Friday, September 28, 2012

Overheard #214

"Baseball wisdom: To hit that magic 300 you have to miss seven out of ten."

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Primal Themes

Kristin Lenz’s thoughtful post on the YA fusion blog, reminded me of a section in the book, Save the Cat by Blake Snyder (Michael Wiese Productions, 2005). To test if his stories connect with the audience on a basic level, Snyder asks himself, “Is it primal?” or “Would a caveman understand?” He lists primal drives as survival, hunger, sex, protection of loved ones and fear of death.

As I look back on my collection of manuscripts, I agree that they involve these themes, but every novel I’ve written is mostly about loneliness. Perhaps these manuscripts failed because loneliness is a nebulous concept. I’d like to propose, however, that cave-people understood that community was essential for both physical and emotional survival. Surviving high school or an attack by saber-tooth cats may well depend on the supporting characters.

Sunday, September 23, 2012


glads from the farmers' market

Friday, September 21, 2012

Overheard #213

"Are you out of your fracking mind?"

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Voice

Jeremy and I have been watching The Voice Season 3. This show works for several reasons.

  1. The contestants are mostly young people who are trying to live their dreams.
  2. The personal history section highlights the adversity contestants overcame as they attempted to become professional musicians. The stories of single parenthood, battling addiction, sacrificing a former career, etc. resonate with viewers.
  3. The contestants have been vetted, so there are no cringe-worthy acts.
  4. The judges are friends, and the good natured competition between them adds humanity and fun to the competition.
  5. The judges offer constructive criticism, something that is hard to come by in real life.
  6. The tables are turned. If more than one judge “turns his/her chair” for a contestant, the contestant gets to choose between them. Superstars plead with unknown singers to pick them.
This is also a recipe for a successful YA novel.
  1. Give the young protagonist a dream.
  2. Make it seemingly impossible to achieve.
  3. Make the protagonist appealing.
  4. Have fun with the supporting cast.
  5. Give the main character a way to learn and grow.
  6. Use plot twists.
Easier said than done.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


We went to Saugatuck last weekend. I took some panoramic shots, but I wasn't thrilled with them. Here are a few closeups.

Sunday, September 16, 2012


turning toward the sun

Friday, September 14, 2012

Overheard #212

"I don’t want them to see my true personality because it’s a lot like theirs."

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Baba Ghanoush

After buying a large, lumpy eggplant at the farmers’ market, we decided to turn it into dip. The process was as much an arts and crafts project as a recipe. First, we stabbed the eggplant repeatedly with a fork and roasted it on the barbecue until the skin was blackened and the insides mushy. After it cooled, we tossed the eggplant flesh into the food processor with tahini, roasted garlic, red pepper, lemon juice and cumin. (The web is full of recipes, and the amounts of ingredients vary with personal taste.) Garnishing the dip with hot or sweet paprika and chopped parsley adds color and enhances the flavor. It’s delicious with toasted pita bread or rice chips.

You’re probably wondering why I’m posting this on a writing and photography blog. In my internet search for a recipe, I learned baba is the Arabic word for papa, and ghanoush means spoiled. This is “spoiled papa” dip, or the treat you make for dad. Isn’t that fantastic?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Friday, September 7, 2012

Overheard #211

"I’ve sort of soured on analysis."

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Jade Notebook

The Jade Notebook

I enjoyed all three of Lara’s notebook books (The Indigo Notebook, The Ruby Notebook and The Jade Notebook), although I liked the last best of all. This novel continues Zeta’s search for a stable home and family and Wendell’s quest to become a professional photographer. The supporting characters are interesting and quirky.

I checked this book out of the library, but I intend to buy a copy to study novel structure, suspense scenes and building emotion. There is much to be learned from Lara’s writing.

This post is in celebration of Darcy Pattison’s Random Acts of Publicity Event.