Thursday, January 22, 2009

...random New Year thoughts

For you, Jeanna...a box of the all-Asian-American gotta have. Koda Blue Star (California grown) glutinous rice flour.

Happy Year of the Ox. Or close to the Year of the Ox. I have no clue why I celebrate Chinese New Year, probably just getting in touch with my roots. Something about the lunar new year draws me.

I fell off the histamine bandwagon today. On one hand, it's good to know I really am allergic to histamine, on the other--I seriously miss chocolate. I ate half a bag of those cheap Wal-mart peanut butter cups, which are much better than Reese's because the peanut butter is creamier, and when I woke up in the morning (before I discovered I looked like Quasimodo), said, "doesn't seem to be affecting me, maybe I should eat the other half".

I had an apple instead.

I'm also discovering an intense loathing for apples. I don't care how good they are, crispy, juicy, sweet, sour--whatever. They aren't chocolate. Imho, the only thing fruit is good for is as a base for chocolate covered jelly sticks.

Healthy, s'melty.


Another random thought is setting, and I've been thinking about it for weeks now. People put their stories in all kinds of places. Some of which are pretty damned interesting, but setting can only go so far. It's not so much "setting as character", but setting that draws a reaction--good or bad. Your hero can go crashing through the forest, or running through a mall, but somehow, somewhere, the setting has to be experienced "through" the hero.

...say if you put your h/h in a city? Lots of people use generic cities and make up names for them, what makes your city unique? How does your hero react to the city? He can walk down a street, and unless the pavement is making his shoes stick, or it's all uphill and he's struggling, I really don't care. Why even bother to mention the sidewalk? If he breathes, he breathes in smells, if it's summer in New York, he'll have sweat rolling down his sides--if it's raining, he'll get wet socks and random splash-bys.

Synopsizes? Hate 'em worse now. I only read them if I like the writing. And since this is turning into "Jodi's list of pet peeves", let's put feminine heroes on top of my list.

Not girly men, or sensitive men--but men who sound like the writer. They over explain, talk in full, emotionally open sentences, and use words like "azure", and "demon drink".
Which leads into my second man-peeve. Swearing.

If you can't get it right, just don't. Don't drop the f-bomb if it doesn't come naturally, but if you have a good ole boy, or guy from New York saying, "heck", or "gosh/golly", either the writer grew up during the fifties or doesn't talk to men.

It's a craft issue. Making individual characters. Simply opening a view and bleeding out doesn't work.

On the plus side, when I went to see my husband there was a road closed sign and I--in my infinite wisdom, said, "yeah right. There are people going in and out of that stretch of road. It's just "no thru traffic"

So I drove around the big barricade and down the hill. And said, "Looks clear. Must have been some kind of glitch." The next day the headlines said "School Bus Drives into Hole." The picture was of the bus bogged in a hole big enough to swallow a horse. They did the same thing I did--drove around the barricade. No idea how I missed it. I mean--it was huge. I'm kinda thinking I have a guardian angel.


Alice Audrey said...

So I shouldn't whisper "peanut butter candy" in your ear or anything, huh?

Jeanna said...

Chocolate is overrated, and the good stuff is too expensive; can't you eat some other kind of sugar?
Here I am spitting out chocolate.
My favorite stories make the setting the main character, like anything by Eudora Welty (who taught here) and Soul Catcher (Washington state again).
All I can say is pay attention to those signs in northern California or you may drive off a cliff.
Thanks for the photo!

jodi said...

no, Alice--don't whisper anything but fruit, vegetables and plain proteins. :)

Lol, Jeanna--I'm not ready to pay my kid. I'm using his car while mine is being used by my other kid. And you're welcome. It's like cornstarch. :)

Unhinged said...

Oh yeah, I'm a firm believer that we all have guardian angels...I call mine Kym. She only saves me from the biggest dramas, though, like when I could drive off the side of the road into the creek.

She'll let me go down headfirst on the street in front of a crowd any day, the wench.

Kaige said...

Soooo... you're saying you wouldn't be up for reading the synopsis that had something like:

"Gosh! You don't think that azure demon drink I saw Otto downing at Moe's last night had anything to do with him driving that school bus into that hole? Do ya?"

Glad you avoided the same fate!

Alice Audrey said...

I won't tempt you with food. I wouldn't want you to return the favor when I go back on a diet.

deanna said...

Happy New Year, Jodi (two days ago); may food treat you better.

Funny, but it's mainly been women who've taught me to swear. Still I don't know that I can write it right for a character of either gender. But if I've ever got a man and woman lost on Mt. Rainier with snow freezing their ankles and I find the right place for him to say more than dang, I'll let you read it. :o)

You write very sweetly of angels and rough roads. Sniffle.