My, My… Too Many “Mys”

I’ve spent the last three days combing MY manuscript for the word MY. With first person POV, it’s like I, over used. A crutch. MY crutch.

Starting from page one, I found far too many uses, but after seeing MY highlighted so many times in a paragraph that it looked like those annoying caution lights on your way home–road closed due to flooding. MY overused three times out of 10…. that’s three times too many.

MY use of MY sometimes aids in a too frequent I sentence pattern.

In this usage, opt for MY over I.

  • NOW: I rolled over to check the time on my phone; just after one.
  • UPDATE: My phone lit two minutes after one.

Check those Is. Remove when you can. We all know you are watching, hearing seeing, listening, etc.

  • NOW: I watched the white peaks come and go in the ocean, almost glowing as they reflected the moon.
  • UPDATE: The white foamy peaks came and went, glowing from the moon’s reflection.

Show not tell.

  • NOW: I rested my hand on her hair.
  • UPDATE: My hand rested on her hair.

Back to MY. MY advice, highlight all those MYs and remove those road blocks when you can.

  • NOW: My mom stirred and I rolled back, resting my hand on her back.
  • UPDATE: Mom stirred; I rested my hand on her back.

One more shot at editing MY.

  • NOW: I tucked the dolls into my suitcase with my books, and lifted the fabric of the suitcase to tuck the letter inside. That’s when I found the notebook, worn smooth as if it had been handled hundreds of times.
  • UPDATE: Before resting the dolls beside the books in my suitcase, I slipped the letter in a small tear in the fabric lining of the suitcase, revealing a notebook, worn smooth as if it had been every day for the last thirty years.

What do you think of the rewrites to Losing Oneself? What are your thoughts to the usage of My and I? I’m open to suggestions and thoughts… and observations.

Inspiration #2 Moments in Life

Palm2Lap top in lap, relaxing as the sun is winding down its day, the shadows from the bamboo cooling the backyard, leaning back in the lounger, I look up and a sea of blue greets me, beautifully broken by my palm tree, whose fronds are gently waving in the breeze.

Deep sigh.

Inspiration #2. A moment so natural, simple, quiet. Awe.

Inspiration #1 Being Open

With an open mind, inspiration can be found, uncovered, discovered, and waiting in virtually every waking (and some sleeping) moment of the day.

I truly believe this — with an open mind, open heart, and good memory (or a pen and paper at hand), I can be inspired by a blade of grass, a glass of beer, or a barely spoken word.

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Inspiring in June 2016:  The sunset over Maas in Maastricht.

 

Inspiration #1: Sunset in a foreign city.

Walking across a bridge in a world away from home, pausing to reflect on the beauty seen for the first time by me, but seen by many others for hundreds of years is breathtaking. The thought that millions of other people have crossed this particular bridge and paused at the same spot to drink in the beauty, hold hands, or even light a cigarette doesn’t cross my mind.  To me it is old, yet fresh–as if I am the first to discover its secrets.

 

 

A bit from The Other Side of Normal

Just a little tease….hangover

Pain split my forehead in two. The upper region—the part I was sure was responsible for planning, judgment, decision making, knowing right from wrong—felt like it was wrapped in a two pound bag of hot potatoes. Behind that cranial layer of pressure-cooker mush, hundreds of tiny splinters were being hammered into my eye sockets, deadening my ability to see and move. Nothing, I was convinced, was going to save me from this pain, except perhaps a lobotomy.

Geeking Out at the LA Times Festival of Books

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Geeking it at the LA Times Book Festival

I am a book nerd, an author geek, a voracious reader, a genuine fan of the written word. I’m in awe of authors who have published novels, especially good ones.

“Why do you get so excited when you meet authors? You act like they’re celebrities,” my son asked as we walked away from the signing tent at the LA Times #bookfest with personalized (to my son) autographed books from John Boyne (The Boy in the Striped Pajamas) and Ransom Riggs (Hollow City).

I realized that I was a bit of a blubbering idiot talking to them. Rambling. In awe.

I’ve meet numerous celebrities and have never been fazed. But when I met Judy Blume, I acted like a giggly 16 year old (I was 19).  Not exactly celebrities, but I think authors deserve great respect — and maybe they’ll tolerate a little geeking out from a fellow writer and fan.

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Ransom Riggs and my son

 

Thank you for your query

A cool black parchment type envelope with a crisp query letter to a cool San Diego-based agent who is part of a prestigious agency — a big first step…. and it felt good. Really good.

And when a familiar self-addressed envelope arrived at my house, that felt oddly okay. I knew it wasn’t a sure thing — his focus is on children’s books — but I had to try.

Dear Jennifer,

Thank you for your query.

After careful consideration, Mr. X didn’t find your work was the right fit for him at this time time. I should add that he’s not actively seeking new clients, so that played a large part in his thinking.

We wish you the very best…. etc.

Dear Mr. X,

I am still thrilled to have heard from you, even a rejection. It is posted above my computer, encouraging me to push on. I shall charge on….

#RejectionsCanInspire

 

Award-winning, one small step…

Goal: Enter a contest in the unpublished category. That’s it. Just a goal, a milestone. Keep working. Edit number, I don’t know, 10 perhaps? Almost done…. almost ready to send to an editor. Then it is time to put it out there.

But before the month is out, I discover that I won the 2013 Southern California Book Festival contest! What?

Or more accurately, now what? Keep editing and writing. Build on this…. Take another step.

Feels good!

A great way to spend a Friday night.

A great way to spend a Friday night.

What, a cover?!

What? I need a cover! A book needs a cover?! Yes, hello. Does anyone click on those mysterious cutouts with the alfalfa hair on the various dating web sites? NO! No image, no interest.

No cover, no interest! But wait, I was ready to send my “finished” book out. I have to do more than just write it and somehow magically publish it on my own at some portals of consumer madness.

YES! YOU HAVE TO DO MORE!

Book cover. I am on it. So on it. Thankfully I have a modicum of skill and background in that world, and have a few super close friends that do this for a living.

Editor. Yes, I am going to hire one. I know I make tipos pu teh but. Even though I have had several friends read — including a published author. I need to pay someone.

HTML. I have spent several years happy to ignore this. Now I have to figure out coding and what not. May need to hire for that.

Promotion/Marketing/PR. Well, i can do this all day for others…. I should be able to do for myself. Gulp. Cringe. Can’t i just write. I started this blog. Does that count? Not much I thinks!

Tune back soon to see the cover.

And btw, I found this amazing post from what I know believe is my new favorite blog. I am truly humbled. Terribleminds you are amazing!

Power and Control Issues

The power of the pen, or keyboard, can shape a being, change the course of one’s life, or erase the past and create a new one. That is a lot of power and control, and I have to admit, I am having issues with it. As I sit ready to continue Frida’s life, on page 2, I feel such a sense of responsibility. What has she done these past few years (5 have passed) and what does this year hold in store for her?

This is a bit like giving birth to an adult. I am guiding her through life, helping her make decisions that I hope will be wise, and am there for her in her time of need. And of course, not judging her when she screws up.

Is she fictional? Yes and no. She has come to life for me. I see her face, know she has feelings and desires. So to me, she is very real. So I feel a great deal of responsibility to Frida.