Cozy Edits & Vacation Reading
I’ve been working on editing/retyping my cozy mystery. I outlined and wrote the first draft in 2021. I tried editing a couple of times, but just didn’t get very far. I’m now doing the Matt Bell second draft retype and it’s going quite well.
I outline before I draft. So, when it was time to edit in earnest, I re-outlined what I’d actually written and added in the things I knew were missing. So far, it’s working out and I’m pleased with the progress I’m making. I think I’m about halfway through and I know I’m making it better.
A couple months ago, I’d seen a writer friend’s writing tracker (habit tracker, really, but we’re both using it for writing). I asked for the link to it, and I’ve been using it to keep myself motivated and keep my goal in sight. Who knew coloring in one little box a day would be so rewarding?
In July, I took a Writer’s League of Texas summer retreat class on fiction, "Writing the Page-Turner: Building Suspense in Any Genre of Fiction" with Chaitali Sen. It met for four weeks, and when the last class wrapped up, I was sad to see the month end.
The class was incredibly useful and interesting. It helped me refine and articulate some things that I had in mind for the draft I’m working on but hadn’t actually written into the draft yet. It’s hard to get all the things in my head onto the page. This definitely helped and it’s going to make this draft that much better.
Just before vacation, I made it to the Blanton Museum to finally see the exhibition Day Jobs just before it closed. I’m so glad I didn’t miss it. It was inspiring to read the stories of some artists and to find out what jobs they’d had while trying to make art. Even more interesting was seeing how those jobs bled into, informed, or sparked the artists’ creativity sometimes.
As a writer with a day job, it’s encouraging to know that it’s possible to make art while working. I don’t always feel like I can juggle both. And sometimes I’m too tired from work, and life, to get any creative work done which can be really frustrating. I’m happy I didn’t give up on going downtown to see this one. It was a nice little reminder that I’m doing okay.
I’ve been reading a bunch of mysteries again, as usual. On vacation, I read a couple more Patricia Fisher mysteries. They are completely ridiculous and fun, and the story lines, crimes, and hijinks get more preposterous as the series goes on. It’s light, entertaining reading, and I always know exactly what I’m getting when I read one.
Also on vacation, I discovered the Flora Steele mysteries by Merryn Allingham. I’ve read two so far and find them delightful. They’re set in 1950s post-war Britain. The characters and little village are lovable and fun and I’m looking forward to reading more of the series.
It hasn’t been all mysteries, though. I’m in the middle of The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran for my 1920s book club. For my birthday, in addition to mysteries, I got two books on my favorite subjects: penguins and the Arctic/Antarctic. I’m reading these a lot dreaming of cooler days.
Kara Cutruzzula’s newsletter, Brass Ring Daily. It’s just the sort of encouragement and kindness I love.
Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken, Theater Camp, Asteroid City, Barbie. It’s been a lot of fun to see some new movies that aren’t just made in the same old mold (Wes Anderson aside, because those are always delightful).
Great British Baking Show past seasons on Netflix. Gorgeous food, funny bakers, low stakes… it’s the perfect thing to put on in the background when I’m working in the kitchen.
"Talent is a long patience, and originality an effort of will and intense observation." - Gustave Flaubert