At nearly 60,000 words, Losing Penny the novel is a rough first draft and a tangled mess. My personal life is much the same. To restore order to Losing Penny, I dug out a handout from a long ago UCI (University of California Irvine) novel writing class taught by Louella Nelson. The handout is called Scene Setup and Editing Chart and I’ve made forty copies—approximately one for each scene. It looks like this:
Scene # 1
Goal: Introduce Penny’s self image problem
Opening hook: Penny trying to fit into a bridesmaid’s dress
Setting: fitting room and gym
POV (point of view): Penny
POV’s goal: to lose weight
Sound- add sewing machines, people giggling—at gym, sounds of clanking weight machines, people grunting
Taste—of last night’s cake
Touch—the feel of the dress, sweat
Characters: Penny, Rose, dressmaker
Closing hook: Penny running
My writing goal for today is to fill out this chart for at least three scenes of Losing Penny. Here’s a peek at how I’m going to put a little order and sanity into my personal life.
Exercise. During my week long absence, my running partner got lazy. Every few feet she wanted to sit and lick her paws. At one point I dropped her leash and ran without her. I can do that in the canyon, as long as I keep an eagle eye out of Schnauzer predators (coyotes and mountain lions) I can’t let her off leash when I run near the street. So, two slow, paw licking miles today—two miles shorter than our typical midweek run.
Diet. Because of our trip there’s no food in the house. No milk. One egg. Half a loaf of bread. This morning I made my family pancakes and bacon (complete with maple syrup) and ate my own breakfast of two pieces of whole wheat toast. For lunch I had last night’s leftovers—seafood cannoli, coconut fried shrimp and a green salad. Probably not the best choices, but since I’m going to the store with the intent of buying all sorts of things on Bob Greene’s Best Life Diet and Meal plan—a little cannoli and a couple of pieces of shrimp aren’t going to hurt.
I really like The Best Life Diet. I know that there are faster, more aggressive diets in the world, but I’m not looking for a bikini ready diet, I want a healthy lifestyle. I want my Best Life.
So, if anyone’s interested, here’s my shopping list.
Almond milk (about half the calories and double the calcium of skim milk)
Pepper Jack Cheese
Sugar free pudding
Whole grain bread
Assorted fresh vegetables, including
Stay tuned to see what will become of all this food. Trader Joes, I'm on my way.