Over the past week I’ve been thinking a lot about my book. After my last writers group meeting I felt that I should completely rewrite part of the story and “tune up” the tone a bit in order to make it more chick friendly. Actually, one of the comments was about the use of the word “chick.”
“Do you know how many times you used the word ‘chick’ in this chapter?” One woman asked me.
“No,” I thought. “But I bet you’re going to tell me.”
She didn’t tell me and I haven’t wanted to find out for myself but I got her point. Another person mentioned that the storyline of one significant character was too depressing and as much as I hated to admit it at the time, he was right.
Making the book more appealing to the fairer [hotter] sex is surprisingly easy. The story is already woman friendly and replacing the words, “Chick” and “Douche” with classier alternatives pretty much takes care of that problem . The book isn’t the reason for this blog post. Well, not directly
By Saturday I came to terms with how I would re-write the mother character and knew the first three chapters had to be re-written completely but the rest was pretty much OK. I knocked out a thousand words, looked at it a couple times and was happy with the direction it was going but thought it needed some rearranging. After sending it to my Muse for her thoughts I sat down to watch Cops, read a chapter in a new book and went to bed.
Sunday morning (yesterday) I ran a few errands before returning to my office and was rewriting the opening between the main character, named Jack, and his seven-year-old daughter Ashley. Around page four Jack was comforting his daughter when reality metaphorically smacked me in the face. Stopping, I grabbed my cell phone to send my 14-year-old daughter, who I affectionately refer to as Drama Queen, a text.
I was sitting here writing and I realize that I don’t hug you a lot and that lately I’m kind of quiet with affection. I’m sorry and I’ll work on that. Feel free to remind me or just hug me first.
I like to think I’m a pretty decent dad and when I looked back over the past few months I was disappointed in myself. I tell her that I love her several times a day but there hasn’t been much hugging of late. I guess it’s partially because she’s growing up and I think she might feel weird and I’m sure it has something to do with my ongoing neurological problems and the lack of self esteem I’ve been feeling because of them. When I feel crappy about myself I tend to pull away from everyone.
It actually doesn’t matter what the reason for pulling away is because it’s not cool. I’m her dad and I’m the one responsible for raising her and for making sure she knows what healthy relationships look like. At dinner on Sunday night I brought it up and apologized to her.
I guess the juicy tri tip sandwich with Irish cheddar, freshly roasted red peppers and spicy barbecue sauce put her in a really good mood because she looked across the table and told me not to worry about it. I guess my daughter is growing up more than I realize.
Nine years ago when I began raising her alone I was terrified that I would screw up; I still am. She survived moving from Southern California to Toronto to Buffalo and then back to Southern California in two and a half years so I guess I taught her to be adaptable if nothing else.
My Drama Queen is playing high school tennis (even if she’s lazy about conditioning), is getting good grades and is doing makeup for the high school play in a couple of weeks. She wanted to audition but decided to do makeup instead.
“This is my first high school play,” she said. “And I need to keep practicing tennis so I can play JV next fall. I’ll audition next year after I see what this is all about.”
The realization that the daughter who generally mixes up her left and right was figuring out her priorities (and in my opinion was making the right choices) was one of those proud dad moments.
The weird thing is that as I write this blog post I realize that although I needed major work on part of the book, I had written the Ashley character perfectly. Ashley is based on my Drama Queen and I now have a pretty clear picture of how Ashley could turn out in the third or fourth book. Assuming this one gets tuned up and published.
Come back tomorrow to see my caffeine induced interview with the newest Magnificent Mom, a coffee lovin’ blogger named Amy.
One woman in the writers group asked how I thought up the date the main character went on in chapter four and I explained that it was based on a first date I had a few years ago. “Wow,” she replied. “You really got creative with it.” “Sadly,” I sighed. It’s not as fictionalized as much as one might think.”