Craigslist & Centipedes

Centipedes

Hate centipedes; love this post.Centipede_(PSF)

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Links that I Like, & Think You Might, Too

  • ‘Tis the season for colds and flus! I’m pretty sure I’ve been ill more days than I have been healthy. Ugh. Yet perhaps that is about to change, now that I know about this fun remedy. (It’s worth a try anyway, right?)
  • If you don’t like the Toast, then I’m not sure we can be friends. (In particular, pretty much everything Mallory Ortberg writes makes me chortle.)
  • If Hermione were the main character in “Harry Potter.” (Replete with feminism and gifs, you will not regret reading this article.)
  • What Kristy Thomas (yes, of The Babysitters Club Kristy Thomas) thinks of the Sweet Valley Confidential series.
  • One Dimensional Female Character from a Male-Driven Comedy. (Because sometimes, SNL gets it right.)
  • I’m a sucker for an infograph, and the classics. This link provides both.
  • A guy wrote a mystery novel with teddy bears, and got extremely irritated at what he perceived to be a negative review.
  • Men are from bacon, women are from lemons. Read.

Thoughts on a Book I Just Finished Reading

That’s right, folks, I’ve finished The History of Miss Betsy Thoughtless. And holy bovine, this book’s ending did not disappoint. Ah, the hilarity of a novel from the eighteenth century.

lol

During my last blog post about this novel, the hero of the story was courting a boring chick who I had secretly hoped would prove to be a lesbian, but whom he actually just married.

I'm assuming this is what hero Trueworth looked like on & after his wedding night.

I’m assuming this is what hero Trueworth looked like on & after his wedding night.

While Mr. Trueworth was busy being bored with the now “Mrs.” Snoozeville, the charming and vivacious Miss Betsy was being flirty and tempting possible rapists. This behavior worried her brothers – because, come on, you can’t expect men not to rape you if you’re going to be all beautiful and shit, right? The eighteenth century was possibly not the best time to be a woman.

Too bad, for Betsy, that it doesn't exist yet.

Too bad, for Betsy, that it doesn’t exist yet.

But don’t worry – Betsy’s brother’s weren’t worried for her physical and emotional well-being, or anything silly like that. In fact, they weren’t even particularly worried about her loss of virtue. They were worried she would be raped and people would find out about it and think poorly of the Thoughtless family – particularly, them.

Brothers.

Brothers.

Betsy’s brothers are so eager to get her married (and thus, off their hands & reputations), that they push her into a marriage with a guy who’s only pretending to love her.

Enter: Mr. Munden. #dundunduhn

Enter: Mr. Munden. #dundunduhn

Mr. Munden proves to be a real jerk, not giving Betsy much money, expecting her to pay for things for the house out of the pittance of an allowance he does give her, telling her she was being a prude when his friend he was hoping would give him money tries to rape her, and then having sexy times with a woman Betsy tries to help. Understandably, Betsy flees to her older brother’s house. Older Mr. Thoughtless allows this, because the woman Betsy was trying to help, and with whom Betsy’s husband committed adultery, was Mr. T’s former mistress.

Please don't tell my boyfriend I posted something Star Trek Enterprise related on this blog. I will never hear the end of it. #secrets

Please don’t tell my boyfriend I posted something Star Trek Enterprise related on this blog. I will never hear the end of it. #secrets

Some other stuff happens, but the important things are that Mr. Trueworth’s wife dies a few weeks after they’re married (smallpox), and Mr. Munden (Betsy’s husband) dies after their separation from some illness that’s never explicitly named, but sounds like “I’m-a-weenie-who-can’t-handle-my-karma.” Trueworth sees Betsy again for the first time in months, and realizes that not even frigid sexy times with his boring, now-deceased wife could help him get over Betsy. He still loves her, she’s really been in love with him since before she even married Mr. Villain, and after an appropriate grieving period, they get hitched.

A happy ending, wrought through 2 horribly painful deaths. #aw

A happy ending, wrought through 2 horribly painful deaths. #aw

Told you it was hilarious.

Because the goo…

Because the good news is that we learn just as much about writing from awful books as we do from top-notch books. That’s why we’re encouraged to read everything. So with that spirit in mind, I’d like to look at some of the glaring mistakes of No Name Book that no author should make and no self-respecting author should allow to be published with their name on it.

First, my personal pet-peeve, copious backstory dump. For those unfamiliar with the term, backstory dump is when the author packs the first couple of pages—or first couple of chapters in this case—full of block paragraphs of exposition. Not just any exposition, the life-story of the main characters including all of the important bits of their pasts that will play a role in the current story. No! There are so many ways you can convey that sort of information without dumping it all out in explanatory paragraphs at the beginning! Let it unfold gradually, through dialog and action, and as part of the natural arc of the story!

This quote is from Merry Farmer’s blog, which deals a lot with reading and writing and is often pretty entertaining at the same time. Some of her blogs are romance-specific, and I’m not generally a romance fan, but I still highly recommend reading her blogs – especially since she writes much historical romance, and so a lot of her posts are about “what the hell were these people thinking when –“

But on to my perspective. First of all, reading her blog post, I completely agree with her opinion of the copious backstory dump. Exposition tends to be boring. BUT while reading this particular blog post, I began to wonder – does it have to be boring?

There has to be a way to make even large chunks of information highly entertaining.

One of my favorite novels, ever, is Northanger Abbey. NA begins with a lot of exposition, but all of that exposition is also a parody of gothic novel beginnings. The author (Jane Austen) covers a great deal of time (birth to marriageable age) in a few pages, and writes clever, pithy lines that always make me giggle.

Is that the trick, then? Humor? If you make me laugh while reading, I don’t tend to notice the format of the reading – I just let the ab workout take over and gleefully turn the pages.

What are your thoughts? I feel like this topic is pretty relevant since many people are beginning novels today (NaNo for the win! I’m not doing it this year, but I will cheer for you).

Link-Storm

A few awesome links I thought I would share (you know, instead of doing a real post). But seriously, read these, lest your head explode from missing so much awesome-ness.

Speaking of which, has everyone written their romance and posted a link to Mr. Linky? Based on the glaring lack of links on my widget – wow, that sounded dirty – I know the answer’s “no.” So get writing, writers! & maybe share a link dripping with awesome-sauce in the comments below.

Short Story Stimulus: Being Creepy

If you have casually perused my blog at all, you will know that I kind of love reading Craigslist’s missed connections. Sometimes sad, often funny, these writings have the potential to touch my soul, but more often, skeeve me out.

clist

So, this week’s writing prompt? Be obsessive. Write the creepiest Craigslist missed connection you can think of. Maybe you can use it in a story or something, but post the m.c. writing on your blog & link to it with Mister Linky – so that Craiglist can inspire even more amusement, for me.

I really think this prompt can inspire some great work!