Jeff O'Handley, Author

Jeff O'Handley

The Doubting Writer Finds His Voice

Monday Musing

I’m afraid I’m not good for much today. Over the last two weeks or so, I’ve had a sore throat that finally went away toward the end of last week. On Saturday, the organization I work for sponsored a major public event (it went quite well), but by the end of it, my throat was sore again, and it’s still raging. We’ll see how far into the day I make it.

*Total lunar eclipse occurs tonight, should be visible to most in the western hemisphere. Of course, it starts well after midnight, but these things are pretty cool if you can stay up. 

*Big debate over on Absolute Write this weekend over the use of the expression “Kill your darlings.” My own conclusion? It’s not the advice, it’s how people are either presenting it (completely without explanation or context, as in, “How can I be a better writer?” “Kill your darlings.” Huh?), or understanding it.

*Finally, two momentous events occurred: outdoor air temperature was higher than indoor temperature, and I heard my first spring peepers of the year. They’re definitely a little late this year.

*My boss read my two short stories that appeared in Summer’s Double Edge and Winter’s Regret last week, and I still have a job. Actually, she was quite complimentary and gave me the sort of reactions I hoped for, i.e., good reactions to the story, not just, “I liked it, it was good.”

*Watched the Swedish versions of the The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played With Fire. They were quite good. One thing that’s interesting is how Swedish filmmakers don’t seem to feel compelled to have every role played by men and women who are stunningly good looking. I felt like I was watching real people.

Annnnd that’s about it. Hope this Monday morning (or evening, depending on where you are) finds you well.

12 Responses

  1. Hope your throat feels better soon!
    Eclipses are cool but I doubt I'll be staying up and we're expecting total cloud cover at this point

  2. I'm in the thick of killing my darlings as I revise. And I liked the Swedish versions of the movies better myself. I've noticed that about "foreign" films and television shows, too, that they aren't as hung up on casting the skinniest and prettiest woman in the role. They have normal looking people on their shows. I love it. 🙂

  3. I hope your throat feels better soon, but at least you have the peepers and the good reaction to your stories to cheer you up! I think it's important to learn and practice all the writing "rules," and then to let them go and just develop your own voice and writing style.

  4. General responses incoming:

    First, thanks for the good wishes. Andrew, strep is a concern. I did get hit with cold symptoms now, but I suppose I'm not doctor and should get it checked. Eclipse turned out to be a bust: wall-to-wall clouds. Oh, well, maybe the next one. Meanwhile, we're getting snow and projected temperatures in the teens tonight. Bleargh. It's funny, isn't it, Donna? We want people to read our work, but it's panic time when they do. Thanks, everyone!

  5. Hey Jeff – I'm late to the party, as usual.

    In reading your musings, what caught my eye was the reference to Absolute Write. I haven't been there in years. At one point I was on it a fair bit, but I ran into some really negative, aggressive folks and thought "wow… who needs this shit?" Probably just an anomaly, but that was it for me a couple of years now. Maybe I should go back and snoop around. Thanks for the reminder!

  6. Hey, Dan–By and large, I have no problems over at AW. There are some people whose personalities I don't much like, but for the most part I have found the site very helpful and friendly enough. Still, I know several folks who find it rubs them the wrong way.

  7. I'm a little late to this post, my apologies! I saw part of the lunar eclipse on Tuesday night that week here in Australia, it was pretty stunning. We quickly descending into winter here and I envy your spring, no matter how late it is haha. And it's good to hear that you still have a job after your boss read your stories. That's definitely a good thing. I hope your throat is better at this stage! Have a good week. 🙂

  8. Thanks, feeling much better. At the rate we're going here, our spring might finally get here in time for your summer!

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