Lillian Hellman Quote for Writers

table with open notebook and penLillian Hellman says “Story is what the characters want to do. Plot is what the writer wants the characters to do.”

The character in my new novel, Norman in the Painting, who appeared wearing a Homberg hat, is keeping his intentions a mystery. I wanted him to be hired by the antagonist, but he refuses that connection. Hellman is right.

Let us know if you have a character who wants to tell his or her own story and not follow your plot?

Winners in Choices Poetry Contest

Poetry with music noteWinners of the Choices Poetry Contest on this blog will be announced in September. Due to vacations this summer, it was difficult for the judges to meet for a consensus. Many quality entries spread the nominated winners by each judge to well over the three place awards. We plan to have honorable mentions included this time.

Good luck everyone.

Women's National Book Association Board Members

WNBABoard at Santos' party 8-14We five Women’s National Book Association board members enjoyed an afternoon at Barb and Rich Santos’ home along with other writers and friends from the San Francisco Writers Conference.

From left to right, WNBA President Kate Farrell, Secretary Julaina Kleist-Corwin, Webmaster Linda Lee, Social Media Manager Frances Caballo, and Membership Chair Jane Glendinning.

The San Francisco Chapter of the Women’s National Book Association seeks to create a network within our local literary community while promoting literacy, a love of reading, and women’s role in the world of words. I’m happy to be a member and their new secretary. If anyone is interested in joining our chapter, go to http://www.wnba-sfchapter.org.

Foster City Library "Preserve Your Memories"

With Shari Williams On Friday afternoon, I gave a talk to Shari Williams’ group, Foster City Village, at the Foster City Library. The title was “Preserve Your Memories”. I showed simple ways such as using photos to make a calendar, a Shutterfly book, a collage, a copy machine version with a spiral binding, or a self published book. I stressed the importance of recording one’s life experiences for posterity. A volunteer organization, a village of services, activities and personal connections to support successful aging are available in most cities. Google the name of your city/town with the word village after it to see if there is one nearby if you’d like to volunteer or know seniors that would enjoy being transported to their activities.

Jill's Closet in Norman in the Painting Paranormal Mystery

Jill's Closet In the rough draft of my paranormal mystery, Norman in the Painting, I used the workshop exercise Jessica Barksdale suggested we write at her retreat this summer. Here’s the scene:

Jill opened the double louvered doors that revealed shirts, short skirts, and blouses from college days organized by color, a pair of Dockers, two pairs of jeans, and a full length suede skirt. She brushed the sleeve of the pink running suit she wore with parts in the material that had worn thin. “This is so me, not what’s in the closet.”

Her Siamese cat, Rocky, meowed behind her. “I didn’t see you come in. Did you think I was talking to you?” She stooped to pet the cat. “My problem isn’t organization, Rocky. There’s not much to organize.” She frowned at the jeans. The last time she wore them, she had walked to Eve’s Treasures hoping to see Norman again. The denim had felt restrictive. Her poor legs had a headache by the time she returned home. “I need new clothes.” She took the long suede skirt off the hanger, rolled it up, and threw it into a corner.

“That was Viv’s idea. She told me never to wear short skirts because my legs are too skinny.” Jill didn’t like to admit that her sister had style. She couldn’t ask Viv to go shopping with her. She’d force her to buy what she didn’t want and then she’d ridicule Jill for the clothes she did choose. “She’d make fun of me until the day I die. Then she’d be happy to pick out my burial outfit–probably a long black dress with rivets down the front, a chain belt, and she’d put a whip in my hand to protect me in the underworld.”

Rocky meowed an answer and she bent to pet him again, but the phone rang at the same time thunder roared over the top of the house. The cat sprang out of the room.

That excerpt needs polishing and Jill needs a wardrobe and style consultant like Hella Tsaconas. Since Adriane Nichols’ blog inspired Jill to study her closet as step one in personal transformation, Hella’s blog could save Jill’s uncertainty about her clothes, i.e. symbolic about her life.

I’ve been writing novels for many years, I have files full, like a bulging closet, but I’ve never written about blogs in any of the scenes. Hella, I’ll be interviewing you for a scene where you can take Jill shopping as you do with your clients.Thanks Adriane Nichols and Jessica Barksdale for helping me keep up with the times in my writing.