Busting Up the Concrete


I took this picture where I work a few days ago. Look at this mess. The parking lot was fine, but there were problems with the curbing. To fix the curbing, a whole section of the parking lot had to be dug up and the spaces were unusable. Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how perfect the concrete is, you have to bust it up. 

I’m working on a new ending when the current ending worked fine. It was fine, but that’s all it was.  It wasn’t a zinger. It wasn’t wow.  It was more like an ‘eh’. Don’t get me wrong.  I loved parts of it.  But even when I read it in sequence for the first time, part of me knew that I was taking the easy road.  Perhaps I had poured concrete over a large root to a dead tree.  Perhaps I had poured over an uneven area. Over time, it became more and more obvious that i would have to dig up that section and make it better.

But it was paved!  (Sigh). It was a beautiful piece of concrete.  (Insert justification here.) It looked perfect. But the characters whispered to me that this ending wouldn’t hold up to foot traffic.  They didn’t think anyone would buy it.

“I would so not do that,” Windsor told me, her hands on her hips.

“She’ll do it, because she loves me,” Grady said and winked.  That’s when I knew it wasn’t going to work, because Windsor wasn’t there yet, and Grady was still being an ass.

William Faulkner once said “In writing, you must kill all your darlings.”  It doesn’t matter how beautiful the writing is, or how cool the scene is, if it doesn’t contribute to the story arc it has to die.  I can’t wait to see my fresh new paving.

Where do Ideas come from?

Where do Ideas come from?

A writer friend of mine posted this in her blog talking about where her ideas come from. Friends ask me this all the time.  I’ve found my hardest problem is coming up with the main premise, and that often, the main premise or tag line changes completely from what I originally thought.

Once the characters are there, they take on a life of their own. They can create all sorts of problems when they won’t cooperate with what I want them to do! Nonsense, you say, they are your creations. You try telling them that!  If I attempt to go in a direction they’re not interested in, they will clam up and not feed my muse.

The Creative Process ~~ or Roses in the Trash Can

Trashed Roses

Broken Heart, or Dead Flowers?

One of the things about having all of these imaginary people in your head is that they show up in every day life in the oddest places. Yesterday at work I was surprised to see these beautiful roses resting in the wastebasket just inside the restroom door. To me, they still look beautiful. They aren’t dried, they aren’t wilted or faded, and they made the trash smell fabulous. But why were they in the trashcan?

The writer in me envisioned Windsor (the main character in the book I’m editing) tossing these into the trashcan because she was furious with the sender and didn’t want to see any part of him in her office. Would she smell them before she tossed them? Did a thorn catch her finger on the way into the trash? In this little vignette you’ve got four of the five senses: the lush red of the roses, the soft texture of the petals juxtaposed against the sharp thorns, the scent of roses under the antiseptic spray from the restroom, the sound of the leaves crinkling among the plastic of the trash liner… All we are missing is taste. Add in a salty tear… Maybe that’s overkill, or maybe that brings it home.  The anger of tossing the roses, the tear for what might have been…

The real story? The assistant of the woman who threw them away told me that they came from Ecuador in a box, and they had died too quickly.  I guess her standards for roses are higher than mine, because to me they were still beautiful.  My story was better.