Monday, August 9, 2010

I defaced ... a book.

I wasn't going to tell anyone this.
I was going to keep this to myself.
Because of the shame.
I have a special relationship with books.
Most of you know what I mean.
I also have a special relationship with libraries.
I now have a lot of guilt and I keep thinking the next time I go they will take away my library card.
I'm sure, somehow, I will pay for this 'sin' down the road.

Why did I commit such a horrible deed?

Well...In my head I can still hear the comments/suggestions from the person that I let read the first few chapters of my book. I wanted to see how far off the mark I really was with just a few of the problems that they noted.

I went to the library the other day and bought a used Nora Roberts paperback.

And I wrote in it with a pen and I used a highlighter.

I have to live with it, I know.

But I took notes and calculated word counts and checked point of view and highlighted adjectives....stuff like that.

Now, let me say this...I am not comparing myself or my writing to Nora Roberts. Please. I would never insult her in such a manner.

What I am saying is that - technically - teeny tiny bit similar. Considering she is probably the author that I have read the most works from, I wouldn't be surprised that my writing is similar.

I just wanted to get the facts. I like facts. They're factual.

Now I can let it go.

Wrote a few pages this morning. Not too much but I got the ball rolling. I will have to go back and smooth out right after the kiss scene. It was a little awkward for them and me!

I remember reading a blog a while ago and the author talked about trying to write 5 pages a day. Someone else recently mentioned trying to write 1000 to 1500 words a day. I suppose if I tried to average it out I could come up with a number but I don't think I write consistently enough to bother.

Some days I write a lot, some days I edit, some days I write a little, some days I delete.

Some days I spend too long on my blog or too much time reading other blogs and I should be folding laundry and doing dishes.

Bad Heather!


  1. I deface books all the time. I used to be like you and worry about it, but since I started studying other authors and writing/highlighting in their books, my writing has improved greatly.

  2. You know, a guy in my critique circle actually said the same thing...he checked for pov, passive language, punctuation and found that all the things we are so careful to watch out for sometimes slip into the cracks. Oh well, I'll just keep trying to do my best. =)

  3. L.A. - What? No guilt? Sounds great!

    Raquel - That is all we can do. It was helpful to me, no doubt.

  4. I know exactly what you mean! Books are like...I don't know... a holy temple? You just don't mess with them. And of course, when you do, you feel like the literary-gods are about to smite you. I get it ;-P
    I did the same thing as you a few months ago, of course, I didn't have the foresight to use a library book... As far as the grammar-watch-- I've heard that it depends on the writer. If you are well know and very successful --Nora Roberts, James Patterson...-- you're can get away with using boatloads of adverbs, adjectives, passive voice, etc. If the publishers know you're going to sell, they cut down on editing time and get the book out fast. If they don't know you (such as in the case of us newbies) they care more about how you present your work. Basically, the more successful you are, the better--all the way around. At least that's what I've heard from a few different writing circles.
    Courtney Reese
    PS-- Don't worry, they won't cut up your library card ;-P

  5. Courtney - I did take into account that she is Nora Roberts, absolutely, when I went through the book and took notes. When I pump out close to 200 books in my career, hardee-har-har, I'm sure I can be as cavalier as I would like!
    I keep trying to put myself into the shoes of the person who critiqued me, see it their way and I had to gather those facts to help me. Their points were valid for context but I'm not sure they were all valid for content.

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

    Crossing my fingers about the library card!

  6. Don't worry about the defacing. I don't look at it that way at all. Everyone knows how a writer feels about books but...

    Here's a story: We have a jazz festival in our fair city and one year I picked up the newspaper and read a comment from an attendee. He said that he would have enjoyed the performances on the free stage more if he didn't always have to look at Mr. and Mrs. Ballroom. (the free stage is outdoors and there is a level grassy area in front of the stage where people can dance if they want to). This area, by the way, in no way impinges on the view or the sound, I might add, of the performers. So what he was saying was that the two dancers should not be allowed to enjoy the music in the way that makes them happy. I think if I was a musician it would be the ultimate compliment if someone enjoyed my music enough to get up and dance to it. I dance also, and I can tell you, I won't dance to music I don't like.

    Long winded, I know, but here's the analogy: If it was my book you were taking and highlighting and anotating, do you have any idea how thrilled that would make me? It would mean that there must be something about it you admired or you wouldn't bother with it at all. It's your book, you bought it and it's teaching you something - they should give you a gold library card.

  7. I like the way you put that.
    Thank you.


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