Sunday, September 19, 2010

Kentucky Romance Writers meeting...

I know! Crazy! Two posts in one day!

Yesterday was our regularly scheduled KYRWA meeting, in Lexington. We only had about 8 people show up this month, but we did have two newcomers. Hello Sherry and Crystal!!!
Pictured from left to right are Amy, Saundra, Kathy, Sherry, Crystal, Jenny and Glenda.
Thank you Amy and Glenda for the Nationals recap!

Kentucky sucks...

At least when it comes to county fairs. I'm from southeastern Ohio, and I grew up going to the Guernsey County Fair in Old Washington ,Oh. When I was a kid I had fat steers in the fair, and even though they were a lot of work, I will always remember the camaraderie of being in a club, with friends who were doing the same thing.
The funnest part of being in 4-H though, by far, was hanging out at the fair.
When I took my kids to Nicholas county fair, I was very excited. They would get to see what I enjoyed as a kid, and we would have a shared experience to connect us. Yeah, didn't happen. I don't know what it is about Kentucky, but I have not found a single fair I have enjoyed. Nicholas County has two food booths. No rides. No animals. Demolition derby. That's it. Certainly not worth the cost of admission.
So, last week I took my kids up to the Guernsey County Fair, my old stomping grounds, and they had a BLAST!!!
There were PLENTY of rides. The balloons above were something I had never seen before. The kids climbed in these plastic bubbles, and the guy aired them up with a leaf blower. They stayed completely dry, but they were playing in the water. They loved it!

This side of the fairgrounds contained all the livestock barns, and everything was full! Cattle, horses, chickens, rabbits, goats, pigs. It was all there, plus extra. I will never forget going to the Kentucky State Fair one year, and there not being 1 single horse on the property. It's Kentucky for goodness sakes! On this day at Guernsey, they had harness racing in the afternoon, and the draft horse pulls that night. The grandstand (even though not pictured) always had something going on.
The donkey above is a piebald Sicilian. The white chickens below are called frizzles, because their feathers grow out. And the rooster on the right is actually a Turken, yep, part turkey and part chicken.

This is the other side of the fairgrounds, the rides side. Pictured are only a portion of what was there.

This was my favorite part of the night- the Draft Horse Pull. This was a lightweight team pulling about 7,000 lbs. The winning team of the contest pulled 10,500 lbs. Imagine pulling about 5 cars, all with their parking brakes on.

I'm still exploring, looking for a county fair down here I like, but for right now, I think I'll travel the five hours to Ohio. It's well worth it.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Surprising mistakes by a well-known author...

I grabbed one of my favorite books off my shelf today, by one of my favorite authors. Not to read, but to look at conversational patterns in her writing. I'll keep this author's name under wraps, just because I'm not the type to try to dirty people. What I found surprised me.

I flipped the book open to an area with a lot of dialogue. I was looking at how she used speech tags and how she broke up the rhythm of speech. But I got distracted.

The 'nodded's started leaping out at me.

In a page and a half of dialogue she used 7 'I nodded's, 2 'he nodded' s and 1 'Micah nodded' at the beginnings of her sentences. Most of them were short sentences by themselves. That seems like a lot to me.

When I was a reader rather than a writer, I didn't really notice it. I've read that particular book no less than 10 times over all. But now that I'm delving into craft it popped out at me big time. And it begs the question- Was this deliberate? Or was this the unconscious use of a phrase she liked? Was it something the editors glossed over?

Or was it something done deliberately to get her word count, get her book done, be finished with it, gimme the money because I'm ****** ********, author extraordinaire? And I can do things however I want to because you'll still pay money to read my books.

I hate to think it was the last.

If you had glaring defects in a book you put out, that had made it through the proofing, editing, publishing process, would you want to know about mistakes that made it through?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Show, Don't Tell...

If you're a writer, at some point in your career you've probably been told to 'show' the scene, rather than just tell the writer what is going on. I know I have. I ran across a quote the other day, though, that really clarified it for me:

"Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass."

-Anton Chekhov

I don't know why, but that phrase really clicked with me. I went through one of my current WIP's and made 14 different changes implementing that advice.
Just something to think about...