Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Seven Snows a Secret

Photo from a calendar - no attribution provided.

The picture represents the quantity of snow around my domicile quite accurately, however.

It's not a winter for short-legged dogs.

I shovelled yesterday. A lot. The pile at the end of our drive is now higher than my head. To borrow an expression from hay-making, I shall have to "mow away" -- else exit into oncoming traffic will represent a seasonal form of Canadian roulette -- and our car is white.

In that most boring of writer's statistic, I also increased my MS word count substantially.

If the superstition about what one does on New Year's Day represents a guide to one's activities for the rest of the year proves true, I'll be doing a lot more shovelling in 2008.

You'll notice I did not specify what.

One of my delightful sons-in-law -- besides posessing a fondness for animals, a peculiar sense of humour that fits seamlessly with the Family's style, and loving my daughter -- has developed the endearing habit of trading with me large boxes of books.

Among them was a thriller by James Patterson, 3rd Degree (Warner Books, mass market paperback, 2005), one of the Women's Murder Club series.

Other than his invisible style, which, incidentally, violated nearly everyone of the "rules" about passivity and telling in narration -- as NY Times best sellers seem to do, habitually -- I noticed several interesting things about the novel, though I'm not sure I should try them all at home.

The chapters are snap-shot scenic and very short, averaging three pages.

The story is told from multiple POV's -- facilitated by the short chapters -- including the heroine's in first person.

And I found a frog that turns into a prince in my Christmas stocking.


Church Lady said...

Beautiful snow scene. I wish we had some, although I don't wish for piles of it to be taller than me.

Welcome back, and congrats on being productive in a writerly fashion!

(what's the frog?)

Carla said...

"It's not a winter for short-legged dogs."
Neat turn of phrase! I know exactly what you mean.
Happy New Year, and best wishes for 2008!

moonrat said...

heh heh heh heh. thanks for that.

happy shoveling ;) i'll be doing some of that myself.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Chris.
The frog? I think I have to soak him 48 hours in the fountain or something.

Thank you, Carla.The same, in overflowing measure.
Here, they'll have to learn to tunnel.

Heh. High fives, Moondear!

Ric said...

Happy New Year - snow is deep, sunrise is gorgeous, the new year breaks clean and bright, a canvas to be painted.

writtenwyrdd said...

"It's not a winter for short-legged dogs." Hah! We've discovered this. His Pugness doesn't like his dangly bits dragging in snow. Not a'tall. Heh.

I should post a picture of my driveway and front porch from this morning and give a comparison of summer. We got well over a foot of snow after midnight last night! I just got done with an hour or so of shovelling just to get the mom unit's and my cars out of the driveway in anticipation of the plow guy's arrival. Thank ye gods that the neighbor came with his snow blower to clear the edge of my drive, because it was hip deep. The front end of my suv was buried!

This is the most snow dumped in a storm since I moved here, and it wasn't even a dreaded nor'easter.


On a more writerly note, I am glad to hear you got a lot of writing done.

Julie said...

Bernita, you've sold the thriller and appreciate the link; plus all the best for a frost-free 2008!

In Durham we had two worst winters in living memory. Snow ploughs were taking the tops off parked cars; and the oil in the central heating tank froze.

Though not fully appreciating the depths of your winter, despite having Canadian relatives who use snow blowers regularly, my sympathies! Dreadfully beautiful?

sex scenes at starbucks said...

We've got our fair share of snow around here, though more is needed in the high country.

I learned a long time ago I don't care for Patterson's style--and this was before I could put words as to why. No doubt there are some good stories in the bunch, though.

Snow days are great writing days, and shoveling all sorts of things is good for the soul. :D

Jon M said...

We're dreaming of snow here in grey old England but my short legged dogs still come in with filthy undercarriages! Happy New Year Bernita.

Bernita said...

"the new year breaks clean and bright" - a good thought with which to begin the year, Ric.

We were accumulating about an inch an hour yesterday too, Written, though yours is a separate storm.
It's going to be that kind of winter.

Or to mis-quote Keats, Julie, "a terrible beauty."
I can remember a few snowfalls like the one you mentioned. So far, though, the temperatures have been reasonable.

SS, I confess I find Patterson's style dull and flat.
Exercise is good for creativity, they claim, as long as one doesn't wreck one's back.

Bernita said...

Jon, thank you, the same to you. This morning, we're lucky if we can find the corgi by his ears.

spyscribbler said...

Ick, snow. Ick, shoveling. Ick, cold.

I haven't read one of Patterson's books in that series yet. Actually, I don't believe I've tried Patterson. I'll have to put him on the list.

Anonymous said...

Glad you've had a productive time despite the deluge!

The Anti-Wife said...

Snow. Gross! When we get that stuff it only stays for a day or two then retreats back to the mountains where it belongs. Love Seattle!

On new years eve and day I read "Jane Eyre" again. Hadn't read it in about 40 years. It's still a beautifully written novel and Charlotte Bronte's descriptions are breathtaking.

What does that say about me?

raine said...

I'll be doing a lot more shovelling in 2008. You'll notice I did not specify what.

Love that, lol.

I've just finished shoveling a good (ha!) foot of the stuff as the wind gleefully tried to cover my tracks.
It won.
Congrats on the word count, though--and welcome back. :)

Robyn said...

Snow I could take. I just don't want any more ice.

And my New Year's prophecy includes aimlessly wandering the net while my kids play their new video games and snatching the last lemon square all for myself.

Welcome back!

Dave F. said...

Where I live in PA is just enough south and west to be in a lull of snowfall. Last night the roads were slick in some places and bone dry in others. There's a lovely inch or two of snow out there.

When It gets too deep the neighbor who has 1200 feet of driveway brings his tractor over to plow out my 300 foot driveway. Another neighbor has a CASE highlift/backhoe that he uses to move snow, gravel etc...

My Mother once insisted that my brother and I put rubber booties on her poodle. That was about the most ridiculous thing I've ever attempted and watched. The booties were slick on the bottom and the dog couldn't stand up without sliding.
We don't fool around.

When my little 10 pound ball-of-fur terrier was alive, he used to avoid deep snow. He liked to jump on my lap for toes massages to get rid of the ice in his paws.

Bernita said...

Ditto "ICK," Natasha.
I believe Paterson's plotting is adequate.

Thank you, Jason. As I said, I did a lot of shovelling.

I donno, AW. I like Jane Eyre too.

The similarities between shovelling snow and shovelling words are striking, Raine!
I may have just moved a lot of light, fluffy stuff.

Robyn,I will take any number of blizzards over an ice storm.

Dave, I had thinsulate boots for our previous dog for below zero temperatures.They weren't slippery though.

kmfrontain said...

Thinsulate boots for dogs. You'd think I wouldn't be interested for a Bernese Mountain Dog/St. Bernard cross, but that dog doesn't have sufficient hairs between the toes to keep snow out. She gets ice balls in them and can't take a walk with me in subzero weather as a result. What's the use of a St. Bernard that can't stay out in the snow for hours on a walk?

I may just make the mutt a set of booties.

SzélsőFa said...

we also have a small amount of snow here - I will have to make some photos of this white winter coat.
I used to shovel (snow) in the street, but now I gave it up. People walk on the road, as they always do.

That book sounds interesting!

Charles Gramlich said...

I love that line too, "not a winter for short-legged dogs."

I've noticed too that the bestsellers routinely break all the rules of good story telling. May be worth a post and worth taking note of.

Sam said...

I enjoy James Patterson's books immensely. He is an excellent writer. Whoever said you have to know the rules (of art) in order to break them was right.

Steve Malley said...

Didja know Patterson hires teams of ghost writers and then proofreads their work to make sure it has 'his' voice? Holdover from his advertising days, I suppose...

Now, back to my lovely summer morning, espresso and cafe table out in the yard... :-)

Bernita said...

Velcro bindings/straps, Karen. Saves their pads from the salt too.

I found the structure very interesting, Szelsofa.

Charles, I saw one poor little pooch, jumping like a cricket. A good thing he was on a lead.

I found his dialogue quite good, Sam.

No I didn't, Steve.
That explains the "Andrew Gross" in small print under the JAMES PATTERSON on the cover.
You wouldn't be rubbing it in, would you?

Gabriele C. said...

You can send some of the snow over to me. I love it, and never get any.

Don't mind the shoveling, either.

Shauna Roberts said...

Enjoyed the beautiful snow scene. I thought Southern California would be as snow-free as New Orleans, but instead on cold days snow frosts the tops of mountains. We drive around saying, "ooooh! Look at that mountain! and look at that one!" No accidents yet, despite our mountain-goggling.

Our weather here has been strong winds. We climbed a (small) mountain yesterday, and I hugged the mountain side of the path for fear I'd be blown over the edge otherwise.

Sarah Hina said...

I think most of my favorite books violate the rules. Funny, that.

Loved the dog line! Poor little Corgies...


Bernita said...

If it were possible, Gabriele, I would be quite happy to share!

Majestic and uplifting, Shauna. Wind drifts snow in fantastic shapes sometimes.

I prefer not to notice the rules have been broken, Sara.
Fortunately, the corgi has a shepherd to break trail for him.

Ello said...

I love that picture! and I wish I had someone to trade books with also.

Good point about the NYT bestsellers breaking all the rules. Not for us newbies! Now was that the Patterson that he wrote or one of his many public ghost writers?

Angie said...

Another vote for the "short-legged dog" line. [snicker] You need to work that one into a story some time. :)

Maybe I'm just crotchetey, but very short chapters annoy me. It sounds abrupt and staccato, and pulls me out of the story too often. Maybe Patterson (or his ghostwriter) can pull it off; I've never read any of his work. But just in general, I don't care for that sort of structure.


writtenwyrdd said...

Bernita, found out we had close to two feet of snow after midnight last night!

It's a 'real' winter this year, for sure.

Jaye Wells said...

I had to stare long and hard before I would believe that was a photograph. The last line of your post made me worried you might be a few shovels short of a blizzard, but after the comment thread I'm glad to know you're still sane, relatively speaking.

Chumplet said...

I like to shovel snow in the late hours when the wind dies down and all is quiet around me. It's very therapeutic.

You get more snow than me, Bernita -- you're in the traditional snow belt. The lake winds don't quite reach Newmarket, but we're getting our share!

Bernita said...

I suspect a ghost writer, Ello.

My first impression was that the short chapters worked in this case, Angie.

That's a serious snowfall, Written.

Relatively speaking, Jaye!

My shovelling preference too, Sandra!

Billy said...

Trading boxes of books. What a wonderful thing! You are so fortunate!

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