About texture... by Liz Flaherty #WordWranglers

I'm sitting here once again, looking to the west through my office window. At how the wind is riffling the leaves on the cottonwood tree and an electric pole is standing at attention out beside the road. Clouds are scooting leisurely across the sky. 

My dryer died the other day, and while we're waiting on the new one to be delivered, I'm hanging all the laundry on the clothesline. It's dark clothes this afternoon--I still separate light from dark--in stripes and squares and solids. Hung from small to large, carefully by corners. 

Monday, I helped check in the foods in open class at the county fair. The judge looked at the presentation, then broke open cakes, pies, muffins, etc. She tasted, pushed at the crumbs, sniffed. At a nearby table, another judge looked at photograph displays, still another at fine arts. All over the building, projects were being measured and graded.

Today, I'm writing in the first chapter of a new story, working title Reinventing Riley, and I talked to Nan this morning about the things that life had created in widowed Riley Winters.  

It's all about the texture, isn't it? Things we've discussed before and need to remind ourselves of from time to time. Layers and colors and raw emotions that make the surfaces of our stories so delightfully...rough. Sometimes I'd give a whole lot to have a smooth-sailing writing day, but would I really be helping myself? The growth of the story--and its writer--comes with the texture. At the same time, we want the seams within kept flat and invisible. 

I know I've written about this before, so I'll keep it short rather than add on layers that aren't needed--who, me?--which is another problem writers create for themselves. I am so guilty of it when I'm trying to reach a publisher's word count. I've written a couple of 70,000-word books I think might have been just as good with 10,000 fewer words. In retrospect, I wonder if I tried hard enough to make the stories more texturized, rougher. Would they have been more interesting? Better?

It's time to get back to Riley's story. To add a layer and smooth it out, but not too much. And to always try for better. 

One More Summer
 will probably always be the story of my heart. It has more texture and more heart than any other story I've written. No, maybe that's wrong. Not more heart, but I did better with the layers. It was something the story was occasionally criticized for, but I loved them all. I still do. It's on sale now, for $1.99. If you haven't read it, I hope you'll give it a try and let me know how you feel about Grace's story.

Grace has taken care of her widowed father her entire adult life and the ornery old goat has finally died. She has no job, no skills and very little money, and has heard her father's prediction that no decent man would ever want her so often she accepts it as fact.

But she does have a big old house on Lawyers Row in Peacock, Tennessee. She opens a rooming house and quickly gathers a motley crew of tenants: Promise, Grace's best friend since kindergarten, who's fighting cancer; Maxie, an aging soap opera actress who hasn't lost her flair for the dramatic; Jonah, a sweet, gullible old man with a crush on Maxie.

And Dillon, Grace's brother's best friend, who stood her up on the night of her senior prom and has regretted it ever since. Dillon rents Grace's guest house for the summer and hopes to make up for lost time and past hurts—but first, he'll have to convince Grace that she's worth loving...

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