The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Friday, September 1, 2017

A Thread Runs Through It... Catching Up... and Back-of-the-Book Blurb #74

 A Thread     

       Almost a year ago (in November, during NaNoWriMo) , I began writing something. It was easy (the writing part). It wrote itself at times. The research part, on the other hand, was incredibly difficult at times, because my manuscript focuses on a historical event that our country tried to sweep under the rug for decades. Now, most of the survivors are dead... it was that long ago.

      Just recently I finished it. Finished--meaning I wrote the last lines. However, there is slang I need to check (Did people say that in 1921?) and way-of-life questions I have. (Is that a kind of gum that was popular back then? What did racist white people say or what did they do when they passed black people in those days?)  Revising with those things in mind will involve some interviews with an elderly person (someone more elderly than me, for those who were about to gleefully shout, "But YOU are old, Sioux.")

      A little less recently, I decided to have a thread of a question running through the story. I have the final frayed edges of that thread at the end. It will be simple to add additional bits here and there in the middle. It's the beginning that's slaying me.

     How do I add the beginning of this question so that it's a seamless part of the story? Certainly, I don't want to do a background dump. I also don't want anything to stick out, since it might give the end of the story away. 

     I could share it with my writing critique group, but I'd rather have it as polished as possible before I do that.

    Writing. When it sings, when it flows, there's not much finer... When I reach an impasse, it's quite frustrating.

Getting Caught Up

     Yesterday I could have gotten off work at 2. We had a faculty meeting, and when it was over, most of the staff skedaddled off. I had stacks of student work (some of it had already been graded). Spending the time grading writing work, writing replies (some of the papers were friendly letters) and inputting grades was satisfying. By the time I left at 6, I had three piles of papers, one for myself and the other two for the other two teachers I work with.

     It's satisfying... until the work piles up again.

     Is there anything you've gotten caught up on? 

     And now (on time this time): back-of-the-book blurb business.

Look at the photo below. That is the cover of your bookYou choose the genre. Is it a romance about a boy and his rat named "Ben"? Is it a guide for animal lovers? You decide.

         Write an enticing blurb--150 words or less. (The title doesn't count in the word count.) Blurbs are those enticing bits that prod you into buying the book. Sometimes they're on the back cover of the book. Sometimes they're on the inside front cover. What they always try to do is lure you into purchasing the book. 

          Lisa Ricard Claro was the original creator of this writing challenge. She moved to Florida, and is too busy to host a weekly book blurb. Currently, she's working with the director on casting for the movie version of her first (of three) romance novels, Love Built to Last and it's rough workWho's the frontrunners, you ask? Benicio del Toro. Viggo Mortensen. Jason Momoa. (Lisa told the director, "I couldn't care less about hanging around for the screen tests for the female leads." I wonder why...) So, because she's so busy with such grueling work, you're stuck with me.

          Okay, back to book blurb stuff.
          Include your blurb in a blog post. Include a link to this post. Also, link your post to Mr. Linky. Mr. Linky is easy. If you've never done it, you'll be impressed with how simple he is. And then, check out the other blurb(s). It's interesting to see the different directions writers take, given the same photo.

        Here's the book cover, along with my blurb:

For Margot
“Do you need to use the bathroom? If so, do it now.”
Margot would ask her husband if he needed to go… that way, she could take a leisurely bath uninterrupted. He’d dutifully empty his bladder.
Aaah. Thirty minutes of serenity.
Four minutes after Margot started her soak, invariably, she’d hear the door being pounded on.
“Get out. Hurry. I gotta use it.” That meant a smelly catastrophe was about to happen. It also meant her bath—and the only alone time she could carve out for herself in their tiny house—was finished.
After years of dealing with her complaining about not enough bath time (they only had one bathroom), Cecil decided to shut his wife up with the biggest bathtub and the biggest statue he could create.

Will Margot appreciate Cecil’s sense of humor? Or will he find himself in serious hot water? (143 words)

And for anyone who'd like to play along next week, and want a sneak preview of the photo, here it is:



  1. Isn't it wonderful to write and grade in peace and quiet? Such a feeling of accomplishment to reduce those piles. Each month I cleaned the piles on my desk, and each month I cleaned the piles on my desk!

    1. Linda--The lack of interruptions is delightful... once dismissal happens. Yes, I felt quite productive to create organized (and graded) piles out of an unorganized mountain of papers. And you're right. Once a desk is cleaned off, it soon gets covered again with work.

  2. I never get caught up on anything any more. I am writing my sons' weekly letters at 1:00 a.m. on Thursday/Friday so I can get them in the mail before it goes out the next day. And writing my book blurb at 5:30 on Friday evening.

    When I was working, I stayed after school every day for 90 minutes to keep the day's grading caught up. Having plan time after my lunch 20 minutes let me get the morning caught up. Let the record show that my science stuff was waaaay easier to grade than "writing work."

    Whew! For a minute, I was afraid that Margot's new bathtub was actually Cecil's bathroom.

    1. Val--I've heard from several other writer friends (and now you as well) who say they wrote more when they had their "day job." They say that now that they're retired, the time pressure doesn't push them to write.

      90 minutes every day? If I did that, I'd be caught up all the time. I often spend 90 minutes piddling after school, rather than using the time to do something productive. (I call it "deprogramming" time. Time to decompress.)

  3. Cecil would have been better off springing for a second bathroom. lol

    Congrats for cleaning up the piles AND for typing "the end" on your ms. I hope you celebrated the accomplishments!

    1. Lisa--This story is partially based on fact. We only have one bathroom. Over the years, I've given up on getting a relaxing bath--it can only happen when my husband is out of town, which is quite rare.

      I will celebrate when I've done the polishing I need to do. I've been procrastinating... can't quite figure out why.

  4. Congrats on your accomplishments, Sioux. I love working with historical fiction, although getting lost in rabbit holes is a frequent issue.

    I'm sure inspiration will hit when you least expect it to create the perfect opening.


  5. You are right! We all definitely went in different directions!! :) This was a fun one!

  6. I used to have trouble catching up on my To Do List but then I just shortened my list and voila! All caught up! :-)

    I'm intrigued with this story in which you keep dropping delightful hints. Weaving a question is a terrific way to add depth and keep your readers hooked at the same time. Go, Sioux!!

  7. Congrats for cleaning up the piles AND for typing "the end" on your ms. I hope you celebrated the accomplishments!


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