Writing, editing, and family news!

Hey, everyone! I hope everyone out there is having a great day.

I’ve been hard at work on my memoir, and I’ve noticed that the opening chapters are boring. Ugh. I’m not sure how to fix it. I think the content is necessary to lay the groundwork of everything that comes after it. In other words, my early childhood was idyllic, and there’s no real drama there, and I’m just describing it all very humdrum. Like, look at this passage and you’ll see what I mean:

They [referring to my paternal grandparents] were very gentle and laid-back, and they treated me with a lot of kindness. I’d often spend the night with them on Fridays. On Saturday mornings, Granny Smith would make me as many pancakes as I could eat. My record was twelve.

Granny Smith was a natural seamstress, and she made many of the outfits that my brother and I wore—special clothes with Sesame Street characters embroidered onto uniquely patterned corduroy. We looked so old-fashioned with all the handsewn clothes. Philip’s blond hair was cut in a bob, so he looked like someone out of the nineteenth century who you’d see running up and down the street pushing a circle with a stick.

Our parents taught us to play ball with whiffle balls and whiffle bats. My brother and I were also put in soccer and other sports. I didn’t have an athletic bone in my body, but I got a lot of exercise and had fun.

Oh, geez. You see the problem. Ugh. Now, at some point when I was around eight years old, the shit hit the fan, and there’s not a dull moment from that point onward. But… okay, here we go. On page 25 out of 290, I wrote, “But my mom became stressed out.” That means that much of the first… 8 or 9% of the book is dullsville. Hmm.

I could try to cut content from that portion. And/or I could try to embellish it. (The rest of my life has been so interesting that no embellishment is required, believe me. And I’d rather keep it unembellished as a matter of artistic integrity.) And/or I could rework the order of the narration, starting with when my family life went to hell and showing how things used to be in flashbacks. Hmm. Because that way the reader’s already invested in what’s going on, if that makes sense. What to do, what to do? All suggestions are welcome. There are probably no right or wrong answers here.

Hmm… when I wrote its original draft, the goal was just to recall everything I can remember of import. But with young childhood, everything that I remember seems more or less commonplace. Maybe I should consider parsing it and just chopping out some parts. I can save those parts in a separate doc. I don’t think the memoir is too long. Right now it has 93,509 words. I’m actually proud of that because whenever I write fiction, it maxes out at 78,000 words. (Not counting my omnibuses.) Yeah, I think that’s what I should do. The opening needs to be parsed. I even want to add more words later to describe more stuff from later in life. Yeah, okay, I’ll print it out and attack it with a red ink pen.

I feel tired and crabby and headachey today because I slept poorly. I suspect that LuLu the pup spent hours and hours trying to wake me up, starting at the crack of dawn, if not sooner. I ignored her. Or, rather, I kept shoving her huge body off my bed. Bad dog. Bad, bad dog. Meg needs her beauty sleep. Sigh. I’m going to call my mom on the phone now…

Wow, I got some news there. My sister’s pregnant with her second child. It’s weird because I’ve been getting some psychic intuition about her having a second child (which no one ever told me she was attempting), and in my visions, her second child is much harder to raise than her current child, who’s the happiest toddler alive. (She goes around chanting, “Happy, happy!” from what I’ve been told.)

I’ve never met my niece, Li’l Sweetmeats, because I don’t trust my sister farther than I can throw her. My concern is that if I come to care for Li’l Sweets, which would happen within five minutes of meeting her, I’d want to kidnap her as soon as my sister becomes abusive toward her, which is just a matter of time. And my sister’s a social worker who knows how to play the system, and I’m the paranoiac in the family, so no one would take my reports seriously. I don’t want to wind up in federal prison, so I feel safer never meeting Li’l Sweets.

As crazy as that might seem, my brother has also chosen never to meet Li’l Sweets for much the same reason.

Screenshot (423)

There’s a screenshot of him saying as much. I appreciated his support and solidarity. So I’m not the only person who’s afraid to develop an emotional attachment to Li’l Sweets.

And now there will be a second child. If my intuition is correct (and I hope it isn’t), the second child will really give my sister a run for her money. I don’t have a good feeling about that. More like a sense of doom. I’m glad I’ve put walls up around them.

14 thoughts on “Writing, editing, and family news!

  1. I like the idea of flashbacks, but it depends – do you want it to read like a novel or an autobiography? If the latter then it’s fine for it to stay as it is (I actually didn’t find the passage you quoted boring), but if it’s meant to be more like a novel then flashbacks could work. Just my 2 cents worth! X

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oooooh, that’s brilliant food for thought! Thank you!! I need to ask myself that! Do I want to “novelize” it? Thanks for chiming in!! Huh. I’ll put some thought into it!!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. That’s always fun!! YAY!! 😀 Your vacation was super exciting! Never a dull moment!! Yeah!! You’re on the right track there!! Keep it up!! YAY!!

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Omg, Meg – you are one of the best writers I know. As I tell you all the time. Those passages you think are boring? They are not boring. I think they are very descriptive.
    I would read the hell out of your memoir and I can’t wait for you to finish it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. YAY!! Thanks so much for your support!! I’m getting more excited about my memoir lately for sure!! Thanks for thinking the passages are descriptive!! YAY! About flashbacks, I just had a weird thought. They’re typically about bad memories, right? How could a writer incorporate flashbacks of good things? Huh. Something to chew over, because why not? [Shrugs.]

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was thinking you’d start with the dark as flashbacks and then next chapter would be the good calm stuff. Like the more traditional approach. But I am confident that even if you tell the story in order and don’t do flashbacks it would be a good read.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m getting an idea now!! Thanks!! I could do that. I could open with bad stuff that would grip the reader and then circle back to calmer days. Genius! I’ll turn the ideas over in my brain!!

        Liked by 2 people

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