distraction no.99

Nova Ren Suma | On Writing & Writing Distractions

Not an Author Newsletter… something else.

Unruly Novels and Bad Tattoos

Unruly Novels and Bad Tattoos

My novel and I had a very nice weekend, mostly. We worked through some plot changes together, I told her she was pretty, she revealed she still has feelings for me, and then just when I thought we were rolling she slipped out of my hands and ran off screaming and hollering through the room and I had to jump on her to calm her down. This is because she has a difficult spot around her middle and I’m trying to fix her up, if only she’d just sit still. Sometimes I want to put a leash on her so she can’t roam too far.

Then I think of the horrifying sight I saw at the bodega this weekend, while on a much-needed trip to stock up on revision ice cream. (What, you don’t need ice cream to complete a revision? Are you a superhero or a macrobiotic or something?) A short tough teenage guy came in and went to the counter to get a phone card and I was accosted with the enormous tattoo covering the whole of his left arm as he stood just beside me.

The tattoo was a menacing bulldog with red eyes. In the bulldog’s mouth was a leash. The leash was attached to the neck of a completely naked woman. Because the dog controlled the woman. Because women are lower than dogs.

I wanted to punch the guy in his smug face, but I am nonviolent (and do not want to get jumped in a bodega, and do not know how to throw a punch besides), so I held my ice cream to my chest and just glared.

I hope he never gets a girlfriend.

I hope a dog chews off his arm.

Is that mean?

So I take back what I said about the leash. My novel is free to run wild and I’ll never tie her down. I just hope she calms down enough so we can make deadline.

Speaking of tattoos, I sort of wanted to get a tattoo to commemorate every novel I publish, but I still haven’t come up with a good one for Dani Noir. I can never decide on tattoos, not that I’m against them, I think they’re gorgeous when they don’t involve naked women leashed to dogs, but I just change my mind too frequently and I can’t settle on an image I’d want on my skin for the rest of my life. It’s so annoying. This is also a problem when it comes to revision. Finishing a manuscript is like getting a tattoo. It’s forever. And when I’m revising it’s not forever yet. That’s why I love revision so much.

I still want to punch that guy in the bodega. Or at least glare at him some more.

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11 responses to “Unruly Novels and Bad Tattoos”

  1. I feel the same way about tattoos: love looking at them … have been considering getting one for 20+ years … but I can’t commit. I sometimes think I could permanently love a little wrist bracelet tattoo that says, “Once upon a time …”

    I favor revision fudge.



    • I like your “Once upon a time…” wrist bracelet idea, Lisa! And, when the weather cools down, maybe for my next revision, I shall try some revision fudge! Maybe that’s the magic I need 😉

  2. Pick a motif. Something that you really love. Examples: stars, birds, mushrooms. (NOT MUSHROOMS!) Get one for each novel. You can ALSO get a tattoo that pertains to the novels specifically, but the motif would save you the trouble of deciding each time.

    Of course you’d still have to choose a motif.

    • Mushrooms, what a great idea!

      (If I get a mushroom, I’ll give you full credit, promise.)

      I do like this motif idea… This could work! Once I decide on the motif, obvs.

    • Bryan, even if we share the same agent, I totally would punch you if you had that tattoo. Don’t try me!

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