The Week in Review

First of all, I lied in my post yesterday when I said I was going to take it easy last night. I went home and did more writing after dinner, got a couple of more pages done.

Now that that's out of the way, let's take a look at what happened this week:

The disappearance of Stacy Peterson, initially a local story that has now gone national, has eerie parallels to the Laci Peterson murder a few years back. The women's names are only different by one syllable. One was proven to have been murdered by her husband, the other's husband is suspected. The case of Stacy is especially creepy because she is the 30-years-younger fourth wife of a police officer whose third wife was found dead in her bathtub after her divorce from Drew Peterson - a death initially ruled as an accidental drowning, but which may well be re-opened before this is over. I hope they find Stacy soon, but, as a member of her family said, "No one really thinks she's going to show up anywhere alive."

Ann Curry of the Today show made it to Antarctica and the South Pole, and as she broadcasted from the extreme end of the earth she demonstrated speech that was clearer and more coherent than the frequent stumbling she does while reading the news. (Sometimes she trips over her tongue so often that I think I could come in off the street and do a better job of reading the news that she does.) Live, on-the-spot reporting seems to be her strength.

Most of this week was spent buried in a five-pound manuscript, going over copyedits in what was my last chance to make revisions to Once Upon A Project. This is the longest book I've written to date, and I decided that if I'm going to take on four main characters with lives of their own, I'd better make a more detailed character background sheet. (Usually I just include the names, physical appearances of, ages, birthdays, and vehicle type of each household, a practice that served me well when writing If These Walls Could Talk but was not sufficient here. Some of the inconsistencies in my manuscript included the anniversary month of one couple, the timing of a secondary character's divorce, and the type of vehicle driven by another secondary character. I feel almost guilty for putting the copyeditor through so much. (Incidentally, I learned that who I initially thought was a man is actually a she when she e-mailed to thank me for the praise I gave her through my editor. The editor referred to her with the universal pronoun 'he,' and as I read the points she made I kept thinking to myself, "This guy certainly has a woman's instincts." She did the finest, most extensive editing job I've seen in nine years of novel writing.

This weekend will find me working on the laptop with the TV tuned to Turner Classics for the airing of Mr. Skeffington, a classic from 1944 with Bette Davis as a vain, spoiled woman who goes from a young, sought-after woman in the years before World War I to . . . well, I don't want to give the plot away, so suffice to say it's a good film. It airs tomorrow (Saturday) morning on TCM at 7:30AM Eastern, 6:30 Central (I usually get up before dawn on weekends.) Mr. Skeffington is preceded at 6AM Eastern, 5AM Central by Four Daughters from 1938, a sweet but sad story that introduced John Garfield to cinema and was re-made in 1954 as Young at Heart with a different ending and actors too old for the parts they were playing. Yes, I'll be up for that one, too, but Mr. Skeffington is by far the superior picture. After all, it's got Bette Davis. find that I tend to get quite a bit of writing done while watching these old stories and love it when they run good ones on Saturday mornings, even if I've seen them before.

It's been a good week for me. I had some good news on two consecutive days related to my writing. I don't mean to be mysterious, but the fact is that one item wouldn't be of interest to anyone other than me, and as for the other, it would be silly to say anything about it at this point.

I wish all you a good weekend, and I envy those of you who get Monday off in observance of Veteran's Day.


Patricia W. said...

Good news is good news. And if it's important to you, that's all that matters.

Won't be joining you for Mr. Skeffington. Never been much of a Bette Davis fan.

But I do plan to get some writing done.

shelia said...

Congrats on finishing up your copyedits. Sounds like you have a busy but relaxing weekend ahead of you.

Mel said...

"The editor referred to her with the universal pronoun 'he,' and as I read the points she made I kept thinking to myself, "This guy certainly has a woman's instincts." "

Too funny. At least she overlooked it and still felt appreciated. Nothing like a good editor. Nothing like an editor who still loves your writing even after you've made common mistakes that would drive any other person crazy. (I'm probably going to send mine a dozen roses when we're done.)

And go ahead envy me. I have Monday off. I think I'll catch up on my writing.

You also have a very good weekend.

bettye griffin said...

Patricia - Not a fan of Bette Davis!!! I'm shocked!

Shelia - You said it!

Mel - Regarding your having a three-day weekend while I have to get up and go to work Monday, if I weren't brown, I'd be green.

Regarding the editing situation, my editor was very complimentary, but the copyeditor, who is a freelancer rather than a Kensington employee, didn't say whether she thought my story was good or should be used to wrap fish. I think her job is to only to do the sleeves-rolled-up dirty work of making my prose accurate across the board and keep her personal opinions out of it. (I was tempted to ask, but decided against putting her on the spot.)

I think these freelancers are a Godsend not only to authors, but to busy editors who just don't have time to dot the I's and cross the T's anymore. The heavy responsibilities of deciding whether a story has the potential to do well in the marketplace, reading through manuscripts to make sure the writing is up to par and the story is pretty much what was proposed, plus coordinating every stage of the production schedules is just about all they can handle.

Reon said...


I LOVE old movies, too, and Bette Davis. I don't know how I missed "Mr. Skeffington." I've never seen that one. Will try to catch it. Thanks for the heads-up.

Oh, and way-ta-go! on finishing your editing on time.

How in the world do you write AND watch TV? I can't do it. Have tried.

bettye griffin said...

Hey Reon,
After you've seen it, we'll have to meet for lunch (that's a movie-related joke . . . you'll get it after you watch it).

I never write in complete quiet. As long as my thoughts are clear, my fingers move over the keyboard. I don't have to look at my fingers or the screen. If I'm not watching TV, I've got music on. Nothing works better than love songs when I'm creating a romantic scene.

reon said...

I enjoyed "Mr. Skeffington"! Thanks for mentioning. Got a little choked up at the end. Yes, we'll have to do lunch and invite Janie, of course!:-)

Leigh Russell said...

Hi Bettye, I find the other bloggers' comments very restrained. I want to know your secret! It's all very mysterious and sounds fantastic! Well done, whatever it is and I'll be back to find out...
I love your cartoons and see you are an obsessive word counter, as I was for about nine months after I began writing earlier this year. I felt stressed if I didn't complete 2,000 a day every and each evening I'd add my totals. I did this until I'd written about half a million words, but now I'm far more relaxed about it all, coinciding with my discovering blogging!

You're welcome to visit my blog where comments from fellow writers are always welcome.

Leigh Russell said...

I can have the radio on when I'm writing. I can't cope with music, which I find distracting, but the hum of voices in the background is OK. I find that surprising, but there it is.

bettye griffin said...

Reon - The ending always gets to me, too. I knew you'd get a kick out of that running gag in the movie. It's great to know someone who enjoys a good melodrama!

Wish I'd remembered to point out that the Cary Grant/Irene Dunne classic, My Favorite Wife came on this (Sunday) morning!

Leigh - Trust me, my "secret" really isn't that big a deal. My lips are sealed; it really would be foolish for me to say anything so early in the game. The spring is time enough. But I hope you'll come back before that!

I'm not really obsessive; it was a week-and-a-half since the last time I remembered to check my word count on my WIP. It came as a pleasant surprise to see how much I'd gotten done, especially considering that I'd worked so extensively on my copyedits. But with 7 weeks, 1 day, 14 hours, 29 minutes and rapidly diminishing seconds (can you tell I have a TimeLeft counter on the bottom of my screen?) until my self-imposed goal to have my WIP complete, I do find myself checking my word counts daily.

Thanks for posting. Yes, I'll visit your blog. I hope you come back and visit mine!