Authors of e-books within the romance genre have jumped on the trend of not ending their books at the conclusion of their stories. I do not refer to the invidious, pernicious act of publishing books in installments in order to suck more money from readers. I refer to epilogues, which happens to the be this week's topic for the #MFRW 52-week blog challenge.
Many readers like epilogues. Otherwise, I would think, writers wouldn't ride that bandwagon. Or maybe they would. I don't consult other writers when I write my own stories. I do my own thing and suffer the consequences.
Regardless, epilogues conclude the story after the story supposedly ends. I think it's cheating. I won't say I've never included an epilogue in my own books; I will say that I seldom indulge in writing them. I like that when I mentally include "FINIS" or "THE END" as the last words in the manuscript it really is the end. I don't extend the story unless I'm building on another character to give that character his or her own story, like I did the Twin Moons Saga, the Russian Love series, and the Tree of Life trilogy.
Seeing "Epilogue" in books I read does not fill me with gratitude or excitement. I don't consider it free "bonus" content. I do wonder why the author couldn't wrap up the story without adding a chapter after THE END. If I didn't necessarily care for the book, I don't bother reading it. Occasionally, the epilogue satisfies by wrapping up any loose ends, but not so often that I recommend using them.
Overall, I think they're lazy.
Finish your story, damn it. Then you won't need an epilogue.
As we wind down on this years 52-week blog challenge, this week's writing prompt asks about what participants wear when they write.
The flippant answer is: "Clothes."
Seriously, though, I work from home. Nobody sees me, except for the occasional delivery person. The cats certainly don't care about my attire. The dog loves me regardless of how or whether I am clothed. The horses haven't expressed an opinion: they just want their treats and maybe a moment's attention. My husband generally doesn't comment: he knows better.
I wear what's comfortable. In warm weather, that's usually a loose, flowing dress or shorts and tee shirt. In the winter, it's jeans and a sweater. If the weather suits, I'll go barefoot; if not, then slippers and/or socks. Sometimes I even wear shoes all day.
I share the preference to go without shoes with my younger son. This is the kid who took Mama's words to heart when I told him about my own barefoot adventures with livestock: "It's easier to hose off your feet than to clean your shoes."
Unfortunately, a sedentary lifestyle, age, and a sluggish thyroid mean weight gain. So, many of my outfits don't fit any more. Last weekend I finally decided to start clearing out closets. I sighed over the pretty clothes I wore in my "skinny" days even as I acknowledged that I'll never again fit into them. It's a difficult and painful realization to admit to corpulence.
Which leads me to the medical profession and my distaste for its judgmental practitioners. A long while ago our family doctor shut down her small practice. I transferred to another physician who had the audacity to tell me to eat fewer cheeseburgers. I know I'm fat. That remark was really unnecessary.
I never went back.
So, I've abandoned fashion. I'm not going to lose weight. And I prize comfort above all when it comes to clothing.
Dressing to impress is for other people.
Writers, like professional athletes and gamblers, are rumored to be a suspicious lot indulging in odd, idiosyncratic practices and rituals that set them to the correct frame of mind and, if the powers that be are willing, ensure success. Just like I don't collect things or have any special (if useless) talents, I don't have any writing rituals, either.
Egad, how utterly boring I am.
I don't have a particular time set aside to write. I don't have a special place designated as my writing spot. I don't have any distinctive habits that must be performed to settle my mind or get me into the writing frame. I'm pretty random when it comes to my writing.
I write when the urge strikes me. Sometimes that's frequent, not so much other times. I once went around a decade without writing anything creative--just copy for my job. That was, overall, a pretty dark time of my life. Bitter cynicism permeated me, to the point at which I wasn't really joking when I said I sacrificed hope for Lent.
Although many writing experts advise aspiring authors to dedicate themselves to a daily habit of writing a certain number of words or for a certain length of time, even setting aside a scheduled "writing period," I never subscribed to that. I learned long ago that forcing myself to write produces utter garbage. If the story doesn't interest me, then I and my readers are better off if I simply abandon the project. Sometimes I return to an old project that recaptures my interest, but that seldom happens.
Those writing experts would probably call me undisciplined; however, I don't see it that way at all. When I write, I'm very disciplined. I follow the characters as they lead me through their journeys and self-edit along the way. When that draft's finished, I go through it again wearing my "editor's hat." Heaven forbid I deliver a rough draft to my editor. Finessing the manuscript as much as I can before she gets her hands on it keeps her rates at a level I can afford.
For what it's worth, those same experts also caution against editing as one writes. Customary advice says to vomit the rough draft and then go back and self-edit, basically leaving editorial judgment for the second draft.
Since I typically produce three or four novels a year, I'm comfortable disregarding their advice, because my undisciplined, random practice suits me just fine.
This week's writing prompt is "my secret snack."
Really, I can't think of any sort of snack that I keep secret. It's not like I hide in the bathroom to munch cookies (cue the Pepperidge Farm commercial for Milanos cookies) or stash chocolates in weird places where no one can find them.
I'll snatch--not sneak--olives or pickles, almonds or tortilla chips, yogurt or fruit from the kitchen when I've got the munchies. If someone baked brownies, I'll help myself to those. But I've always been open about my snacking, even if it's practically a light meal of wine and cheese. The closest I've come to a secret snack is an occasional mouthful of coconut flakes. I especially enjoy the sweetened ones. I seldom eat candy, except for chocolate.
As you can see, my tastes are eclectic. Put baklava in front of me and I show no shame in gobbling that down. That's about the only way to persuade me to eat anything with walnuts. Offer me some already cubed watermelon or cantaloupe and I'll cheerfully accept and munch away. I have noticed that I tend to favor salty or sweet snacks, not so much sour or bitter flavors. And I don't do spicy-hot, because I enjoy being able to taste my food. Heat is not a flavor.
Besides, if I did have a secret snack, do you think I'd reveal it to the world?
This week's blog challenge prompts participating authors to discuss their irrational fears. Mine are pretty common: spiders, rats, cockroaches, and wasps/hornets. In short, if it's vermin, it makes my skin crawl and I want it and all 17 gazillion of its relatives to die. Now.
That goes for those nasty critters that don't make me freak out, like mosquitoes.
Take me on a trail ride that has me passing through spider webs, and I'll turn into a quivering wreck. Luckily, my horse pays no attention to me when that happens. God forbid a spider--not just its sticky web--should actually land on me. Catastrophe for sure.
Yes, i realize the desire to assuage my irrational fears would decimate several species of animals that depend upon vermin for food. I prefer to ignore that consequence because it will never happen. Strangely enough, snakes don't bother me. When I was 19, I worked in a pet store for a summer and was one of the few employees there who would handle the snakes.
That, of course, brings me to a memory that still makes me smile. A coworker at that pet store grew up in Africa, the son of missionaries. He related an incident when he was fishing out a tarantula for a customer. The tarantula dropped to the floor, and "BUG!" went through my coworker's mind. Without thought, he stomped on it. The customer was displeased: "You just killed my tarantula." "I'll get you another," he replied.
If one determines irrational fears by what populates our nightmares, that gets really personal and more than a little weird. I fear an utter lack of control. One of most disturbing themes in my nightmares is having absolutely no influence, no impact, no effect upon the events around me and affecting me. Since I'm an admitted control freak--is there a support group for that?--the sense of utter helplessness inspires absolute dread and despair.
Another distressing nightmare trend involves former bosses and sometimes former classmates. My subconscious brings up the conflicts and rehashes old pain and humiliation. Nights reliving those mutated memories are never fun.
I generally don't write about my fears in my books because I prefer not to relive them. I'm not all that eager to read about such things in other books, either. What about you?
Hard boiled, scrambled, over easy, and sunny side up: eggs are the musings of Holly Bargo, the pseudonym for the author.
Looking for a place to swap blogs? Holly Bargo at Hen House Publishing is wanting to Blog Swaps in 2018. For more information:
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