Friday, July 31, 2009

A lot of words for just one link

I often think I could happily sit on the Interweb for the rest of my life, and be amused and entertained. That's what it is: an endless--ENDLESS--source of amusement and horror and information. God, I love it. I start to get the shakes if I don't have access for a while, and I implode if my internet connection goes down, like it did last night. I'm still cleaning up my bits.

I just found a new nugget to feed the addiction: Lifehacker. A very interesting web site whose tagline is "Tips and Downloads for Getting Things Done." Okay, to be fair, I haven't explored it fully but I did like what I saw, such as an article on how to tell if people are lying. (Apparently people say "To be honest" and "to tell you the truth" more often if they're lying; both of which are stupid things to say ANYWAY because saying them sort of indicates that you were going to lie in the first place. Conversational fluff.) To be honest, I'm from Fife, and I use long-handled spoons, to tell you the truth.

Anyway, Lifehacker sort of reminds me of Learn2.com, a site I was involved in the early days of, which did sort of the same thing: gave instructions on all that stuff that wasn't easy to find instructions for. It's now been sold and turned into something that no longer resembles the whimsical early intentions but Lifehacker kind of looks like a modern day version of it.

Check it: Lifehack.com

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

When do you write? How do you make yourself write?

I was thinking a bit about NaNoWriMo, the annual write 30k words in 30 days drive held every November.

I know it drives a lot of people to write, and focus. This is good. Focus is good.

I personally don’t need it because I am driven to write every day. Things don’t always come easy for me, and there’s a (rather insufferable) part of me that constantly whispers, “You’re a failure because this draft didn’t come out of the gate perfect.” I hate finding logic fallacies, and hate even more discovering them months later. My writing group has helped a lot with enabling me to recognize them sooner rather than later, but still. Anyway, I have to work at it so I’m doing that.

All that aside, I find myself wondering when people write. My cousin Erika would like to write but she doesn’t want to put the time in after sitting in front of a computer all day long. I heard about someone else recently who said they just didn’t have time. Didn’t have time! I work full time and mother my whippersnapper full time and, yes, perhaps neglect cleaning the house a bit, but I am compelled to spend time writing every day. As you can see by my blogging, sometimes more. Blogging in the day helps take the mid-day edge off. How often do people write? And what do you think about when you write? How good you are? How bad you are? Hoping you’ll improve? Writing for the love of it, or with every letter typed out, thinking, “Daggmit if this doesn’t make it into print then I won’t eat my dinner” or something?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Slightly Funny New Yorker Cartoon

I used to work with nice guy named George. George and I had great conversations over the nine years we worked together. We agreed on many things, but also disagreed on a fair amount, too—usually ending in an exchange of what we called withering looks, designed to convey complete and total disapproval. One of the things George and I agreed about was how the Man keeps us lumpen proletariats (except I’m not really one) down.

One of the things we disagreed—heavily—on was the hilarity of New Yorker cartoons. I have never once cracked a smile at any; while one or two may have approached slight amusement-quality, they were usually un-funny or too obvious, clichĂ©, or just stupid. George thought they were funny. Or perhaps he liked a quiet type of humor. I’m not saying I require slapstick Jerry Lewis/Jim Carey (by the way, they are the same person, ever notice that? How come nobody talks about that?) comedy in order to laugh. I quite like subtle humor, and dark humor, and intelligent humor. Anyway, New Yorker cartoons do not even brush those categories.

EditorialAss’s blog recently pointed to one on that was intelligible and funny. Most importantly, EditorialAss feels the same way about New Yorker cartoons. This made me feel better because I have felt quietly bad about myself for not getting them, or thinking they’re unfunny, for years. I felt stupid, in fact. And God knows I don’t need more reasons to feel stupid; I behave badly enough as it is.
Some comics that ARE funny:
Bizarro
Get Fuzzy
And of course the ultimate perfect comic, Calvin and Hobbes.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Chick-lit Throw Down

Blogger Carrie Kei Heim Binas has a nice run down of the chick lit stigma on her blog. In her post is a link to a story from GalleyCat about Maureen Dowd who apparently was very naughty and wrote a disparaging article about the genre.

Carrie and Galley Cat cover the discussion very nicely so I won’t rehash all the contradictions of bashing the genre and inherent difficulties comparing chick lit to women’s fiction (which, incidentally, is what I call what I write--it just seems to fit). Probably the term “chick lit” comes from stories that involve cities, sex, cocktails, and shoes, but who really knows.

What annoyed me most is a snippet from Maureen “Badly Behaved” Dowd, who wrote: "I seriously doubt that the readers who enjoy their Jane Green, Sophie Kinsella, Emily Giffin et al will be throwing down their pink books and making a mad dash for The Red Badge of Courage on Leon Wieseltier's say-so. I can't speak for anyone else, but as for me? I read it in high school.”

See, now, why you gotta play? That’s terribly insulting. I read widely and some of my choices include classics and nonfiction and very serious, studious novels, and maybe, perhaps, something Leon Wieseltier recommended (although not bloody likely now since he sounds like a right drop-kick). Last year I blogged about a similar type of sexism (what do you call it when women are being sexist towards women?):

I recently read an issue of Parents magazine where they said “Why do toddlers seem so interested in the computer keyboard? Because they see you on it a lot, like when you’re checking e-mail or looking up recipes.”

What? What?

Did it really say that? Looking up recipes? Who wrote that? If I had half a brain cell left I’d go find out which issue it was, but I think it was from months ago. I mean, how insulting is that. How about “While you’re working on your dissertation.” Or “While you’re blogging about the environment and what your plans are to save it.” Looking up recipes. I say. Anyway, I’m too busy to look up recipes because I’m down at the river scrubbing laundry against the washboard.

Both Parents and Parenting are complete and total rags and I encourage you to skim through them if you take them and then pitch it into the recycling bin within five minutes. I did find a Kiddie Kebab article in one the other day that might be vaguely useful but that really is the extent of helpfulness of these ridiculous, ad-driven, thinly veiled marketing brochures.


GalleyCat notes:

Stella Duffy, Henderson's comrade in the "Tart City" movement of women crime writers, advances this theme further in her comments. "When (name any woman writer, ever) writes about family/relationships she is considered domestic. When Mike Leigh does exactly the same (only with added shouting by the women, which he equates with 'character') he is considered universal," Duffy observes. "Dowd is only reiterating the classic view that men's work is valid when women's is for women only. We know the stats: Women read women and men, men read men. That's it. That's how it is. And until we change that one, what is considered 'women's fiction' will continue to be denigrated, by both women and men, because it's an easy buck to slag it off. It is a feminist issue. But it might require the women—and men—involved (on both sides of the fence, those successful in the work and those denigrating it) to get involved in the discussion to make a difference."


Call me still recovering from the shock of the damage that Sarah Palin did to women, but girls, we’ll never get anywhere if we bash each other. Just admit you read chick lit/women’s fiction. I’ve read Sophie Kinsella—and I didn’t particularly like her writing (for reasons not to do with the genre)—and yet I still read two more of them. It must be because the plot was good, and we all want a little spark of romance in our lives. Yes, you do, even if you’re happily married. And if you don’t like that type of genre, ask yourself what it is you don’t like before you disparage.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Poor Little Serial Comma

Has the serial comma died? Am I the only one using this anymore?

First off, don’t be ashamed to need a refresher on what it is. It’s the comma used before the final item in a list of three or more items. Example using the serial comma: “The best football teams to follow are Hibernian FC, Newcastle, and Crystal Palace.” Example without the serial comma: “The best football teams to follow are Hibernian FC, Newcastle and Crystal Palace.”

Usage differs across British and American English, but for me it’s always been delineated by AP Style and Chicago Manual of Style. I always felt, as a result of my technical writing days, that AP Style is used for newspapers and other journalistic pursuits, while Chicago was used for publishing and essays. Personally, I use the serial comma because I feel that it eliminates potential confusion. Using the serial comma in the example above, it’s clear that there are three separate teams that are best to follow. However, in the example without the serial comma, I feel that nuance could be inferred. It almost appears as if Newcastle and Crystal Palace are lumped together as one, as in, there is Hibernian FC to follow, and then there’s Newcastle and Crystal Palace, both of which hold equal places in my heart. (They don’t; I actually don’t follow Crystal Palace although I do love their name, and I confess I’m not following Newcastle, but since the Toons goon doon – they were relegated last season—I do wish them well and very much hope they get promoted back into first division this season. I digress.) For purposes of this example, the lack of serial comma actually infers that neither Newcastle nor Palace are not as good to follow as Hibernian, which is, in fact, entirely and irrevocably true.

See how it is? I am in favor of a) following Chicago when writing novels, and b) maintaining sensitivity to the delicate inflections of the serial comma. What I don’t understand, then, is why I’m seeing the serial comma used in manuscripts. I asked members in my writing group if they had dropped it intentionally, and they admitted that yes, they generally followed AP Style. Of course that’s their choice, and I understand how naturally it comes to someone to use it, or not, based on their style comfort and history. However, I was under the impression that serial commas and Chicago style were to be used in publishing and manuscript preparation.

It could be that it is, but that people are starting to drop it again and the lack of serial comma usage is just a sign of current behavior. I don’t like this, but then I am a stickler for rules—no! Not so I can be pedantic! I like them because then that’s one less thing I have to think about, and goodness knows my head is whirling already with football, writing, mothering, and my affliction of having a laptop plugged into me at all times (notice the serial comma, nyah-nyah-nyah).

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Seattle, Soccer, and Celebrations

Spent the last weekend in Seattle, and it was just gorgeous. First off, there was not a cloud in the sky Friday, Saturday, or Sunday and it was 85 degrees all weekend.

Friday night started with a nice dinner with family friends at the Icon Grill on 5th street.Chihuly glass hung from the ceiling and the Orange Drop cocktails were tasty. It was just the thing after walking around downtown most of the afternoon, pausing to purchase things I would never normally purchase while at home, such as obnoxious sunglasses and cherry-shaped earrings (they just seemed so summery).

Saturday was the big day. We were in Seattle to meet friends and celebrate my friend Anita’s wedding, but another reason with equal billing on the dance card was to attend the Seattle Sounders vs. Chelsea FC football (soccer) match at Qwest Stadium. (Shhh. Don’t tell Anita.)

Where do I begin with how fantastic it was? It might not be possible to say. I’ll try anyway. First off, I met my friend Tim and his four mates before hand, and my friend Tom. Tom lives in Seattle; Tim and his mates are transplanted from Scotland (except one, from Ireland) and now all live in Vancouver. We spent quite a while waiting for two of Tim’s mates outside the stadium before the match. Our wait was punctuated with “What a pair of drop-kicks,” and “What a pair of fannies” at regular intervals from Tim and his mates. Finally, we found our seats (naturally on the exact opposite side from where we had entered) shortly before kickoff. As far as stadia go, Qwest is gorgeous. Also loud. It had 65,000 of us in there on Saturday and we made noise.

Now, it isn’t everyday that one gets to see Chelsea FC play in the US (or, for that matter, in the UK because apparently tickets are hard to come by unless you’re a season ticket holder). I went in not caring who I supported, although a petty hate for Chelski (despite being there to see them specifically, a contradiction I didn't care to explore) made me favor the Sounders. Once the match began you had to support the Sounders, because they were doing their best (and it was their midseason, as opposed to Chelsea who is in offseason, and, I am partial to supposing, on a party trip throughout the US).

Chelsea ended up thumping Seattle 2-0, but despite that score, the Sounders did well (we predicted a 4-1 outcome). The Sounders are feisty and dogged, but they were not, and never were going to be, a match for the uppity Blues. Seattle absolutely died just as they got the ball near the box and we spent a fair amount of time shouting for them to please, for the love of the Space Needle, KICK IT TOWARDS THE NET.

It was very obvious that the former Arsenal player and now Sounders midfielder Freddie Ljungberg held the team together and created the chances. Tim said Freddie could still easily do the job in the Premiership (but specified the lesser Wolves club).

We represented Hibernian well with a large flag and my sparkly Hibs shirt. The game was a huge success. Afterwards, we alighted to Kell’s in Pike Place for refreshments. I was drunk by 3:30 pm. I can honestly say I have never been drunk at that time of day before, unless it was left over from a previous night’s fumes.

The rest of the weekend involved a lovely wedding reception at Seward Park , followed by a late cocktail and sushi at Dragonfish on 8th and Pine. It was just gorgeous.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Santorini Sunset

Every morning before 11 am, I watch the sun set in Santorini, thanks to two wonderful web cams.

Volcano view: http://www.santorini.net/volcano.html

Caldera view: http://www.santorini.net/caldera.html

Sunset is approximately 11 am PST.

I lived for a few years on Santorini when I was kid. My novel that I’m editing takes place largely in Santorini. To write about the island, I had to do some serious memory dredging, as the last time I was there was more around 20 years ago. A lot has changed (not for the better, I hear) and I had to consult the memories of my mother and family friends (hi, Dana!). I also, through the continued miracle of in the Interweb, asked a couple who’d set up a Santorini web site some questions that they graciously answered. (Like, “Can you still go to Turkey for one day and then come back to Greece and have your visa renewed for another several months?” The answer, if you’re interested, is no. Greece’s inclusion in the EU means tightened visa requirements.)

My concern is in the details. When we lived on the island, cow’s milk was unavailable except at a premium. Powdered or condensed milk (bleech) was available, but we mostly used goat’s milk. That was one of the things I had to check…had cow’s milk become more prevalent over the past 20 years? No, it hasn’t; despite the loss of agricultural land due to development on the island, goat’s milk is still favored by locals.

Internet access was another huge question mark. When we were there (roughly 1984-1986), the tinterweb didn’t exist and even phone access was not prevalent (heck, neither was being able to flush toilet paper, but I opted not to investigate this; it won’t make it into the novel). There was a phone shop in Thira called OTE Hellenic Telecommunications Organization), which was the island’s main phone carrier, and probably still is given its growth in Greece and southwestern Europe. You could go line up to use the phones in the OTE shop, and if you had a friend working there (as we did; called OTE Yannis; so called to distinguish him from the other Yannis we knew), then the line might be shorter. Anyway, I figured that because of this arrangement in the 80s, surely there would be a similar Internet CafĂ© set up in Thira. And there is (thanks to Google), but actually most tourist spots in Greece now feature wifi, and probably all the hotels have Internet access. I would not have known that without help.

Another detail is the fact that almost every lock on the island used a skeleton key type lock, and strangely, every key worked in every lock. It was ridiculous. I literally had one key for three different houses while we were there. I still have it.

I cannot visualize Santorini as I knew it; I have been told many times that it’s changed almost beyond recognition. I still think I would be able to recognize and find the goat trails up the sides of mountains that I used to scamper up, at the top of which would be a miniature phone-booth sized church, and a running spring inside a cave. Obviously certain landmarks stand; the ruins of old civilizations and castles. Businesses have changed and I expect more have popped up in their place.

The sunsets are still spectacular and the view of the caldera is the same. I know this thanks to the web cams above. I heartily thank the team at Santorini.net and Helioweb for running these live cams, which update every 60 seconds day or night. It allows me to see the island that I spent such an amazing time on.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Delighted About Nick Hornby

I read this morning off Eric’s awesome new blog about books by top authors being rushed to print in order to compete with the tsunami of buzz around Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code sequel. Because of the hype for that book, I’m already tuning myself out to it because I hate popular propaganda (although I might read it, but only out of a passing road-accident style curiosity and nothing more, and perhaps after first having read Ulysses and War and Peace). Anyway, I was delighted to see Nick Hornby mentioned in this article as one of the “top authors” whose book had been rushed to print. Apart from feeling some horror over the idea of being forced to rush a book to print (God I hope it’s ready?), I have recently been thinking about Nick Hornby a lot. This is because I’m going to see him speak in October with my cousin Adrienne. When she asked me to go, I thought sure why not, I’ve read a few of his and liked them. But then I downloaded Fever Pitch, his unabashed love sonnet to football (soccer). I started reading it yesterday and immediately realized the man’s genius. He’s just great, and definitely at his finest with this book, and I’m not just saying that because I too am a lover of football. Although Nick Hornby is an Arsenal fan, and I am so not an Arsenal fan (I am a proud Hibs fan), the book is wonderful even if you don’t like football. It’s funny and charming. And now I am looking forward to hearing him speak extra superduper. (Although I shall not get him to sign anything because it will only end it tears for me. I wish there was a way to tell him thank you for Fever Pitch, even a hoarsely whispered “Thank yooooo Mr. Hornby, for being an obsessive football fan and writing about it!” but I doubt very much that it will happen. If his response is a dismissive “Oh, great, fine, yeah, cheers,” then I shall dislike him and that would be unproductive.)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Writing is like Farming and Exercising

I was thinking recently how writing a novel is a lot like a long term weight-loss goal, or playing Nintendo’s Harvest Moon on Wii. How are these things alike, you wonder? I shall tell you:
  • All three take time, discipline, and don’t happen overnight.
  • They’re tedious and at times frustrating.
  • They all provide a sense of accomplishment at the end.
  • But mostly, they take lots and lots of hours to complete.

Author Jennifer Weiner on her web site likens it to getting a dog (#6 on the list).

This is true. I shall explain. Losing weight and exercising doesn’t happen overnight, even though I’ve labored under the misapprehension that it will for nigh on twenty years. You have to sculpt and tone, and that takes a lot of time. Years, even. It’s soul-crushing, I know. Now, Nintendo’s Harvest Moon series is a game about farming and the game play never gets anywhere until you’ve tended several seasons worth of crops and raised many generations of animals. Worse, you have to water your crops and pick weeds and milk your cows every day—as well as keep up with your friends in the town and bribe them with cooked dishes that you’ve made with the crops you toiled over. My husband cannot understand why I play this game. Neither can I, actually, except that I’ve been able to realize all my farming fantasies without actually having to do the back-cramping labor involved.*
*No, I don't actually have farming fantasies. But if I did.


Harvest Moon is actually quite calming in its routine, although I admit here and now that I have never completed the game because I simply can’t put that much time into virtual crops. But it is a lot like a novel, except perhaps that writing a novel is worse, because it’s not nearly as certain. You plant, you water, you harvest….and you still might not have a beautiful crop at the end. So then you go back and sculpt, mold, and polish. You still might not have a perfect body. At this point you might have to have a little talk with yourself about how maybe your novel was crap to begin with.
What is the point of all this? Well, things take time and lots of effort. I was kind of hoping they didn’t—after all, we live in an Instant Gratification Society, but once I thought of weight loss and Harvest Moon, I didn’t feel so badly about the time it takes to write (including the editing and the little moment you have months after you think editing is over where you go "Oh, actually I've deluded myself hideously; everything has to change") . That being said, I do put in a lot of time. I still believe you can get what you want if you put the time and effort into it.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

List of Things to Be Grateful For

My novel’s main character makes up a lot of lists, as a sort of coping device. She has a List for anything that suits, but the first List she ever came up with was a List of Things to be Grateful For. I took this idea from conversations my cousin Erika and I had about how things could be worse than they currently were. (We both had a similar unpleasant situation.)

I have always found it helpful to have a List of Things to be Grateful For. At first I thought it was mainly useful for when I was feeling particularly horrid. But now I see its worth on a more regular basis. The reason: I’m pretty happy in life right now, after several years of being somewhat happy. I recognize that I’d better try to hold onto this time, because someday I might look back and think, “That summer of 2009—whoo that was a happy time, wish I could back there and just be.”

In no particular order:
  1. I am employed with health insurance.
  2. My husband is healthy.
  3. I can’t stand how cute my whippersnapper is.
  4. My whippersnapper is healthy and smart.
  5. I have a graduate degree, and I don’t have to go back to school ever again if I don’t want to.
  6. I get to write novels.
  7. I have all my arms and legs, and they work.
  8. I do not live in Darfur.
  9. I belong to a writing group.
  10. I do not have a conjoined twin growing out of my back.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Social Networking Head Whirl

Over the years I’ve been playing on the interweb, my paranoia scale has run from red to, um, gray? What I’m trying to say is, I’ve always had a high level of paranoia at any given time about my online presence.

Everyone knows that identity theft is a very scary thing, but I always just paranoid in general, for no specific reason. Maybe I don’t like being touched. This falls in line with my personal space rule of requiring a three-foot block of air between me and the next person at all times. I know this is not nice, but I really don’t like being too close. People have been known to chase me around a room as they advance and I back away in this manner.

So the question is, how much social networking is a good thing? Just having this website is hard enough for me, because my name’s out there, and yet I need my name out there to support my writing platform. Compounding the issue is the use of my maiden versus my married name. And do I want to mix my current employment with my writing career—not to mention my past employment history? God, it’s such a lot to think about.

LinkedIn is the one giving me the most pause for thought right now. On it is nearly everyone I know professionally; but do I want to link that to my web site? I haven’t made the contacts on there yet because of that issue. Surely as I move beyond my current career into a writing career, I should morph the two…but then, perhaps not.

Facebook is another issue. I’m on there, but it’s set for some degree of privacy and I’m careful about friending random people or celebrities. At first it was a race against my mother as to who had the most friends but then I realized that Facebook really is at its best when it’s used as a way to keep up with friends and family and little else, and I took off all the random people and celebrities. There’s the professional aspect of that, too—should I have my professional contacts on there or my public Facebook page? Should I have a public Facebook page at all? I have one but it’s terribly bare because all my friends are over on my other one!

Cripes!

Today I also discovered Google Reader share, wherein you can setup a public share space for blogs you want to share with others. Oh, it’s just another thing to click on, but that’s all the rage right now, isn’t it.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Existential Thoughts on Silverfish

The whippersnapper has a deck of insect flashcards that we like to look through. One of the cards is for silverfish. I simply cannot see any purpose for this disgusting creature. Its body, with all its legs and far too many whiskery appendages, is so off-putting that even if it had a purpose, like fending off termites or something, it would be hard to love. It is astounding in its grossness and uselessness.

It’s not merely a matter of how ugly it is though. No. It leaves a horrid powder behind when you move it or kill it. It eats paper and starches, meaning it will chomp through books, newspaper, photos, sugar, old photos, hair, dandruff. It will even eat silks and other linens and leathers, and if that weren’t enough—if it hadn’t snacked its way through the entire contents of your house and body, it can survive for a year on nothing! That’s right! As far as I can tell from my exhaustive research on Wikipedia, which included a slight grammatical correction on the silverfish entry, there is no known benefit to having them in existence.

Earwigs, which I was also going to say how much I hate and that serve no purpose whatsoever except to be disgusting, eat silverfish. Suddenly, earwigs aren’t so bad. And in rare cases, spiders eat silverfish too. Now, we all know spiders eat many harmful bugs and so they do have a purpose, even though their unnatural and evil little legs and loads of eyes would have you believe the opposite. So, earwigs and spiders can stay. I even feel slightly bad for killing the huge earwig that I found in the bottom of a bag the other day. (Although living in the bottom of my bag extends the boundaries of my good will towards earwigs quite a bit.)

The definition of pestilence: silverfish

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Look! Look at all the good books!

Who says publishing's dead!

Look at all these fantastic books coming out this year-- including Audrey Niffenberger's second book (she who wrote The Time Traveler's Wife).

http://www.themillions.com/2009/07/most-anticipated-rounding-out-2009-epic.html

Predictability

Like most people my age (firmly in early thirties with life ahead of me), it hasn’t escaped my notice that the Where the Wild Things Are movie is coming out. The trailer alone is enough to prick my eyes with tears, but that’s only because I can now no longer stand movies with death or hurting to kids in them. I know instinctively that Where the Wild Things Are is going to have Max hurting, because that’s obviously at the heart of the story.

That being said, I’m not sure I like this look of this special-edition film adaptation book for the movie-- the "furry edition":

That’s just put me off my dinner. I am not touching a book that looks like it belongs to the movie Evil Dead rather than Where the Wild Things Are.

The point of this post is to say that some things are predictable. Take the movie out now with Sandra Bullock: The Proposal. I know from the previews I’ve seen on telly that it’s about a mean Canadian lady who is being deported, so she forces her assistant, who hates her, to marry her. They then have to spend time together. Here’s my guess: they end up liking each other after all and then they either actually get married for love, and/or she’s allowed to stay in the country on her own merit. Oh, and she has a personality change too, and is no longer a biotch.

I’m fairly sure I’m right on that without watching it.

There’s nothing wrong with that per se. Most commercial films and books are predictable because we want them to be that way. My own novels are guilty of this. My beta readers tell me they know who the heroine will end up with, and who she won’t. Because I hate trends and predictability, I constantly want to twist it up and make it a surprise, but there’s no way to get the guy AND keep it a surprise. As in, my characters aren’t going to decide to go for the unsuitable guy instead. I seriously doubt my own cleverness in making that happen. That would be like The Last American Virgin, a movie I’ve never seen but which Ken feels is a fantastic movie purely because the guy does not get the girl at the end. True, that’s good, but I just don’t want to watch or read that kind of story. The reason I write women’s fiction is because I want the girl to get the guy she dreams about and wants. Most women want that, as book sales for women’s fiction shows.

What do you want?