Janine Richardson was an ordinary woman. She was so ordinary in fact that she was certain this was how people described her if they ever stopped to give her a second thought. Janine wore her mousy brown hair in a short bob, in the same style she had worn for as long as she could remember. She was painfully thin, some would even say ‘skinny’, which she grew to learn was not exactly a compliment. Her face was narrow, her coloring pale. If Janine spent more than fifteen minutes in the open sunlight, she would suffer a horrendous sunburn, then peel, but never, ever tan. Her hazel eyes were unremarkable, hidden behind large, round, tortoise shell glasses. Her mouth was neither pouty, nor full and when she smiled, although her teeth were perfectly straight, they appeared too small due to an excess of gum tissue. It was a defect she had always wanted to have corrected, but had never gotten around to doing. As a result of her childish grin, Janine rarely smiled. When she did smile, her mouth formed a controlled, thin-lipped line that curved up ever so slightly at the corners.
Janine was never popular in high school save a few close friends, a trend which continued into her adult life. Primarily the issue was her apparent invisibility. Her personal style of dress was comfortable, in part due to a lack of fashion sense and her predilection for discount clothing stores. Naturally shy, she was not a stellar conversationalist, or story teller at social events. When Janine passed by, men did not turn their heads to look at her and rarely held doors for her. Other women did not seek her out for friendship, and were not generally envious of her with one small exception: Janine was blessed with an extremely high metabolism. She could eat whatever she wanted, whenever she wanted, without ever gaining a single ounce. This unique quality led to her adoration and appreciation of foods from around the globe.
Janine met her husband, Carl McGraff, during their senior year of high school. Carl was one of only two boys who had ever expressed even a vague interest in Janine. She and Carl dated for several months. Janine was unreservedly smitten with Carl and he was passively indifferent to her. During the summer after high school, Janine discovered that she was pregnant. They decided to keep the baby and were married in a small, private ceremony. Carl put off college and went to work for a local Real Estate Agency. On the eve of their marriage, he confessed that he had planned to break up with Janine on the very night that she had told him about the baby. Consequently, her walk down the aisle felt to her more like a death march.
When their daughter, Hope, was born Janine’s life was renewed; she found her purpose in motherhood and was fine with being a housewife. Shortly after Hope’s birth, Carl took up residence in the spare bedroom and there were no further additions to their small family. Still, Carl was enamored of baby Hope. Unlike Janine, Hope was extraordinary. She was blessed with the best mix of Carl and Janine’s gene pool: Carl’s blond hair and ice blue eyes, and Janine’s slight build. Before she even learned her first words, Hope began making lyrical sounds and repeating them. By the time she was four years old she began singing and as she grew, she lit up a room with her mere presence. Hope both resembled and sang like an angel.
Carl and Janine were good parents and the business of their marriage was a success. They owned a small, comfortable cape-cod style home in Portsmouth, Rhode Island with a tidy fenced-in yard. In their savings and retirement accounts, they had an appropriate amount of money. Their garage housed two well-maintained, late model vehicles, one sedan, one SUV. Respected in their small community, they helped neighbors in need, and went to church every Sunday.
Over the years, Carl had become a Real Estate Broker and by the time Hope was in middle school he owned his own agency. He worked every weekend, partly out of necessity, and partly by choice. He and Janine had few ‘couple friends’, as the other couples in town sensed something was amiss in Carl and Janine’s relationship and distanced themselves, as if a bad marriage might be contagious. The women in town gossiped about or pitied Janine. Did Janine know? They wondered. She must! They assumed.
Carl had his Monday night bowling league and his Thursday night pool league. He had his friends from high school who had elected to never leave their home town but instead worked as plumbers, electricians, and fire fighters. He knew all of the other small business owners, and the local politicians. Carl was a town institution and an affable guy.
Janine joined the PTA and kept busy by volunteering, first at Hope’s elementary school, then at her middle school, and finally at her high school. She took Hope to her soccer practices, her dance classes, her piano, and voice lessons. She baked for the school bake sales, assisted with the school fund raisers, and chaperoned the field trips. She was a member of the neighborhood book club and on occasion she went out for lunch or dinner with a few of the other mothers where they talked about family and how their children were doing in school.
For fun Janine obsessively watched the food network. Utterly enthralled, she practiced her cooking skills along with the shows. Mealtime was an adventure in the McGraff household. Even Carl raved about her cooking! Often, Janine brought her creative cuisine to Carl’s office for his staff to enjoy. She had always thought working for Carl would make perfect sense, keeping the books, or answering the phones, but he insisted that it would ruin their relationship. Oddly she never felt as at ease at the agency as she thought she should. The female Realtors rarely made direct eye contact with her and always seemed to be in a hurry, on their way to some extremely important showing.
When Hope began High School, Janine accepted a part-time office position working for a general practioner in their small town. Dr. Sullivan was wonderful to work with and Janine thrived in her position and eventually became the Office Manager. Dr. Sullivan was an old school practitioner; he liked paper files and still made house calls for some of his elderly patients. When he retired and sold the practice four years later, the new young doctor opted to hire his own staff rendering Janine unemployed.
When the time came, Hope was accepted to multiple Universities but was offered a partial scholarship to the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. The school was an excellent fit for Hope and was close enough for her to come home whenever she wished, which Janine assumed would be often. Carl insisted they could not afford the tuition unless Janine found a new position. With her limited computer skills, the only job Janine could find was as a receptionist for the law firm Stuart, Craig and Glenn, PLC in Providence. Although Janine was not thrilled about commuting to the city, for Hope she was willing to make any sacrifice. The lawyers of the firm, Bob Stuart, Steve Craig and Alan Glenn were all very professional and driven. Janine thought it unusual that all three men had two first names and it brought back a bad memory. Her freshman year in high school, a boy in her class with two first names, Jason Logan, incessantly teased her and coined the knick name, “Skinny Jinny” which had followed her through all four years.
On her first day at the firm, Janine was both nervous and excited. Attorney Glenn accidentally referred to her as Jean. Janine tried to correct him at the time, but he interrupted her and ever since has identified her as Jean. Janine’s one and only friend in the firm, Amy Brown, the Human Resources Assistant, often told Janine she should set him straight. Janine just never saw the point, except that there were times when Attorney Glenn became annoyed that Janine did not answer when he asked for things. It made for an awkward situation.
While the other office girls, the paralegals and administrative assistants went to lunch together every day from 12-1pm, Janine was never asked to join. She had to cover the phones at all times. The firm believed having a “live” receptionist set them apart from the other firms, and gave them a personal touch. Janine’s lunch break was from 11:00am-12:00pm when call volume was the lowest, yet she was still expected to answer if the phone rang.
On a daily basis Amy joined Janine at the front desk in the event that Janine was chewing when a call came in and she needed Amy to answer on her behalf. Janine had never had a friend quite like Amy. Amy lived for gossip and always had the latest scoop on their co-workers. Janine silently believed that when Amy shared these stories it was horribly unethical, but lunch was the highlight of her otherwise dull day. Janine brought her culinary delights to share as a way to thank Amy for her midday companionship. Over Taiwanese noodles, or sweet and spicy tofu, or lobster tacos with tangy lime sauce, Amy dished the dirt.
Apparently Attorney Glenn was sleeping with one of the paralegals. His wife was suing him for divorce and it was very ugly. Attorney Stuart was suffering with some type of horrendous cancer and had been seeking treatment for some time. There was serious concern over the future welfare of the firm if anything happened to him because he brought in all of the largest clients. For Janine, the firm’s daily soap opera was infinitely more exciting than her lackluster life, rendered even more so now that Hope was away at school and rarely found time to come home.
Janine missed Hope terribly! She and Carl went to see every musical theatre production at the Conservatory, even if Hope only had a small role to play. It was one of the few things they did together as a couple. By her senior year at the Conservatory, there were only starring roles for Hope, and Janine realized that their little town of Portsmouth would never be big enough to hold her shining star. She began to panic at the thought of Hope never returning home. Their quaint little house already felt enormous as result of Janine’s loneliness.
One day on a whim Janine asked Amy how she thought that Mrs. Glenn had discovered the affair. Amy said it was probably in the usual way, by reading her husband’s text messages, or reviewing the credit card statements. She added that any woman would have to be blind not to see what was happening, but then some women were that way, or they simply chose to look the other way. Then, Amy began raving about the butter chicken Janine had brought for lunch and insisted Janine had a gift, and she should open a restaurant. Janine rolled her eyes and thought: sure a thirty-nine year receptionist opens a restaurant. I bet that happens every day! Amy went on to come up with names for Janine’s imaginary restaurant: Janine’s Creative Cuisine, or JustJanine’s.
Even though it was silly, Janine allowed herself to fantasize about restaurant ownership. Some days she did not even hear the phone at the reception desk until the fifth or sixth ring startled her back to reality. During slow periods at work, she conducted online searches for commercial real estate for lease and cooking classes. Having a secret wish, made her feel powerful, alive.
After bowling one evening while Carl showered in hall bathroom, Janine heard his cell phone pinging and chiming with messages. She put down the book that she was reading, climbed out of bed and walked into the guest room where Carl’s phone rested on the nightstand. Carl never left his phone lying around. He constantly kept it with him because as he said, in his line of work he could not afford to miss an important client call or message. Janine, who had always respected Carl’s privacy in the past, uncharacteristically flipped through his text messages.
She scrolled through texts from his friends and some work related messages. Then she paused when she saw several messages from Ashley Peterson an agent who worked in Carl’s office. In stunned silence, Janine read the messages and stared in disbelief at photos of the blond-haired, green-eyed, curvy agent. Past encounters with Ashley flashed through Janine’s mind. Ashley had always been pleasant but dismissive at the same time about the food Janine brought or about Janine’s attire: “Well doesn’t that look delicious! If you eat carbs, I mean!” And, “oh, what and interesting blouse!” Janine felt her stomach sicken and her face redden when she read one of Ashley’s recent texts: Miss you already!Have fun going home to your frumpy little wife! In the photos, Ashley was posing in a provocative way, in an extremely revealing outfit.
Janine felt something snap inside of her like an elastic band that had been wound too tight for far too long.
When she no longer heard the water running in the shower, Janine carefully put Carl’s phone back in the exact same location where she had found it. She tiptoed to her room, switched off the lamp, and quickly and quietly dressed in her pajamas before she slipped under the floral quilt of her bed. Once she heard Carl close his bedroom door, she wept silently until her pillowcase was damp with tears and permitted the darkness to hug and envelope her until she slept.
The following week Janine asked Amy if she knew who Mrs. Glenn had hired as her divorce lawyer. Amy answered without inquiry. Amy was her best friend, but Janine knew she was little more than a sounding board for Amy. As Amy prattled on, Janine rarely got in a single word. So while she had planned to tell Amy so many things, like that she had made an appointment for laser gums contouring, somehow she never had the chance. Instead she took a sick day one Friday, underwent the painful procedure, recovered over the weekend, practiced smiling for the next week, and waited for anyone to notice. It took Amy three days and Carl a solid week. The power of invisibility, Janine thought, was that no one even noticed when you were gone.
Her new contact lenses initiated a more expedient response from both Amy and Carl, but Attorney Glenn had asked her if she had changed her hairstyle. No, Janine thought, but it’s long overdue! Being able to see without feeling like she was looking out a thick window had literally opened her eyes to a world of possibilities and her brand new smile gave her just a hint of confidence.
Johnson and Wales University was conveniently located nearby the law firm, so Janine enrolled in evening cooking classes. After class, when she went home to her empty house, she was too tired to dwell on the fact or too busy with homework. Janine excelled in her classes. One added benefit was that everyone wore chef’s clothing, so there were no wardrobe concerns. She felt like she fit in for the first time in her life.
Hope’s college graduation marked the last McGraff family celebration. Following the ceremony, they dined in downtown Boston bistro with some of Hope’s friends and their families. It was a spectacular day! Hope could not get over Janine’s transformation and kept saying so. The next day, brimming with pride, Janine and Carl helped Hope pack for her move to New York City where she planned to pursue her dream of performing in musical theatre. They all said tearful goodbyes and Carl and Janine promised to come see every production without fail.
Fourth of July weekend while Carl was attending a real estate convention in Las Vegas, Janine packed her belongings, and assisted by a team of movers, moved into a one bedroom apartment in Providence, close to both work and school. She had never lived in a city before and was excited about the very idea of it and enthusiastic about dining in the wide array of restaurants downtown. She planned to celebrate her 40th Birthday in August with some of her friends from school and with Amy, of course, at a new up and coming restaurant called Out of the Blue.
When Carl returned home, he would find the divorce papers on his nightstand with a pen and a stamped, return address envelope. After all,it was common courtesy, Janine thought, to let Carl know her new address.
How do you measure your success as a writer? Is is solely based on monetary terms? Is it based on numbers? Views? Or rankings? All of this has become very complicated. When I first published my book, I had no idea what I wanted in terms of writing success. Every month, and every year this definition of success keeps changing.
One single factor that remains consistent is that I am always taken by surprise when some form of writing success comes my way. So much for my mastery in marketing!
I actually forgot that I scheduled a book promotion for this weekend. Woops! I was checking the stats of another author, which of course led to checking my own stats, and then…an ah-ha moment.
Incidentally as I write this the book went from #26 to #28! If I don’t write faster it may drop off the list entirely!!! Success no matter how you measure it fleeting.
When I was a “new” writer, I would get very excited about any measure of success. This is as it should be, which makes me wonder, as an “old” writer, am I now jaded or just too busy?
I have been a little busy with a new job, my daughter was home sick, I had a few plumbing disasters. You know, life tends to get in the way of one’s “writing life”.
Another recent discovery (again by accident) was that one of my blog posts from 2014, about buttery chardonnay, is consistently fighting for the top three position against Total Wine and Wine Spectator. What led to the discovery was I kept getting new comments on an old post. I looked at the stats, and realized it had a crazy number of steady views:
https://eileenslovak.com/2014/04/25/ten-buttery-chardonnays-for-under-20/Apr 25, 2014 … Bringing you some feasible Friday fun with numbers…just in time for the weekend ! Actually most of these wines are available for under $15, which is amazing considering the quality. Fans of the buttery, creamy variety will enjoy these ‘Fab Chards’! I like mine fruity, but on the dry side, with hints of vanilla and …
It does make me smile, to see that today, I beat out Wine Spectator. But what does this mean? I love that people are finding my post useful. It’s flattering to be google ranked among the big shots of wine for my post. But at the end of the day, most of the people in my everyday life have no idea that I even write. BTW: I use my real name on everything!
Putting “success” in perspective means finding out what it means to me to be successful. I do feel inspired by this “success” enough to make me want work on my new novel today. This equals a positive result.
My goal as a writer has always been to write for the love of writing, to publish just to say I did it, to maybe reach a small audience, to inspire, to make a few connections, and NOT to quit.
When I first published my book, I was dead set against giving it away for free. Something about spending years of my life on something and then just handing it out gratis didn’t sit well with me. What I didn’t comprehend then was the massive uphill boulder roll of marketing a novel. It doesn’t matter how good your book is if no one knows it exists. Swirling in a storm of millions of books, it’s easy to disappear and maybe never even be seen at all.
So I tried the free book thing.
For a spell, I became obsessed with Amazon’s Ranking system. My novel hitting some of the Top 100 Lists was a drug, and I needed more. I began running monthly promotions and viola, my everyday ranking remained solid. Better yet, actual sales followed. HMMMM, maybe Amazon does know a thing or two.
Here’s a snapshot of my current non-promotional rank, which changes often.
Why is seeing your book in the Top 100 is worth every free book? Because it means people are potentially reading your book. It means the cover, concept, writing, marketing copy, title, or something in that mix interested them enough to take the time to download your book.
Without readers, we writers lose our purpose. We are asking readers to take a risk. We are asking them to give us their time, which in many ways is much, more valuable than money.
I’m running a promotion on my novel, “Secret Agent of God.” It’s a Kindle Countdown deal for .99 through this Sunday, 9/5. I went to copy the link for a tweet that I was writing and discovered the e-book had hit one of the Amazon Top 100 lists @#66. So I take this as a sign not to quit writing today.
The interesting thing about writing is that writers think about quitting pretty regularly. For example, I was considering pulling the plug on this blog as recently as last week. I enjoy writing here periodically, but I am not what you would call a “pro blogger”. I guess my reason for quitting was why do it if I am not going to give it my all? Right? The same could be said about writing. Very few writers have the time and resources for 100% devotion to their craft. So why bother?
I think about giving up writing from time to time. It would be nice to have a hobby like painting or airplane model building or quilting. Do those hobbies drive you to the brink of insanity? Do they cause you to talk to or at least mutter to yourself regularly? Do they fill you with doubt and self loathing? Do they keep you up at night? I wonder if a quilter ever wakes at 3:00 a.m., sits bolt upright and then staggers around in the dark looking for the pen and paper that should by her bedside for brilliant o-dark-thirty revelations. I would be willing to bet airplane model builders sleep like babies with flying dreams all night and that painters spend their REM time skipping through the streets of Paris.
So just quit, right? What is the big deal? One less writer in the world…who cares? There are millions of us after all. Except that quitting is simply not an option, is it? We’re compelled to write, even if no one reads what we write, even if we write for a tiny audience. One person is an audience. It’s all about perspective. Keeping the right one will keep you writing.
Thank you readers! Here’s the link if you are looking for a witty, gritty, page turner to keep you up at night!
The name game. What’s in a name? Well, we’ll see! I just changed the name of my blog and my twitter page. I’m a little bored with my current set up so I’m changing things up.
Lately, I’ve held my breath,
waiting for a gust of fresh air about book promotion and my writing life…
and I then I started turning blue…
wow! That sucked.
I knew I needed a new focus!
I think we can all agree that no one cares to hear any more advice about writing. Writers aren’t really experts on writing anyway. We know what is working for us and that’s about it. Here’s what I’ve learned in eight years of trying to become a professional writer…read more…write more…edit everything twenty-five times before you publish it and then hire an editor…done! That’s all I know! So I will continue to post short solitary fiction that doesn’t fit “Seeing Scarlet” and the odd poem here and there (see The Authors Spouse).
As regards book marketing…three months in and I’ve already had it. I wasn’t cut out for this BS! Buy my book, don’t buy my book, whatever! I wrote it for readers but so did a few million other authors who are selling on Amazon’s site. It’s a fast read. Many folks seem surprised by how much they enjoy it and that there’s humor in the book. Maybe the title scares them a bit. I know eventually word will get out. Meanwhile, I’m working on the sequel to “Secret Agent of God” and writing some more shorts of “Seeing Scarlet”:
I have experimented with different promos and what have you. Here’s what I found: twitter and Facebook ads will get you more followers, but do those translate into book sales? I’m not sure. You need to focus your energy on finding people who read, plain and simple. I leave my business cards with my book links in libraries and at restaurants I frequent, everywhere that I can:
If someone asks me what I do, I tell them I’m a writer, and eventually give them my card.
I post flyers on community selling boards. You have to do this often since most remove them weekly.
People who read buy books. You need a presence on book reading sites.
Pricing: I did some pricing strategy research recently. So many authors are giving their books away or selling their e-books below $2.99 or for $.99 that if you do try to sell your fiction at a higher price you may suffer from lagging sales. My best sales price so far has been a .99 promo for the e-book but if I always make it .99 then I’m forced to make it free for promotions. Amazon promotes books that are under $2.99 or .99 and take part in the kindle countdown deals, so there you have it. Why not allow Amazon to do what they do best, which is promote stuff like books.
Thoughts on free: I’m a hold out on free. If you want to read my free works please click over to the short story tab or read this blog. There’s something discouraging about busting your butt to write a good novel and then giving your book away. I give my book away to family, my best friends, the library, for fundraisers, etc. So, I’ll let you know how this works out, but for now my e-book is $2.99 and the paperback is $9.95 or $8.95 for prime members. I will occasionally run a .99 promo. The e-book cost less than a gallon of gas or a gallon of milk or a fancy coffee, and I promise it’s worth it, so that’s that. Here’s the link:
Book promotion in general. I come from a sales and marketing background and I would still much rather promote someone else’s work on twitter, my author page or my blog than my own. If I’ve read the book and liked it I may put a review up there as well. I don’t write bad reviews because I have no interest in hurting a fellow writers feelings in a public way. I leave that to the haters. If I have read a sample of your book and didn’t care for it I won’t read any more of it. If you asked for feedback, I will be honest in a private message. If you can’t handle my honest opinion please don’t ask me. I’m one person with one opinion. If you don’t like my opinion, ask someone else.
About Facebook, I keep my personal Facebook page for family and close friends and my Facebook Author page for writing stuff. Please don’t be offended if I divert you to my public page. This way I don’t bore my family and friends with too much book stuff and I don’t have to bore you with pictures of my kids playing sports and my cat.
OK, sometimes Licorice appears in both places. She’s my first ‘Beta reader’ or ‘Beta listener’ since I’m pretty sure she can’t read, although, I strongly suspect she might be trying to figure out how to use the toilet and turn door knobs and is smarter than some humans.
Since Facebook is really not my thing, I prefer to put a variety of other authors book links on my author page for my fans because how often can I talk about my book without being a total bore and most of them have already read it. I read a post by another writer complaining about authors posting their book links, looking for likes on their pages. I guess if you are famous I can see where that might bug you. I’m not famous but I have some followers who read. If you need some help, send me message, a link or whatever. Some nice writers helped me when I was a flailing newbie and I’m happy to help others in any way that I can.
On my Facebook author page, https://www.facebook.com/authoreileenslovak I will also be adding some pictures and quiz type things about my book, “Secret Agent of God” since it is about Maryland and several readers have begun asking things like, “Is this character based on this person or that person” and “which little Bay front home was Gram’s?” Things like that. I thought it would be a fun exercise and like I said, when I’m not writing, I’m bored.
My favorite medium is twitter. https://twitter.com/EileenSlovak I do follow back unless you are crazy, perverted, naked, racist, bigoted, or exclusively only selling followers. I consider twitter a place where writers like me with ADD and OCD can connect with my audience and with like minded people who also have short attention spans. I love that on twitter I can show off my writing prowess with ‘quippy’ catchy phrases in 140 characters or less. If that audience is 3 people, so be it. If it’s one person, well it’s that much more intimate now isn’t it? Actually, I have a great following on twitter, so join me and if I like your tweets, I’ll share them. Incidentally, I’m trying to get these hash tags off the ground: #Janice #SAOG.
So, my future promotional energy, which is waning as we speak, will go in this new direction. Because I’d rather be writing than doing anything else and for Indies this is a challenge!
So what do I really want to blog about? Being a female writer over 40 with kids who run rings around me and about things I laugh about with my girlfriends. What else occupies my mind? Sometimes I have bizarre thoughts that I’d like to share. I truly miss having fun. To those of you who stuck it out through my boring phase, thank you and wake up!!! Things are going get spicier around here. I’m turning this thing around, putting it in reverse and spinning a few wild donuts in parking lot near you! Come along for the ride, which, I’m just saying, could get wild at times.
Next blog topic: Are you overwhelmed by all of the options in toilet paper?
Thanks for reading and keep writing (and reading!)
In 2012, I attended my first writer’s conference. Although, at the time, I had already been writing for years. Walking in that first day, I was certain that at that point in time, I was ready to become a published writer. Turns out, I wasn’t.
An agent was kind enough to review my work, but I was devastated when she said I was likely a year away from being ready. Another year, I thought. I’ll never make it. Alas, after many more hours of writing and after completing multiple rewrites, just shy of two years later, I emerged with a completely different manuscript.
I just published my ‘first’ novel, “Secret Agent of God”.
I say ‘first’, but what I mean is third, because the other two never saw the light of day. My real ‘first’ novel, the one I attempted to write about twenty-five years ago, was a summery love story. From what I can recall, it was along the lines of Snooky’s book about the Jersey Shore, but mine was about a little known island called Block Island off the coast of Rhode Island. I think I still have the story in a shoebox somewhere. It was hand-written on an assortment of cocktail napkins and in several beer-stained, spiral notebooks.
My second novel was another lovelorn tale about a single working gal, who was very similar to my former single-self, but in a fictional setting. Said ‘gal’ tried desperately not to fall in love with a very attractive private detective who had just breezed into town. YAWN. Sixty-five thousand words into the manuscript and after (I’m too embarrassed to say how many years), I decided the story was not unique enough to publish.
What’s the moral of this story? Both of these writing exercises helped me to become a better writer and more importantly, they made me realize some things. I don’t really like writing romance unless it’s wrapped in another package like paranormal suspense. Furthermore, if my life were exciting enough to read about, I wouldn’t need to write fiction. Finally, it takes as long as it takes. While deadlines are important, you need patience to become a writer.
In my first published novel, I created a protagonist who is nothing like me, threw her into a crazy situation and viola! I wrote a fast-paced thriller, with a strong female protagonist who is quirky, upbeat and funny despite her bleak circumstances. I almost feel badly about everything I put poor twenty-one-year-old Janice Morrison through, but I’m confident that she can handle it. She is ‘spiritually challenged’ but remarkably resourceful.
The weird thing is, I keep thinking, that someday I’ll be signing books in a mall somewhere and Janice will walk right up to me and say, “Hey, you stole my life!”
…if yeez can HEAR yer writing, yer on the right (sound) track…
…a true story I heard a few years ago concerned a six-year-old girl appearing as a key witness for the defence in a court case in the USA… the prosecuting lawyer sought to demonstrate to the jury that the child was incapable of recognizing fact from fantasy… he asked if the girl had a pet dog, to which she answered ‘yes’… he asked the dog’s name… she said ‘Pongo’… he continued, ‘do you speak to Pongo?’… she replied, ‘yes’… then he said , ‘…and does Pongo talk to you?’… she responded, ‘yes, of course Pongo talks to me’… the lawyer smirked, pleased to have shown the young lady as living in fantasy land… he asked the follow-up question, ‘…and just what does Pongo talk to you about?…’ she floored him and brought the court to a standstill in mirth with her response… ‘well, I don’t know, silly, he talks doggy talk!’… the defence prospered… y’see it’s all about what yeez hear when yeez write, and more importantly, what yer readers hear when they read yer masterpieces… dialogue is universally accepted as a multi-purpose element of any quill-scraper’s craft… it imparts information… it breaks up narrative passage when required… the choice of WURDS in the character dialogue, used properly, tells the reader about mood, attitude, sometimes even intelligence levels of the cast… a sometimes welcome ploy is to use dialogue to break grammatical rules… and what author doesn’t relish that?… anything written within quotation marks is fair play… vernacular, double negatives, ‘plants’ in the plot for later denouement… oh, dialogue ye make the WURLD the scribbler’s oyster… speech also helps to differentiate players in yer plots… even without the ascription of ‘said’WURDS… readers can pick up immediately who’s talking, and to whom… so, next time sumb’dy asks yeez, ‘…do yer characters talk?’ yeez can say, ‘…of course they do, they talk character talk, silly…’ … no more need be said… a-hem…