Monday, November 13, 2006

Distractions

Patty here…

I’m working on the fourth book in the Tucker Sinclair series, and I’m finding that the more I write, the better I get at distracting myself from writing.

I have other responsibilities, as well, so I constantly struggle to find balance in my life, which mostly turns out to be just another distraction. Still, I don’t want to shirk those other high-priority tasks, so I keep a things-to-do list on my desk. Otherwise, I might not get anything done. Right now “buy vacuum cleaner bags” and “vacuum refrigerator grates” have both been on the list for a while. I suppose if I bought the bags I could clean the grates. The whole distraction would take an hour or so. On the other hand, just adding those items to the list serves as a distraction.

When I’ve completed all the obvious things on my list, i.e., rake leaves in the back yard, pay bills, and organize my stand-and-throw closet, I’m forced to become more creative. Otherwise I’d have to write. Here are some of my favorite distractions. Feel free to borrow at will.

1. Organize saved emails into tidy little folders with labels like “Friends,” “Acquaintances,” and “Friends who no longer speak to you because they feel neglected.”

2. Volunteer, volunteer, volunteer, especially for things that you have no time to do.

3. Read favorite passages from your already-published books just to remind yourself that you’ve done it before and you can do it again.

4. Here’s my personal favorite: Reread high school English essays to see what in the heck you were thinking back then. Trust me. This one is truly awesome!


This week Michael Connelly’s book trailer distracted me. Technically, it's not a book trailer. Terrill Lee Landford calls it "a cinematic representation of the first chapter." There’s been a lot of buzz recently about the ten-minute film he made to promote Connelly's latest novel, Echo Park. Here’s the link to the YouTube site if haven’t yet seen it. Connelly claims that it was an effective promotional tool because Echo Park had higher sales numbers than any of his previous novels. And the whole thing only cost ten grand. Hey! Sign me up.

I’m a big Harry Bosch fan, but even so this teaser trailer left me feeling strangely unsettled. First, it distracted me for only ten minutes. Second, I was forced to ask myself if this is our future. Will we no longer feel the tactile pleasure of an embossed cover, smell the aroma of new paper and hear the gentle creak of the binding as we open a tome for the first time? No more prickles on the backs of our necks when we read the first paragraph and realize that we’re in the presence of truly fine writing. In the future will we be previewing novels on a bookstore’s computer screen? Is this a good idea?

That sent me off into a whole new distraction: cinematically envisioning Chapter One of my fourth novel.

BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA—PRESENT DAY

Exterior. City Street—Night

Sheets of rain sweep across the windshield of TUCKER SINCLAIR’S Porsche Boxster as she pulls into the dark alley behind…

As it turned out, that one little ole cinematic representation mushroomed into a truly fine distraction. Thanks MC.

ANOTHER DISTRACTION: This week my editor sent me the cover for my next book. TAH DAH!!!!



Happy Monday!

15 comments:

  1. Patty, awesome cover! A Porsche chick after my own heart. And I like your distraction list. Mine is mostly my living room. Cara Black saw it tonight. Truly scary room--I hope she wasn't too horrified to drive home okay.

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  2. Cornelia, I can so identify. In the afternoon the sun beams through the shutters highlighting a gritty patch of dust under the leg of my couch. It's on my list...

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  3. The new cover is truly grand, Patty! It's going to jump off the shelves. But we've got to talk about that "vacuum refrigerator grate" stuff. I don't think I did that even before I started writing.

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  4. Patty, I LOVE this cover!! This book is going to jump off the shelves!

    As for distractions, I actually cleaned the spaces underneath my stove burners last week so they shone like diamonds. Took me an hour. Procrastination can truly be a beautiful thing.

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  5. Omigod, Louise, you have to vacuum the grates. Dust collects there and stresses the motor. It's like bad HDL. I used to do it twice a year, but now...alas...

    Glad you like the cover, Karen. Can hardly wait to see yours. And your burners get dirty because you actually have time to cook? You're awesome, girl.

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  6. When I vacuum the fridge grate the damn thing falls forward and then I have to get on my hands and knees to fix it--never can seem to get it right, 'cause it keeps--oh, never mind.

    Yes! Assertive, aggressive, martial cover! I'm gonna have to be careful going along the shelves lest it jump out and beat me over the head and screaming, "Buy me! Buy me!" (For I'll already have a couple copies on my own shelf!

    Groupie

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  7. No, Patty, I don't cook. My husband does. Yes, I am very blessed.

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  8. You realize, of course, that the cinematic Chapter One of Novel Four just provided us a tiny spoiler...that Tucker's Boxster isn't totalled in a perilous crash somewhere in the course of Short Change?

    So can we call Book Four Spoiled Goods? How's that for a working title?

    Still, an awesome cover. Burning off store shelves into your arms. And...with you on the back cover? Wow! What a one-two punch!

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  9. Dang, Patty: what a brillianly wild cover! And with a gorgeous new you on the back too! :-D
    Hmmm...when was the last time I vacuumed the fridge?
    Having cooking binges is one of my favourite procrastination processes when I should be painting - trouble, is having to eat it all afterwards. Sigh.
    Cheers
    Marianne

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  10. Great title, great cover. I have a feeling great things will happen.

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  11. Karen, you are blessed. At least I eat something from all the major food groups: canned, frozen, and dried.

    Remember, Groupie,you saw it first...

    Oh no! Jeff you promised not to spill the beans on the plot...hm...did you notice the color of the car? Stay tuned.

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  12. Marianne, cooking distractions are good. I'm sitting here looking at your Chocolate Crackles recipe and fantacizing.

    Thanks, for checking the ole crystal ball, Paul. Hope you're right.

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  13. Patty, just remember: when you eat one chocolate crackle, you don't stop with one - no matter how hard you try. I tried making them in the smaller mini-muffin papers, but they went just as fast as the regular sized ones. Which explains why I'm now at the gym three times a week, plus trainer.
    I'm gearing up for my Christmas bake-a-thon (or should that be chocolate-a-thon?) for sending out in gift boxes. After the first batch of minted or rum chocs, Bob becomes my chief taste-tester, 'cause I can't smell it any more. :-D
    Happy cooking, Patty!
    Cheers
    Marianne

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  14. What a great cover, Patty.....can hardly wait to read what's inside.....

    Vacuum the fridge grate? Wow. Never heard of that one - and I'm not unlike Monica from Friends in my love of housecleaning ;-)

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  15. Marianne, do hope my cooking efforts don't end up like Jeff's title--Spoiled Goods :o)

    And Rae, you as Monica? I love it!

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