For the last few weeks, I’ve been deep in story as I work on my novel, taking copious notes like “get rid of Charles” (sorry, friend) and “what does ‘spoiling’ look like” (for me, perhaps, a glass of wine and a foot rub, thank you) and “try not to throw this IN THE GARBAGE” (followed by a few choice words).
So June’s Roundup is all about story with links that incite #Curiosity & #Intrigue, and encourage #Perseverance.
As a writer, it’s often the strange and abandoned that catches my eye and pulls me into story. Today on a walk just after the break of dawn, it was the image of a house against a yellow sky, the windows dark and the cedar shake peeling, everything tired and worn. Last week it was this article about the Last House on Holland Island, an isolated structure, encroached upon by nature, and fighting a losing battle.
I can’t help but wonder what it means when Mother Nature reclaims her space by swallowing a single home with such history. There’s a story (and probably a lesson) in that image alone.
I’m sure you’ve heard that saying, there’s no such thing as a new idea. The library is full of stories about family, loss and redemption, love and honor, yet no story is exactly the same. But we might wonder how one person’s work influences (or shadows) another’s. The Forgotten Dust Bowl Novel that Rivals the “Grapes of Wrath” highlights a book first written at the same time Steinbeck wrote his classic. And the article questions how these two different authors and their work might have crossed paths.
Sanora Babb wrote Whose Names Are Unknown at the same time Steinbeck wrote The Grapes of Wrath, using much of the same research material. While both novels are about displaced farmers coming to California, they’re very different books. . . . One spends more time in Oklahoma, the other spends more time in California. One focuses on individual characters, the other attempts to tell a broader story about America. Liking one novel over the other is a matter of taste….
The first time I read Grapes of Wrath, I couldn’t get past the first chapter; the second time I picked it up, I underlined passages on almost every other page. That coupled with the fact that these books intersect in the slightest of ways makes Babb’s story even more intriguing. Never mind that she held fast to her dream so that she finally saw her book published 65 years after it was written!
Okay, so speaking of steadfast attention, let’s get back to editing that novel–a daunting task at any stage.
K.M. Weiland offers some great advice for staying ahead of (as she calls it) “the insurmountable Mt. Never Gonna Get There” in 6 Tips for How to Organize Your Novel’s Edits:
Repeat after me: when in doubt, make a list.
Now you’re talking. Wine, foot rubs, and a big to-do list.