Yesterday, I was meeting and hanging out with my good friend Laura Garcia, who gave me some sage advice regarding my book cover, "Make it pretty," she said,"Then, mothers will buy it for their kids." I was like, "Holy hot damn, that is great advise!"
I also found out that she has been reading my fourth revision of The Harvest and said she loved it! That was such an honor. The fact that she makes time out of her busy schedule to read it, phew.
The other thing we talked about, side bar, was Spanish. I never realized that Spanish doesn't use apostrophes to show possession. Try saying, "Jesu's novel is the best" in Spanish, and what you will say is something like, "The novel that belongs to Jesu is the best." Cool, right?
So, this morning, I am going over "La Bruja del Barrio Loco" (you can sample the second version through that link as soon as the pinche WiFi uploads it) again and still finding areas that need a smoother transition and more detail. I think I smoothed out most of the flashbacks, so they are happening in real time. Here are some tidbits from La Bruja below.
The first one offers another dimension to La Bruja to make her a partially likeable character. At least that was the goal. The second says a little more about Elisa, the protagonist.
Maybe she is a little too angry for a hero, but what Chicana academic isn't at some level? Am I right? In the story, the bits are right next to each other in this order, and I wonder if that will confuse the reader, but I say think the best of your readers. It's like students, you don't have to dumb shit down for them. You just don't.
Ø Ø Ø
Exactly four Sundays ago, Elisa had seen the old woman giving homeless people leftovers, and food to the strays on the block. Once, the old bitch had taken a nestling and put it back in its nest with the utmost delicate touch. Within seconds, the mom had flown onto the branch and warmed her baby bird. Any other bird might have pecked it to death for smelling like a stranger.
Out of nowhere, the old woman had produced a worm, which she fed carefully to the mother-bird.
Ø Ø Ø
The weeks following his disappearance, she had researched everything about Brujas. After all she was a graduate student and had immersed herself in Medieval and American colonial history at St. Mary’s University in Chicago. She was the best student in her program because she was so O.C.D. about her research. She had read every book in library and inter-library loan and even convinced Dr. Olsen, the archivist, to let her into the basement. One thing was clear, witches coveted the fat of unbaptized children, so they could fly. She knew that sounded insane, but that Bruja was evil absolute. She wasn’t a harmless lechuza like her grandmother had taught her, like those mythical harmless women, Mexicans told tales about, women that turned into large owls and played mischief on passing cars. After she read that in book after book and even some wacko blogs, she cursed herself over and over for not listening to her mom. “Baptize my grandson, so he can be in the grace of God,” her mother had begged almost daily.
But, Elisa wanted to get married to her boyfriend first. It was his fault, too, not marrying her when he should have and for not taking her seriously about La Bruja. Now, he was gone too.
OK, so on a writer note, I am getting sick of reviewing and changing this story. That is my ultimate litmus test that I have done enough revising, and can move on to finishing my novel. Plus, I have a parade of stories that need revising, including some other very long short stories that I am going to self-publish.
Revise until you want to puke, rest, and move onto the next bit. #Resist!
Dr. Jesú Estrada,