Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Odds and Ends


So it's late June and I'm fully immersed in summer. Sitting on the front porch reading, talking, watching the world go by. Taking my dog on long walks and letting him play in the creek. Grilling almost every night. Even though I'm no longer tied, at least professionally, to an academic schedule, summer is still more than just a season. It's a philosophy, a state of mind. The kids are home and the rhythms of the house change. (Over on my group blog, my post today is about my summer mom makeover. In a sense.)

I'm also blogging less often. But that has more to do (I think) with the writing work I'm doing than anything else. I've decided to take another run at my MS for Unexpected Grace (for regular readers, this is the novel I thought I'd completed in February). I'm excited about this. I know I'm just a few fine tunings away from what I want it to be. And I've figured out how to get there. Which strings to pull, which threads to loosen. And I owe my buddy Kristy Kiernan a huge thanks for pointing me in the right direction. We were chatting a week or so ago, talking about writing and ice cream and dogs and such, and she recommended the Donald Maass book Writing the Breakout Novel.

I admit, I was skeptical. I viewed it (and many writing books, I hate to say) as on the same level of those articles and headlines that promise you can "lose your belly fat and still eat everything you want!" But this book is the real deal. It is practical and smart and hands on. It's not suggesting a formulaic anybody-can-write-a-bestseller plan. It's designed to help writers take a draft to the next level. It has clarified things for me. Crystalized what I was aiming for. Helped me give my characters and plot some needed torque. I highly recommend it. And I'll keep you posted on my progress.

Finally, and most importantly, three years ago today I married my trophy husband, my keeper spouse. Happy anniversary, John.

18 comments:

kristenspina said...

Happy Anniversary!

And thanks, again, for the book recommendation. I need to get a copy, soon, before I start revisions, maybe?

Judy Merrill Larsen said...

Thanks, Kristen. And, yes, before you start revisions is the time to dive into the Maass book.

Lisa said...

Happy Anniversary Judy and John!

And I'd say he got quite the trophy himself :)

The workbook just came in the mail today, so thanks for that recommendation. I have it and the accompanying book sitting on the "do not bother looking at these until you finish that first draft -- these are your reward for that" shelf.

Judy Merrill Larsen said...

Thanks, Lisa. We both know we're very lucky! Good luck with the revisions. Let me know how it goes . . .

Daisy said...

Let us know when it hits the bookstores!

Judy Merrill Larsen said...

Thanks, Daisy. I promise. And thanks also for your sweet comment on my previous post--it's fun to think of my "very Wisconsin-y novel" being so embraced half a world away.

Larramie said...

Aw, a June bride...many more happy celebrations, Judy!

And what would we ever do without Kristy?!

Carleen Brice said...

Is that really your porch??!

I just checked that book out from the library a couple of months ago--me likey.

Judy Merrill Larsen said...

Thanks, Larramie--and yes, Kristy is a lifesaver!

Carleen, oh, I wish that was my porch. I have a lovely porch, but not like that one! And yes, it's a great book.

Julie Layne said...

Happy Anniversary! Your trophy keeper husband. Hehehe...

I started making my way through Maas's book a few months ago right as I started revisions on my WIP, too. I take it a little bit at a time because there are some really big ideas in that book! Hard to digest all at once.

Judy Merrill Larsen said...

Thanks, Julie. And yeah, the Maass book is pretty intense.

Kristy Kiernan said...

Hey, I'm thrilled it's helping a little! I can't wait to read the fabulousness!

Janet said...

Congratulations!

I agree with you about Donald Maass's book. It's a keeper.

Joanne said...

I agree, summer is definitely a state of mind. If I had that front porch, it would be hard to get motivated, other than contemplating. It's beautiful. I've revisited a ms too. It's amazing how when you've been away from it, when you return you see those loose threads you didn't notice the first time around. Or maybe you're just seeing it from a new perspective 2nd time around. And if you're editing on that porch, how nice!
~Joanne

angelfantabulous said...

Hi Judy!

A belated Happy Anniversary:)

I'm always inspired by your commitment to your work. Thanks for the recommendation and good luck with those revisions!

Sustenance Scout said...

We've got a late June anniversary too, Judy! Happy A to all of us! And thanks so much for mentioning the Maass book; I recently read about it over at Holly Kennedy's blog and am now convinced it's what I need to get me through major revisions on my (very neglected) second novel. We'll get there! K.

Judy Merrill Larsen said...

Hey Kristy--Thanks again . . . and I'm aiming for early August, okay?

Thanks, Janet!

Joanne, yes, some distance/perspective helps so much. I just have to remember that.

Angel, thanks--and it's so good to have you stop by!

K-Congrats to you, too! And happy revising to us both.

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