Friday, April 6, 2012

Mystery Novel: The Spellman Files, Author: Lisa Lutz,

Who's the fool - why it's me

I thought I had a blogpost subject - not so.

See I only read the beginning of this little nugget from The Lutzletter, Izzy Spellman Birthday Edition:

"Michelle Obama fires back at Spellman critic

Rick Santorum raised more than a few eyebrows recently when he called the Spellman books "a corrosive influence on our nation's morals, plus they're not even really mysteries or all that funny." We're surprised and humbled to report that the First Lady herself took umbrage. Speaking at a March 28 library fundraiser in Illinois, Mrs. Obama defended the books..."

I read that far and I filed it away thinking to go back later and ponder in depth on the First Lady defending romance novels. Although the Spellman Files are not really romance novels. They're technically myteries.

When I went back to read the remainder of the paragraph, I found this:

"...singling out Curse of the Spellmans as her favorite. "I pretty much peed myself during the pancake scene," she said. Get the full story at"

Good one, Lisa, good one.

Have you read these? If so, what did you think?

I have randomly, arbitrarily decided that I will make Friday's:


I have written 5 out of 5 days so far. I have 10,000 + words fast-drafted. Another 5000 words or so and I'll be done with Act One.

But Act One is supposed to be 30,000 words you say. You're right but I said FAST-DRAFTED. Big difference.

Fast drafting means only writing the dialogue. Everything (narrative, words you want to change, setting) else goes into brackets as notes to yourself. The end result looks like this:

"It's too late for you to be coming home making all that racket, missy," Etta Grumble grumbled. "It's indecent the way you run the roads at night."

Taffy "I'm sorry I disturbed you, Mrs. Grumble, but it is barely midnight and I was working," {pulls briefcase out of  car}

MG "Hmmpf. What kind of accountant works at midnight?"
T"I'm not an accountant, I'm a bookkeeper. And some of the businesses I work for keep late hours. I was picking up paper work." {partial lie- She was picking up paper work. In addition at her last stop she had put the paper work in her car and gone back in for a rendezvous with the scumbag bar-owner who was now permanently demoted from client/[fuck-buddy] to client only and lucky to still be that.}
MG"Hmmpf. Come on Clyde. Let's go to bed. Some of us keep reasonable hours. Don't be making noise all the live long night, do you hear me? I need my sleep or I’ll be grouchy tomorrow."
“Insomnia must be a chronic problem for you then,” Taffy mumbled under her breath.

“What was that?”

"I said yes, mam. I’ll be quiet." {wonders why she puts up with bossy, crabby old woman acting like she's the owner and Taffy the renter when the exact opposite is true.}

See how there is direction for where I might want to go with the narrative but it's not really written. And I have the word fuck-buddy in brackets because it's a concept in the book but I'm looking for better wording. You can see how 15,000 fast-drafted words could be 30,000 when fully written.

 There are reasons for writing a first draft like this. More about that later. It gives me a distinct advantage, though, because I haven't decided WHERE this book takes place, yet.

How's life outside of bootcamp with the rest of the world?


  1. Well, for one thing, I adore the word fuck buddy but then we all know I have a trash mouth and the only person who could MAYBE out swear me is The Fokker. Well, that's not quite right, we all know that she CAN out swear me, and she's more creative about it too.

    And B) lol, how funny is our connection?!

    1. I want to call it what it is - fuck buddy - and her life has deteriorated until that's all she can let in. I'm just afraid of the bitching if I do.

  2. Go Judy Go! Two thousand words a day is two thousand words a day, fast-drafted or not. Good April Fools joke, too.

    Oh, and on a good day, I could totally out-swear Julie. *gauntlet hits floor* ;)

  3. *steps away from swearing challenge* (because I'm worried that I could win)(you'd have to get me really mad first, but then... oh, the words they fly).

    I've never read Spellman but they've been on my radar for awhile. Maybe I will check them out soon.

    1. I'll be honest with you, Barb, I'm not sure you'd like these books. You commented somewhere about not liking it when authors humiliate their heroines too much. Well one of my problems with Lutz is, I love the character Izzie and Lutz tends to give her NO soft place to land. I mean none. Finally in book 3 or 4 she gets involved in the romance you've wanted for her all along but until then she can't count on anyone in her life.

    2. oh, thanks, Judy! that is good input. (I did like Breathing Room, though, very much-- review is here.

    3. Breathing Room is my favorite SEP. I loved the epilogue. (Even though epi/prologues are verbotten in Crusie land. That last line gets me everytime, though.)

    4. I loved the epilogue, too. It was the goddess-on-the-mountaintop followed by the fake arrest that made me roll my eyes. But still, great book, and my favorite SEP now, too!

    5. I don't remember the ep! And I lent the book to someone.

      It was the first SEP I read, and I was impressed with the writing.

  4. I like the idea of the 'fast draft' - Nano in my world - It just gets the ideas out there and doesn't let the mind have time to question what you are doing.

    2,000 wpd is totally awesome.

    *Guantlet pick up and thrown back down*
    ahahaha I work at a title company--I can out swear any-a-ya's AND I can do it at work and no one will blink an eye!! Hell, it's where I learned to swear!!

    1. Yeah, I can't swear at work. I'm surrounded by pious people whose ears would bleed and they'd turn me in in a second.

  5. Bootcamp is working well for you--yay! I tend to leave a lot of brackets in my first drafts, too. Keeps me from slowing down too much. I write slowly enough as it is.

    Haven't read any of the Spellman books yet.