my tragic right hip

Busting out bad joints all over the place

September 30th, 2008

Dennis Lehane – On Characters

I’m a little in love with Dennis Lehane after watching this video where he talks about his new book, The Given Day. It’s always interesting to hear writers talk about their work but it’s my favourite when they talk about their characters as just showing up in their imagination and walking onto the pages of whatever book they’re working on at that particular moment.

It only happened to me once in the draft of the novel that I finished this past spring, but the character who did show up made quite the impression on my friend Randy in my writer’s group. I think he had a little crush on her. And I hope he’s not mad at me for saying so.

March 21st, 2008

Good Friday

I am done.

85,205 words. A first draft that runs 293 pages.

The song that was playing on the iTunes? “A Long Time Running” by The Tragically Hip. Oddly fitting, right?

March 17th, 2008

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

Yesterday, I planted a window lavender garden in a pot, did the laundry, went grocery shopping, tidied the house and, oh yeah, finished up a major portion of my novel that I’d been working on the past two weeks. I’m about 30 pages away from being done a complete first draft, which is three years in the making. I’m tired, but excited.

And I’m celebrating St. Patrick’s Day by reading John Banville’s utterly brilliant and truly hefty (although swift of page count) novel, The Sea. This quote totally caught me off guard, the protagonist, having just found out his wife’s dying, notes:

Helplessly I contemplated her. For a giddy second the notion seized me that I would never again be able to think of another word to say to her, that we would go on like this, in agonised inarticulacy, to the end.

March 15th, 2008


I have opened the window in my office just as I am about to open up my document. There are sounds of sirens, birds, cars, water dripping, and all kinds of things I can’t hear when the windows are closed and it’s -40 with the wind chill. I know it’s not spring just yet but the sun is warm and the air is cool and fresh, and I just wanted to feel something other than winter before I pull myself back into my own writing and spend the day staring at the screen watching as the words pile on to one an other in ways I’ll surely change before ever actually being finished.

Perhaps I’ll start by editing the above run on sentence.

Or perhaps not.

October 30th, 2007

Alissa York

Having met the charming and winning Alissa York in person a couple of times, I encourage everyone to read this charming and winning interview-slash-blog entry she’s done with Words at Large. I’m consistently fascinated by the process of writing and how different authors approach research. But I absolutely adore how things pop into Alissa York’s mind and then she’s like, “hum, I know nothing about it.” Like bog-living, Bountiful, and all the other flotsam and jetsam that writers come across in their daily lives and think, “that would make a good story.”

I collected an idea like this from The Toronto Star, and ended up writing a short story for my class based on the article the other day. It’s kind of liberating to discover that not every single bit of a story needs to be the product of an amusing muse or an overactive imagination. In my earlier years, I simply wrote exactly what I knew, which wasn’t much. Now, I’m obsessed by the fact that ideas, words, sentences, books, stories, can come from just about anywhere, real or imagined.

about me

Girl with titanium hip will rock. Girl with titanium hip will write. Girl with titanium hip will read. Girl with titanium hip will battle crazy-ass disease called Wegener's Granulomatosis. Now stuff that in your spelling bee!

my virtual self

deanna [dot] mcfadden [at] gmail [dot] com

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