Word Clouds

I have a fairly serious obsession with word clouds. I love the way they turn sentences into pictures and chapters into works of art. I love the way they take ideas, all serious and heavy and full of meaning, and turn them into soft wisps of air.

This is the word cloud for Underneath. It’s a veritable treasure trove of information if you know what you’re looking for. Here’s what sticks out for me:

  • the word said is the biggest word because I use it a lot. A lot. I like the word said – to me it’s where the story stops to take a breath.
  • unlike in the Inbetween word cloud (see below) Alex’s name is much bigger than Robbin’s but there’s only word in the whole cloud that’s bigger than Finn.
  • the phrases “blood magic” and “Dark Alex” and “see darkness turned.” Hmm…foreshadowing? Could be.

That’s the word cloud for Inbetween. In it, I see the aforementioned affinity for “said” and the phrases “love two” and “being both.” Although this cloud was generated randomly, those are pretty much the central themes of the book. I know! It’s like magic isn’t it?

Soul Mates

I don’t believe in soul mates. I used to, when I was young and stupid. Now that I’m old and stupid, I know better. The idea that there’s one person – one perfect person who will love your quirks, embrace your flaws, and provide perfect balance to your otherwise topsy turvy life – in a world of like 7 billion people is too ridiculous to be true.  Not to mention mean spirited on the universe’s part. I prefer to think there’s a team of lets say like 5000 or so people with whom you could, under the right circumstances, have a happy life. A different happy life with each of them.

Of course that’s not what I write about. Soul mates are the bread and butter of the genre.  They’re what every romance novel I’ve ever read – whether the heroine spent her time twirling a parasol or swinging a sword – was ultimately about. In Inbetween, Tab Bennett, the heroine, has a soul mate (or Homecoming as the elvish call it). They belong together. Undeniably. Everlasting.

Now all I have to do is figure out how to get them to their happy ending.



Edward with a Whip

Like so many American families, mine has been torn apart by an inability to agree on Team Edward or Team Jacob. My sister says Edward is a control freak and a stalker. I say Jacob is a potential date-rapist and a moron. She calls Bella’s feelings for Edward an unhealthy obsession. I call them true love. That’s why when she called to tell me about a book that was, and I quote, “a grown up version of Twilight” I was hesitant to get involved. I mean, why reopen those wounds?

Then, of course, I read Fifty Shades of Grey anyway.

In it a young woman meets and falls in love with an older, more experienced, gorgeous, tortured millionaire. He’s controlling, bossy, and inexplicably worried about her safety even before there’s a threat to it. He tells her he’s bad for her but that he can’t stay away from her. Then the girl befriends a werewolf—Wait. No, sorry, that’s Twilight. In this book they enter into a BDSM relationship where she is the submissive. They’re really similar books, which makes sense because Fifty Shades started out as Twilight fan fiction.

[Don’t you think  Stephanie “no sex ‘til we’re married” Meyer probably hates that? Edward with a riding crop? Bella handcuffed to a bedpost. That’s not just premarital, it’s deviant!]

As a general rule I don’t understand fan fiction. I don’t get the appeal. For me, it’s not the real (fictional) characters unless the real author is the one moving them around. For example, although Christian Grey talks about butt plugs and ball gags quite freely, I don’t imagine Edward Cullen could force himself to say either. That said, once I put the Twilight connection aside and got passed the massive overuse of the phrase inner goddess, Fifty Shades of Grey was an interesting read – full of sex and intensity and beautiful, emotionally crippled soul mates, which are like my favorite kind.

Also, I really dig it when something magic like this happens to a writer and suddenly, for no reason, their work just catches on. I heard that I could have found the whole story online for free with just a little clever googling but I was happy to pay for all three books in the trilogy. E.L. James has my thirty dollars and my congratulations.

the casting game

even though i have a book to write and kids to raise and laundry to do i am sitting here at my desk googling the pretty that is chris hemsworth. (it’s not because i have a crippling case of writer’s block.)

why? because instead of taking care of any of those things  i’m casting the movie version of inbetween and  i’ve decided he should play alex hilldale.

which brings up the question of who should play the other characters. for example, who is going to play tab bennett, our plucky heroine? not kristen stewart. she bites her lips too much.  megan fox? she’s beautiful but in a way i find extremely frightening. maybe phoebe tonkin who plays faye on the cw’s the secret circle.

[note to self: why do you know that?]

i have no idea who might play robbin turnbough but the part of george bennett will be played by jason dohring – due entirely to my abiding love for logan echols.

love is irrational

A few months ago a pretty well known agent read and liked my book. She called the story original, praised my writing, and then just when I thought she was going to represent me, passed on the project.

Want to know why she decided to pass? She felt that the hero didn’t act rationally. He did things that didn’t make sense, said things he shouldn’t have, and seemed incapable of thinking through the consequences of his actions.

Um…that pretty much describes my entire romantic life.