A few days ago I received feedback on my manuscript from a couple of beta readers and one comment surprised me. Apparently, I have an “it’s complicated” problem. My first reaction was “whhuuuutttt?” Especially since that’s a phrase I really, really don’t like.
So why would I have my character say it?
Granted, the characters in my books are not me. Some have similar traits—Maia in The Day The Merry-Go-Round Stopped, for example, also has long crazy curls, loves carousels and talks to her dead grandmother (before anyone calls the guys with the white jackets, my grandmother does not talk back)—but they are not telling my story, just a story that my overactive brain came up with. That still doesn’t explain, though, why I would choose to use a phrase that makes me grind my teeth when I hear it.
Then yesterday the answer talked my ear off the entire way home from school. My seven year old was explaining some game they were playing during recess. The more he talked, the less sense it made. And apparently my face made that perfectly clear. He huffed and said, “It’s complicated, mom.”
Well poop. Apparently the answer to Maia’s love for that phrase wasn’t as complicated to figure out as I’d thought it would be. Getting Maia to stop saying it is proving much easier than getting the seven year old to stop though.
Do you have any favorite—or not so favorite but overly used—phrases? And do you know where they came from?
Sometimes things happen that make you look around at what you have and appreciate in a different way. I won't get sappy, I'll just fast forward to the part where I pull my head out of the headaches of everyday and give thanks for everything that's right instead.
Which brings me to the "returning" part. The other day I read a blog post by a literary agent who has been raising money for victims of Hurricane Sandy. His idea to donate money based on a weight loss goal motivated me to stop whining and do something positive. So here it is, between now and my birthday at the end of March, I'm going to lose weight - my goal is 15 pounds. And for every pound I lose I'm going to donate $5 to Alzheimer's research.
My grandmother had Alzheimer's and the book I just finished writing was inspired by her (you can read more about The Day the Merry-Go-Round Stopped here). Writing it was a daily dose of therapy for me. I hope this book grabs the heart of an agent and an editor and that some day I can share it with everyone else.
November may be Thanksgiving but it's also National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month. Click here to learn more about Alzheimer's.
The talented, generous and patient Laura Drake (lauradrakebooks.com) tagged me in the ongoing game of The Next Big Thing in which authors get to talk about their favorite thing - their work! Thank you for the honor, Laura!!
Ten Interview Questions for the Next Big Thing:
What is your working title of your book?
The Day the Merry-Go-Round Stopped
Where did the idea come from for the book?
I've always had a soft spot for carousels and love stories that hinge around a secret that can either bring the characters together or blow their world to shreds.
What genre does your book fall under?
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Rebecca Gayheart as Maia, Simon Baker as Vale, and Ryan Reynolds as Michael. Kristin Scott Thomas as Maia's mom and Dustin Hoffman as Hank (the old carver).
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
The Day The Merry-Go-Round Stopped is the story of a carousel restorer who discovers the answers to her unhappiness with the help of a 1930s carousel horse and its carver, an old gentleman suffering from Alzheimer’s and a broken heart for the one person she can’t get over either—her grandmother.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Hopefully (fingers and toes crossed) represented by an agency.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
The first draft took about six months.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I think the style of this book would appeal to fans of Cecilia Ahern and Kristin Hannah.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
My grandmother, although I wouldn't say she really inspired me to write the book as much as inspired me while I was writing the book.
And now the fun part - the fabulously talented authors that I tagged. Look for their interviews on their websites next week.
Kerry Lonsdale, women's fiction writer and critique partner extraordinaire.
Kimberley Troutte, trusted reader and advice giver, and talented writer of paranormal and romantic suspense, and kick-patooty middle-grade.
Lorrie Thomson, women's fiction writer and fabulously fun twitter and WF Chapter mate.
Roxanne Ravenel, writer of smart, sexy, multicultural women’s fiction.
Shannon Kennedy, writing as Josie Malone, writer of mainstream western romances with a kick.