I have another confession to make. I buy Ghirardelli dark chocolate chips and eat them like m&ms. And sometimes, when I find dirty socks (I have two teenage boys) on the coffee table I can’t decide whether to use the dirty socks to dust the coffee table or just ignore both the dirty socks and the dust.
Okay, totally irrelevant, but I got that off my mind.
My book and I are on a break right now. I finished a first draft and am setting it aside to look at it with fresh, more objective eyes in a few weeks. In the meantime, I’m thinking about query letters and synopses. I’ve been reading articles about how to write the query and synopsis, which is actually, I hope, going to be useful when I go back to the manuscript, because in order to write a synopsis or query, you have to think about the entire plot and how it progresses, as well as the character arcs, emotional development, the characters’ goals and the things that get in their way of achieving those goals, and all the other things that go into a complete novel. If I can articulate those important aspects of my story now, I can recognize where there are holes in my draft—and fix them!
I know what I want this novel to do when it’s finished. I want it to take the reader’s breath away, make readers FEEL what the main character feels, actually suffer with her and then find that ray of hope in the end that gives her the strength to know she’ll be okay. I know. It’s not much, but that’s the kind of book I like to read.
And speaking of that, while I’m on this break, I’ve been rereading YA novels that have a lot of flashbacks to study how the author handles entering and leaving flashbacks, since my story has lots of flashbacks (probably too many). Most of these books—Between, Before I Fall, The Sky is Everywhere—I’ve read before and am just reading bits of now. But one that I loved the first time I read it, I completely reread again, and I still love it. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith. It’s been a quiet book, not a lot of buzz and not on the bestseller lists, but I fell hard for it. I like the characters, liked the writing, maybe because her voice is kind of like the voice I hear in my own head, and I definitely rooted for them to get together in the end. It’s a very satisfying story, with one of the best almost-kisses I’ve read recently. Plus, it’s clean and I can recommend it to a grandma for her granddaughter, knowing there’s nothing “bad” in it except maybe a mild swear word (I don’t remember, maybe there isn’t even that.)
Have I mentioned that I own a bookstore? That’s what I mean when I say I can recommend a book to grandmas. . . . When they come into the store, looking for a book for their teenage granddaughter, it’s sometimes hard to find one that Grandma won’t be shocked by, if she happens to open it and read the first page. More on the store some other day.