Jilly: Finding The Right Words

What would you call these?

What would you call these?

What would you call the footwear in the picture on the left? American readers of this blog may be surprised to learn that in the UK they would be known as baseball boots. I have no idea why. I never thought much about it until I put my heroine, Rose, in customized pink-and-silver baseball boots, and Kay read my scene and told me she had no idea what they were. Jennifer O’Brien followed up by pointing out that boots with high tops (for ankle support) and smooth soles (to avoid damaging wooden floors) are worn by basketball players. Baseball players wear low-rise shoes with cleats to grip the field. Obvious! No wonder my American beta readers were baffled.

I’m surprised and delighted to report that I made it to the final of the Long Contemporary category of the Virginia Romance Writers’ Fool For Love contest. As Elizabeth said in her Contest Aftermath post, I’m already a winner, because I got a wealth of useful feedback from the judges’ comments. Most of it made so much sense that I just took it on board, but there were a couple of bigger questions that required some careful thought.

The thorniest issue is my antagonist, scary Sasha, and I’ll do a post about her next Sunday. The other recurring theme is Continue reading

Michaeline: Talking About Topicality

Lydia E. Pinkham, "iconic concocter" according to Wikipedia.

A product, a song, a celebrity can convey setting, character, theme and more. Or it can date a story.

The other day, I was fact-checking some of my favorite quotes for  Michille’s post when I ran across this very interesting quote by James Thurber:

When I wrote ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,’  I had a scene in which Mitty got between Hemingway and an opponent in a Stork Club brawl. Helen [his wife] said it had to come out, that there should be nothing topical in the story. Well, you know how it is when your wife is right. You grouse around the house for a week, and then you follow her advice.

And my gut instinct was, “Yes, that’s right. If you want to write classic literature, don’t include references that are going to fade with time.”

But then I got to thinking. First of all, Hemingway hasn’t faded with time. And, there will always be celebrity clubs where gossip-fodder-type fights break out. Did Thurber do the right thing to cut it? Or was “topicality” just an excuse to excise a scene that didn’t feel quite right? I suppose we’ll never know. Continue reading