Benny and his friend Griffin at Ocean Beach in San Francisco.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

I Really Hate Sewing

Hoo boy, things are a little wacky this week. Benny came down with some flippy virus over the weekend, involving a low-grade fever and some spectacular vomiting in the middle of the night (seriously, I was cleaning stuff out of his ear).

At the same time, I was cresting a major wave in my novel. For months I've been desperately sewing my plot together to fit the new climax I planned. Scenes between the heroine and villain were particularly tricky, since theirs is the big clash at the end of the book. So I cut and recut the pattern, sewed all those stupid little stitches, and now (to stretch this analogy to the utmost) I'm praying it will all hang together.

But for better or worse, the middle of this novel is done. I'm in the last quarter of the book, where the repercussions of people's actions will roll out in a steep, smooth path towards total disaster (I hope).

This means that for the last week, I've been a little novel-obsessed: scribbling on index cards, writing during Benny's naps, muttering to myself while I drive. The house has gone to hell and we have NO clean clothes. I spent Saturday afternoon frantically typing while poor Benny slept on my lap.

But I'm done writing for now, thank God, because this week is looking crazier by the minute. I have an interview today in Farmington Hills (in Metro Detroit) to write scripts for a small business cable channel. Wish me luck.

Tomorrow night I'm headed to semi-formal event in Warren (also in Metro Detroit) to celebrate a friend's award at a local film festival. John produced and directed "The Europa Society," and has scene great success with his short film "The Adventure Golf Guy." ("It's not miniature golf, it's adventure golf!")

Ron and I love Janelle, Benny's new babysitter, but we're a little nervous about leaving her with Benny while we go out of town. So Ron will stay home while I attend the event with a girlfriend from my playwriting group. It ought to be fun.

Then on Friday night I head to Metro Detroit AGAIN. Ron and I will attend an awards gala in Sterling Heights hosted by Automation Alley, a local business "consortium." It's a big business event and we can't miss it. Ron's got his tux and I have managed to pour myself into one of my size 8 gowns. (Amazing!)

Logistically, this will be a tricky few days, involving much driving around the construction-infested Detroit freeways while peering at MapQuest pages. I'm tired just thinking about it.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Like Fathers, Like Sons

Here is Benny with his friends Harrison and Quinn at Gallup Park today. Harrison and Quinn's father Matt works with Ron, and it's striking how much these boys look and act like their fathers. Matt is a very serious, dignified guy and Ron is ... well, nuts.

(Click on the picture to see it better.)

Monday, September 11, 2006

Order the Chili-Cheese Dumbdog

This was a kick-ass writing day. Wrote two chapters and solved the problem of my unconscious heroine. Andie was out cold for three days, and wakes up in a hotel room.

Somehow I had to bring her up to speed on events over the last few days, so I had her wake up and squabble with her colleagues. ("You want me to attend a geology conference? And give a TALK? Are you nuts?") Then she heads out to find her missing friend.

She stops in at a diner. It's an odd place, really. You have to punch in a code to order. She thought she ordered waffles and ended up with a Chili-Cheese Dumbdog. Also, the chairs start rocking wildly when a diner exceeds his allotted eating time.

Anyway, CNN is on the diner's TV, so my heroine watched another main character (a powerful politician) being interviewed by a zany reporter. That brought her up to date and was more fun to write than my heroine reading a newspaper (yuk) or watching a regular newscast.

Now she has to dig up a legal case in the Hall of Records. I'm trying to remember my days as a circuit court reporter. Bureaucracies never change.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Pagan Cross-Stitching and Other Thoughts

Well, I've hit another snag in my novel, and I'm not sure how to unravel it. My heroine was kidnapped, out cold for three days, and now she wakes up in Book Three in a nice safe hospital bed. Lots of stuff happened in those three days, but since this novel is primarily in her point of view, and it's important she gets up to speed quickly, I've got to review the last few days.

This is hard to do without it sounding like a soap opera summary. ("This week, Donna confessed to Paul, Fred hit Lana with his car, Myrna told Jeff the baby was Troy's, when it was really Walter's, Diane took up pagan cross-stitching and Brianna confronted her demon-possessed stepmother Janel, who stole her math homework to complete a sick Satanic ritual.)

All my attempts sound like that ridiculous bedside scene in "The Fellowship of the Ring," where a desperately wounded Frodo is running from the Ringwraiths, then wakes up in bed on a sunny morning. Gandalf the wizard then rambles on for pages and pages, getting Frodo up to date on everything. Yawn.

Back to my saga. My heroine's sister stole a fleet of ships during those three days and is on a rescue mission, with a little corpse hunting on the side (don't ask). It won't do any good to write chapters dramatizing this, from the sister's point of view, cuz my heroine will still need to wake up and learn all about it. And it seems like a copout to write: "Andie hobbled to the computer and did a Google search on her sister. She was shocked that Percy would behave so, etc., etc."

Another option is having Andie drag information out of a well-informed buddy, one who's reluctant to tell Andie anything because it might impede her recovery. But that still smacks of the whole Gandalf-Frodo scene.

Should Andie read a newspaper? Watch TV? Yawn.

Perhaps I'll have Percy write Andie a letter. A smug, patronizing, but cryptic letter from a bossy sister ought to make Andie plenty mad while getting basic information across. Andie will immediately stomp out of the hospital to go do the opposite of what Percy wants.

Or maybe Andie's nurses will act out recent events using finger puppets and funny voices. Who knows?