When I first started writing…and, believe me, I have no idea why I did…I soon discovered that, to paraphrase the Beyond the Fringe routine, ‘Why I Became a Coal Miner Instead Of a Judge,’ what my writing lacked was EVERYTHING. Well, maybe not everything. I’m pretty good with plot and characters. So I decided to take an online course. It was not University of Phoenix (sorry, University of Phoenix grads, if any of you are reading this, which is highly unlikely), it was University of Wisconsin, the Harvard of the Midwest (except it costs a lot less). It was taught by Lori Devoti, and it was terrific and you should all visit her website, http://www.loridevoti.com and follow her blog. Anyway, I finally found my voice! I’m writing my blog in it! It’s totally absent from my Young Adult Paranormal novel! The title character has been living on a mountain since she was 10, and hasn’t exactly mastered the art of witty banter. Almost every other character is a 9th grader. I’m sure other 9th graders will find some of their banter witty, adults and people over the age of 16, not so much.
Once in awhile I’ll be sharing a ridiculous thing an agent said, but I’ll attribute it to an anonymous teacher, because calling an agent ridiculous is probably a bad idea for a writer. Sorry teachers.
I read an interview with a teacher who seemed very nice, but his advice to his students was that they should never think about the commercial potential of a novel, but only write because they have a good story to tell. Having a good story is essential, but not caring about making money from hundreds of hours of work? Seriously? I don’t know how other writers feel. Personally, I have no desire to be the George Seurat of novels. If you don’t think about the commercial potential of your book, you should remember that publishers do. If you don’t care whether anyone sees your work, you have a perfect venue. It’s called a diary, or, in my case, a blog.
I am not a young a adult, but that’s totally irrelevant. Those of you who know me are already aware of that, and if you post my real age, the angels will weep for you, and I will delete it, anyway, so why bother?
Young adult novels and comic books were not permitted in my house when I was a kid, as they were not considered real literature. When I shared this information with the Late, Great, Donald Barthelme, he said to me “And see what you became?”
I like writing about ‘late, great’ people, because ‘great’ people are usually worth writing about, and ‘late’ people can’t get mad at me. No, you may not use that, unless you precede it with, ‘As the great Carol Nissenson wrote.’ Once I am ‘late,’ you can do whatever you want. If I do become ‘great,’ there is the possibility someone will Google it and you’ll be discovered, so you might want to rethink that one.
You might read a post from me under that heading once in awhile, so I would like to make it very clear that I don’t mean MY writing teacher, Lori Devoti, because she is fabulous, and you should all visit her website, http://www.loridevoti.com, and read her blog. So, Lori, if you happen to Google your name (fess up, we all do that at least once a month), and on the slight chance some spider will visit my blog, and the reference doesn’t show up so far down on the list that even you can’t be bothered to read it…well, you get the point.
I got another short story accepted for publication, this time in Dual Coasts. It’s what’s known as a ‘fledgling,’ so I hope it fledges, or my story will have to find another nest. It’s called ‘Here Kitty,’ and it’s a classic tale of ‘Man Against Beast,’ except the man is a woman and the beast is a rescue kitten. It is not a children’s story, but it is funny, and I want to assure my friends that no animals were harmed in the actual writing of ‘Here Kitty.’