The Beautiful Woman Has Come

The Beautiful Woman Has Come
A Historical Novel by Debra Giuffrida

Monday, January 18, 2010

Rainy Day Romance

I am writing a romance and I am in love with my hero but not my heroine. I want to empathize with my heroine but I am having a difficult time with it. You see, she is too much like me. I want her to be more like my female heros, good and kind and smart and witty and full of energy. She is to a point, like me, but not enough. She is too shallow, like me I guess. So I am in for a healthy rewrite.

It's raining today and I am in a melancholy mood. Rain does that to me so I am glad that I live where it seldom rains. One of the blogs I follow posted a short little piece on romance which got me thinking about my novel and my characters. They need more depth, more oomph to them. They seem to be too one dimensional, too cartoon cut-out for my taste. Stephanie mentions the Disney Cinderella movie and how her daughter just loves the ball where the hero and the heroine come together and fall in love. Sigh, how sweet, but Stephanie's daughter is a toddler and my audience is a tad bit older and a tad bit more jaded. My novel is at the "at-the-costume-ball-where-the-protagonists-fall-in-love-but-have-to-part" part and I don't know which branch of the road to go down: the gutsy realistic sexually hot! hot! hot! road or the gauzy romantic just barely see the love scene, you know, the PG version. I guess it all depends on my audience, doesn't it? I love both versions so this is a hard choice. Wait a minute! I just had an epiphany! Why not give my readers and me both versions? My heroine can fantasize about the gauzy romantic PG love scene and then I can give my readers the hot hot hot sexually explicit version when it actually happens! Wow, yeah... I guess I will just have to write it and present it to my writers group and see what they think.

Inspiration on a rainy day; just the ticket!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Where Does He Find The Time?

I just finished reading a thriller. I don't always read thrillers, but since I need a little bit of a thrill in my novel I thought what better source could I drink from than a thriller novel! I chose James Rollins and his story The Last Oracle. I must say that I found it very interesting and finished it rather rapidly. In fact, since I did finish reading it that has to say it was pretty good. You see, I don't waste my time on bad books. If it is boring to me (now, don't get me wrong, if a book is boring to me that doesn't make it a bad book, take the book the Shell Seekers. I absolutely hated that book. Why? Cause it was so slow and boring,: to me! Of course I have heard all kinds of good reviews of that book, so, see, just cause I don't like it doesn't make it bad.) I won't finish it. Sometimes I don't even get past the first chapter.

But that is not the point I am trying to make. Here is a man who has a veterinarian practice in the Sacramento area of California; that takes time out of his day; and he has published a book a year since 1999; that has to take some time too; and he is on Facebook, and he blogs. Are you getting the picture here? How does he do it? There are only 24 hours in a day and you have to sleep some of those hours, right? I do, don't you? So where does he find the time to write these books? These aren't just little thin one plot wonders. They are weighty tomes filled with a ton of research! Take the one I am going to read now (yes I'm going to read another one!) Map of Bones, it consists of 521 pages. It's a thriller based on religious relics, you know, bones of saints.

Anyway, I am very impressed with his time management skills and take my hat off to him. And since this is still January and I have not made any New Years Resolutions I am going to say it here and now: I will learn how to have excellent time management skills and finish one of my novels this year! Is that 2 resolutions? Oh well, what the hell, I'll probably break those too!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Back of the Wardobe

Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of "East, Love, Pray," gives a wonderful talk on the creative process and how modern society is injuring our writers by putting the burden of genius in them as opposed to having genius reside within a temple and only occasionally visiting the artist. She goes on to point out how the ancients were right in their belief system and modern man by putting godhead within us is killing off all of our talented people.

I, on the other hand, have finally realized that they are both wrong.

C.S. Lewis created a marvelous series of books entitled The Narnia Chronicles of which The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe is the first entry. To say that the four protagonists walk through a wardrobe into a world of fantasy is to make light of the story. It's not so much that they conquer evil and right a wrong and save this fantasy world. It's that they are safe and at peace and happy and free. Everything that we are not.

So, at the end of the story they have stayed in Narnia and grown up in the bosom of this fantasy world until one day they come across the grove that contains the back of the wardrobe. It's at this point in the story I realized that C.S. Lewis understood, that we artists (here I include myself) have all stepped through the back of the wardrobe and entered this life we are now living, away from what you normals call "fantasy." Each of us yearns for the return, stepping back through the front of the wardrobe and out the back, to return to what we have lost. And this other world, this fantasy, as we live here in the glare of reality, we can just see it out of the corner of our eye. We feel it in our heart, we see it in the beauty of nature, we hear it in the sigh of the breeze in the trees or the call of the birds or the low of the cattle. But it is just out of our reach and it drives us mad with desire. Desire to step through that wardrobe and go home.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The World is Our Stage ~ Teaching Blogs

I am amazed at all of the wonderful blogs that are out there for aspiring authors. In fact they are inspiring aspiring authors to create their own blogs. This is OK in itself, but, and that is a very big but, it seems that these aspiring authors have taken it upon themselves to become our teachers. OK, that's fine too, but when they have originally started their blogs to record the progress of their novel and the trials and the tribulations that come with publishing, well, I want to read about that. So since my blog is titled the Reluctant Author, I feel it is my duty to keep that title in focus when I write my entries.

I am trying to not avoid my novel today. While out walking the dog I ran some of the changes I made through my mind and think that I have decided on a flow. So today my focus is to rearrange what I have written and tightening up the prose. I have joined a writers group and the members have made some marvelous suggestions and pointed out glaring errors that I need to fix. Mainly I have to focus on my prose. It's choppy at best. I tend to separate clauses with periods instead of commas and semicolons and the like, so I must read through and combine the clauses to make complete thoughts and sentences. I also need, since I am writing in first person, to limit the phases: 'I saw...," "I noticed...," and the like. My reader(s) knows that my main characters are seeing whatever they are seeing. Duh. I also need to add some action. My story is getting a mite boring, at least that is my opinion. Something has to happen to my hero and to my heroine otherwise my reader(s) will put the book down and it will sit collecting dust on the nightstand. My grammer is a tad bit bad too. Frags and passive voice are my biggest boo boos.

So, what is the general consensus on my story? They like it! They want to read more! Yippee!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Avoidance By Canine

Returning from a jaunt on the neighborhood golf course with my dog I realized that I am using her as a way to avoid my novel. Just maybe I acquired her so that I could waste time walking her everyday, thus having a perfectly good excuse to avoid sitting down and writing.

In fact, I have been avoiding everything in my life. The official cause of this: Holiday Depression. At least that is my excuse and I'm sticking to it! I am far from family and friends and the Internet is not as warm and fuzzy as I would hope it to be.

So I immerse myself in trivialities. My current time waster, while I'm not walking the dog, is Bejeweled Blitz. One minute of sheer avoidance, it's marvelous! And I'm good at it to boot! In fact I have sucked a few of my author friends into competing with me for some silly weekly prize, group avoidance.

Just recently joined an online writers group and it has been a big boost to my fragile writers ego. My writing does not suck and I am not the worst writer ever. But I do have issues, we all have issues. But they are fixable! In fact one of my issues is not feeling worthy of the title "author;" how can I call myself an author when I have never published anything? And High School publications don't count! Artists have been known to have fragile ego's. In fact there is a wonderful talk given by a the wonderful author Elizabeth Gilbert all about our creative geniuses and how we as a society put too much pressure on them. My writers group guru posted the link and while I was listening to the talk (here is the url: I wept. It was marvelous! I have subsequently passed on the link to other author friends of mine. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Anyway, I would love to know if anyone is out there reading my words. How do you avoid writing? I know you do, so let's have it, confess your demons!