Sunday, July 18, 2010

Reading And Writing

Because of the very high stress level of the past couple of weeks, I've waved goodbye to quite a number of my brain cells. I'm cautiously optimistic that they've only gone away for vacation, and will return at some point, but it's probably not a good sign that they slipped away in the middle of the night, taking all their belongings with them.

My major accomplishment is I tidied my bedroom closet. I've been trying to convince myself to start going through drawers, but I don't seem to be able to get the energy up to start. You'd think the closet would be inspiration enough, but so far it isn't.

It's a good thing I finished the rewrites on Blood Wounds when I did (June 30), because I doubt I could have gotten them done in July. I usually like July, but this one has consistently felt like August, hot and muggy, and I never liked August. I'm one of those people who does better in winter than summer, although the older I get, the less well I do with winter also. Soon I'll be good only on two days in October and one in May.

Anyway, as soon as I finished the rewrites, I wrote a story for consideration for an anthology. I did some rewrites on it, but since then I've thought of some changes I should make. If I sat down and concentrated, the final draft should take about an hour. I know exactly what I want to do, and it's more a question of taking stuff out than putting stuff in, but I haven't been able to make myself do it. Sort of like cleaning out the drawers.

I also have had trouble getting the energy to read anything that requires thought. So I've been rereading favorite old suspense novels. They take, at most, 2 days to read (and that's if I start them in the evening). First I reread The Intimate Journal Of Warren Winslow by Jean Leslie (1952). Warren Winslow is a novelist whose publisher is taking a very long time to reject his latest novel, so that wasn't the cheeriest selection I could have made. Then I reread She Fell Among Thieves by Gretchen Travis (1963), which is probably the sweetest, jolliest suspense novel ever written. A Midwestern school teacher wins a national sewing contest and goes to New York, where she stumbles upon a group of old acquaintances who are planning a heist.

Now I'm rereading the best of the bunch- The End Is Known by Geoffrey Holiday Hall (1949). It's a wonderful noir, which I've only read once, but I remember the twists of the ending so I can now see how the clues are carefully placed. It's about a middle aged businessman, who takes it upon himself to investigate the suicide of a stranger (the stranger jumped out of his window after asking for him, so he has cause to be curious).

It occurred to me that this could make an excellent setup for a YA suspense novel. A teen girl (it feels more like a girl to me) becomes involved in another girl's suicide. She doesn't know the other girl (or just barely knows her), and tries to determine why Girl B has drawn her into this. It could be very Facebookish or message boardish, neither of which were options in 1949.

Since I seriously doubt I'll ever have the energy to write it, I hereby give this idea to you. Maybe by the time you write it, I'll have started reading that biography of Teresa Of Avila that I bought years ago, knowing it was just what I wanted to read next!


Fear Death By Water said...

that sounds a lot like

it was a great book too. male main character. a noir typish book written by you would be great too I bet.

On page 207 of this world we live in. I'm enjoying the darker and more gritty narrative.

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hi to Fear Death By Water-

I hope your sister's wedding went wonderfully well (assuming it's already happened). If not, I hope it will go wonderfully well.

Either way, I think it's pretty funny you're reading about the world coming to an end at such a celebratory time!

ETA: My word verification is "troady." That really should be a word.

Fear Death By Water said...

it was a great ceremony. right on the beach. they wrote their own vows. as they were reading them a pod of dolphin were jumping and feed behind them. a guest said it was very good luck. lucky or not it made the proceedings memorable for all.

thanks for the kind thoughts.


btw i finished the book on the ride home. check my blog tomorrow (or the next day) for a review and an updated review of the first two.

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hi Tim (I've missed calling you that)-

I went to a wedding once in NYC, where all the guests saw a rat running outside (the bride and groom had their backs to the window, and didn't see what we saw). Dolphins sound much nicer, and an excellent omen!