Wednesday, May 20, 2009

No blushing: what?

YA author Christina Dudley blogged about a recent list of Things You Should Not Do in a Novel, which she picked up from an agent’s presentation at a writing conference.

Among them was “Don't have characters cry” and "Don't have characters blush.” Well. I think blushing is underrated. My female characters always blush, and I’ll tell you why: I freaking blush all the time, and I hate it. Blushing carries a bunch of feelings with it: shame, excitement, sexuality, hang ups, anger. I could sit with someone and make my face impassive, but I cannot control my blushing. I do this all the time. Every time I feel my face color, I actually think, “I bet it’s just a little, I bet they can’t see it.” Right. They can see it. I'm a total goner in social and business situations because I can't control my blush. It’s a curse. And I see no reason for my female characters not to be cursed that way as well.

If your characters don’t blush, what do they do, then? Twist their hands? Look askance? Narrow their eyes? Other actions could accompany a blush to make it less overdone. Or is it simply finding another way to describe a blush, like “her cheeks were hot”? Because most people blush, especially those of us who are trying not to let the world see our emotions. I see blushing as a way to convey everything you can’t sort out in words.

If, in fact, blushing is considered cliché, then you could say any other description of physical activity is, too. Perhaps “She blushed furiously at his words,” is sort of disgusting, but surely “Her face flamed in response to his outrageous suggestion” is permissible. Can’t blushing be handled well when it’s showing versus telling?

Looking ahead, waiting for the caffeine crash

Sitting at work, orchestrating things, with a sunny blue sky out my window, I suddenly became very very excited. Actually, this is not true. I became very excited after reading this morning’s round of agent and publishing blogs in Google reader. (Note: NO, I don’t spend oogles of time reading blogs, no I do not spend all my time at work shleffing off, and no I do not do anything wrong, ever.) What I do is take a wee peek at the blogs in the morning, quickly. Anyway, back to my excitement. I got so excited that I wanted to puke. Really, heart-racing excited. Why? Because. Things just seems sunny and springy and I have a very good feeling about things.
In general, the summer is full of possibility and it’s so actual that I can almost hold it in my hand.

Then I realized that I‘d had a second cup of coffee this morning, and it was a big one. I usually don’t have that much. With a bit of a sinking heart I knew my excitement was a result of being hyped up from caffeine. But it doesn’t change how I feel about things. I still think things are going to happen. If they don’t—shoot, that’s easy to fix, isn’t it? I’ll just drink a second cup of coffee.
Now for a little fantastic spring-summer, looking ahead music:

Friday, May 15, 2009

Editors and Writers

This is quite a good blog post about editors and their process.

5 Lies Writers Believe About Editors

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Writing Group Worth 1000

Last night I went to my first ever writing group meeting. It was six other writers, some agented and published, some working on full length novels, some short stories. I was really excited to be there because they had all read the first two chapters of my novel by e-mail and agreed that I was a good writer and that they would like me to come to a meeting.

The meeting was in a coffee shop in a very nice part of Berkeley and that alone was enough to love it--I can't remember the last time I lounged in a coffee shop sipping a latte and talking about writing. (Oh, actually, I've never done that.) It was lovely.

And the other writers were lovely, too. The meeting, which went for two hours, was terribly exciting. They started off with a critique of the first two chapters of my novel. I nearly bit my fingers down to stumps as they began, but it was fine. On the whole, it would seem, I am not crap. And, they pointed out some plot elements that were confusing, which was very helpful since I can't see them myself.

Of course, this means that I'm quaking over what they'll think of the rest of the novel, especially the parts of the novel of which I'm subconsciously unsure.

Very exciting. I know the group will really take me to the next level. It's a necessary stop on the evolutionary ladder of writing a novel.

The blog is born

Welcome to the start of the official Sierra Godfrey blog. I've been blogging since 2006 for friends and family as a way to share pictures of my whippersnapper and life events. This blog is for my writing life, to talk about the process of writing a novel and seeking publication.