The Next Big Thing

Can you imagine yourself as the Next Big Thing?

Miles run today: 11

Words written in my novel today: 0

Omelet with goat cheese eaten today: 1

I am a writer.

And as a writer, I have always lived at least partially in my own head… in a fantasy world of my own making.

When I was young enough to still be wearing orange polyester pants with little, yellow lions on them and a yellow turtleneck with one big orange lion on it, I told my parents that I was waiting for my real parents to come and get me.

My real parents, of course, were a benevolent king and queen who lived in a distant land full of dragons and beautiful, diaphanous dresses.

Luckily, my parents were the sort of parents who thought this was hilarious.

I never quite got over the fantasy world, and when people go on a bit with the boring details of how computers work inside or how to fix a toilet, I am usually hoping that Daniel Craig will show up and spirit me away to a spa somewhere.

My point being: visualization of big things has never been a problem for me.

There’s a fun exercise going around the blogging world, and awesome writer and photographer, Amy Makechnie over at Maisymak tagged me so I could tell all about my Work-In-Progress. She also sent me the novel, The History of Love, when I won it in a drawing on her blog. Yay! Thanks, Amy!

What is the working title of your book?
Reality Ever After

Where did the idea come from for the book?
I wondered what happened to adult children after they starred on reality TV shows, how it would be possible to lead a “normal” life.

What genre does your book fall under?
Commercial women’s fiction.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I think it’s very bad luck to speculate about a movie when the book is in the query process. (I am knocking on wood and crossing myself to ward off bad juju.)

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
When Clementine Monroe Hartley receives an invitation to the twentieth reunion of her family’s reality TV show, “Runs in the Family,” she wants nothing to do with it; she has spent her entire adult life trying to forget the scandal that rocked the end of the show and create a normal life for herself.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I will be querying agents after I finish the revision process.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? May we see an intro?
I started this novel in April, I believe. My goal was to finish by last weekend’s writing conference. I got close! Before I finish the last few chapters, I’m going to go through and make some suggested revisions. I think the result will be a stronger book.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I’m going to have to work on some good comps.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I wanted to know more about peoples’ lives after the cameras go away.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Romance, scandal, forgiveness, a funeral, music, running and family relationships.

I am tagging some of the next big things:
J.Bo.net

Ravena Guron

The Sense of a Journey

Dennis Langley

Khaula Mazhar

Rules of The Next Big Thing:

*Use this format for your post
*Answer the ten questions about your current WIP (work in progress)
*Tag five other writers/bloggers and add their links so we can hop over and meet them.

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Manners Maketh Me Happy

A reward for allergy sufferers... truth and beauty.

Times I have mistakenly prompted an adult to say “thank you” (after years of reminding my children): 2

Times I have watched children order their parents to do things for them: 1,746

Times “being real” is used as an excuse for not being polite: 7,954

I had a really cute professor of Psychology when I was in college. The class was “Personality,” and we did things like analyze our dreams and watch “Harold and Maude” and read The Tao of Pooh. Truly, heading to class each Tuesday and Thursday was an absolute dream. There were office hours with girls (even a few guys!) lining the hallways, waiting to talk to this guru, a true Cult of Personality.

Cool Professor Dude said one thing that stuck with me: “Being nice is highly over-rated.”

Word. As a college student, I thought that truer words had never been spoken.

Now that I’m old, I heartily disagree.

I get what he was saying. I do. But I think we’re at a point where being nice is highly under-rated.

Last week, I called our homeowners’ insurance office; we had to re-do our policy, and we had a few questions. I left a message.

Later that day, the phone rang, and I could see it was the insurance office calling.

“Hello?”

[Butt-dialing-style background noise. Two women discussing something. Rustling.]

“Hello?”

[More background stuff. Candy eating? Nail filing? Talk of what’s for dinner?]

“Heeeeelllllooo?”

Pause. “Ma’am? You’re just going to have to hold on for a minute.”

Huh?

Let me remind you: she called me. I can’t believe it took me that long to hang up, but I was in shock, like when someone says something mean and you think of a great come-back late at night after everyone’s asleep.

She did not call back until three days later.

I usually try to give people the benefit of the doubt. Who knows what’s going on in peoples’ lives? When they cut me off in traffic, I reason that their grandmother might have just died. Or if a clerk is rude at the store, perhaps the person in his line five minutes earlier ranted at him, leaving him rattled and touchy.

But I also find that “being real” has taken the place of good manners. Reality TV and “getting in touch with our true selves” trump good manners, and I have to say that I miss the “pleases” and “thank yous,” the being stoic when life hands you lemons or deals you a bum set of cards.

We went to see Hunger Games in the theater yesterday. I loved reading the trilogy; I loved the writing. I love how Effie Trinkett’s PR/Capitol Mouthpiece character is such a great foil for Katniss. And obviously, manners rank low on the totem pole as you are considering your possible demise. But as a commentary on where manners fit in in our society, Effie scolds Katniss after Katniss may have ticked off some sponsor-types at the Games: “Manners! Manners!” she reminds Katniss.

Ridiculous, we’re supposed to think. In the case of The Hunger Games, perhaps manners are ridiculous. Truth and honor and courage… all noble things. But in our non-Hunger Games world, I’d love it if people could add in a little kindness… and some pleases and thank yous.

One thing my old professor might be discouraged to discover: the proof is in the pudding. He was a really nice guy.