Some of you have asked about my trip to Hawaii, so I’ll include some photos at the end of today’s post. I took no camera (as usual) but I have a cool new cellphone that does GPS tracking on my kids (hee hee), so I got some pixel-y shots with it.
Brief aside: I happened to spend last night with men whose first names all begin with the letter J, and all of them are remarkable. So here’s a shout-out to Josh, James and John (Kilmer-Purcell, Spring, and Hodgman)!
This week, we talked a little bit about the all-important 2-sentence pitch, both in terms of focussing an unfinished book and selling a finished one. I think lots of times we fill our books with fascinating characters and emotional moments and exquisite details, and we don’t realize until after a round of rejections from publishers that what we thought was the plot of our book was really quiet character development and reflection. Count me as one of those writers who thinks you might do well to write your pitch before you write your book.
And now my confession: I refuse to answer my own Question of the Week. I do have a 2-sentence pitch that I’ve written at the top of my novel, so whenever I open the file, I remember to stay on course. But sharing the two sentences reminds me how much a book’s plot doesn’t speak to the things I care about most in a story – the heart of the characters, the commentary on society, the detail and the rhythm of every last sentence. Because I am only hours away from finishing this novel, I didn’t want to risk losing my confidence by publicly reducing my book to two sentences.
Sorry to chicken out, but I suspect those of you who were brave enough to share your pitches feel the same way. Brave writers do get linked, however. (If you see your name but no link or no last name, it’s because that’s how you signed into the comment page). So thank you to all who answered the Question of the Week: Simon Haynes, Ellen Meister, amy, Anne Brooke, Matt Osborne, Myfanwy Collins, Tish Cohen, Jon Armstrong, Mark Bastable, Robin Slick, Jim, Maria Headley, Sarah R. Roundell, Lance Reynald, Anneliese, Ric Marion, Carolyn Burns Bass, n.l. belardes, Darrin, Aimee, Juliet, Lauren Baratz-Logsted, Kris Yankee, Lee, Jonathan Evison, my remarkable, O. Henry Award winning webmaster, Terry Bain, Bernita, Julie Ann Shapiro, Mary Akers, Bruce Hoppe, and the super-lovely Gail Siegel. Thank you, brave ones! Don’t forget to check out each other’s sites.
And thank you to the beautiful and vivacious Maria Headley! If you read her book (THE YEAR OF YES is now out in paperback) and you like it, please do tell your friends. Books sell by word of mouth.
Something that always strikes me about vacations is how the memory and the photos don’t often line up. Much of this trip was trying for me, and I’m not really a beach person, so sunshine and ocean don’t leave much of an emotional impression. But when I peeked at the photos on my phone, I thought, “Well, hey, that’s awfully pretty. Why did I complain so much?”
Here is ….
where we saw whales.
This is a shot of the dining room, and the view of the lanai (is that how you spell lanai?)
Those who remember me telling about my family cemetery might note that the cemetery on the Henderson side is a little less spooky. (Note the imported Italian marble.)
My mother in law cut these flowers out of her garden, and we placed them in the little holders at each of the graves. For anyone interested in seeing Joseph Campbell’s grave, here it is. I find the little blank spot left for Jean kind of creepy. The most moving part of the cemetery visit was how my MIL’s dog, Jenny, ran directly for Charlie’s grave. Charlie is Mr. Henderson’s cousin who came home from school with meningitis one day when he was 5 and died two days later.
Water shot. And walking in the rain in a bamboo forest with one of our favorite people ever.
This is at a Buddhist temple, where we went to get blessed on New Year’s day. It’s funny because, after you get blessed, you stand in line to buy lucky charms and fortunes. If you don’t like your fortune, you tie it to the tree and get another. I tied three to the tree; Mr. Henderson tied four. The last shot is Green-Hand Henderson at 2am during our layover in LAX.
That’s all for the photos, if any of you made it all the way to the bottom of today’s post. Tomorrow, Frank Daniels will be here to start another Lit Riot. See you then!