The Oscars

Favorite Man about TownThe Oscars

As a writer I was fascinated by the presentations last night. For me it was educational as well as entertaining.

Being a writer it’s hard for me to turn off my internal editor.

First, I kept trying to edit some of the speeches.  I mean, a writer would never get away with the ramblings of some, both presenters and acceptances. Little miss bossy editor was itching to get out her red pencil.

I however was having a great time.

Questions she kept whispering in my ear: Does this speech move the show forward? Is this filler or succinctly put?  Does it directly apply to the scene?

A few passed with flying colors. Others seemed little more than silly.

Well, it is Hollywood after all.  And when you look at the films of this year alone, it’s not much to ask that we put up with a little silliness.  They deserve to be giddy.

What amazed me most and delightfully was that a silent film won best picture. I love that film.  Take away the dialogue (my internal editor tells me) and you’re left with the nuances of meaning.  Sometimes a little over the top, it was the silents after all, it really zeroed in on nonverbal aspects of a character.  A good lesson to learn in both fictional and the real world.

So I have to appreciate little miss editor, even though she’s sometimes a pain in the derriere.  Bossy, yes, buta bless her little heart, she still let me have a great time.


Is it just a writer trait or do we all have internal editors?  Is yours as bossy as mine?


Thinking about Food

I was thinking about food, recently. Not because I was hungry, but because I was thinking about how food can define a character.

When I first started writing mystery, advice was not to have conversations over the dinner table, and not to waste time describing food. It bogged down the story. These days, I see a lot of food in books; whole series are often centered around food themes.

I love to know what my own characters like to eat. When I’m reading, I like to sit in on the character’s enjoyment or lack of enjoyment of food. It tells me something about them that I wouldn’t get just reading a description, or seeing them in action. It’s more intimate in a way. I know I was surprised when Nick, the police chief in Beach Colors finally got up the nerve to ask Margaux to dinner.

Nick is a rough and tumble kind of guy, raised in a small town, did a stint in the army. They go to formal restaurant with a maitre d and linen table cloths. He was way out of his comfort level, but he came through with flying colors. I must have known he would; after all I made him up. But nonetheless I was so proud of him when he ordered a good bottle of wine.

Then there are the fun food fun things about people. In my latest mystery as Shelley Freydont, the owner of the Apple of my Eye bakery, Dolly Hunnicut, is famous for her Apple Crisp. Now I’m partial to apple crisp and I have a really great recipe which was given to me by a friend whose recipe can certainly give Dolly’s a run for her money.
Dottie is always handing out samples of her baking. I’m going to give Dolly her own page on my site, because she’s so much fun and her food is so yummy. (Of course I have to test out all the recipes. It’s research!)

Do you like novels that include food? Or does it distract you from the story?

Ideas, anyone?

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I have wonderful ideas in the shower. Whether it’s a writing project I’m working on, or a new recipe for dinner, an entire plot for a new work in progress, or remembering that I need to get the car washed. They come bubbling up from somewhere and burst into my mind like gifts, and most of them leave as quickly as water down the drain.

Which got me to thinking, not about ideas and showers, but down time. What happened to it? Mine seems to have run off and joined the circus.

I love the deep concentration of writing. I love having dinner with friends, going to the museum, taking in a new film.

I go to the gym, I don’t loved that so much. Clean the house, occasionally. Not so enthusiastic about that either. But it really feels good when you’re finished and everything is in its place . . . for a minute.

There’s so much great stuff to do, so many ideas to write about, that I keep forgetting to carve out time to just give in to not doing anything, stop the wheels in my brain, soak in my surroundings, and rejuvenate, let all the extraneous stuff go and let the important stuff arrange itself without my heavy hand.

Sounds like I need to pay some attention to doing nothing. How about you? Has anybody figured out a way to get enough quiet time? How did you do it?