Monday, November 09, 2009

Telling Ten

Ten Things That Appear in Your Novel, and What They Tell Me

Cats > 4: You don't own cats, because if you did you'd know that your heroine will have to run a lint roller over every article of clothing and furniture she owns at least three times a day to keep them as immaculate as you describe them, and spend most of her spare time cleaning up hairballs and emptying litter boxes. Also, her house would not smell like the wildflower meadow you've repeatedly compared it to; it would smell like cat (or the litter boxes she forget to empty.)

Dream Sequence: There was just no other way to deliver that flashback while sparing the reader the worst details except while your protagonist remembered it while sleeping (and woke up two seconds before Uncle Frank was mowed down by that runaway weinermobile) -or- you remembered in the middle of writing Chapter Seven something important that you should have told the reader in Chapter Two, but don't feel like rewriting.

Identified Black Moment: Does RWA now require their members to actually incorporate the phrase "black moment" during the black moment?

Kidnapping: Either someone doesn't want the hero and heroine to have sex, or someone does.

Love Scene: a) Fade-to-black -- Right as you were getting into the big love scene, your kids came home from school, your husband came home from work, or your mom called; b) Public -- Your mom called, and you had a fight with her, then you wrote the love scene; c) Unexpected -- your husband came home from work two hours before the kids are due home from school.

Spell of Convenience: You've suddenly realized that no one is going to survive the final showdown unless they employ the magic spell written on the scroll one of them just stumbled over on the way to their doom.

Sword Fight Scene, Extended: You've watched The Princess Bride more than fifty times.

Treasure Chest, Diamond-Filled: In lieu of the sperm or ovum-shaped journey diamonds you were expecting for your birthday, the hub got you a new vacuum or microwave.

Unexpected and Brutal Torture of Hero: The treasure chest filled with diamonds didn't quite make up for the lousy birthday gift.

Weather Report: You rewrote the opening line three hundred times, you're sick to death of opening lines, and who cares what PBW thinks?


  1. Gulp! I have watched The Princess Bride more than 50 times but that has nothing to do with any extended sword fighting scene. Really.

  2. Anonymous6:36 AM

    Thanks for the >4 part. I have four cats and I only need to vacuum once a week, clean up hairballs a couple times a week, and scoop litter once a day. And my house usually smells fine because of air freshners! And I'm not a crazy cat lady, I'm married!!!


  3. ROFL! Priceless. Thanks for the morning laugh.


  4. Hilarious! Just what I needed for a day-brightener. (scanning work for any of the above)

  5. Very funny. I had to look up The Black Moment (don't tell anyone) and the Love Scene section was so comical.

    Meet My Mates #3 - Quilly

  6. I love this list. It's making me frantically think over my works again to see if I've done any of these things, and if so, why, and whether I should maybe rethink that move.

  7. I love the cat one, very very true. As for extended sword fighting due to the Princess Bride, sounds ok to me. ;)

  8. I have seven cats. And a cat door. I don't think any of my characters has ever owned a cat. Wonder why?

  9. Don't forget about the cat mistaking the H's leg for a scratching post...and an even funnier picture popped into my head of an unfortunate game of cat and "mouse" under the blanket! Oh that would be so funny to write!

  10. Before my neighbor's relatives visited, she asked me how her house looked. I told her the house looked great, but lacked the courage to tell her it smelled of kitty litter.

  11. And the dog hair, Lynn, can't forget the dog hair and the scattered toys, ruined shoes, and the expensive table leg gnawed to bits.

    I so needed this laugh, today. Thanks!

  12. AnnaM.2:42 PM

    Or the dog getting jealous of the hero and peeing in the shoes he took off.


  13. Hi Lynn :)
    Thank you for the humorous post!
    All the best,


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