Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Lovely Egg Salad Sandwich

First, I must tell you about an amazing contest over at Editorial Ass! Moonrat is celebrating the 500,000th blogviewing, by giving away a 20-page critique of your WIP! Go there! Now!

OK, back to my post...

I have this little joke that I make, about an egg salad sandwich. I think it is the height of hilarity, but then I remember that no one really has any idea what I'm talking about or why I'm cracking up. The problem is, it's an inside joke-- one that came about from a real circumstance, got blown up into a joke among friends, and then I forget that not everyone was there. And without the backstory, it just isn't as funny.

(Keep in mind that this may actually be funnier if you were there...)
One day, many years ago, hubby Matt was telling someone about the egg salad sandwich he ate for lunch. It wasn't exciting, it wasn't anything special, and he was as bored talking about it as the other person was listening to him prattle on about egg salad sandwiches. So he stopped. In the middle of the sentence, he just stopped and wondered out loud why the @#)! he was talking about egg salad sandwiches. The other person agreed.

So these days, whenever someone is talking our ears off about THE most boring subject ever, we just say, "I had an egg salad sandwich..." (and sometimes we mention the creamy mayonnaise, or the fluffy bread, or another boring detail)
Hilarious to us, but probably confusing to others.
I do have to congratulate Valerie Geary for getting the joke when I used it to describe my feelings toward most Twitter posts, but for the most part, it confuses people.
Which brings me to my writing-related point: making sure there is nothing in my WIP that is an inside joke.
When you cut and paste and rework and rewrite as much as we all do, a lot of wordy backstory gets edited out. BUT BEWARE! If you cut all that backstory, you may do it at the expense of clarity. This is probably the best reason to use Betas (or at least have other eyes reading your WIP), because they can spot things you can't-- namely, when you've removed a chunk of backstory which has left your character doing something that doesn't make sense. You don't notice it yourself because it is like the egg salad sandwich. You have all the context and backstory in your head, but remember, your reader wasn't there. So drop the inside jokes! Or for crying out loud, at least explain them!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Art that Makes Me Wanna Write a Book!

Yes, it's finally time for another installment of Art that Makes Ann Wanna Write a Book!
It seems to be the only thing I get around to blogging about these days, but I feel some 'real' blog posts coming soon! I am going to be hanging out with YokohamaMama in the land of the rising sun next week, and two sisters+cherry blossom festivals= a good, old-fashioned blog post!

So anyway... This week's art is from Lani Imre, an artist originally from British Columbia, Canada. Her work makes me think 'book covers'. I see so much emotion in the eyes of her painted characters-- it really could fill a book!

And while much of the art I have previously posted is of a specific scene, and I spend time daydreaming about that scene and the story on either side of it... Lani's characters are solitary, lonely, almost existing in a vacuum.
There are no clues about what is happening to them, and yet it makes me yearn to know who they are... and that makes me wanna write a book!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

No, really! I have an excuse this time!

Seriously! I got a really great commission to do a jewelry piece for a talented celebrity that I love, I had Japanese houseguests for two-and-a-half weeks, and then I got diagnosed with asthma! Yah, see, Matt and I were going on this short bike ride, and when I coughed and wheezed for 8 hours afterwards, I decided it was time to talk to the doctor, and... wait, you're not listening anymore, are you?
Your eyes glazed over after the first excuse? Really? All these years, I thought the excuses were working... turns out you're just thinking about texting your other friend who wants to go out for drinks later.
OK, fine, so I don't really have a good excuse, other than the fact that I am easily distracted at times. It has been a good month since I really focused on my blog, and at least two weeks since I really dug in on my WIP.
I defer to Laini Taylor's great post on this subject. Also my sister's post, which proves that we are eerily identical despite being 3 years (and several thousand miles) apart. Turns out I'm not the only one struggling with keeping my focus, and the fact that I'm not alone in this... thank goodness.
And thank goodness for my inhaler, which will allow me to contemplate a more active lifestyle for the first time in my life. (Notice I said 'contemplate'-- we're not committing to anything here!) Still, it will be nice to be able to actually complete a bike ride!

I just have one question: where can I get an inhaler for writing? You know, so I can finally complete this manuscript?