Bizarre Dreams

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woman underwater wearing black one piece swimsuit
Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

I had a bizarre series of dreams last night:

1: I couldn’t get apps to close on a smart device. (Anyone who knows me knows this is particularly bizarre because I don’t use a smart phone.)

2: I couldn’t find the right pair of contacts.

3: We drove up Scotts Bluff (one of the settings in my road trip novel), but the drive was so steep, I was certain we were actually inverted and I a) couldn’t believe we weren’t falling off and b) couldn’t understand how my risk-averse husband was so blase about it.

But the last dream was about a magical realm set in the world of one of my previous novels. When I woke up, I thought, “That would make a great back story for a new novel.” And I couldn’t get back to sleep for excitement thinking through the possibilities.

Since finishing my big novel revision and sending out a bunch more queries last week, I’ve been feeling a big void in desire and interest in novel writing. Partly because I’m still waiting for those great outdoor days off I promised myself. (Kayaking. Today. Even if it’s only in the 50s. Because hey. It’s not raining, and there are only a couple weeks of school left!)

But I haven’t been freaking out about my lack of desire. I figured it’d come in its good time. And now I believe it has. Because now I have two novels to develop and choose between…plus the one I tried to write last winter that I still think is a good concept, but needs more development.

Which makes this week a win, I think.

Meet My First Editor

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Conventional wisdom says that writers should never ask family members for feedback. Loved ones will inevitably fawn all over you and tell you how good your writing is (even when it isn’t) and that you don’t need to change a thing (even though you do). To the purveyors of CW, I simply say: You obviously haven’t met my baby sister.

Meet my first editor:

Okay, that was unfair. But I could have picked the one with her shampooed hair sticking up in a spike. Besides, I wanted to use the image to imply…accurately…that she’s been critiquing me since she was about this age. But since the 80s are long gone, let’s try this one instead:(Please ignore my daughter’s tremendously NOT attractive facemaking skills.)

My sister is a lawyer. But I told her the other day that she missed her calling. Because she has yet to give me a critique that was off the mark. Brutal she can be, but her reactions are always spot on. “Show, don’t tell.” “One-dimensional character.” “Implausible.” She doesn’t use writing lingo, but she instinctively understands the concepts. She also instinctively understands the market, even though she has no reason or expertise to qualify her to do so. She’s simply the quintessential modern reader. When she talks about a book, it sounds like a repeat of every agent blog I’ve ever read. Whatever she thinks about a book, you can bet it’s a darned good indicator of what everybody else is going to think, too.

And the most amazing part is that she hasn’t obsessed or pored over websites, magazines or books to learn it. She just gets it.

She’s been offering me feedback since we were both living at home, and I was saving my novels on multiple floppy disks.

 Imation Storage media - floppy disk - 1.44 MB

No, not those. I mean the one on the left in this picture. The 8-inch one.

 

You know, the floppies that were actually floppy?

Anyway.

The other day, I asked her to nit-pick my novel opening. The novel that’s making me pull my hair out, because it refuses to fly the coop. She sent me a blistering one-page (single-spaced) analysis of the first five pages of the manuscript, and finished up her missive with, “Well, those are my immediate thoughts.” I had to laugh, thinking, Holy cow, if those are your immediate thoughts, I don’t know if I’m going to ask for an in-depth critique!

Well, this quick and easy blog entry has turned into a two-hour ordeal of picture-hunting, so I won’t belabor the point. I simply wanted to publicly acknowledge my sister for her time and help over the years. Keep up the blistering, sis. Where would I be without you?