So, because I've been a terrible host and have ignored all of my fabulous guests who take the time to read this silly blog, I'm going to do a free giveaway. In honor of my first ever book signing in Guilford, CT at Breakwater Books this weekend, I am going to give away 3 signed copies of my memoir to the first 3 folks who like and then message me on my facebook page.
If you are wondering where in the world wide abyss I have disappeared to, it's not been anywhere fun and exciting, I can promise you that. It's the halls of the high school I teach in that have been holding me captive since the new school year began. (I can hear your boo-hoos coming through the interweb) In addition, I've been working on my WIP--that's "work in progress" in writer lingo. All of these characters are prancing around in my head, so I've been trying to let them slip out onto the page before they slip away forever. This novel is my first attempt at writing fiction, and to be frank, I am ALL OVER THE EFFEN PLACE! I know at some point, I will likely be able to reign all of these folks in and have a sit down to figure out who is who, but I feel like I was just plopped in the middle of someone's family, and I'm just trying to quietly observe while I get to know them.
What's been really helpful is that I am reading lots of fiction these days. I'm also teaching my creative writing class, so it's great practice for me to talk about craft with the students and then put those tips into practice with my own writing. I get a lot of reading recommendations from my friend Gina Henning on Twitter. I blogged about her new release a couple weeks ago.
Gina recommended a fantastically fun chiclit novel, In Need of Therapy by Tracie Banister, and I gobbled it up in a matter of days. Set in Miami, it is the story of an almost 30 year old, single woman who is highly driven to succeed in her new practice as a therapist. As she engages in sessions with her clients, we learn about the inner workings of her friends, family, and lovers, and the writing is really fresh, relatable, and entertaining. As I considered how to teach writing character to my seniors, I realized that I was having strong emotional reactions to Tracie's characters. I tweeted her about my hatred for Tony who actually had the audacity to ask Pilar what her daily caloric intake is on their first blind date! Seriously? Who is this guy? I wanted Pilar to get up and walk out when I realized that Tracie had evoked some really powerful emotions in me. So, I went ahead and opened up my book in class and flipped to the pages where she introduced the deliciously sexy Mitch and the obnoxious meat head, Tony.
Sure enough, the kids were able to clearly identify the "character type" of each man and label them with the banal descriptions of "hottie" and "meat head". "But," I pointed out to them,"the author never once uses those words."
"No one is simply beautiful, handsome, fat, ugly, mean, or any of those non-descript images," I said. Every person in the room could see Tony, every girl wanted to wrap herself around Mitch, mostly because the words on the page were so full of vivid detail that we telepathically (as Steven King calls it) understood exactly what each character looked like and sounded like.
My point is, chic lit is not my typical go-to genre, but I've entered into a writing world that has accepted me on my merits, and I have to accept others on theirs. I gave Banister a chance, and she wowed me with her writing, enough to move me to bring her writing into my class as a teaching tool. Maybe memoir isn't your genre, but perhaps you're willing to give a girl like me a chance? Why not, it's free! Message me for a signed copy of your book!