Friday, June 25, 2010

The all important first line

Everyone has heard of the experiment in writing workshops where you give your first line and the others say if they'd continue to read on. There is one flaw that invalidates this experiment. It is done to other writers. Writers read differently than others, and most of our readers aren't writers. One of my most invaluable friends and beta readers isn't a writer. She is representative of my target audience.

One quote I keep near my computer and will constantly quote in my journal is "Craft is always secondary to the truth of emotional connection" Konstantin Stanislavsky. When writers read, they see flaws. When other readers read, they see pleasure. The most important thing I learned about writing, I didn't learn from a writer. I learned from a very modern major general. "People don't remember what you do or say (or write). They remember how you make them feel."

That all important first line is seen as a gateway to other writers. They will quote some of the great first lines of all time to tout its importance. Those lines are merely synecdoches, one line that stands for the gold of the rest of the book that made us feel something. That is why those lines are quoted.

The MOST important part of the book to a reader isn't the beginning. How many want-to-be-published writers spend all their time of the first line, first ten pages, first fifty because that is what will determine whether an agent will ask for more? Agents know this. How many agents are disappointed after they read that first line, first ten pages, first fifty because the writer didn't spend that amount of care on the rest of the book?

The most important part of the book to a reader is the end. It's the feeling you leave the reader with, the one that they carry with them. It is what determines whether they reread the book again to experience the feeling again. It is what determines if they pick up any of your other books because they trust you to give them a good story.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

My beloved

I love using words and phrases in other languages. I use 8 in the book--Coptic, French, Japanese, Greek, Aramaic, Hebrew, Latin, and Chinese. Yesterday's addition was Ani L'Dodi, V'Dodi Li, from the Song of Solomon. I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine. Is there anything more romantic for Luke to say to Janie? I think when I get the tattoo celebrating the book, I may include it in some way (written in Aramaic).

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Historical Paranormal

Maggie and Joshua's story is fascinating, but it just isn't gelling. I don't want to force it.

I've enjoyed reimagining Judeo-Christian tradition, but what I've enjoyed most is the historical research required for Janie's past lives. I think I'm going to go in that direction instead. History International did a 2 hour show on Medieval Europe (primarily Western) and today my National Geographic Atlas of the Middle Ages showed up. I LOVE Teresa of Avila. I think I may start with her. I'm going to take a few weeks to brainstorm just what periods I want to do and what historical figures I want to include/research. I'll start writing this in September.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

NYC and pickles

Today I had a wonderful day in New York City with my wonderful brother-in-law and equally wonderful sister-in-law.

We went to two bookstores and I bought some books I really wanted.

In between them, we went to Bleeker Street Pizza and had the best pizza in New York. I burned the roof of my mouth.

We walked on an elevated park in Chelsea on our way to a free Monet exhibit at the Gagosian.

After that, we walked to Chelsea Market. We ate the best cookies at Amy's Bread.

Then I found the best pickles. My life is now complete.

I still can't talk, but I'm happy and that's what really matters.

The 16th

I didn't get to send this yesterday, since I didn't have internet.

Yesterday was my 16th Wedding Anniversary. 16 is my lucky number. I didn't get to spend the day with my wonderful hubby. Instead I traveled to NYC to go to the Long Island Romance Writers' Annual Luncheon. There I met with agents and other writers.

I woke up and my voice was scratchy. When I arrived at the lunch, I barely had a voice. At least I'll be memorable. I did get several requests for partials. I'll send those on Monday. I have my foot in the door. Now it is up to the writing.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Poor neglected blog

I've spent the last several month emerged in the book and my poor blog hasn't gotten the attention it deserves. Hopefully it won't be too mad at me. If it is, I'm sure it can get together with my livejournal and smother me in my sleep. Nothing horrific or gory. i save that stuff for the book.

Here's a brief list of ways Sophia is killed in the book:

Killed by a Roman centurion in the Second Dacian War
Killed by an Indian during the Schenectady Massacre
Burned alive during the French witch hunts
Shot by a police officer after the Great Kanto Earthquake
Buried alive (event not specified)
Had her heart carved out ritualistically (event not specified)
Hanged (even not specified)
There are attempts on her life, but you have to read the book for that. They are uber-spoilery.

I think the descriptions of these will most likely push the book into the urban fantasy category rather than paranormal romance. There's dark and then there's me.

Another fun fact: the book uses many languages

English (everyone obviously)
Coptic (Valentinus. Talk about a pain to find)
Aramaic (Maggie. Again, total pain to find)
French (Janie. Fortunately, I speak it)
Japanese (Janie.)
Latin (Maggie reads inscription from Saint Peter's Basilica)
Greek (Grigori and Luke)
Hebrew (Melania and God)
Chinese (Semyaza)

I think that is everything.

I love dead languages, but some of the words were hard to find. My favorite word was meli, which is ancient greek for honey as a term of endearment for Janie.

I hope all this work created a believable universe.