Okay, so apparently weekly was being too optimistic too. What can I sayIve been working on a new story and between that and the soul sucking job and having people who expect me to show my face outside the bedroom door once in a while, there hasnt been time to write any of my Deep Thoughts. Plus, I havent really had all that many lately.
Between the last entry and now another rejection came inthis one from Tor/Forge. I havent gotten a copy from my agent yet, but apparently this one was short and sweet, along the lines of Not for us, thanks. I cant decide which is worse, this kind of insulting dismissal or the weeks and weeks of agony I went through with two other editors trying to fit my square story into their round holes. More conflict, more focus, less episodic, more, less, more, less Sometimes I cant even tell which parts of it I still like and which parts I just put in trying to make those women happy enough with it to buy it. They all love it (okay, with the apparent exception of Tor/Forge) but dont know what to do with it because its not A) a standard romance B) Chick Lit C) an Oprah tear-jerker or D) Literary Fiction. I guess the problem isI didnt want to write any of those things. I want to be Roddy Doyle and Nick Hornby for women, they want me to be Maeve Binchy. Of course, now guys are allowed to write the most manipulative sappy womens fiction (that Sparks person comes to mind) but to write a funny little story about some weird people living in a little town in Ireland where nobody dies, nobody has a secret baby, and nobody works in publishing and is having an affair with their rich-but-ratlike-boss, you still have to have a penis. Hey Roddycan I borrow yours for a while? I promise Ill give it right back.
But I digress. Like I said, Ive started a new story. Actually, Ive started several new stories and thats the problemI dont get past chapter three with any of them. I had forgotten how to just write to make myself happy, and the whole time I was typing away all those nasty little voices kept whispering at memore conflict, too episodic, heroine not plucky enough, no one will buy this in a million years .But finally this week two things came together in my head and got the wheels turning again, and the voices changed to the good voicesthe voices of characters wanting me to write down what they were saying. These two people just popped into life the way Danny and Sam did almost five years ago, and we were off. Im more excited about this one than I have been about anything since I started Mad Dogs 3 and I dont give a shit right now if it has enough conflict or if the hero is wrong or the heroine needs a college degree or any of that crap. That can all come later, now I just have to write down what theyre telling me to before they stop talking. Im scribbling down bits of dialogue in the bathroom and at the bus stop and anywhere else I can get to a pen and paper, and it feels like I imagine a nice shot of China White probably feels to someone whos been on Methadone for a while. Thank God that writing is still free and legal and wont make your teeth rot out, unless you forget to brush them because youve been staring at a computer screen for days on end. And oh, how I wish that I could stare at the screen for days on end and didnt have that soul-sucking job getting in the way and those people who, God love them, expect me to act like a normal human being and not some wild-eyed, pasty-faced hermit they found living in a cave in Brazil. If only I had some sick time left
Book recommendations for the week
I just sent the first three Alexander McCall Smith books off to a friend in NY and I hope to get the latest one for myself soon. I loved these sweet stories of Botswanas first woman private detective, a traditionally built lady (like myself) named Precious Ramotswe (I could be spelling that wrong). She is a lady, but no wimp. The mysteries are very, very tame but the picture of life in her African town is just wonderful.
I was talking about Neil Gaiman before so I had to drag out Good Omens and have another lookprobably my five-hundredth since I first read it. The best of Neil and Terry Pratchett, and I mean laugh-out-loud, if youre into British humor. The Buggyre Alle Thys bible is a scream. Dont miss it. I would give anything to be able to write like those guys, but Ill have to settle for reading them.
Added: Alexander has won a Booker for the fifth Ladies' book