Saturday, December 20, 2014

Ever Wondered What Goes Into Writing A Book?

Have you ever wondered what goes into writing a book?  Probably not.  When you walk into that hushed sanctuary called a library, or the soon to be defunct (please, God, no!) book store and are surrounded by zillions of books, I think we all take for granted that the books somehow just sprang into being by the wonderfully creative mind of someone like Hemingway in between hanging out at the local tavern.

I’m working on the umpteenth number of the draft of my book about a hapless American man who brings a mail order bride to the United States, only to have it backfire in a way that none of us could have anticipated.  The book has sex, intrigue, cars, things blowing up and a few fun surprises that even I didn’t see coming.

It also has a plot hole big enough to drive a car through.

Well, maybe not that big, but when I should be working on my story, instead I’m either taking those fun quizzes on Facebook that tell me what kind of dog personality I have (beagle) or what kind of drug I would be if I were a drug (ecstasy) or what color my personality is (plaid).

I’ll bet you thought that all your favorite books were written in a few inspired sittings.  The truth is, it’s hours upon glorious hours of butt numbing, rewriting, thinking, reading, re-reading until your eyes cross, getting up and walking to the fridge for junk food, sitting down again, cutting, pasting, deleting, writing some more, doing a quiz on Facebook, answering emails, writing some more, getting up and dancing around the living room to Led Zeppelin, writing some get the picture.

Before I go back to my story, a plea from whoever is reading this.  Do you have a book title?  Think Eastern European Bride with an attitude.

Now back to my story.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Pleasure Point

Screen Shot From My Win!
Last night marked the official end of this year’s National Novel Writing Month Competition.

I have never written so many words, so fast.

292 pages of 96,013 words.

I just had to share my excitement with everyone because I can’t believe how great this feels.

The goal of the contest was to write 50,000 words in 30 days.  The goal was also to tell a complete story in that amount of words/time.  When I wrote my outline, I looked at it and said, “This is going to be at least 80,000 words.  Yikes!”

It was an intense month of sitting, creating, listening to lots of Led Zeppelin, doing hot yoga to loosen up my muscles and staring dreamily at the photo of my main character who is a big wave surfer.

So...I’ve got a first draft of my novel.  The working title is Pleasure Point.  It’s a story about a big wave surfer who has...a bit of a sex addiction.  But once I got to know him, I found out that he only wanted...well, you’ll have to read the book to find out.  He barely survived a stalker, getting wiped out on a big wave at Todos Santos and a few other unfortunate events.  I was so worried about him.  How will it all end?

It ended with me writing the words, “The End” just as the sun was setting over the Pacific Ocean last night.  As I moved my computer monitor aside to look at the sunset, one of my favorite Pearl Jam songs ended at exactly the moment that the sun dipped into the ocean.  I like to take this as a good omen.  The book’s a long way from being done but I will keep you posted.

I would like to thank big wave surfer Grant “Twig” Baker, who helped me with some technical questions as well as being one of the most gracious athlete’s I’ve ever met, and the book The Big Juice by John Long and Sam George which I was able to adapt some real life big wave stories for my character.  Thanks to my husband Kerry for drinking coffee with me every morning and giving me great plot ideas. xoxoxo

Today...we celebrate.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Day Two of National Novel Writing Month

Every November thousands of writers from all over the world get together via a social networking site called for the purpose of writing 50,000 words of fiction in 30 days.

I participated last year for the first time and it was a total blast.  I especially enjoyed being able to turn my internal editor off; you know that fun hating part of you that likes to ruin every creative endeavor.  It comes in really handy when you’re ready to start re-writing, though.

So, this year I’m writing a story about a big wave surfer who ends up becoming involved in the male escort service business.  Being a surfer myself, but not a big wave surfer by any means, I love talking to surfers, hearing their lingo and especially eyeing them performing towel changes in the parking lot of Salt Creek, which is a famous surf spot in Dana Point, CA.

I’ve been a madwoman at the keyboard for the past two days, and have cranked out 10,000 words.  My main character is turning out to have a pretty out of control sex drive.  But who I am to argue with him?  After all, he’s running the show.

I love the energy of a first draft and I encourage you all to try it if you dare.

Now, time to sit by the fireplace, eat some homemade lentil soup and dream about big wave surfers...Ah, November.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Jen The Writer

So now that I’m a professional writer, I’ve got to come up with witty things to say so that you’ll all be interested in reading my work.

I’ve always kept mountains upon mountains of journals which sadly, went into the dumpster one day after I suspected that my teenage daughters had been reading them.  It’s not that I ever even looked back on what I had written, it was just fun to sit down at the end of a day and pour all my thoughts out onto a page.  On the few occasions that I did look back on what I’d written, it was pretty pathetic and adolescent sounding.  So much of it had to do with whatever guy I currently had a crush on.  Yes, this was in my forties.  I learned to not take myself too seriously.

Now I’m writing fiction which is a total blast because I get to make all this stuff up.  Want to date a rock star who plays a Fender Stratocaster?  Want to have sex with a big wave surfer who also doubles as a male escort?  He’s just a few keystrokes away.

Stay tuned to find out what I’m working on next...

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Facebook Rehab

Facebook Rehab Center in Tamarindo, Costa Rica

“My name is Jennifer, and I’m a Facebookaholic.”

It started out innocently enough.  My husband said, “We’re just going on a nice little surfing trip to Tamarindo.”

With great excitement I had packed up shorts, bathing suits, sunscreen, my surfboard and of course, the most important things of all; my iPhone and iPad.

“Will they have WiFi?” I asked.

He laughed.  “Of course they will.  What do you think Costa Rica is?  A third world country?”

Just think of all the status updates I can make when we get there.  I’ll be checking in at fine restaurants, taking photos of dazzling sunsets, tagging myself in photos with the hot surfer dudes who teach the tourists how to surf.  How envious all my friends at home will be.

But none of that was to be.  When we arrived at the tiny airport in Tamarindo, the twelve-seat airplane coming to a shuddering stop on the cracked asphalt runway, I was surprised to see two burly Costa Rican men in white coats waiting for me.

“It’s for the best,” said my husband as he tried to staunch the flow of tears while the two men hustled me away to the Facebook Rehab Center.

As I mentioned, my name is Jennifer and I’m a Facebookaholic.  I love it all.  Waking up in the morning (sometimes even in the middle of the night) to check my newsfeed, posting status updates about every little emotion I’m having (Jennifer Evans is feeling grateful!), finding friends that I knew back in kindergarten...heck, who am I kidding?  I’m way past the point of even checking to see if I know the person before accepting a friend request.  When I have new friend requests, I always feel a little frisson of adrenaline surge through my bloodstream.

Oh, I’ve tried other things but nothing quite satisfies the way Facebook does.  Twitter (too cryptic)  Instagram (too many photos of babies) Pinterest (way too many crafts) Tumblr (still not sure what that is).

But Facebook!  Ah, just the word makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.  The friends, the photos, the instant feedback, the glorious hours and hours of scrolling, scrolling, scrolling.

“Darling, we’re going to have to take all your devices," said the stern Nurse-Ratched look-alike with the dark hair slicked back in a severe bun.

I clutched my bag tight to my body until the two Costa Rican heavies pried it loose.  I was crying, screaming, begging.  “Please!  Not my iPad.  I’m writing a story about Steve Jobs,” I wailed.

And so it began.  While my husband was surfing glassy waves, probably drinking fine red Argentinian wine with dinner while posting a status update about the “Rad waves I got at Witches Rock today!”, I was stuck in that god-forsaken place with Carmen (Android user), Miguel and a few other losers.

Our days consisted of group therapy, vitamin shots, single beds at night with crisp white sheets and in the afternoon, they made us sit on the beach with nothing but a beach towel and a paperback copy of War and Peace.  They had even confiscated my Kindle.

Jesus, Mary and Mark Zuckerburg, how to bust out of that charming facility?

I had noticed the young men who were hovering around the rock wall which surrounded the Facebook Rehab Center.  I watched while they smoked cigarettes, checked their iPhones (my kingdom for a status update) and when one of them motioned me over, I tentatively approached.

“Buenos dias seƱorita,” said one of them while eyeing me intently.  I didn’t think he was that interested in my body as I was wearing the prison-issue shapeless cotton shift, open in the back.

“Me and my friend, we help you.  You have money?”

I told him I did, while reflexively reaching for my iPhone to log into my Bank of America account to show him just how much I had.  Drats!  He was going to have to take my word for it.  We spoke for a few minutes, me in broken Spanish,  and I promised him that it would be well worth his while.  I can only assume that he didn’t have much to lose.  Plans were made to meet by the rock wall at midnight.

Hasta luego,” he said with a smile which showed one gold cap.

When I woke up at eleven-thirty that evening and begged the orderly to let me use the bathroom, well, it was just a matter of distracting him as we walked down the gleaming white hallway.

“Check out that YouTube video!” I said as we passed a computer monitor.  “They’re playing Gangnam Style!”

That was all it took and he was a blathering idiot drooling in front of the computer.  I only needed a few seconds to stealthily remove his keys from his belt loop and I was off and running.

These days, I keep my Location Services feature disabled.  Do you really think I want to go back to the Facebook Rehab?  Not on your life, babe.  So what if I’ve lost my husband, pets, children, job and home?  I’ve got google images and a great imagination.  Am I happy?  You’ll have to check my status update to find out.