Sunday, January 30, 2011

Another Kind of 99

Well now. That 99th Page Blog Hop was a lot of fun. It was interesting to see all those pages. Daunting to see how GOOD they all were. No wonder it's so hard to find an agent and publisher.

It was also rather more exhausting than I expected. 41 comments in one day, whew!

Thanks to Alicia, Erinn, Holly, Pam, and Quita.for coming up with this cool idea.

In honor of all those 99th pages, I thought I'd post another 99-related work, the 1984 one-hit-wonder 99 Luftballoons by Nena. This is the English version.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

The 99th Page

My 99th Page is sort of a turning point. Zorro is in a bar, discovering that rather than imparting "cool" to his girlfriend's daughter, Dawn, he has lost it altogether. Unfortunately, the page starts off with (ugh!) back story. But what can ya do, eh?

Here goes:

After the glory that was Hate you (Gonna Eat Cheese), Willy moved to London and started a solo career. He could have been Elvis great, Morrison great, if he had held off a little longer on the dying part. But as fate would have it, Willy put out his first solo hit and bit the big one all in the same week.

Zorro slurped his third—or maybe fourth—beer in memory of his friend. Willy hadn’t even died of an overdose or in a plane crash or any of the legendary ways. Instead, he got hit by a car in a London suburb. Whenever he thought about the accident, Zorro imagined the picture on the Beatles’ Abbey Road, Willy in the crosswalk behind the Fab Four, creamed by the green Fiat of fate. Even now, he couldn’t bear to look at that album cover… or make of car, for that matter.

If Willy, generous, talented Willy who had been the heart and soul of The MeeMees, the engine behind the musical end of the enterprise, hadn’t been kept back for some higher purpose, who was Zorro to think he actually had?

“Hey,” Ed said, moseying down the bar to collect the latest empty. How about this: Captain Monterey Jack. That’s the ticket, right? Sort of a Billy Joel thing?”

Zorro cringed. There was nothing he could do for Dawn. He thought of those evil little preteens on the library steps. They didn’t see cool when they looked at him. They saw old, has-been, loser. Even with the shades and hair. He was exactly what he’d been before Willy had found him all those years ago. And his songs—all those ridiculous, half-finished songs—could just stay that way.

What did Roger Weitz know of cool?

Tomorrow is the 99th Page Blog Hop!

Are you hopping yet? I just looked over my 99th page and I have no idea if it makes sense going in cold. There are 98 pages ahead of it, so perhaps this is okay....?

Anyway, still polishing over here.

If you want to join the hop, there's still time.

Check out this info from the lovely folks over at Slice of the Blog Pie:

Sorry for the horrible graphic. Please send a better one.
That's right, tomorrow I'm co-hosting a blogfest with Erinn, Holly, Pam, and Quita. You can read the initial post here. If you didn't bother to click, the gist is to post page 99 of one of your writing projects and then visit everyone else who signed up. (As of 8.30 AM Thursday, we have 19 people*.)

Several people have asked what the rules are for tomorrow's blogfest. When visiting everyone else's page, you should focus and answer the following three questions:

1. Would you turn to page 100?
2. Why or why not?
3. Based on what you read, how likely would you buy the book?

So simple. So fun.

Please remember, when critting to be polite. Don't write anything you wouldn't say to the person's face. You know us writer types are a sensitive bunch.

See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

1st Paragraph of Doom

There's this terrific 1st paragraph contest going on at Nathan Bransford's blog, hundreds of 1st paragraphs posted one after another in the comments. It is interesting and eye opening to read them.

I entered the contest, but because Family, Genius Species' 1st paragraph lacks the pizazz I was hoping for, I put in the novel formerly known as Idylwilde. It was my first completed project and I am rediscovering it in the wake of my current bummed-out-and-editing state of mind. ...Not expecting much from the contest, just getting my feet wet.

Anyway, the 1st paragraph thing got me thinking about the all-out importance of that first small clump of words. Yes, it's an opportunity to wow a potential reader, to "hook" a reader (How obnoxious is all that sales/fishing talk anyway?) At the very least, you want it to set a tone, let readers know they are in competent hands and can go ahead and settle in.

I once took a weekend seminar with the wonderful Lisa Borders. We examined several published 1st paragraphs, The Lovely Bones, some others I can't recall, and it was clear-- I mean CLEAR--from the get go. Those paragraphs told us exactly the sort of book to come, the conflict that would follow, the tone. Try this with a novel on your shelf. It works!

Your 1st paragraph doesn't do this? That's okay really. It's not likely to be your actual first paragraph. You'll rewrite and rewrite your beginning paring away the back story until you finally reach that nub that just totally needs telling. And there it will be: your first paragraph. I trust in this process as a matter of faith folks, hard to tell if I have gotten to that aforementioned nub but I'm hoping...

Here's the first paragraph of Family, Genius, Species abstracted by Wordle:

 Wordle: Untitled

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Crazy Bad and Yet Oddly Catchy

This song leached into the very ether in 1980. A bizarro one-hit wonder that topped the charts in 15 countries. (Yes, really. It did.)

Joe Dolce's subsequent singles, including "Pizza Pizza" and "You Toucha My Car I Breaka You Face" didn't chart.

If Dolce can rest his career on lampooning his Italian grandparents, it's possible that my fictional character, Roger "Zorro" Weitz might stake his on songs about cheese.

Dolce is still performing. Hopefully, he's branched out a bit.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Upside of Failure

Sorry I've been away so long. No excuses, just a road trip holiday (from which I am still recovering) and a slight rejection induced funk (From which I am also still recovering).

Damn query process. I knew it wouldn't be easy. I totally did. Yet somehow I'd wandered into some happy lalaland where, I believed, things would come easier just because.

Big surprise. They didn't.

This is okay though. I have a direction for my revision now. And if I could find a little time to write, I might even get started on it.

The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades:

And yes, Timbuk 3 was indeed a one-hit wonder from those crazy 80's.