Thursday, August 30, 2012

Friday Feedback: Unruly & Ten Rules

Boo hiss: All my dread in the world couldn't keep it away: the unofficial last weekend of summer is here.

And, next Wednesday, my kids go back to school.

The days are getting shorter, the morning's, colder, and all my wishing and hoping won't keep fall at bay.

The only good part is that I have a lot of fun book stuff coming up: my first Canadian Book Club, a school visit in PA, a Kids Read stint at the esteemed Center for Fiction in NYC, and an evening at Pen Parentis, to name a few.

Also, my "Frankie" revisions are due to my editor, after a big thumbs up from my agent, so I'm hopeful they'll go over well. If only the publication date weren't so very faaaaaar away.

As for my Frankie revisions, I'm feeling a bit lovey dovey with my hubby these days* (that's him ranking a blog appearance up there) because, unbeknowst to me, he took it upon himself to read the revised draft. Now, let's just say he's not always my best, most attentive reader. *coughs* And let's just say that, if he doesn't love something, he's not particularly great at hiding that fact. *weeps a little*

And let's just say he hasn't stopped gushing about this book!

Seriously, that's like getting rave reviews from Kirkus. Plus, he's kinda looking at me all starry-eyed. ;)

Anyway, I have some fun guest authors and writing and revision tips coming up in the next several weeks, but this week, and especially for those readers who are regulars, I do want to parade out my very short bible of writing for you once again... Got 10 Rules?

Come on, Elmore makes it easy:

Yeah, okay, maybe those last two rules are tricky. . .  ;)

Anyway, it is Friday Feedback. . . so, without further ado, you know my rules. Here's another bit from my Work In Progress I posted from last week -- an upper YA called In Sight of Stars. The MC is a 17-year-old boy named Klee (pronounced Clay). He's in a bit of a (very) bad way:

At 5:15 pm, I walk out to the nurses’ station to call Mom, which is bad timing to begin with, because the smell of puked-up chicken noodle soup or some other shit wafts from the cafeteria down the halls. I’ve avoided a meal there since Monday, but I’m not sure how much longer they’ll let me.
            The nurse at the desk’s name is Shelly. She’s the blond one who sometimes brings me my meds.
            “I need to call my mom,” I say. She nods and moves away, to give me some privacy, I think.
It still feels weird to dial our home number, like it’s somebody else’s, not ours. The sound of the ringing makes my heart race. I don’t know whether I want her to answer, or not. Not means she’s out gallivanting.
Then again, what does it matter?
Another ring, a third, then voicemail.
“You’ve reached Klee and Marielle, please leave a message. We’ll get back to you as soon as we’re able.”
Nice. Creative. Original. The machine beeps in my ear, gratefully cutting off my thoughts.  
“Hey, Mom, it’s me. I’m doing better. So, yeah, when you get this, you can call. Or, I guess you don’t have to call, you can just come by tomorrow if you want to. Oh yeah, if you do, could you bring me some clean clothes and, I guess maybe my school books, since I really don’t know how long I’m in for. They’re in my backpack, well, you know. Okay, thanks. See you then.”
I hang up. My stomach roils. I can’t even wrap my head around school.
Then again, I can’t wrap my head around having to see my mother either.

Looking forward to reading you!
- gae

*I'm almost always feeling lovey dovey with my hubby.


  1. Gae,
    I am early this morning. As you may know, we've been having a hurricane down here. All is well in my neck of the woods. But because I worked hard on cleaning the yard debris yesterday, I skipped exercise this morning. We have school today after 2 days off, so I am up and ready for Friday feedback.

    Happy to meet your husband. I didn't let on to my husband much about Blessen until the proof came out. Then I read it aloud to him in the car on a weekend trip to New Orleans. He had a few suggestions, but mostly there were stars in his eyes. He has since been super supportive of it all.

    About your piece, I am so curious about why a kid would be in the hospital and have to call his mom about it. Why isn't she already there? What happened to him? I question whether he would have to use a phone at the nurse's station. Wouldn't they have one in the room?

    I don't heed many of Elmore Leonard's rules, I have to say. However, with the Dear God WIP going on in verse, I find little time for much superfluous description of setting and characters.
    Here is another section: (I am calling them sections rather than chapters. Not sure what to call them.)

    Dear God,
    Girls’ night sleep-over at Jennifer’s house:
    A prayer vigil for Simone.
    Jennifer planned it with
    statues of saints and Jesus and Mary
    around a center candle on her dining table.
    Simone’s name on a slip of paper,
    placed in the flame, our intention to send a healing prayer.
    My hands were shaking, sweat formed at my brow.
    Then Jennifer, with her long black silky fine hair,
    leaned over to kiss Virgin Mary,
    a single spark lighted a flame,
    and her hair shone like a Fourth of July sparkler.
    She grabbed it with her hand.
    Now, she has a bald spot and a burn on her hand.
    I’m sorry I laughed.
    An awkward moment,
    what else could I do?
    Are you there in the flame?
    In the statues, the saints?
    Did you hear our prayer?

    1. Ah, Klee fascinates me. I feel that even though his stomach ties up in knots, he has to be one gutsy kid. Oh, yes. I can't wait to hear more about him.
      And Blessen! I've read two of the bits of your work, Margaret, and love love love the flow, and the tone, and the style. I can't wait to hear more of this, too. I hope all you know are safe after the storm.

      This piece of my WIP is on Kate's first day of teaching high school German and Latin (in the real Kate's diary, it's called "Caesar Class"). She had a degree in Modern Languages. I don't know why I love that so much, but I do! But wouldn't it be interesting if they issued degrees in Old Fashioned Languages???

      The heavy door closed behind her with a solid “thunk” and Kate stepped forward into the long hall. The worn wooden floor echoed dully under her feet as she made her way toward an open doorway some distance away.
      A small flutter started in her stomach but she ignored it, moving into the doorway and tapping lightly on the frame.
      “Hello?” She moved farther into the room, looking around for someone who might be able to help. A smooth tenor voice greeted her.
      “Good morning! I assume that you must be Miss Stinson.”
      “Why yes, that’s me.”
      Kate smiled at the man who stood before her, surprised at the depth of her own delight. Someone knew her, knew her name. Somehow she had expected to have to explain herself, and to make her own introductions.
      “I’m Mr. Goetz, Literature, Composition and Geography. Pleased to meet the new Languages teacher. I hope you can put up with our countrified ways here.”
      He was smiling as he stepped forward, hand outstretched in greeting. Kate returned the gesture warmly and laughed.
      “Countrified! I guess you don’t know where I hail from if you worry about that. Burley, Washington, best place on earth and the back of beyond, born and bred. Pleased to meet you.”
      Laughing too, now, her new colleague moved with sure steps toward the door, pausing to usher her through.

    2. Ah, well, we're just forming a mutual admiration society, Valerie, because Kate's voice is so consistent and authentic that there's really nothing to say but that. The writing is delightful and I sense already some chemistry brewing between these two. Will there be bodice ripping? ;) <3

      Happy holiday weekend to all.

      xox gae

    3. I'm typing this chuckle on my new netbook, purchased as gift to myself FOR WRITING MY BOOK on the go!! Wow. No bodice ripping - yet! At least Mr. Goetz doesn't get killed off, so you never know. These characters keep surprising me... Have a lovely long weekend. We've all earned it.

    4. And thank you thank you for the kind words...

  2. Margaret, this is magnificent.

    Keep going!

  3. (p.s., yes there's a reason no phone in his room...)