Monday, February 21, 2011
So I’m writing along, feeling pretty good about the book, and up comes an issue that I wasn’t sure how to address in it. Again, if the protagonists were the age they’re struggling to be, it wouldn’t be an issue. But since they are younger, and the target market is younger, I struggled to find an appropriate way to handle it. So I emailed a friend who has kids in that age range to ask what she, as a parent, would be comfortable with. Ultimately, I think I picked the wrong material for this age group, and I’m not handling it the right way for the age group, which could come back and bite me in the butt. I can’t gut it and start over, and I don’t think these situations would work for the 8-12 age range (even though they are much savvier than I was at that age).
I had a chat with the publisher and sent the first few chapters. He agrees that it’s too old for his target market. However, he really, really liked what he read. He suggested that I reframe the book as an adult novel, told by the adult character as the memory of the summer that changed her life. He couldn’t publish it, but he invited me to resubmit something else next February, when he considers new material, and he doesn’t think this particular story should be “younged down.” I tried what he suggested — in addition to make the characters fourteen instead of twelve — makes all the difference in the world. So I’ll keep plugging away at this, a few pages a day, and prepare to start the play that’s due at the end of March.
During all this, I somehow managed to kill the coffee maker onsite. I am paranoid about making sure it is unplugged and turned off before I leave — unlike mine, at home, this one doesn’t have an Idiot Switch (pardon me, “automatic shutoff). Well, I was the idiot who needed the switch and burned the damn thing. Fortunately, I found a model close to the one here, but a little bit fancier, so I replaced it and left a note with deep apologies. Hopefully, it will be all right. To say I am mortified is an understatement.
The year-long intensive at Savvy Authors has gone live; course and application information are available here. I already had applicants in the first three hours, so it’s filling up fast.
I read a book I was really excited about on poisonous plants, and was left with a feeling of irritation. And no, not from any leaves touching my skin. Now, I’ve worked with various poisonous plants for various reasons for years, and studied them. I am very, very careful. And there are beautiful, popular garden plants found in many people’s gardens which, under certain circumstances, can be dangerous. I know rhododendron can be dangerous, but I’m not putting it in my salad. I KNOW every part of a lily is toxic, but I’m not grinding it up and putting it in my soup. And when the author started talking about the toxic properties of CORN . . .overkill. I checked everything I want to plant against the list of Prohibited Plants in the state, and nothing I want to have is on it (although I’m kind of surprised at some of the ones that are — and aren’t. Forget-me-nots and coltsfoot are banned in MA). I’m going to be careful, treat each plant as an individual, if precautions need to be used in case of wandering cat or dog (I was pretty careful in what I ordered), I’ll take them, but I’m not going to live in fear of my azaleas. I will RESPECT them, but not fear them.
Sunday morning, I was jolted awake at 4 AM by an alarm going off. My first thought was smoke alarm or carbon monoxide alarm. The dog, however, was unconcerned, so I was pretty sure that it wasn’t a fire. Then, I realized the power was out. Turns out the ADT alarm system goes nuts when the power goes off. I didn’t know the Special Secret Code to make it shut up (only how to arm and disarm it, and no, it is not the same code). So I made one up and it worked. I was rooting around looking for the account number and the name and number of the power company when everything kicked back on.
I went back to bed, but couldn’t sleep, tossing and turning. I finally dozed off and woke up later than I meant to, so I spent the morning running around like an idiot, making sure everything was all settled at the site.
Packed the car, made sure my mom was settled at HER site job, and hit the road by 11:30. Traffic was awful, the Idiot Quotient was terribly high. I know, I should talk after killing a coffee pot, but still — 35 mph is not an acceptable speed for the Merritt or I-95 unless something is wrong with your car (in which case, put on your hazards and I will be appropriately sympathetic), or there’s bad weather or more traffic than we had. Driving 35 mph on a highway because that’s the only speed you’re comfortable with means you shouldn’t be on a highway.
Stopped at Old Saybrook. No Adirondack chairs. 😦 But I found two gorgeous glass vases, one in blue, one in amber, a lovely tray, and a lovely silver necklace that’s in the shape of sand dollar with a starfish etched into it. The whole lot was $6, so I think I got a good deal, and the glass looks gorgeous on the mantel.
Stopped at My Very Favorite Gas Station in Rhode Island (hey, gas is up to $3.63 in NY — no way), filled up, and headed home. I was so happy to cross the line into MA, even happier to hit the Sagamore Bridge, and over the moon when I hit the garage door opener of my own little house.
The cats were pretty thrilled, too. They were fine, they’d had fun with my mom, but they were glad to see me.
Huge stack of mail to go through, a lovely gift from a good friend (she made it for me — I’m thrilled), and, yes, more seeds! The seeds arrived from Johnny’s and Territorial. They have to be logged and then I’ll have to sort them to figure out what needs to be started when for Memorial Day planting.
Lots of settling in and reorganizing and catching up today. I need to run some errands, but want to wait until the snow (yes, we have MORE snow) stops. I got my membership card from Mass Horticulture, and my ticket to the Boston Garden show (a group of us are going up for the day in a mini-bus). Something GREEN to look forward to.
And Costume Imp is planning his next visit.