Friday, August 9, 2013

Ask Jeeves

Patsy flew to the phone, delighted that no one older was available to take the privilege.   “Hello, Rochester resident?  Hi, George!  It’s Patsy!”  She always forgot that people on the other end of the phone couldn’t see you waving.  “Alice can’t talk right now, her mouth’s full, but mine isn’t.  What do you want to talk about?”
~The Rochesters

It's kinda-sorta awkward getting back into writing-blogging, you know.  I want to talk about all my projects right now but I hardly know where to begin. So... could you help me?  If I provide you with some general information about the stories I'm working on, could you be a little family of ducks and ask some questions to get me started?

Because, you know, it's so much easier to answer questions than it is to start from pure scratch and try to figure out on one's own what people want to know.  (I borrowed this idea from Jenny Freitag, by the way, and she's had great success with it so I thought why not try it myself.)  But to give you a little bit of Gen. Inf...

First of all there's The Rochesters.  This has been my mere working title for a long time now, but I'm seriously considering making it the for-reals title.  Because titles should tell readers what the story's about, and this particular story is about the Rochesters-- a big, noisy family that names pets after Dickens characters and plans birthday parties in the midst of wedding preparations and goes on picnic breakfasts without a Word of Warning and takes in an orphaned cousin for the summer.  I'm not at all sure that this title is eye-catching enough, but until/unless I can come up with a better one, it's doing very nicely.

Anyway, my goal is to finish TR's first draft by the end of August.  I'm hereby asking you all to hold me to that.   Currently it stands at about 35,500 words but I'm making some rather drastic changes to the beginning and of course intend to add quite a bit to the end as I'm not even halfway through the story.  Heehee.  I anticipate the final draft being some 85,000.  Ish.

I've blogged a good deal about the Rochesters and their quirks already, so you can check out their tag if you want a bit more to go on.  (Do ask questions, though.  Please.  It's the point of this post.  I should hate for the poor thing to go to waste.  Blog posts are people too, you know.)

Then there's the Jennifer story, so named because the main character's name is Jennifer.  I know.  I'm so original.  But hey, Jane Austen named one of her best books Emma, so I'm in good company.  (No, I am mistaken.  That is not good company; that is the best.)  This is one of my first forays into the world of contemporary stories, and I'm feeling quite liberated as I piddle with it.  No need for historical research or attempts at accuracy in the dialogue... nope, these characters live and work and recreate (that's the verb form of recreation, right?  Right?) much as I do.  Except that my main character's circumstances are quite different from mine.

In brief, Jennifer Farnham's parents were tragically killed in a car accident when she was nineteen (my MC's seem to have a running theme of dead parents... I hope that doesn't indicate something bad about me) and she was left with the responsibility of caring for her three-year-old brother Ethan.  Foregoing college plans and balancing a part-time job, keeping the rent paid at a tiny apartment and potty training a precocious toddler would keep her busy enough, but on top of it all she has to deal with her worldly and unsympathetic grandmother, who would like nothing more than to take over Jennifer's life and be in charge of both her and Ethan.   Yay, I have now succeeded in sounding exactly like the back of a cheesy Hallmark DVD.  Score.

Oh, and then we throw in a young married couple who take Jennifer and Ethan under their wings, so to speak, and the guy Jennifer had a crush on in tenth grade who is suddenly back in her life again, and an elderly lady from church with a tongue like a metal spatula (it's like a knife, only not quite as sharp, and it often accompanies cake) and you have a story that I'm having way too much fun with.  In my head, that is.  The amount that I actually have written is sad and pathetic and humiliating.  I'm working on that.  And my plans for August pretty much solely revolve around TR anyway, so I doubt I'll do much work on Jennifer and her crowd, but she's always at the back of my mind and will be waiting for me come September.  So ask questions about her, too.

And of course anything else you might like to know.
Help me?
You're the bestest.
Thank you.


Melody said...

Oooh, a guy she liked in tenth grade coming back?
But you used the term I don't like. :P
He's that guy on the upper right corner making the dramatic face, I presume. ;) ;) And since it's a certain person making the dramatic face, I've a feeling the character's going to stick around. Hahahaha.

Okay, there is something I would like very much to know. Just how much Rochesters do you have that you haven't sent me yet? *wink, wink* And good luck on the August thing... ;)

And don't call Hallmark movies cheesy in that superior tone. HAHAHA. Honestly, though, the DVDs often DO look extremely cheesy... but not all of them are as cheesy as they look. :)

I may be back to actually cooperate with this post later... it caught me right when I was about to shut the computer and go to bed. Haha. Which I probably should have done anyways, and saved this for the morning, but I am Evil and Wicked and--
--shutting up.

Miss Jane Bennet said...

Woohoo, you're back! I've been dying to ask you some questions already.
This first one is kinda trivial, and you probably have answered this already somewhere, but how many Rochesters are there, and what are their names? They remind me of my family- I am the oldest of seven. We don't have any pets, but we name chairs, CD players, musical instruments, houses, etc. So I shall be very interested in TR (like I wasn't already).
Second, could I have more details on Jennifer? Like what her major was in college, what her feelings were towards her little brother, etc. You don't have to give me spoilers or anything...I'm just curious.
Third, I have tried to write stories about large families before, but failed miserably (ha! Almost wrote 'miserables' there...), and I'm wondering if you have any tips? I love Elizabeth Enright, by the way. Then There Were Five is my favorite. :)
Fourth, when is The Rochesters set?
Fifth and last, I noticed that you have a third Work in Progress on your sidebar, The Color of the Sky. Any reason why you didn't list it?
Thanks for letting me do this- I love question-asking. :D

Kiri Liz said...

I'd have to second Miss Jane Bennet's thoughts and say I'd like to see a post about the Rochester children. I *love* the little snippets you've put up, but I'd like to get to know each of the children a little more. The collage is beautiful!

Hmm... well, I s'pose I could go on, but I'm feeling rather ashamed thinking of my own writing-blogging. I haven't done any such thing for a while. Perhaps a Beautiful People post is in order...

Molly said...

In what age order are the Rochesters? (Please forgive mew if you have said this in a post before-- I don't remember, and I love knowing people's ages.) :P

So sorry I only asked one, but that is all I could think of right now. I might have more later!

Hayden said...

The collages are great. Oh, and actually a hallmark movie was on the other day and it was actually enjoyable. *gasp* heehee.

I'd read Jennifer's story even if it *was* like a cheesy hallmark movie. But of course you're such a great writer that it will be awesome :)

Alexandra said...

I'd be happy to help with any help you may need with your Jennifer story. Hehehehe. :P Or have I all ready ? *smirk*

Once you start contemporary stories, you will never go back. Or, maybe, not without difficulty. I am so in love with writing contemporary now. It's so much easier, and really, for me, I get emotionally more "into" the stories because I don't have to spend tons of time trying to keep myself in a historical mindset. You'll love it.

And what a coincidence...I'm plotting a story about a girl with a kid who's guy comes back into her life...and he looks strangely similar...

Bwahahahahaha. The end.

Anonymous said...

Oohh I have a lot of questions for each...
For The Rochesters:
-How does their orphaned cousin come to be orphaned? Does it discuss this in the book at all? (Sorry if this was already discussed earlier! :) )
-Do you have a favorite character?? Or do you love 'em all?
-Who is the most mischievous character in the family?
-This book reminds me of something like Elizabeth Enright and Jeanne Birdsall -- is it, do you think?
-Are there any characters in the story that sort of resemble any members of your family?

I am really excited to read this story!!! This is just the sort of story that I like best. Keep it up! I have been reading the snippets so far and they are soo good! I like all of the humor and companionship (hmm is that the right word for here??) that goes along with having a big family. Love it!

Wow, something new for you, isn't it? This is going to be exciting!
And I think the title is good just as it is! In my opinion, titles don't always have be long or even dramatic to make me want to read a book. Just seeing the name Jennifer makes me want to get to know her and hear her story. :)
Now... to the questions!
-What is a short description of what Jennifer looks like?
-Is the little boy able to understand what has tragically happened to his parents or does he sort of think that his sister is his "mother"? (...hmm is that the right use for quotation marks??) Anyway:
-Does Jennifer's grandmother ever give her notice?
-What is Jennifer's part time job and where does little Ethan stay when she has to work (before she meets the couple)?
-What is the name of the young man that Jennifer again meets up with? And can you give a description of him too??

Are you still working on The Color Of The Sky still too? Also, have you finished The Butterwick Boardinghouse Detectives or have you laid that aside for now?

Thanks for letting me ask questions! I am excited to hear more about them and read them when they are finished!! :) Keep up the good work!
P.S. I really like the collages you made!

-God's Little Teacup

Anonymous said...

Lol.... This is the post about Jennifer that I've been looking for. : ) LOVELOVELOVE. I have no questions at the moment (I think I missed the boat, anyway), but I can make some up if you want me to. : )

OOH! No. I have ONE question for you. Where on EARTH do you get inspired for all of the cute quotes you share from The Rochesters? EVERYTHING they say is SOOO cute and makes me laugh! Do you just watch movies from that time period? Or is it just your siblings? What?!

Skimmed the other comments, and I think I'd agree with Ally. Once you start writing contemporary fiction, there is literally a point of NO return. You can't stop. I mean, every now and then, I do a little bit of historical fiction (writing a novel set in the late 40's right now), but it's just sooooo much more interesting to write contemporary fiction.

Oh, yeah.... One more thing. Aaron in Jennifer? AWESOMENESS SAUCE. Nuff said.