Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Anniversary of sorts

For those keeping score, it's been 22 years ago today that my first wife, Cynthia, succumbed to a brain hemorrhage. God has since blessed me once more with the love of a wonderful woman. I'm going to heed the advice of my friend (now deceased) in Florida, who said that not all events should be memorialized. Instead, I plan to think back on the wonderful life Cynthia led and thank God for giving me the love of yet another wonderful woman.

I'm watching the Cowboys and Eagles on Monday night football. Win, lose, or tie--it's entertaining. See you on Friday, when I promise to post something writing related--unless there's something else vying for my attention.  

Friday, September 24, 2021

Writing: Kill Your Darlings

 I can't recall who said it, but it's true--sometimes it's necessary to cut out words that you've written. You have to "kill your darlings," and often it results in a better novel. 

I have a target number--so many thousand words. It's not firm, because I publish "indie," but I try to stay roughly within it. My first reader, whom I ask to read mainly with an eye to publish-ability of the idea, said, "This doesn't read like a Mabry novel." I did a few changes, then asked an editor (yes, indie authors have them, too) to read and comment upon it. She did, making some excellent suggestions, including my rewriting the ending, changing the ending, and in general saying, "Redo it." Since I've had my share of editorial letters, I didn't kick the cat (much), and I'm about half-way through the revisions. 

I've probably cut 2% of the words, sometimes large sections, but I suspect I'll end up adding others. It just goes to show, however, that sometimes it's necessary to kill your darlings. The words may have sounded great to you when you came up with them, but if they don't add to the story, rip 'em out. It only hurts for a little while.

Ever had to kill your darlings? Let me know. I won't tell.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Ever Wake Up and...

Two AM. That's when I awoke, realizing I hadn't posted my usual Tuesday blog. Ever had that happen to you?

So, I immediately...went back to sleep. C'mon, how many of you have let something slide? Fess up. I'll never tell.

Off to get my teeth polished. See you Friday...unless I forget. 

Friday, September 17, 2021

Writing: Imagining The Words

Writing is perfect for the person who's introverted. We sit down in front of a computer and imagine words that we might not say out loud in real life. We imagine people in situations that are made up of whole cloth, saying words that we pluck out of the air, and keep on doing that until we've filled our allotment of pages for the day. And when it comes time to send our manuscript forth into the world, we "put on our game face." However, instead of facing people for a limited amount of time, we're going to  put our words out there for thousands (we hope) to read and comment on for as long as the book is in print.

I love the quotation that I sometimes use as a signature line. "Some people hear voices when no one's around.  They are called mad, and sit in a room all day and stare at the walls. Others are called writers, and they do pretty much the same thing."  I may not have the words exactly the way writer Meg Chittenden said them, but writers will know what I mean--and nod. How about you?


Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Snipe Hunt

Before my first wife and I were married my soon-to-be father-in-law and several of the brothers-in-law (all Aggies, I might mention) said they were going to take me on a snipe hunt. For those who might  have been raised in the big city (I wasn't), that's a fictitious event that involves the "hunter" chasing around hunting the snipe. Fortunately, I knew what they were talking about and so I didn't go on a snipe hunt--we just talked about it.

Recently, I went on a modern version of a similar hunt when at 4 AM (why do these things always happen at that time?) I was awakened by two loud electronic beeps or chirps. I eventually thought that it might be from the battery operated alternate power source that I've left hooked up to my computer. Even though the battery is no longer operative, it has half a dozen electrical outlets that furnish surge protection, so I've continued to use them (because it's too much trouble to unplug them and get another power strip). Because it's under my desk, I have to be careful not to hit the power switch, but it appears that I did, re-activating the alarm feature. Long story short--I found the source of the electronic beeps and fixed it.

I've looked around today and see lots of places which could cause me similar problems--always at 4 AM, it seems. Maybe this is due to our dependence on gadgets--we seem to have an abundance of electronic gadgets around, none of which I'm ready to give up. Have you done anything to avoid such an unpleasant surprise? 

Friday, September 10, 2021

Let Us Always Remember

 Tomorrow we commemorate the 20th anniversary of the attack on us in our homeland. We have vowed never to forget...let's don't let up now (despite what our current "president" has done in Afghanistan). Never forget! Never forget! Never forget!

Tuesday, September 07, 2021

Day After...

How was your holiday? Did you do anything different? Did you reflect on the people still held hostage by those who follow a different law? Did you stop and think that only four days from now we'll commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the first ever attack on the US that took place on our own soil? 

Somehow, this didn't seem like a holiday this year. Don't know if it was because of the political turmoil, the international situation, or what. But it was different. So what did you do?

Friday, September 03, 2021

Labor Day, 2021


This has been a year like no other. This weekend, we will recognize those who work throughout the year to keep the wheels of commerce turning. As we enjoy our time off, let us not forget both  those affected by the Coronavirus and the natural disasters that have come our way recently, as well as our situation in Afghanistan.

I agree with over 80% of the US citizens polled that our troops should leave Afghanistan, but the way in which it was done by the person occupying the White House was terrible (as typified by the 13 US military personnel that were killed). I won't go into the politics of the situation, but will just say that we got over 10,000 Afghans out but left 100 or more US citizens (who wanted to leave) behind--the number seems to vary, depending on who you listen to. 

The flooding in New Orleans and environs is one of the worst natural disasters our nation has experienced, and comes on the heels of floods in Tennessee. There are still many it has robbed of homes and property. If you haven't donated (time, things, money, whatever) to relief efforts, please do so...and remember that after the water recedes, there's still lots to be done. I won't presume to mention specific relief sites--you can choose your own--but please give.

I'll be back on Tuesday. Enjoy your time off.