Sunday, February 10, 2019

WHAT IT IS, week ending February 9, 2019

It's been a while, a few years at least, but let's see if I can do this weekly roundup thing more than once . . . in a row.  Here we go:

My wife and I started watching the final season of THE AMERICANS.  Without spoiling, the writers managed to bring separated characters together, in a natural way, while also setting up an interesting dynamic between Elizabeth and Philip.  We're two episodes in, and already the tension is ratcheting up.  Looking forward to seeing how it all ends.

I've also been watching season 3 of BETTER CALL SAUL.  Vince Gilligan & Peter Gould continue to head a stellar writers room that continually manages to drive Jimmy McGill into a corner that seems impossible for him to extricate himself from, only to watch his wizardry with words and emotional manipulation do just that.  The characters, the settings, the reintroduction of characters from BREAKING BAD are all seamless and wonderful.  A master class in television writing.

I finished reading ZAMI: A NEW SPELLING OF MY NAME this past week.  You need to read this book.  My quick review of it leans heavily into hyperbole, and it's all warranted.  Audre Lorde's memoir, or biomythography as she calls it, is direct, unflinching, heartbreaking, and heartwarming, detailing her early childhood up through her early 20s, in the NYC of the 1940s-50s.  Essential!

And I started reading my first Amy Tan novel, THE HUNDRED SECRET SENSES.  I'm 200 pages in, in four days, and it's wonderful.  Her use of language and the way she connects up disparate scenes in a natural and poetic manner is laudable.  I know I can learn a lot from reading this, the only trouble will be how well I'm able to put those lessons into practice.

Most importantly, I figured out how the latest story I've been writing would end, you can learn a bit of that at the end of this post on writing I shared a couple of days ago.  This should allow me to wrap up this story in the next day or so.  After that, I can finally get to work on the second draft of my latest novel.  It's been percolating for well over a year, so I'm anxious to get to it and see what I wrote.  Then, it'll be onto the next thing.

Since I haven't updated here in a couple years, after revising my first novel to as high a polish as I could manage (note: the 5th novel I started, and the 2nd one I completed), followed by writing the first draft of the second novel (the one noted in the paragraph above, waiting for a heavy revision), I began querying literary agents in the spring of last year.  I got no bites with my initial efforts, so I revised my introductory letter with an emphasis on infusing more personality into the letter.  From that, an agent has asked for the full manuscript.  That was a number of weeks ago, and I'm still waiting.  But it feels like I'm on the right track with this writing thing.  So, onward and upward.

Also of note, I had a new short story recently accepted for publication as well, having gotten back into that game after focusing on novel writing.  It felt good, and the journal is available for purchase through the publisher, both digital and physical editions, in the sidebar.  It's the one titled "A Stone Wall Between Us," in MEAT FOR TEA.  Thanks!


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