New ways to procrastinate

Friend and fellow writer Ann Marie Gamble has included me in one of those irritating flattering online challenges with nearly incomprehensible arbitrary entertaining rules that encourage you to post a portion of your work-in-progress on your blog so others can ridicule admire your deathless prose.

As I understand it:

Go to page 77 of your manuscript

Skip the first 7 lines

Copy and post the next 7 lines, no editing allowed

Tag 7 other writers to do the same

My gut reaction was not just “No” but “Hell no.” That particular portion of this manuscript hasn’t been touched since I first wrote it, um, well, a long time ago. It’s on the list of sections that still need heavy editing. Or deleting. Or purging by fire.

But then I decided maybe I was being a bit too sensible insecure ornery. I mean, it’s not like I’ve never posted unedited crap writing on my blog. Like, every time I post. Sigh.

So here it is:

Disgusted with himself for getting so involved in his own thoughts, JT’s response was less than gracious. “Be glad you still have enough blood circulating to leave a mark, darlin’. A few feet in the other direction and you’d be headed for the hospital right about now.” If not the morgue, he thought angrily.

“Oh please, that car didn’t even come close to hitting me.”

“My point exactly, and you’re welcome.”

But since I’m still feeling a bit sensible insecure ornery, I’m not going to tag seven other writers to do this. And honestly, if I did, I’d be likely to tag seven writers who: a) don’t know me and would ignore the challenge, b) are grumpy and humourless and wouldn’t participate, or c) are way too busy writing to indulge in this kind of nonsense fun and games. Because someone has to be sensible insecure ornery enough to put a stop to this irritating time suck flattering request to share unedited crap shining samples of fiction.

Instead, since most of you reading this are readers and not writers, I challenge you to find a book you truly enjoyed and go to page 77 and skip the first 7 lines and select the next 7 lines and paste them into a comment. Giving proper attribution, of course. Really. Because I suspect that seven random lines, out of context, even from a really good book that you loved, are going to sound like crap kind of silly.

And that will cheer me right up. Or, you know, depress the hell out of me if they don’t. One of those.


Filed under just for fun

21 responses to “New ways to procrastinate

  1. annmariegamble

    Love it!

    Next I will invite you to be my neighbor in CastleVille.


  2. You do and I will hunt you down.

    Wait, what is CastleVille? We all live in the same town and watch Castle every night? I can do that.


  3. That was an excellent post today. I really enjoyed it very much. Thanks for sharing your writing.

    Enjoy writing? We would love for you to join us!

    Writer Jobs Available


  4. LOL you crack me up! Just for fun, here’s the 7 lines from one of the few paper books I have near me right now (’cause most of my stuff is still in storage)

    ” ‘Hey guess what, guys. I’m dead. Apparently forever. But, you know, still hanging around. Cool, huh?’

    That would be one to drop into conversation over the barbecue gril and beer.

    Oddly, hearing Annalie’s utterly normal crisis had made her feel better, steadier, more herself. Life goes on. Bryn’s undead, but Annalie’s still overdrawn.”

    And now you have absolutely no idea what’s going on heh. *evil grin*
    That’s from Working Stiff, by Rachel Caine .

    FYI…run screaming from CastleVille lol


  5. me

    Well, I do happen to have my manuscript of Jackknifed nearby, and although using those rules gives you no idea of my storyline, here goes:

    “Why, I do believe you are trying to flatter me,” Margaret said.
    Anna blinked innocently at their reflections in the makeup mirror. “Is it working?”
    “Indeed it is. You just let me know when you want to do it. I have a few ideas that I think would make you look just adorable.” She cupped her hands at Anna shoulders, as if measuring a prospective hair length.
    “Ever do Jacqui’s hair?”
    Margaret shook her head. “Oh goodness, no. There is no way on God’s green Earth that I would ever have done that to that poor woman’s hair.


  6. me

    …and I found a typo. Hey, just following the rules…


  7. Yay, people were playing while I was at work today!

    I agree with both of you — this isn’t enough to even give you an idea of what’s happening in the scene. Which, in the case of my book, is a good thing. Not sure that scene is going to survive the edit.

    Don’t worry, Melinda, I don’t have a smart phone so I won’t be playing CV. 😎

    Me, is that the book I’ve read the beginning of? I’m so bad with titles. Have you finished it? I loved the beginning of that book. Finish it!!

    What typo? I don’t see one. But I don’t see mine either.


  8. me

    Thank you! If you read the the beginning of the one with the nail gun, then yes. And, it is done. It’s been done. Just trying to decide what to do with it.


  9. Yes, the nail gun! Loved it. Um, you know I have volunteered to be a beta reader, right? So that’s one thing you could do with it. Just saying.

    But yeah, I know, it’s wonderful that we writers have so many options now regarding what to do with our work. But it’s also sort of paralyzing. What’s the right choice? Which door hides the lady and which the tiger? How do we decide? It requires bold thinking. And courage beyond just writing the damn story.


  10. cbpen

    This is from the first draft of ONE HOT MESS (working title):

    “I wasn’t,” Dusty said, “She isn’t….”
    “Shut up!” Jack said, “I’m not talking to you.”
    “But, Jack, he wasn’t chasing me.” Carly put her hand on Jack’s arm. “Not the way you mean. I forgot all about Kim and was rushing back to tell her it was okay. Dusty was FOLLOWING me.”
    “Dusty’s okay, but I’m not?” Craig’s voice floated down the hall.
    “Not him. Not now.” Carly moaned. “He’s driving me crazy.”

    Now, you see a little of WHY it’s such a HOT MESS. 🙂


  11. cbpen

    Oh, and a book involving a nailgun sound very intriguing!! 🙂


  12. Pen, that actually made sense to me. I bet it’s not nearly as much of a mess as you think. But every first draft needs work, you know that. I’m so excited to read it once you’re done. Hurry up!


  13. I want to read the rest of the HOT MESS as well as what you’re writing, KDJ. Book done yet? Why yes, I am smug.

    Here are my seven sentences from Hell to Pay:
    She breathed in his scent, his desolation and told herself that his weakness was of no use to her.
    With a hesitant touch, she traced the pink scar on his shoulder. “So strong, so damaged,” she whispered. “So vulnerable.” She bent forward and licked his throat.
    His fingers tightened on her hips.
    Her wings fluttered as he stirred against her belly.

    Hmmm, context doesn’t appear to be an issue here


  14. LOL! You’re right about the context. Funny how that worked out. 😎

    So he’s strong and damaged. And she has wings. Interesting. So… I managed to browbeat ME into sending me her ms. When do I get to read yours?

    Not that I’m procrastinating or anything. Sigh.


  15. You can read my book when yours is done. I refuse to be an excuse for you to procrastinate 😀


  16. LMAO! Touché.

    Actually, I haven’t even started reading ME’s ms yet, seeing as how weekends are for writing. So I do have some discipline. Not much, but some.

    That’s okay, I figure I can convince you to hand it over when I see you in a couple weeks. *evil grin*


  17. cbpen

    I was working on the MESS today and got to a part that made no sense and I couldn’t figure out how to fix it. Do I skip it and use more post it notes to mark it? So then, DS got home and I headed out to a workshop on POV (not that I have much trouble with that, but it’s free and it’s hanging out with writers) & dinner with my friend. 🙂 So, then I did my online stuff. And tried to go to sleep. SUDDENLY, I sat straight up. I had an answer. Grabbed a notebook and wrote it down. And now, I can’t sleep. I only hope I can read the answer later 🙂 Sometimes I can’t read my own writing and my translator (my old writing partner) moved away…she could read my writing a lot of times when I couldn’t!! 😉 AND, I really hope that the answer IS the answer!!! 😉


  18. Pen, that’s awesome! I’ve had that happen many times and I’m always surprised by how “right” a thought is that comes to me when I’m asleep or nearly so. Although it’s a bit daunting to realize my brain works better when I’m not trying.


  19. cbpen

    I saw a guy being interviewed about a book on creativity called IMAGINATION or IMAGINE????? Anyhoooo, that was one of the things that he said, to let it go. Then it will come. But, then, he said not always. 🙂 So how do you know when to go play and when to keep plugging away? They didn’t cover that in the interview. Natch!!


  20. McB

    I think you’re all being very mean, tempting this reader with a mere seven sentences.


  21. McB, you’re like the moose with the muffin. Or the cookie. Wait, that was a mouse. Whatever. You wouldn’t be happy with anything less than the entire book. And a glass of milk. And some jam. And the NEXT book.

    You’re so demanding. I like that about you.