Categories …

On the sidebar I have a list of the categories into which my blog posts are supposed to fit. There is an abundance of “Uncategorized” … because I haven’t gone back to label all of them.

Bleeps, Blooper, and Outtakes …

In alphabetical order, the first category is BBO. So much of what I put in a book draft or a journal entry are BBO’s. Some are me attempting to be funny and others are me and my alter-ego … the powerful voice of my mother, still having fun.

My characters are funny gals, adventurous or wild femme fatales, and those confused or lost little women … who might find themselves in any of my stories doing who knows what.

To wit …  Bleeps, Bloopers and Outtakes … are me changing my mind. Me…  revising, editing, rewriting, and vanquishing pieces of or whole stories to my personal slush pile.

I truly need to do something with my girls. I don’t want them to go through life thinking they have no place in women’s fiction because they are comatose about their journey.


Cartoon credit

 Ramblings …

Ramblings is a category and the original name of this blog. Ramblings and Random Thoughts are very close … like kissing cousins. I try to imagine my mother’s face and her reaction to this strange pastime.

For instance … how on earth would I explain to my mother what I am up to this time?

“Listen to me young lady. I’d better not find out that blog is a nasty word or you’ll get it good.”

Google describes The Blog as an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer.

For today relax and follow me into organized chaos.

“I’ll give you chaos. Just wait until your father gets home.”

Random Thoughts …

The moments I share about my family and friends … are my perception … my reality. And if the truth as others saw it is not the same, and if like an eye witness, I am not totally accurate in my recollection …. sue me.

Between the Brooklyn docks and the town of Poughkeepsie on the Hudson River, I’ve met dozens of marvelous characters, fodder so rich, how could I avoid using them?

I think of the disclaimer on The Naked City and Dragnet in the early days of television drama …the names have been changed to protect the innocent.

If you look on the copyright page of most fiction books you will see a similar statement. No resemblance to anyone living or dead I have ever known, now or ever, I do so swear.

I could leave them alone, write about someone else’s family and avoid law suits and death threats. But that’s no fun.

If any person, living or dead, sees themselves in any of my characters, now and until the hour of my death, amen … get over yourself.

fOIS In The City is mostly fiction. So I am allowed to exaggerate, embellish, and wax melodramatic about anything at all.

“And if you tell tales out of school I’ll wash your mouth with soap.”

There’s nothing more enlightening than Psych 101

to give yourself the reasons why you and your family are screwed up.

Of course, there are the categories of City Scapes, my happy jaunts to different sites in New York City, Poetry Wednesday, which I have not done for over a year, Radio, a special category for a very special time of my life and there is also …

Flash Fiction …

Flash Fiction is a category I enjoy very much and one I wish to continue. I will be calling for more sentences soon, but first, I’d like to list the three sentences that were not done by December 31st of 2013.

Christi Corbett: Gina scanned the crowded park, searching for the man wearing the agreed upon red baseball cap.

Sheila Seabrook: Jimmy gagged as the smoke pushed further down into his lungs.

Brinda Berry: I walked that ill-advised road without shoes, a water bottle, or a map.

To Plotz or not to Plotz …

Planning an outline of a book, at least for me, does not work well. My stories usually begin with a line, an image or a sound, either remembered from a time in my life, or “stolen” from other sounds and images. Like the prompts I received last year, many stories begin with one sentence, one single image, one thing we love, hate or are drawn to for whatever reasons.

I have writing friends that plan and plot and those who fly by their seats. I have talked to both camps and listened to each explain why there is no other way for them. I’ve even reprinted the two posts from Writers In The Storm on the debate between plotters and pansters.

In the last few weeks, I have worked on two of the books that came from one single thought and grew to over 80 thousand words. There may have been times (as I lamented with Laura Drake) that I regretted flying by my pants … but in truth … there were more times I was unable to work with a structured outline.

In the rewrite of any book, I think all bets are off. My romantic suspense is better than ever. It has gone through edits in the advanced editing workshop of Margie Lawson. I’ve color coded and outlined. I’ve revised and rewritten and came away with one truly wonderful kernel of knowledge.

The story didn’t change at all. The major plot, characters, the murder and how it was solved and many of the sub-plots leading to THE END are exactly the same as the month I madly wrote the entire story.

I do not participate in NanNo …however … there is something to be said for the process.

Does it matter if you have bleeps, bloopers and outtakes? Do we get better when we learn to remove repetitive words and phrases or avoid clichés? Of course we do. Yet, I still believe that the rush of that first draft is the basis for a complete story.

If you don’t stop to second guess, outline, or fill in a grid on Excel, I venture you will have more fun and end up with the same product.

Laura said I was like her friend. Write a book in one month and spend two years editing. How is that different from plotting and planning for two years and retyping the results in one month?

Hang in there poster

The half dozen or more published writers I read or communicate with via the internet, phone or Facebook and blog, have one thing in common. Whatever story got them an agent, and or publisher, was still edited and revised yet again before it was printed between the boards. Or as Hemingway was quoted as saying … “I’m not a very good writer, but I’m an excellent rewriter.”

However you get from that opening line to THE END I truly hope you have some fun along the way. Writing is hard but loving it makes the work worth it all.

I trust you are ready for another eleven months of my categories, ready to give me new sentence prompts, ready to have some fun in The City.

And because we all read to write, pray tell.

What books have you read recently that you would like to recommend?

fOIS In The City


Filed under Ramblings

24 responses to “Categories …

  1. Florence – It’s so nice to see you again and have your blog to look forward to each week. I believe I need to go backwards one week and pick up a blog I missed. This writing thing is a lot of hard work isn’t it.
    I wish I could tell you I have 100 or more fabulous reads to recommend but, I have no such list. I’ll let you know if I come across something I believe you can’t live another day without knowing my opinion. In the meantime, welcome home.


    • Ah Sheri, it is so good to be back into the flow of this lazy river. Yes, yes, and yes again, writing is a hard way to go, but a wonderful way. I love the challenges and the learning, the research and the pure joy of watching a single thought grow into something someone might want to read.

      Thanks for the visit. I’ll look forward to that book I can’t live without 🙂


      • Florence – You are indeed a gift of light that enters into my world where all is still (when Tom and both dogs are asleep). I want to do a few book reviews here and there and in all fairness, I’ll say, Kristina McMorris latest, The Pieces We Keep’ is a gem of a read. I will review it. This novel is her best work yet – writer to writer: every chapter ends with a hook but the following chapter is a different character in a different era. I as the reader was then even more impatient to rush with my reading to find out what happens as a result of all the teaser hooks. There’s an underlying mystery and I believe you’d enjoy the read. I’ll admit, I didn’t read as many books in 2013 and much of what I did read was non-fiction.


      • Sheri, to follow up regarding Kristina McMorris. I loved her first two and have not yet read the third. Now I can’t wait. Thanks. And your light shines brightly in my world my dear friend. My love to you and Tom 🙂


  2. I agree with Sheri – good to ‘see’ you again!

    Your explanation of your revising reminded me of the first novel I wrote, which turned out to be my ‘biker-chick’ book, Her Road Home. I revised that thing 3,245 times over the years, and then 3 more, with an editor, after it sold. It wasn’t until the 4th from the last when the story changed significantly…The hero went from vet to motorcycle mechanic, the dog from a husky to a bulldog…but still, the story stayed essentially the same.

    And STILL, when the editor got it, she gave me the BEST feedback, that distilled the story down to what I meant to say, all along. A good editor crawls inside your head (by reading your MS) then says, ‘oh, right here, what if you…’

    I love a great editor. Even if it’s me. Or you!!! Write on, my friend.


    • Laura, I am sure I will be blessed if I work with a positive and intelligent editor. I am anxious to meet who that might be. Remember that no matter what stage of our work, when you got the nod for one book, it grew into seven and in a couple of months, your readers will have four of them already. It was worth those revisions !!

      I know I’ll enjoy the process no matter how many times I need to go through it. Thanks and good writing to us both this year 🙂


  3. A good editor helps you tell your story. A bad one helps you tell someone else’s (“you have too much of this, not enough of that, and what about vampires?)


    • That is very true, Lindsay. It hold together for your CP … a good partner does not try to rewrite the book their way, but guides you to your own way of saying things … just better. I am blessed with two readers who are also like editors for content and line corrections and that is a tremendous help 🙂


  4. I read the YA Legend series and it was crazy good! I tried getting into Unbroken, a nonfiction read for book club, but I just couldn’t. I think it’ll make a good movie though . . . it’s coming out in Dec. 2014. You might enjoy it though–it’s a World War II story of survival, resilience, and redemption 🙂


  5. I’m shocked at how little I read this year, well, fiction for fun and mental health anyway. I read the NYTimes everyday and lots of research for a Gilded Age series, so interesting. But reading for fun? I should have made a resolution. I just finished The Firebird, by Susannah Kearsley. Love her work. Love your blogs.
    I also love rewriting and editing, when you have the whole magillah finally out there and get to start playing.


    • Shelley, I actually love doing the research part of my mysteries and enjoy reading period books to refresh my memory about the sixties and seventies. (That is about as far back as I go so far 🙂

      Thanks for the nod on The Firebird and thanks for being one of my faithful “readers.” I’m glad to hear that an accomplished, published writer (a New York Times Best Selling Writer no less) truly loves the nuts and bolts of taking the ms apart and putting it back together again. It is a good feeling to get to my stage of “finished” … when I can send and hope to entice an agent or editor 🙂


  6. Hi Florence. It felt like coming back home – reading your blog posts again. I missed them. I just finished reading one of my favorite author’s books, “I’ll Walk Alone” by Mary Higgins Clark. Of course I’ve already read it numerous times but I like her a lot so… “A Dog’s Purpose” by W. Bruce Cameron is what I’m currently reading. My daughter saw it in a real live BOOK STORE! OMG, something I haven’t seen in a long time. Our Borders folded several years back and I’ve never gotten over it. Anyhoo, you know how much I love animals, and though I maybe have cried while reading a book twice in my life, I cried while reading this one. It’s written in the dog’s POV and boy, is it done well.


    • Hey Patti … Glad to be back and more than glad to see all of you guys !! Speaking of dog books … I read The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. Also written from the dog’s perspective. He actually narrates the entire story and it’s a great one.

      Real book stores are becoming too rare. What a shame. Thanks for the book recommendations. And you gotta love Mary and her dozens of wonderful books 🙂


  7. christicorbett


    Right now I’m reading “And the Mountains Echoed” for my book club. It’s a bit too soon to have an opinion on it (I’m less than 100 pages in) but it’s definitely not a style of writing that I’m used to, so I’m enjoying it just because it’s different.



  8. Hi, Florence, I can’t wait for your flash fiction stories. I hope you are saving them up in a collection because you never know…

    What I recommend reading–Just finished Carl Hiassen’s Bad Monkey. It is totally outrageous as all of his whatever genre books are. I’m delving into the new Julia Spencer Fleming mystery. I like to read Elizabeth George, Janet E too. And can’t wait to read the new Bridget Jones, but without Darcy??!!!


    • Good to see you again, Vicki. I do love my flash fiction and have toyed with the idea of putting them together. That’s one of the reasons I want more sentence prompts from my readers.

      OMG … Carl is a hoot, and every single other author you mentioned also. I’ve gone nuts for Janet E and Elizabeth George is a master of the genre.

      I’ll give the Bridget Jones books a try, since sadly I have not yet. Thanks so much for your selections 🙂


  9. I look forward to those last three flash fiction pieces!


  10. Agreed, much to be said for the NaNo process. I need to start holding my own personal NaNo’s throughout the year to jump start the word count and get the creative juices moving, for the brain, left and right, is a muscle, too.

    Continue to ramble, Florence. We’re listening.


    • Thanks so much, Sherry. Yes, yes … whether you join the challenge in a formal way or challenge yourself … the concept is exciting and lots of fun 🙂

      And it does get your juices flowing in a big way !!


  11. I like BBOs. Has a nice ring to it. I hope you had a wonderful January (since time if flying by and it’s almost over). You did some Margie editing, eh? Glad you survived the color-coding!


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