Reading all the Books in the World

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Tonight I was at Barnes & Nobles in Dearpark to support Reality Theatre’s gift wrapping fundraiser. Reality Theatre’s a great organization. They chose twenty-one teenagers from all over the Chicagoland area to improvise and perform anti-drugs, anti-drinking, and anti-smoking skits at schools throughout the area. The least I could do was support the cause.

It’s exciting to meander through a book store, dabbling in book ownership possibilities. Perusing the titles in a book store in search of a particular item is quite opposite from my goal-less adventure tonight. This time, I was just killing time. My wandering was a free and lucid journey through the recesses of my interest inventory.

I daydreamed down the psychology and children with special needs aisles, although my main interest was discovering new mystery authors, as well as authors with whom I had done booksignings at mystery conferences throughout the country.

In college, I set out to read as many new authors as possible, this in a library setting as my pocketbook was far less accomodating than my imagination. I’d pored through Ann Rand’s the Fountain Head and Atlas Shrugged and learned about the affect of pure capitalism on society from the point of view of a female architect.

Later I moved on to Theodore Dreiser, an author who wrote fascinating, introspective novels about the impact of science, economics, and chance on our humanity. After all these years, Sister Carrie sticks out in my mind. In it, the author explored a young woman’s attempt to make it in the outside world at a time when women were either homemakers or harlots.

These days, I’m lucky if I get to read two pages of a book before fading off into la-la land. I am humbled by the ambitious reading goals that held me when I was unencumbered by career or family. Yet tonight’s journey through the book store refreshed my spirit. My soul sparkles in the night, as if it just returned from a star spa.

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Book Revisions

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Serious authors realize that a plethora of revisions are necessary before submitting their completed manuscript to a literary agent or book publisher. While some writers dread that tedious task, others like myself savor it! It’s a real adrenalyn boost to discover the exact word or phrase that describes an emotional reaction, setting, or dialogue you wish to convey to your readers. 

The caveat in revision: Don’t devote an inordinate amount of brain cells to “fixing” the chapters you’ve already written when you should be staggering towards the finish line. In my first suspense novel, the award-winning Deadly Choices (http://www.jenniespallone.com/) , I revised each chapter each time I sat in front of the computer. Then I’d move ahead to my writing of the day.

By my third novel, I’d resolved to plug ahead until I was three-quarters of the way through the manuscript. What pain and guilt I felt in that process! Like being unable to scratch a series of mosquito bites because your hands are tied behind your back!

I did plug on, however. Window of Guilt, my third novel is almost completed. I’ll be searching for an agent or a mid-sized publisher once my “who done it” character comes clean. Yesterday, I tried to urge her on but she led me on a different course! Manna for another blog….