Well, it’s official. I’ve arrived. I’ve been tagged in my first meme. Teehee. This one is called The Lucky 7 Meme, and I was invited by the fabulous Tracy Brown (author and person extraordinaire) my writing buddy and, more importantly, my writing friend. (And no, I’m not just saying that because she called me awesome thrice online, teehee again).
As I understand it, the rules are fairly simple:
Go to page 7 or 77 of your current MS/WIP, or go to line 7 (for short fiction). Copy down the next 7 lines, sentences or paragraphs and post them as they are written. Tag 7 authors and let them know.
I have gone on and on ad nauseum about the perils of posting marketable fiction on the blog. I am not going to repeat any of that. (Careful now – the collection exhale as you went “PHEW!” nearly knocked me out of my chair and threatened the carefully constructed eco-system that is my desk!) Suffice to say I was a bit leery about this meme thing at first as a result. But I figured, if Tracy and all these other authors are willing, I can be too. I did find myself carefully evaluating which starting point to use, though, and then even more carefully which quantity to go with – I want the excerpt to be intriguing but not to give away the farm.
What to do, what to do? And how to decide to do it? Because even though it seems like a fairly straight-forward set of rules, it’s not exactly as cut-and-dried as “page this” or “line that”.
You see, I write in single-spaced pages; I know manuscripts are generally submitted with double-spaced pagination. So there are two ways to look at the rules – my way or the *usual* way. Incidentally, I find those two ways are often in conflict. I don’t know why. Seems unfair, really, when my way is always so much better… ;) Anyway, I don’t have 77 single-spaced pages yet (I’m at 66, interestingly), so that isn’t an option. Page seven is comprised of the opening lines of my most annoying character; not exactly the flavor I’d like to leave with potential readers. Line seven has potential, but my WIP isn’t “short-fiction” (it’s dangerously close to promising to be too-long fiction, if it keeps going at the current pace), so I don’t know if that is a fair way to go, so on to double-spaced, I guess.
First of all, WOW, how cool it was to go to double-spaced and see that page count zoom up to 128! Note to self: Self, consider writing double-spaced. Excitement aside, I now had three options: line seven (which now really felt disingenuous, so I didn’t really consider it a valid option), page seven, or page 77. Page seven of the double-spaced version would give the entire idea of my WIP away; I am not ready to do that, not by a long shot. So off to page 77. That is the smack-dab middle of one of the seven voices that will comprise the final story. Bingo, I think.
It seems to me, smack-dab-middle is rather exactly the point of something like this. True, it may not be reflective of the overall tone or tenor of the book; then again, in a book with seven voices, maybe there isn’t anything that would be. And maybe it doesn’t matter anyway. This is a snapshot, right? A glimpse inside of my head? (And please, spare me the “teehee, of course it’s written in seven voices – she has at least that many in her head at any given time” jokes – I’ve already heard ‘em all, thank you so much The Husband… ;)) So that’s what I decided to go with – of course, I then had to decide on lines, sentences, or paragraphs. Eek. The way I write, paragraphs would be WAY too long. Lines leaves me with things starting/stopping in the middle of thoughts/expressions. So sentences it is.
Therefore, without further ado, I give you seven sentences from page seventy-seven of my double-spaced WIP. I’m not giving any context or explanation or anything, just the text. This is supposed to be a teaser, after all… And please – I know this isn’t the crispest text ever – it has never been edited. This is what came out of my head, and I offer it in all its raw, unexpurgated semi-glory.
“The changes were subtle; they started with the men. I’d earned grudging respect from those I’d worked with up to that point, sure, but suddenly I started getting nods and even the occasional “hello” from guys that used to look right past me when I would walk through the halls of the compound. Where, in the past, Mad Anthony or one of his lieutenants would tell me that I was being rotated around to learn a new area of the business, now guys would come up to me in the hallway or at dinner and ask if I wanted in on their latest gig.
That always made me laugh, the widespread use of the word “gig”. I read a biography of an Appalachian mountain family once and it talked about “gigging frogs”. After that, every time someone talked about a “gig” I would picture a frog doing whatever the gig was said to involve. I pictured frogs in ski masks, frogs driving getaway cars, frogs hunched over safes trying to suss the combinations; frogs fencing stolen laptops, frogs forging certified checks with their tiny frog-hands.”
Now on to the second part of the meme – identifying other people. I am not asking any of these people to participate – it’s tough work being a writer, especially when you have a day job and/or a family, and getting tagged and/or asked to write additional, off-topic, off-WIP things means time away from said work/job/family. I am, however, going to name seven authors that I admire and/or enjoy (how many more times can I say and/or, do you think, in this one paragraph? Hm…). They’re all people I’ve met since I started blogging. This gives them a little exposure, which is always appreciated. Plus, who knows, maybe one and/or (teehee) more of them will decide to participate on their own… If so, to any of you in the Jill-Elizabeth Lucky 7, take the logo off the top and do your own post or feel free to add to the comments below.
The Jill-Elizabeth Lucky 7 are:
- Tracy Brown (of course) at Write On!
- Amy Neftzger at Amy Neftzger’s Blog
- Paul Dail at A Horror Writer’s Not Necessarily Horrific Blog
- Joe Garraty at JosephGarraty.com
- Steven Moore at Thriller & Sci-Fi Author Steven M. Moore
- Vickie Johnstone at Vixie’s Stories
- Jen Alvarez at The Jennifer (Author) Diaries
To close, I’m going to steal something Tracy already stole.* In doing so, I’d first like to acknowledge the thief and the thievee (my own new word for the victim of a theft – I love making up the words, remember?), and now directly quote the thievee – who also found a rule-breaking way around the tag-seven-people thing: ”I’m going to invite any of you fine people to participate. Post your Lucky 7 according to the rules above, either here in the comments section or on your blog (leave a link to the entry in a comment).” I’d love to see a snippet of anyone else’s WIP – I showed you mine, after all, it’s only fair – ask any small child how that game works… ;)
* I don’t know if that makes me twice as bad or if, as I like to think, my theft initiates a chain-reaction of good that ultimately leaves me not only unscathed but actually in the “good girl” column in the grand score book in the sky. What’s that, you say? You can’t imagine how such a chain-reaction could possibly look? Please do let me explain: my theft goes a step beyond hers thereby undoing hers; this gives her a dispensation; her dispensation is a charitable deed on my part; this charitable deed mitigates my own theft. Impressive, no?
Teehee, never forget, I’m a lawyer by training who worked for years as a policy wonk and sometimes-speechwriter, as well as an avid reader/writer – in other words, I’m a wordsmith by profession and hobby. I can pretty much talk my own circular way out of anything – in my head, even if nowhere else. ;)