Monday, April 18, 2011

(Re)Readable

When you started writing your novel (short story, poem, how-to book), did you give any consideration whether what you were writing down would be rereadable?

Most of us think about making a book enticing enough to get a reader to read it once, to choose it over all the other offerings on the Barnes & Noble shelf or Amazon.com page view. But, shouldn't we, as authors, want to make a book rereadable?

I have a confession:

I've reread J.D. Robb's Conspiracy in Death upwards of 20 - 30 times. In my adult life, it's
probably my most reread book, though a couple other books in the series, or possibly Eleven on Top by Janet Evanovich come in pretty close on its heels.

Why do I reread books? I know a lot of people who don't. Surely it's not because there's nothing good out there to read. I have a list of books I want to read longer than my arm, so I know there's new material out there.

I have several reasons why. First, there's something about the character(s) I really love. This is why I typically read a lot of series in the first place. I sort of know what I can expect, and there's not a steep learning curve where new characters are concerned. I already am familiar with them.

The story offers something that not just every other story does. For instance, in Conspiracy in Death, I almost always come to tears when, near the middle of the book, the main character, Eve Dallas, is ordered to turn in her badge by her superior. In another favorite reread, Portrait in Death, I get a huge kick out of a scene where Eve gives her husband, Roarke, a sedative (which is a bit that is done a lot in the early books in the series, just usually in reverse--Roarke gives it to Eve.)

With both of these things, I'm usually observing things a little more closely than I did on the first read or two, which means I am honing in on details and learning something I can use in my own writing. Sometimes, I just catch things I didn't notice before. This happened on my most recent reread a couple weeks ago of Portrait in Death, when I spotted something I'd never noticed before (which I can't recall at the moment.)

Then, there's the lazy me. The part that is tired, weary, or maybe even sick. I need something to distract my brain, but reading something new doesn't appeal to me. That's when I go for an old favorite. I may even start reading a book a few chapters in. (I've skipped the first 50 or so pages in Conspiracy several times.)

I just hope right now that when Homebody, Cora's Song, or Beyond Dead are on the shelves, some of my readers will want to reread them.


A brief aside...

I managed to find the stats section of my dashboard for Word Wanderings this week... I was a little stunned to see some of the countries where I've had visitors this from in the last week. So, to my readers in Iran, Slovenia, Russia, China, Brazil and the rest of the places I've spotted, I thank you wholeheartedly for stopping in. (And, of course, I thank those that stop in from the good ol' U.S. of A., too.)

Question of the week:

My question for you is two-fold: Where are you reading Word Wanderings from? And, do you reread books? If so, what are your top rereads?

Until next time,

Monday, April 11, 2011

What *Is* That?

As I said in my last post, I was toying with doing an update on my son's health for this post.

Because of the rareness of his condition, I've thought about it and decided to share.

Chances of a child getting SDS from carrier parents
While my husband and I are still awaiting genetic confirmation, it is believed my son has an autosomal disorder called Schwachman-Diamond Syndrome. While related to cystic fibrosis, it's not the same. Schwachman-Diamond Syndrome (or SDS) mainly affects the pancreas, bone marrow, and skeleton. While we're not sure about our little guy's marrow, we know it's affecting the pancreas and skeleton.

In a normal person, the pancreas excretes enzymes to help process foods. In an SDS person, the enzymes necessary to process fat (at least in our case) aren't present. These must be supplemented, which we've been doing for approximately a month. This is apparently part of the reason our son hasn't been putting on weight, and at 8 1/2 months old, has just barely doubled his birth weight (something that normally happens by the 4th month.) If you can't process half of what's in breastmilk, you can't grow. :/

As for his skeleton, we know that our son's ribcage is misshapen. I haven't had it fully explained to me, but there are other markers in his skeletal x-rays that are consistent with a percentage of SDS cases.

SDS is extremely rare. Our doctors say it occurs in about 1 in 75,000 people, which puts the numbers in America in the 4,000 - 4,500 range. One of my son's doctors has about five patients in our metro area (around 2 million people.)

More information about SDS can be found at the SDS Foundation website and Wikipedia.

So, what's this mean for us right now? Well, our little guy is getting intensive treatment from his doctors. He's seeing three specialists and we fully expect to get at least one more in the next month or so. Medications are being added to his regimen on a regular basis. And, after being on a feeding tube since Christmas, we had one doctor tell us he wants X-man (our son's nickname) off the tube. After thinking about this, I can see the reasoning. It wasn't necessarily that X-man wasn't getting sufficient amounts of food, it was the fact he couldn't process up to 1/2 of what he was receiving!

Obviously, this isn't going to be a walk in the park. He's at a higher risk for severe infections (like when he landed in the hospital in February with pneumonia,) leukemia, type-1 diabetes, and the need for a bone marrow transplant in the future. Whatever comes, though, I know I have support from our friends, family, and church, as well as a spring of strength from God.


Until next time,

Liberty

Monday, April 04, 2011

April is for Easter

Hello, lovely readers!

I know many of my readers are from ChristianWriters.com, but many aren't. As such, I wanted to draw your attention to this month's blog chain. I won't be participating this month--hey, I've got a lot on my plate, more than I can handle--but I don't want my readers to miss out.

The topic this month is Easter, and I know everyone involved in this month's chain won't disappoint. I urge you to check out as many of these posts as you can as they pop up through the month. And, be sure to check my side-bar for last minute changes and updates.

The schedule--as of April 1-- is as follows:


As for me, April seems to be a regrouping month. This week, we're expecting my son's diagnosis, so once we know for sure (hopefully!) what's going on, I should be able to figure out, at least for the short term, what my schedule is likely to be like. Which means I may be able to fit in some writing time. I desperately need to start writing daily again. My brain feels like it's filled with kid's movies, medications, and medical research, when I'd rather it be filled with agent searches, plots, and characters. (Well, how about all 6 items.)

Please go check out the blog chain and chime in at my friends' blogs. I'll try to be back next week with either an update on my son or a blog on writing.

Until next time,

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