That Little Fraction of an Inch

Anyone watching the race at Talladega today knows where of I speak. I was on my feet, screaming with everyone else in Nascar-land, as Jimmie Johnson made his move around Junior, with Brian Vickers, his faithful teammate, ready to push him to the win. Only that's not what happened - Vickers got a fraction of an inch too close to Jimmie's bumper at about 198 mph, and Johnson and Junior twirled like whirligigs into the infield as Victers took the checkered flag. That's what happens in racin', and congrats to Vickers on his first Cup win.

Missing the game plan by that itty-bitty bit happens all the time in the land of fiction writing. Now, no one hits the wall, no one flips like a quarter settling a bet, and no one gets hurt. (I hope not.) But let's be honest - sometimes we just can't get that chapter "right," or a character doesn't quite come to life. It's almost there, but it's still a miss, and you end up in the infield wondering what happened to your story. Been there, done that - a lot. What do you do? As Junior says, there's always a race next week, and there's always another chance to fix the bad stuff. And if it's not fixable, well, you shake your head and walk away. Sometimes the frame is too bent.

Just finished Shana Abe's The Smoke Thief, a fantasy romance set in Georgian England that's lushly written and filled with exquisite details. I've never read Abe' before, but I'm glad I found her.