Monday, March 23, 2015

unconventional writing tip

This weekend as I was doing some yard work, I was thinking about comedians.

If you haven't ever listened to an entire comedy show, I would recommend it. There's this thing that really great comedians do. Say they start their show with a joke about honeycrisp apples, and then they move into this topic, and that topic, and something else -- and then suddenly, they bring everything right back to honeycrisp apples in a way that is both completely logical and totally unexpected.

I think good writers also do this.

Take Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell for example. On pages 35-36, the reader learns that Cath's twin sister Wren is a bit boy crazy.

"Wren usually lost interest in a guy as soon as she'd won him over. The conversion was her favorite part. 'That moment,' she told Cath, 'when you realize a guy's looking at you differently--that you're taking up more space in his field of vision. That moment when you know he can't see past you anymore.'"

The narration then goes on to explain that Wren's last high school boyfriend never really converted, which threw off her game.

A funny, clever little way to describe the way a teenage girl views love, yes?

Until you get to page 362, and a new boy enters the story:

"Jandro didn't say much besides, 'It's nice to finally meet you, Cath. Wren talks about you all the time. When you post your Simon Snow stories, I'm not allowed to talk to her until she's finished.' He looked like most of Wren's boyfriends--short hair, clean-cut, built to play football--but Cath couldn't remember Wren looking at any of them the way she looked at Alejandro. Like she'd been converted."

Between pages 36 and 362, the concept of "conversion" in regard to love is not brought up again, but suddenly in one paragraph the whole concept is both called back and the reader instantly understands why Wren's relationship with Jandro is so special. In my opinion, little moments like this are what make a good book a Special Book.

So that's my unconventional writing tip for the day: Listen to comedy shows. Figure out how comedians do it.

Reading right now:

Article: The Righteous Anger of Girls

Book: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender

Sunday, March 15, 2015

reading lately: Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

My work schedule has finally calmed down, which means a return to your regularly scheduled reading, writing, occasionally cleaning program! This weekend I read BIG LITTLE LIES by Liane Moriarty and I definitely recommend it. I love a good dark comedy. I laughed out loud several times and came close to crying on more than one occasion (keep in mind, I am a sucker for certain dramatic moments).

More importantly, I have found that when I am reading, writing comes much easier. (Though I'll also admit that reading a fantastic book like BIG LITTLE LIES can also result in some serious intimidation factor. Everything has its ups and downs.)

About the book:
Set in an Australian suburb, Big Little Lies focuses on three women, all of whom have children at the same preschool. One is a great beauty married to a fabulously rich businessman; they have a “perfect” set of twins. One is the can-do mom who can put together a mean pre-school art project but can’t prevent her teenage daughter from preferring her divorced dad. The third is a withdrawn, single mother who doesn’t quite fit in. Right from the start--thanks to a modern “Greek chorus” that narrates the action--we know that someone is going to end up dead. The questions are who and how. 

Let me know what you think of it!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Everything is awesome

I'm luckier than most people, I know. I intended to write this "count my many blessings" post a few days ago, but unforeseen circumstances arose and I thought a public bragathon would be in bad taste.

But I really wanted to share a few things with InternetLand.

Age 30 was pretty great to ol' Ru over here, and I feel I'd be remiss not to acknowledge it.

I finished my most recent book. I got into PitchWars and made a great friend in my mentor, Emily Martin.

AND THEN ... I signed with potentially the coolest agent ever, Maria Vicente.

[There was no silent-screaming-excitement GIF beautiful enough for this moment. Just imagine whatever you consider to be simultaneously the most exciting, the loveliest, and the most Zen, and insert it here.]

[Have you done it?]

[Thank you and namaste. Eeeeeee!]

Seriously, check out her Instagram. She's smart (duh), she loves my book (what?! get outta town...), and she loves cats and books and Buffy and comics, what else is there to know?!

OK, here's a GIF anyway.

That secret news I keep alluding to over and over again? Well, that's still a secret, unfortunately, but I still feel pretty good about it. And someday I might actually be able to tell you all about it!

I think I am both the fox and the girl in this GIF.

I skied several black diamond runs. (Yes, they were at Brighton, a fairly easy ski resort. Yes, I fell down a lot. No, neither of those facts changes my level of smug self-satisfaction.)

I taught a class on descriptive writing at LDS Storymakers. I ran a dirty dash 5K (poorly, but completely). I finished remodeling my kitchen! I had no new fights with my neighbors. I baked several lovely cakes! Spencer is snuggly and happy as always. I was financially responsible (mostly) and if I do say so myself, I'm kind of knocking it out of the park, Secret Day Job-wise too.

Things are not always perfect (understatement alert) but my family is the bomb.

I have really great friends across the board. If I could give them all Leslie Knopeish nicknames, I would, but this post would become absurdly long. So let's leave it at this, friends and family: I COULD JUST HUG ALL YOUR FACES OFF!*


So until next time (hopefully sooner than a month from now), this is Ru, expressing her thanks to the universe and signing off.

This is just because it's adorable.