Posts Tagged ‘Good Housekeeping’

More dadaist science fiction

My nephew upon learning that I am working on a novel called, “Good Housekeeping,” insisted that I had stolen his idea. To prove it, he posted his story by the same name.

A teaser:

to keep a good house you need to write it, then publish it before you meanie face jr aunt cant steal it! which she will! she will slowely earn you trust…. then she will steal it! she will steal it like a person who cant write a good metaphor/simile!

It makes me giggle.

Police Procedure question

I’m stymied by police procedure. I’ve posted a query at Ask-A-Cop, too, but figure you guys are smart and might be able to help.

(If you’re in the pool of people reading this or about to read this for me, you’re about to get some serious spoilers, so skip this post)

I’m writing an urban fantasy novel. I know procedures change depending on district, but since I don’t specify the city we can fudge a bit. Think of a city around the size of Raleigh, N.C.

These are the plot elements that the police would know about.

My main character, Grace, is a prominent and respected trial lawyer.(specializing in women’s issues). On Wednesday, she is jogging and calls in to report gunshots and screams coming from a house.

At the moment, I have three squad cars responding plus an ambulance. One of the officers, Regec, sees Grace, recognizes her and asks if she can shed light on the situation. Reasonable?

When the police approach the house, a man exits and then dies with no visible marks. A rottweiler gets out, from the house, and attacks Grace, biting her.

At the moment, Regec shoots the dog. Reasonable?

Only one other person was in the house, a woman, locked in the attic. The man’s fingerprints were on the gun, not the woman’s.

Would someone official (ambulance or police) take Grace to the hospital, or would she have to get there on her own?

That afternoon, she arrives home and discovers that her house has been broken into. Since she has Regec’s card, she calls her wanting a familiar face. Would Regec be able to respond? (Assuming she’s in the right precinct, of course)

The next day, the police are called to Grace’s office. They are told that, while interviewing a client, the client’s two-year old child got sucked into the ceiling and vanished. (The child had Hobbson’s Syndrome, a condition which Grace had as a child and she is the only person known to have recovered from it.) The client, a hysterical woman, also insists that this happened and blames Grace. There’s no sign of the child, but a giant gaping hole in the acoustical tiles in the ceiling. No visible way out. The client wants them to charge Grace with kidnapping. They don’t.

NEXT — later that afternoon, while lunching with the D.A., Grace gets a phone call and learns that her husband (who had been out of town) had caught an earlier flight and had been home when her home had been broken into. A shoe had been found at the scene, which Grace recognizes as his.

NEXT — That night, the police get a phone call from Grace’s parents that they arrived at her house and that it had been trashed. Thoroughly. She and her daughter are missing.

NEXT — There’s a rash of missing children, all with Hobbson’s Syndrome.

NEXT — In the wee hours of the following morning, the police receive a call about a woman trespassing. The man placing the complaint is a doctor who specializes in children with Hobbson’s Syndrome.

They arrive and the woman is Grace. She’s dirty and bruised. She tells them that she doesn’t know how she got there. She also says that there’s a boy in the woods.

How are the police likely to respond at this point?

They find the boy. He’s about nine years old but barely verbal. Naked, except for a torn shirt, dirty and bruised. He points at the doctor and says, “He stole me.” He is also on the list of missing Hobbson’s Syndrome children.

What would the police do?

What I need is for Blessenger to wind up arrested and Grace given a ride out of there. I can manipulate the scene and add other evidence now or in an earlier scene if that would help. I would LOVE to have Regec on the scene, but I think it isn’t believable — let me know if there’s a way to get her there.

I’m sorry this is so ridiculously long. I couldn’t think of a way to condense it.

Bonus points: How do officers on the scene refer to one another? “Hey Lou?”

Regressive wordcount

For the last week I’ve been writing 2000 words a day, with the goal of finishing a novel by the 24th. I spent an equal amount of time writing today and wound up with an overall wordcount 90 words shorter than yesterdays. Mind you,today wasn’t a day designated for editing, I just couldn’t get the tail end of the chapter to go where I needed it to and finally realized that it was because the beginning of the chapter had an unnecessary complication.

Interesting twists are all well and good, but this one would have created a plot hole the size of Yankee Stadium. I was wasting time in the tail end of the chapter trying to patch something that I shouldn’t have introduced in the first place. There are times when I’m going along and I realize that I’m writing for wordcount, rather than plot. So, cut! Rewrite.

As a result I have a tighter, tenser scene and no gaping holes. Best of all, a finished chapter.

Now I just need to write the next 2000 words.

Teenage wardrobe question

All right. I’ve sent this question to a couple of teens that I know, but I figure the wider the spectrum the more chance I have to not screw up. Please — if you are an adult, only answer if you have a teenager handy as a reference guide or if you can provide a handy link to a resource with actual teens.

I need to dress the teenager in my current WIP. Normally, I only make passing reference to clothing, but in this case I need to know exactly what she’s wearing.

Cassandra is sixteen and I have no idea what she’d wear to school in early October (N.C, Tenn, or anything up through PA is fine. No mountains.) She’d run in the art crowd, but plans to be a veterinarian. She’s a serious reader. Very smart. She does not like fantasy because she has an actual fairy godmother and the books never, ever get it right. Loves the Bronte sisters and Asimov. Her parents are upper middle class, but she’s been a latch-key kid for years, so is used to dressing herself.

Her mother is always on her to “gussie herself up” so I’m looking for the casual, rebellious end of the clothing spectrum but also with a desire to fit in. So no Goth, no Steampunk.

One specific need, plot-wise. I need footwear that is unsuitable for riding a horse, but that it’s not unbelievable for her to have worn while running through the woods.

Any ideas? I just have no idea what she’d wear. ZERO.

Kids these days. Why when I was a girl…

Edited to add: I just realized that I am an idiot. At the point when she is running through the woods, she has just escaped an intruder at their house. They don’t wear shoes at home (Dad sells Japanese antiques, adopted the no-shoes rule at home). She’d be in stocking feet. Now I need to go back and rewrite the running through the woods scene…

The question still stands for the rest of the clothing though. Thanks!

Horse and math question

Oh, my horsey friends, please double-check my book learning.

I’m figuring that Character A will take about 2 and a half hours to cover four miles on a deer path through a heavily wooded area. She’s got about fifty very short characters with her, so isn’t walking at top speed.

Returning, she’s mounted on a horse. Is it reasonable to think that she could cover the same distance in about forty-five minutes? If she were in a hurry, (and she is) how fast could she safely go? This is a path with which she is familiar, but a new horse.

Many thanks!

And just in case someone else finds them useful, here is a site with Horse Speed in MPH and one with The Average Walking Pace for humans.

Good Housekeeping again

I edited two stories and submitted them yesterday. My requested rewrite went off to the editor last week, so now it’s just a waiting game. I finished proofing the Autumn issue of Shimmer, which goes to the printer on Tuesday. In short, no more writing reasons to put off Good Housekeeping, so I pulled it out last night and started working.

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meterZokutou word meter
41,609 / 50,000

608 words, fifteen minutes.

I should have worked longer, but Rob had rented De-Lovely so we watched that.


God, he was still gorgeous.


Her dark eyes under the tangle of her hair gave Cassandra a half-fey look.

Extension and rewrite request

I got a rewrite request for one of my stories so I’m going to take a break from the Good Housekeeping novel. I’m giving myself today and tomorrow off, which will push my self-imposed deadline from the 20th to the 22nd.

NaNoWriMo update

I’m making good progress, I think. I just finished Chapter 8 and am slicing through Chapter 9. Tally ho!

The Fantasy Novelist’s Exam

The Fantasy Novelist’s Exam is a very amusing, and fairly telling exam, that I’m sure was written by someone who had read one too many bad Fantasy Novel. I’m happy to say that Good Housekeeping doesn’t fail any of the questions. Well, maybe number 15, but not in the way they mean it.

Good Housekeeping – Chapter 1

Okay folks, here are the first thirteen lines of my NaNo novel, Good Housekeeping. If you’d like to read the whole chapter, I’m happy to send it. Just drop me a line.

Chapter 1

Grace’s cat was sitting on her face. His purr sounded as if a mixer were stirring gravel in her ear. She shoved the cat away, ignoring Malkin’s mew of protest. Rolling onto her stomach, she burrowed under the pillow as he immediately began walking up her spine. This was why she had stopped sleeping with her door open, even when Jacques was out of town. It took another moment for her brain to process the obvious thought.

Her bedroom door was open.

Something shattered on the floor. Grace froze, suddenly and completely awake. The lamp. If the cat was on her back, then what had knocked over the lamp?

There were things in her house that regularly went bump in the night–was this one of them? Or had the burglar come back?

Progress report

I only wrote 1746 words today, but I made several good discoveries. At one point when Grace’s daughter, Cassandra, is grousing about something she thinks “a bear like her father,” and I suddenly realized that Grace met her husband while he was an enchanted bear.

I don’t know if it will continue to make sense tomorrow, but at the moment it opens up all sorts of new opportunities for me. I’m very excited.

I say only 1746, but really I just need to do 1700 a day, so I’m right on track.

Total new Word count: 3756