On a mystery writers forum, an author posted about how she wrote that her character pulled out a handkerchief while trying to find another item in her bag. The agent she queried asked if she was trying to age her character. For pulling out a handkerchief?! The young agent thought people didn’t used handkerchiefs anymore.
I’m perplexed by this. What would a handkerchief have to do with age? Age or refinement? Just think of all the possibilities when a character has a hankie in her purse. Why does she use it? Where did it come from? Maybe it belonged to her grandmother and it reminds the character of the wonderful times she spent with her. Maybe it shows how ecofriendly she is (and why I’m surprised not everyone uses hankies). Better to reuse and wash hankies instead of filling a rubbish bin full of once-used tissues.
These are my handkerchiefs. If I got on Etsy, I would have a ton more. I admit I don’t use the awesome WW2 Army Air Force Sister handkerchief. Soldiers had these made and sent overseas to their sisters, mothers, and sweethearts. How romantic is that? The one with the white embroidered flowers hasn’t touched my nose either (too pretty!), but the other two, I use regularly. Do those hankies mean anything to me? Why yes. A friend gave me the blue embroidered one when my youngest daughter died. My friend’s mom, who died years before, had the philosophy that one should always have a hankie at weddings and funerals. The blue one belonged to my friend’s mom and she wanted me to have it. I stitched the bird one. It’s a wren and one of my characters is named Wren. She would definitely carry around a handkerchief with a wren embroidered on it.
So readers, don’t judge a character too quickly. There may be story behind that handkerchief or other odd item she carries in her purse. Writers, use that notion to really develop your characters.
This also wants me to start a Twitter campaign, #bringbackhankies or #usehankies. Come on you twenty-somethings! Make the handkerchief cool again!
Perfection is perfection, but it takes a lot of effort and countless hours. Many people perish before reaching perfection. So let's take a lesson from he who created all--the Good Lord Himself. He created imperfection. Yes, in the midst of that wonderful dozen red roses there will be a thorn, a bruise, possibly a bug noshing his way through breakfast. We are known not for our perfections, but by our flaws.
In the spirit of merely achieving an adequacy, I'm writing in our blog. I decided that somewhere last week I'd take an wrong branch in the path through the forest of choices which each screen gave me on our blog site.
Then let us meld the notions together since my rear is in my chair and I am indeed writing on our writer's blog. Perfection in our writing shouldn't be our goal for if it is the story will never be finished. Perfection changes with the day and the mood. Some days I look at portions of stories I've written and wonder what happened to the person who wrote that. Did she sober up? Then I see another portion and I want to worship at her feet and weep at the very picture created in my head by such...purple...er...prose.
So in the wisdom of the late hour I say unto thee, seek ye not perfection, but deliver thee a whole tale, roundly written, and full of life.
PS. I had to give up and go look at the instructions, read each one, and then go look again, so that I could complete this practice run.....
PPSS. I looked over and read the last several blogs and decided to try a picture, so I added one that my sister had taken in her back yard. HooHoo! Yay me! I accomplished...today anyway.
I’m trying to write the blog for this month…my page of information, whining, triumphant tooting, or whatever topic I’m supposed to be supporting this month. Last month I thought I missed the blog date. Ha! I didn’t!!
But it doesn’t seem to matter as only two other people have managed a blog since. I know everyone is busy with life, writing as we can get to it, and figuring out the new blog. The first time with this new site I managed to blog in less than an hour. This month has already doubled that and I’m not assured of success at this moment.
Why is this month - the trash can? Because when things don’t work out the fastest way to get them out of our lives, off our shoulders, and out of our heads is the trash can. It is the evaluation of whether things should be tossed that takes the darned time! But, what would our lives be like if we never discarded the innate, flawed, or downright awful?
Life and writing are the same in that regard. Life and our writing is improved by what we trash - leaving only the useful (plot), beautiful (description), and the people (characters) essential for our happy outcomes.I shall leave you now to ponder your trash.
By Nina Sipes
The Author of Historical Romance and Contemporary Suspense Novels.
When do you realize the story you have just written is all wrong? With the help of my editor from my first book, I did just that. Many of her points I understand. Some others not so much. The questions are where do I start to rewrite?
Of course at the beginning and in my mind I see the entire story taking on a new life. I think this is going to be a great challenge, the breakthrough, and a great learning experience that I need as I learn to write a better story.
I have my characters so I don’t have to worry about creating new ones but I do have to change their positions in the story. You see this is the second novel in a series and I have just discovered that is hard to keep the main characters from the first book taking over the second book. They must remain in the background. Believe me, easier said than done.
I also discovered that I must move the story forward and not tell too much back story. Why – because no one will buy the first book if I rehash the first novel or say too much about the story in the second book in the series.
You see, if someone buys the second book, it would be nice if they would consider buying the first book to get more information about how the books are intertwined.
Just recently, I purchased a Catherine Coulter and J.T. Ellison novel, liked it so well I went and got the first book. I will buy the next book in the series. I am sure there will be more novels about the English FBI agent.
So back to my keyboard, computer, and the rewriting process. Wish me luck I just may need it!
Happy reading and writing.