First Cup of Coffee – July 24, 2020
First Cup of Coffee – May 25, 2020
First Cup of Coffee – November 29, 2019
First Cup of Coffee – November 20, 2019
First Cup of Coffee – October 3, 2018
Why We Dodge Writing Those Difficult Scenes
I might have posted this pic before, but I recently put my screensaver on slide show and I saw this one from a couple of years ago go by. Kind of fun to see your own photograph and think it’s cool. It’s appropriate, too, because we had a rainy weekend. Very unusual for us, especially given the severe drought in the desert Southwest, but we’ve been socked in since Friday, with rain coming and going. The woman at the gym (not the Crazy Gym Lady – she is thankfully long gone) said it’s to be sunny tomorrow and how she’s looking forward to it. About three people jumped on her saying “We need the rain!”
Like we don’t have an average of 325 days of sunshine a year. She can’t give up a few to have some much-needed rain?
~Deep Cleansing Breaths~
I might have been a little sulky this weekend, because I received my developmental edits for Platinum. I know – that was fast! And they really aren’t bad at all, except Editor Deb asked me to write two scenes that I “dodged.”
She did this to me on Rogue’s Pawn, too – pushing me to write this one scene I just SO didn’t want to write. She said
On Platinum, though, I really thought I’d made a considered decision not to write those scenes. I’d kind of had them in my head all along, but when I got to that point in the story, they just didn’t seem to FIT. I mentioned this to her in an email and she replied:
Any time you try to dodge writing something, you should ask yourself why, and try to push through it and make yourself write it anyway. Writing through tougher scenes may often reveal something about your characters, helping you dig further to uncover some truth about them or the story. Whereas avoiding them will often leave readers feeling a bit cheated. They might not be able to put their finger on exactly why or what, but they may sense that a good story could have been great.
I know this. Right?
And this is part of why I really value having an editor like her, because she does push me to write a great book. Left to my own devices, I’d likely allow myself the dodge.
Because it didn’t feel like dodging at the time. I suspect all avoidance techniques are like this. We kid ourselves that we’re not really procrastinating, we’re Doing Research! Oh, I’m not being lazy about getting my wordcount in today, I’m giving myself a break! I’m not avoiding that friend who was a cow to me, I’m just really busy.
It takes a good, hard look in the mirror to parse some of these out. With emotional stuff, that’s why it’s often good to see a counselor, an objective third party who can point out your behavioral dodges. Sometimes your friends can do it, like your critique partners can. But often it takes a professional to hold your hand to the flame and tell you to do better.
Whether it’s easy or not.
Moving On Up
I just love how this storm made everything look like a watercolor painting. It reminds me of one of my favorite Renoirs, La Roche-Guyon. I have a print of it hanging in my house. Now I’d like to hang this photo next to it. Impressionism, Santa Fe style.
I’m off to fabulous Oklahoma City this morning and will be there most of the week.
For now, I’d like to announce that I have a New Website!!
It’s still at http://www.blog.jeffekennedy.com, but it should be a whole lot shinier and easier to, um, actually FIND stuff. Thanks to Liz and Sienna at Bemis Promotions for all the fabulous work on it!
So, please take a tour and let me know what you like and don’t like. I’m still giving them
nitpicky some feedback on changes.
It’s a brave new era!
Isn’t this cloud a great metaphor? Sailing along, giving rain to a very select portion of the landscape.
So, yesterday was a pivotal day for me.
I received a contract offer on Obsidian.
This is the novel that started it all. That took me from nonfiction to fiction. My red-headed firstborn. This is the one that everyone told me they didn’t know how to market, because it’s hopelessly cross-genre. One famous author friend who graciously read it said it’s like I wrote an epic male fantasy from a very female perspective. She also said I was forging a new path with it and that it would feel like wading through waist-deep snow.
Boy did she call that one.
So, yesterday, after 3.5 years of wading through waist-deep snow, I finally broke through.
I can’t even tell you how it felt. I sat in stunned silence for quite a while, just exploring the feeling of not STRIVING any more. All those feelings of hope and grief and anger and determined outrage I’d been piling on all that time, just let go. I giggled. I burst into tears when my mom sent flowers. What a ride.
I have to admit – I wouldn’t have felt this so much if it had happened right away.
Now, I’ve let (Possible) Agent who has Obsidian know that I have an offer, as she asked me to do. I’ll wait to see what she says and then move from there. But no matter what, Obsidian will see the light of day and I’m just so, so grateful.
Rain for everyone!
And Then It Rained
Rain comes to the Galisteo Basin.
I know a lot of you out there have had WAY TOO MUCH rain, but we so have not. In fact, the first six months of 2011 made for the driest year on record for New Mexico. And for a place that’s already a desert, that’s saying something.
This has been a dry like I’ve never known. Now I know where all the buried soaker hoses run, because only the plants right next to them stayed green. Our skin has itched like crazy with the dry, which no amount of lotion seems to affect.
Then there are the fires. Blazing on the horizon, filling the sky with smoke. Filling our lungs with particulates from Los Alamos that are nevertheless, we are assured, perfectly safe. It’s difficult not to feel the press of the Apocalypse under these conditions.
But, ah, the rain.
This storm filled our rain barrels and soaked the ground. We’ve been hitting 95 every day and having to run the AC through the afternoon, but the rain dropped the temperature to 58. I put on a sweater because the windows had to stay open, to let that sweet, clean, moist air fill the house.
This morning we walked out of the house and David said he smelled smoke, still. I said no, you’re smelling petrichor.
He said, “what the hell is petrichor?”
I scoffed at him. “It’s the smell of rain on dry earth, duh.” (This is only one of the delightful features of living with a writer.)
But it’s a real thing and once you know what that smell is, you’ll always remember how it feels when the rain returns.