Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Jody Ellen Shafer, character sketch

This is a character sketch for my upcoming novel, Death Angel, which l hope to write in the month of November for NaNoWriMo, which I have signed up to participate in.

 Jody Shafer is a supporting character. In a "prior life," (3 years ago), Jody Shafer drove to Mexico with Rune Carmichael.* Rune went for an interview at a summer program for archaeology students. Jody went for the fun of it, and to keep her friend, Rune, company. And to drive--they drove Jody's car, a Miata, because Rune had a motorcycle which was not up to the trip. They counted hawks they saw along the way, saw coyotes and a rattlesnake. Also an armadillo. Jody had read that they could stay for free in a jail if they ask, so in some Podunk town out west, they do that. Rune is unhappy about it, but goes along. It is Jody who speaks to the Sheriff and makes the arrangements. She looks at it as an adventure. They are locked up and left alone for the night and Rune is frightened and doesn't want to do it again, so they camp at some spot with fire ants where they both get bitten. Jody is annoyed with Rune, thinking that the fire ants were much worse than the jail. (None of this happens in this book, but it is a theme for Jody and she refers back to it--much more often than Rune does, although Rune enjoyed the trip.)

 Jody loves to travel, loves road trips, smokes dope for fun (with Larry and other friends, but not with Colin McHaggerty) but is not dependent on it, has natural platinum blond hair that is almost, startlingly bright blue eyes, pale fair skin, and a smattering of reddish freckles across her nose. She dresses in faded jeans, pale-colored flannel shirts or blouses in tans and whites or beige open at the throat, and tan cowboy boots she bought on the trip to Mexico. She sometimes wears a cowboy hat. Jody is quietly pretty. Her features are regular and pleasant, her chin and nose just right, her lips sometimes pouty. She is sturdy and shapely with an inclination toward growing fatter if she isn't careful. She is excitable, cheerful, smiles a lot. Talks a lot, hugs a lot. Quick hugs with a step back afterwards. Jody loves white wine, which she shares with McHaggerty on a regular basis. She remembers getting so plastered with Rune that they fell down on the sidewalk and had to crawl back to the dorm. Rune barfed in her boots and Jody barfed in the bathroom sink. She likes to bring this story up, too, much to Rune's discomfiture.

 Jody was the only child of rich parents, had a nanny, went to a private school, and hated it. She is not at all "stuck up," and rarely tells anyone about her rich family or private school. Her parents named her Jodi, but she spells her name Jody to be less highfalutin. She often feels lonely. Jody is a senior at Syracuse University with a joint major in criminal psychology and sociology. She thinks she wants to go into police work and has already met Kathy Collins (?), the lady cop who is interested in the McHaggerty case. It is she who tells Rune to call Kathy. Jody comes into the investigation before Bart does. Jody, who was a virgin when she met McHaggerty, is having a long-term affair with the professor. She is tired of it and wants out. She doesn't know how to break it off. She uses the hospitalization and McHaggerty's affair with Eliza as an excuse to stop screwing McHaggerty, but she still cares about him--she can't help it. She feels confused about her sexuality and attracted to Rune and remembers their trip to Mexico with great fondness, wishing it had occurred to her then to make a pass at Rune. Now that Rune is on the rebound from a bad marriage, Jody thinks she might have a chance with Rune. *Note: I have changed the name of the main protagonist from Marcy Elmsford to Rune Berkana Carmichael, because I used the name Marcy for another main character in a different Ms, and do not want them to become confused in the reader's mind. Rune is the main character; Jody Shafer is a best (or good) friend.

Note:  I do not consider either that painting nor the written character sketch to be finished, and may, time allowing, revisit either of these for further work.  I also just realized I forgot to add her freckles, which I was going to do at the end, but  I don't have time so you;ll have to imagine them for now!!!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

First Cover Design for Death Angel

Death Angel, First Cover Design
Of course I used Hubby as my Model for this design.  He is representing Dr. Colin McHaggerty here, who is a "victim" of a murder attempt.  It may be a "cozy" mystery, of sorts, we'll see.  Design by me, probably not final.

Dust Jacket Blurb for Death Angel; An Exercise from Randy Wayne White

Death Angel

Dust Jacket Blurb for my upcoming book, Death Angel

Mycology Professor Colin McHaggerty is equally well-loved by undergrads, parents, grad students, TAs, faculty and administration, or so it seems to Marcy Elmsford when she first returns to the College of Environmental Sciences and Forestry to study for her PhD and work as Dr. McHaggerty’s teaching assistant. Suddenly, Marcy’s life revolves around McHaggerty.  The other professors, teaching assistants and even her own research project seem to take a back seat to the all-encompassing McHaggerty.  When McHaggerty turns up in the hospital with mushroom poisoning, Marcy refuses to believe the poisoning was “a terrible accident.” She recognizes that McHaggerty knows better than to poison himself.  But someone smashes into Marcy on her motorcycle—hit and run—when she begins poking around to find out what really happened to Dr. McHaggerty. Smashing up her motorcycle is just one of the warnings Marcy gets to “mind her own business.”  Marcy survives the crash and continues looking.  She discovers that the well-loved McHaggerty has many enemies and that the college is rife with unsuspected excitement and sordid intrigue.  Marcy’s trust, damaged by a recent divorce, is further damaged by what she learns about McHaggerty and others at the college, but receives a boost from Silas, a lucky witness and from Bart, one of the other TAs, who, in spite of the danger, joins her in the search for an attempted murderer. Though the police refuse to help, Marcy continues searching, never imagining she might find the answer to a 13-year-old quadruple murder.

This Synopsis and "dust jacket blurb" was written from the following "exercise" which I copied directly from Randy Wayne Whites page for writers:

Write the dust jacket copy for the book you hope to write. Write as if your book has already been accepted, as if you've already received your advance payment, and as if what you write will appear on the book when it is published. The well schooled PR people in New York write the jacket copy, not the authors but it does not matter in this exercise. The prose is often florid but, when professionally done, it emphasizes key why-you-must-read-this-book elements that will put you, the author, in better touch with your novel or work of non-fiction. Do not start this exercise immediately. Today or tonight, take down some favorite books and ready the jacket copy. Read it over and over. Even if the writing is hyperbolic, it should portray the story line accurately. It should establish key characters and plot elements. Also note that the word count is structured to fit. No more than 250 words, no fewer than 225 words. No exceptions. I suggest, later tonight, or tomorrow morning, you go into a space alone, turn off the TV and the Internet, and dedicate your full attention to this exercise: Write your dust jacket copy as described above.A deadline demands that you set your story free!

I am reading Randy Wayne White's book, Night Vision, and I love it!!!! (I hated it at first, and I am glad I stuck with it!!!!)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

National Novel Writing Month 2011

I've decided to participate again in NaNoWriMo--National Novel Writing Month. I did it last year and "won." Winning means writing 50,000 words. I did. The novel I wrote last year, Disappearing, however, is still unfinished. I waffled about trying again and decided to go for it. I have to average 1,667 words every day. Since I'll be traveling, and there's also a holiday weekend, I will have to write more on a number of days to make up for that. The average word -count per page is 250-300 words per page, when doubled spaced. That's about 182 pages total or 6 pages a day. But not just six pages of drivel! I want to write six pages of scintillating, gripping prose. Of course, we only have to write a first draft, so maybe I can manage that anyway. I do wish and hope to be able to complete a real first draft of a real novel that can be polished and sent out for publication--that's my goal.

What I am doing now is brainstorming ideas, characters, setting, theme, etc, as well as a time-line, chapter synopses, etc., and trying to do it in such a way that none of it can be incorporated into the first-draft novel, since the rules clearly state that I mustn't begin the actual writing until November 1 and must finish by November 30. I will be blogging about it as I go along, but probably only briefly, since I need to spend my time actually writing the novel, not blogging! I will also be posting parts of the novel as I write them.

I am probably not going to fancy up this blog; that's not the point of it. It's simply to post my thoughts and work.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

First brief Synopsis

I signed up for NaNoWriMo--National Novel Writing Month--and today, I added a very brief synopsis of my novel to the naNoWriMo site--and a photo:

This is my icon photo for NaNoWriMo
Mycology Professor Colin McHaggerty is well-loved by everyone, or so it seems, but when he turns up in the hospital with mushroom poisoning, his teaching assistant, Marcy Elmsford, does not believe it was a a terrible accident. But that's just what happens to her when she begins poking around trying to find out what really happened. A hit and run! Still, she continues looking, never imagining she might find the answer to a 13-year-old murder.

This synopsis is a first draft and subject to change.  In fact, rereading it, I can guarantee it will change, but not today, I have too many other things to do!!!  AK!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

OK, this is really weird, I know.
I'm driving across the New York State Thruway on my way toward Syracuse, NY and to points North and east. As I came across Canada, I worked on two poems and then switched to brainstorming for my NaNoWriMo novel, Death Angel, A Mycology Mystery. I am not doing any actual writing on the novel itself yet, just working on characters, plot synopsis, chapter synopses etc. I can't begin writing until November 1.

Here's the weird part: I'm all excited because I just solved a 50-year-old mystery. I'm so happy! :-D
If you want to know more about it, stay tuned.