whacking back, as is always the case after a time away.