Tuesday, August 21, 2007

My Novel Painted Black- It's A Mystery

My novel, sigh, has turned into a mystery. That's good and not so good. I've always intended it to be a mystery, just not the mystery its presenting at the moment. I can't seem to put on those final finishing touches. They keep falling off into the delete pile.

Someday it will be good enough to submit to agents, at least I hope so. I've written the whole thing, that was easy. It's the little bitty part called revisions that seems to have turned into a task as gargantuan as King Kong. Especially those pesky first few pages. No matter what brilliant idea I have for a first sentence, when I re-read it the next day, it, well it sucks.

Maybe I'm starting in the wrong place? You see that a lot in agents complaints, this writer started the book before it got interesting. Lop off the first five chapters. I've tried that and my special readers lamented the loss of some juicy tidbit or another. Then I tried a prologue to heighten the tension. Writer's Digest forum readers said I gave too much away.

Hmm, I guess I'll go back to the beginning, where I first found my protagonist Kate Callahan. She's lying on the veranda of a Southern Mansion and tells the man who offers her a hand up she wants to hang him. Do you think that's a good enough hook?

Monday, August 20, 2007

MySpace-August on Horseback

August is a month that many people wish would speed by. Minds move on to thoughts of fall, summer is close to its end, and people trudge about like they live in a furnace. Most want to stay inside, while away time on the computer. Not I, to me August is the month that highlights the special parts of a summer day, especially when you include a horse. August is MySpace outdoors and a part of me feels a little sad for those inside tapping away on their keyboards.

For example, on the hottest day last week I went out on my horse, caught the trail behind the barn and slid into the deep woods. The temperature dipped from 90 to 80, or at least it felt like it did. My horse, her name is Summer Games, picked up a brisk trot and we moved along the path until we reached the creek and turned onto the "Waterfall Trail". I listened to the icy stream as it tumbled over a ledge and slid between mountain boulders, and felt the mist on my skin. My mare picked her way through the rocks, stopped in the middle of a quiet pool for a drink and then moved onto the pine needle covered cart path leading to the wildflower meadow. We stopped at the edge and watched a doe and fawn fade into the distant trees. The fine smell of a well-groomed horse, fresh cut grass and moss on wet stones filled the air. I found myself with a smile on my face and joy in my heart.

It doesn't get much better than that; the ride made even more special because of the contrast with the heat in a car, on a sidewalk, or working in the garden, and because I've chosen to be outdoors not in. Without August I would never experience quite this level of pleasure. It might be the hottest of months, but in my mind, August on horseback equals perfect summer days in MySpace and I'll save the computer for midnight rendezvous's.