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What to Wear to Dinner

Her mother said to us, “I want you to dress formal. It’s Thanksgiving. No jeans.”

M. and I exchanged looks. Formal?

dressed for Thanksgiving dinner

dressed for Thanksgiving dinner

Up in her bedroom, M. dragged out old prom dresses. “If she wants formal, we’ll do formal.”

The beautiful expressions on her parents’ faces! They made us go upstairs and change. Pity. I didn’t go to prom and I enjoyed the chance to flounce around in a fufi dress.

In fiction, you can try to give people what they say they want, but who’s to say you got it right? One person’s formal is another person’s uptight. One person’s free-spiritedness is another person’s debauchery. Or something like that.

I’m looking at my NaNoWriMo novel and wondering who on this planet would believe in a story like this? Well, I’m not at the point of caring today. It is the story I want to write. And if anyone wants to tell me they don’t want to read a story about a girl made of ink and paper, then there are many other deserving books out there.

There is the story you want to write and the story someone else wants to read. Of course, you don’t get published unless they enough someones will want your story, and what is that magic number? How much should we care when we put marks on paper?

I’m rambling. NaNo does that. In the end though, Happy Thanksgiving. Many thanks to you.

6 thoughts on “What to Wear to Dinner

  1. I always love the way you open your stories. I’ve missed being here…thank heaven computer problems are fixed! I think you have to tell the story that you are passionate about, the story that resonates with you and others will be compelled to read it. For example, I love that despite your questioning of yourself you are going to continue writing the story of the the girl of paper and ink. Just for the record I’d LOVE to read it…you peaked my interest. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!!! Hope your day is fabulous!

  2. I daresay the story you want to write is probably not the story you write; the story you want to read is not the story you end up reading. Writers and readers, beginning and endings, everything seems to get tossed together on a train leading who knows where. Reading you is always an adventure.

  3. Rambling? Maybe. As usual, it’s rambling of a high order.

    I think you can always choose to tell “the story you want to write.” That’s what first drafts are for, and I guess NaNo in particular is for that, too. But then in the editing comes the host of questions, all of which boil down to: “How do I make the story I want to write a story which someone else wants to read?”

    No answers to that question from this quarter. At some point, every great book — successful by whatever definition — could have been ruined by trying too hard to make it compelling to others.

    I often think I give too much weight to the style in which my first/early drafts are written — believe too much that the style of too many phrasings is indispensable to “the story I want to write.” The WIP, its story, is for once self-justifying. Someone really could make a great book of it. And I just pray that my habitual self-regard for my own manner of expression doesn’t stop me from being that someone.

    Hope you had a great Thanksgiving!

  4. nano IS for rambling.

    I have just had the epiphany that I have always written as if my books will never be done. Just writing and draft stage for eternity. Must work on the business end of finishing.

    And I for one want to read the story of the girl made of paper and ink, particularly if it is the girl you wrote of who had all the words people spoke carved into her skin like magic.

    Girl, your talent is magical and I wish you would stop doubting it and follow what FEELS right, because from what I’ve read of yours… it IS right.

  5. Natasha, when the novel is ready, I’ll let you know.

    Karen, I don’t know the story I want to write. I just write and find out what story I have written.

    MPJ, no, I wasn’t in a prom dress but I did have fun. Thank you.

    JES, oh it is such a challenge to edit a story to bring readers in and yet not edit it down so nothing interesting is left.

    rowena, yes, go work on finishing. It is a great feeling. Sort of. I mean, I think I am finished and then always want to go back and work on it more. As for this NaNo, the girl of ink and the girl with the skin are not the same girl, but they are in the same story. If I can finish it enough to make sense, I’ll let you know.

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