Monday, February 18, 2013

That New Car Smell

So, I didn't blog last week. There was a lot going on and yes, I could have written about that but sadly, I didn't. On Monday I could have written about things going on over the weekend like how we FINALLY got around to painting the woodwork in the foyer (well, most of it). And how for an entryway, there is a LOT of woodwork - door frames, window frames, baseboards, chair rail, crown molding, geesh! Instead, I spent Monday sick with worry about the Little Man who was having trouble shaking a cold and who was becoming feverish.
Courtesy of Graur Razvan Ionut
Thursday rolled around and what a treasure trove of stuff I could have written about! I could have written about chasing the two-year-old around the house trying to get him to take his medicine. The State of the Union Address was Tuesday and, as an opinionated politics junkie I could have written PAGES on that alone (aren't you glad I didn't). Thursday was Valentine's Day and I could have written something schmaltzy about love or how if you aren't in a relationship this "holiday" can make you feel like a leper. Or, I could have written how Little Man shared his cold with me and how sick I was by then, stumbling around in a Nyquil haze.
And yes, all of these things would be pertinent to my writing. What makes my characters sick with worry? What hobbies or chores do they have to do? What are their politics? Should you put politics in your writing? (Writer's Digest has a wonderful in-depth article in the March/April issue covering this very question so thank goodness I didn't try to tackle it. Embarrassing!) Are the characters lovers or are they lepers? Do the characters get sick and what do they do for a cold?

Courtesy of

Instead, I'm going to tell you about the new car. When my husband and I got married we had four vehicles between us. He had an SUV, I had an SUV, he had a motorcycle, I had a Mustang GT (convertible, red, oh yeah baby!). We decided to get rid of my SUV since his was newer. Flash forward six years and he still has his motorcycle, and I still have my Mustang (complete with baby seat and Cheerios in the back). The family car, the SUV, had seen better days. It was time to bid farewell to it and start considering something more practical.
My husband has a substantial commute to work and the SUV was not as fuel efficient as it should have been. What I really mean to say is that it cost too much money out of our budget for gas. Still, we needed something with space. We have two GIANT labs who need to be transported here and there, the Little Man, the two of us, and not a weekend goes by that we aren't at a big-box hardware store getting something to work on the fixer-upper house. I wanted another SUV (an Expedition would be nice), my husband wanted a truck (F-150 King Ranch). Those didn't improve gas mileage and then adding a car payment on top was way out of reach. Practicality and budget won and we ended up getting, sigh, it's so hard to say, a Prius V.

At first it was a little embarrassing to be riding around in a Prius. I mean, please, it goes from 0 to 60 in eleven seconds. I'm used to my Mustang that can go from 0 to 60 in four seconds and not be out of third gear. The Prius doesn't have gears. It doesn't have a key. You press a button to turn it on. And then there's no noise because it is electric. It's alien and weird and unnatural. But it has four redeeming qualities. First, it has the same space as an SUV. Second, the gas mileage is phenomenal. The savings alone in gas will make most of the car payment. Third, my husband drives it more than I do. And fourth, that new car smell. Is there anything better than that?
Courtesy of
So, what does this have to do with my novel, or my writing? A lot. Fantasy is wonderful and it is great to be able to create your own world. But, I am not a fantasy writer and my characters, God bless them, live in more of a real world scenario. My characters are budget conscious, frugal, and work for a living. My characters struggle with wants vs. needs like we do. They also have things come up that get in the way of their normal lives (yes, that is the plot of the novel). I hope that makes them accessible to readers. My husband just finished reading the twenty-seven chapters I had printed out of my rough draft. He's my first beta reader. He had really good suggestions but mostly he was complimentary so that is encouraging (and no, he's not just saying nice things because I cook his food). I'm hopeful that the new novel smell lasts through the revisions!

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