Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Last Minute Shopping?

Searching for that perfect gift?  Well, I am a converted e-reader lover!  It is simply the best gift for any reader on your list.

I was skeptical of the new technology.  I felt like I was cheating on paper books much like writers of "old" who survived the transition from typewriter to computer.  There's nostalgia and comfort in the tried and true.  Take heart, the e-reader is worth the moment of anxiety.

I received mine for my birthday (not telling the number) and haven't looked back.  After quickly uploading a few books, I was hooked.  All the buzz in my head about the demise of paper books quieted.  Stories are stories, no matter the delivery.

I hope you find yourself cuddled under a blanket, loved ones close by your side and a good book in your lap.  (paper or electronic)  Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Flesh Out

Here's a term that makes me cringe when I hear it.  "Fleshing out" a character gets thrown around quite a bit these days.  I don't object to the idea of layering a character, as much as the terminology.  We are creating fictional characters - they have no flesh.  They can have characteristics heaped upon them aplenty but they are fleshless.

When I read, I take the bits and pieces given to me by the author and mold my own character.  It's more of a wisp of air than flesh.  It's an interpretation of features, actions and observations from other characters.  I have to admit that I often rewrite a character in my head.  The author may have described the MC as a tall blond bombshell with bravado to spare.  If I like the story but object to a character, I very easily substitute my own imagined description.  When I was a teenager and devoured romance novels, I usually changed the heroine to better fit my own characteristics.  (She never was blond or tall in my mind.)

A writer can describe a character with witty and precise words.  But, in the end, it's the imagination of the reader that defines the character.  Your perfectly "fleshed" out character may end up resembling someone from their childhood or bagger at the grocery store that put a can on top of their bread.

Terms that make you cringe, twitch or gag?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

I'm Sorry Mr. Grogan

My apologies to Mr. Grogan for using his touching and beautiful novel to finally see my name in print.

The running column "Rejected" gave me the opportunity to play editor and dish out criticism liberally.  It was a hoot to play editor and hand out my misguided suggestions to an aspiring author.  Secretly, it made me feel better to remind myself that many wonderful books have been overlooked or jeered. 

My only qualification for this was having received rejection letters and an odd sense of humor.

Check it out in the January edition of Writer's Digest.