I’m roughly 5,500 words into a very rough draft. This is an idea that has been floating around for about a month. I’ve never had a story idea come so vividly and easily before, so I feel like this is a good sign. I’ve had ideas in the past. Many ideas. Usually my ideas start with a cinematic scene, more often than not it is a climatic scene. That one scene will play over and over in my head with different takes and actors and backgrounds, and I will start to formulate a story from there. Right out of college, I had one such idea. I will spare you the gory details, but it wasn’t good. I had another idea last year for a fantasy that I worked on extensively for about 6 months, but I hit a wall and was not able to recover. I still like it, but I have set it aside for now. I may pick it back up in a few more years when it has aged a bit because I loved the characters. The characters were the strength, not the setting. I need to find them a home that they are worthy of. Read more
I’m not going to regale you with a nauseating story about how I have always wanted to write. Okay, I will.
Storytelling has been my window to the world. It has taught me how to put emotions into words and pictures. I could lie and say reading was my first love, but really, movie theaters were my first love.
I have a complicated relationship with my father. There was a lot resentment and anger growing up, but there was, and has always been, love. My father is a man of few words, but his few words are booming and exact. I am a woman of few words, but mine are quiet and exact. This caused a lot of miscommunication and distance, physical and emotional, especially when I was a teenager. Our language and middle ground has always been movies. Instead of talking, you watch and listen,you collectively observe. The room is dark. The music swells. The plot takes you out of your own plot. Some people will find this form of escapism unhealthy, dodging the real issues, but in our own strange way, stories helped us to connect. I’ve seen my father cry more times in a movie theater than I’ve seen him cry outside of one. I’ve probably seen him cry more times than most children have seen their own fathers cry. When my father told me that he was divorcing my mother, it was on the way to see a movie. I like to think that connection we had with theaters gave him the strength to tell me the worst thing he has ever had to tell me. You would think that safe space would become sullied with such a horrible memory, but it became a thread that helped mend.
A story is vulnerable, and allowing yourself to connect with that vulnerability takes strength. Yes, most of the movies we see together have more guns than dialogue or have a 30 or lower percentage rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but they are our movies. And the our is the most important part.
Liz, why not be a scriptwriter? I think in another life I would have done this. I really do think there is another version of myself in an alternate universe who lives in LA and works on a CW show or something, but Hollywood scares me. There is so much room for failure and not a lot of people to help you up. Movies are almost religious to me, and I would be worried about my mental state when I became disillusioned (the me in this reality, not the other version of myself). Also, there are books.
I’ve spent a lot of time in this first post about writing a book talking about movies, but I thought it was important for you to see where I am coming from and where that could lead.
The scariest thing in the world is to tell someone, “I am writing” because there are a lot of implications and expectations attached. So here it goes,
I am writing.
I am currently sick and out of commission. I just took NyQuil, so please excuse my writing if it becomes incoherent. I haven’t been reading the last few days, which explains the lack of book reviews, and I am currently plotting a story that has taken over my life. I won’t reveal too much, but it is a family dramedy. It’s crass. It’s dark. It’s inappropriate at times. I have a handful of scenes in rough stages, and I am putting the pieces together and filling the cracks. I hope to have a working rough draft in the next few weeks. I’ll leave you with one line,
“He was a corn-fed body with jazz eyes. Girls whispered about his love-making like he was a folklore hero.”
The story currently involves furniture making, script writing, and a lot of jokes about vaginas. Wish me luck.
xoxox zzzzzzzzzz zzz zzz zz
You know in my review for The Deal where I said I could read about hockey bros all day? I could read about hockey bros all day EXCEPT for John Logan AKA Logan. Ugh, could that name be anymore white bread? Yes, I can turn a carb into an adjective if this book is going to call itself a love story. This whole book is a mistake, but people did warn me that the first and third book in the series were the best, so I guess that automatically means the second is the worst.
The Mistake is about Logan and Grace. Grace is a lackluster freshman. Logan is a cookie cutter hunk. Logan makes a *~mistake~* and spends the rest of the book trying to show Grace he is a good guy who deserves a second chance. The story lacks the charm of The Deal, and I really didn’t enjoy it.
Grace and Logan’s hook up spots are the absolute worst. They dry hump in the closet of a movie theater. I had a friend who worked at a movie theater in high school, and I will never forget his horror stories. When they would turn the lights on to clean, he could see the rats scurry up and down the aisles. Is that an acceptable place to hook up?? Dry humping is nauseating as well. When has dry humping ever been hot and not awkward? They also hook up in the bathroom of a frat house. I have been in a frat bathroom a time or two, and that is literally the worst place you could ever imagine. What turns you on? The mold or the crusty Playboys? The empty roll of toilet paper or the pubic hair? You are more likely to get a staph infection than an orgasm in a frat bathroom. Grace needs someone to teach her standards. Woo her in a goddamn bed with clean sheets.
I was waiting for my car at Autobell because a flock of birds left purple shit spots all over it when I read the scene of Grace losing her V-card, and believe me, my story of a carwash was more entertaining than their sex. Logan came off super creepy, always calling her “babe” and “gorgeous” and asking if she was alright. Gag me with a spoon. Grace says in the first chapters of the book that she doesn’t care about her V-card, but they treat it like a fucking event. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think losing your virginity is something to disregard, but it is also not something you should have a parade for. I don’t feel like the author had a good handle on the middle ground, which I think she was going for.
There was a whole side plot about Logan’s family life and growing up in a dead end town, blah blah, he eventually conquers that and the woman he loves. Hooray.
Overall, this story wasn’t for me. The characters were boring and the sex was recycled. I could write a love story about Publix brand yogurt that is more compelling than The Mistake. Actually, don’t mind if I do…
I was young. I was wild and lost. There is no safe haven at 26. The future was a bleak path that I could not turn back from, and then you walked into my life, something strange and wonderful. There was hope in your eyes. You were smooth and fulfilling and only 200 calories. You showed me that there were many paths that I could walk–raspberry, mixed berry, mango–and you would be there to hold my hand. There was a strength to your silence, and I will always love you, Publix Fruit on the Bottom Yogurt.
1 out of 5 disembodied male torso and one Publix yogurt
This is After Hours Liz, so if you don’t like talking about penises, check out my review of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
Guys, I have no idea what fucking happened. One minute, I am browsing Goodreads because I am really bored with Crooked Kingdom (yeah, I said it), the grass always looks greener in some other book you don’t own, and the next thing I know, I am buying The Deal by Elle Kennedy. I seriously don’t know what happened. I was never against new adult, but it was something that was never on my radar. I’ve read like one or two romance novels in my day, mostly when I was in high school, sneaking them from my aunt’s collection at Thanksgiving, but I had never really felt the true power of romance. This book was like the first boy (or girl) you ever kissed, messy at times, completely awkward, but full of lust and sincerity. For the record, my first kiss, was with a boy named Cameron in a movie theater during Into The Blue with Jessica Alba and Paul Walker. The movie was horrible and so was the make out, but I digress.
This book blew me away. I am sorrrryy there are so many cheeky innuendos in this review. How can I pass them up?? I did not expect to like this book that much. It is told in dual prospective between college juniors, Garrett and Hannah. Garrett is your typical jock with a heart of gold and a penis of note, and Hannah is a studious, music geek with “narrow hips”, make what you will out of that, and a troubled past. Actually they both have troubling pasts, but they are the optimistic types I would liken to golden retrievers. The plot is the screenplay Jennifer Love Hewitt, riding high on her success in the late 90s, would have passed on, but good god, this book swept me off my feet like a blushing virgin. The dialogue is unbelievable (not the good unbelievable) at best but there is so much wit, and I loved the quirky situations our main characters found themselves in. The depiction of college is LAUGHABLE (and not the good kind), but I still found myself enjoying the world these characters roamed. Look, it’s not Hemingway, but does it have to be by a dead guy to be good? No, Hemingway could not write good sex like Kennedy. I loved, loved the main characters. They were well-rounded and they made me care. Garrett could have easily given off stalker vibes, but the author does a good job of playing the persistent suitor in a new way, and I can’t tell if she’s poking fun at the overused trope or not. Hannah is a strong character and downright funny.
The Deal handles heavy subjects. Abuse and rape, but it never comes off gimmicky or exploitive. Hannah tells us on the very first page that she was raped in high school. Rape is an important part of Hannah’s development but it does not become her defining characteristic. She shows that acceptance and resilience can be found among tragedy. Garrett does not fall into a savior role. He helps her to flower (god, I know it’s terrible, bear with me). She already has the power; she just needs help finding her groove. I found their stories honest and rooted for each to find happiness and peace.
Now the sex. Yes, kids we are going talk about sex. Fab-fucking-tastic. The first sex scene between the two main characters features no penetration, but was literally hotter than any sex scene I have ever read. Her scenes make Sarah J Maas’ sex scenes look like the Mojave Desert. Kennedy’s sex scene would literally KO Maas’s sex scenes and get a 35-million-dollar endorsement deal from Nike. I know that sex is a slippery (sorry) subject for some. Not so much for the actually act(s) but because sex is all about comfort and preference. We all know what we are into, or at least what we aren’t. I found the scenes were tailor-made to put a woman’s thoughts first which is so refreshing, especially coming (ha) from an English major who was forced to read the Tropic of Cancer and listen to her professor lecture on the sex scenes (true story, bro). Yes, the story isn’t perfect. Yes, I cringed at times from the ridiculous “deal”, a plot point that is abandoned at the halfway mark, but found myself laughing out loud (literal lols, people) multiple times. I was giddy and obsessed. I was satisfied…with the reading experience.
I know that this series is a quartet with each book focusing on one of Garrett’s roommates, and I will be picking them up. I hope the Kennedy makes a whole series about every fucking member of that hockey team, and the janitors, and the dude who rides the Zamboni. I could read about annoying jocks and bated breaths all day.
Four out of five disembodied male torsos
(took off a star for the clunky plot and for too many mentions of Justin Bieber).