Monday, December 31, 2012

Last Day of the Year

Water, sunset, evening, summer, sun rays
Sunset from Turkey Point, North East Maryland
Today is December 31 - the last day of 2012. It's amazing how many things happened in one year. My husband reminded me last night that this was the year of me switching my career from a commercial writer to a short story writer. So much stress and worry have been replaced by a chance to be creative and think afresh. This blog was started and has slowly started to build an audience.

I am so looking forward to a fresh new year. It's like waking up in the morning and realizing yesterday is over and I have a new chance to accomplish my desires. I have thought about penning a few resolutions (but have not actually taken the time to do so yet!) like writing better, maybe taking some writing classes at my local college, reading more and so on. Who knows what 2013 will bring? It is exciting in a calm sort of way.

My life has been a journey and one in which I have really been able to enjoy myself for the majority of the time. Does that mean I haven't had rough times? really rough times? No. I choose to make it a habit of looking on the good side of things and actually almost forget the bad stuff. For those folks around me, I try to help them do the same. If you are reading this (and obviously you are), I hope you have enjoyed many things this year and can find a way to look forward to 2013 as well.

Join me as I sharpen my focus away from the chaos of our politics, the troubles of our society, the insufficient funds in my bank and towards the great friendships of life in my children, my family, and the people I have been so lucky to rub shoulders with.

Happy New Year!!!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Week Before Christmas

My family has great parties at Christmas.
This is it, the countdown of the seven days before Christmas. There are only so many things that we can do within that time period. I have made my Christmas Eve menu and our Christmas Day menu but I still need to shop for some of the groceries. I want to get as much of the baking done ahead of time so that everything is not so hectic on Christmas Eve. Since I don't really enjoy sweets too much, my choice of cookies this year is almond meringues and peanut butter cookies and I would really like to have a decadent chocolate torte as well as maybe a cheesecake. With a big bowl of whipped cream to top off the sweets, no one will be hungry! And no, I did not forget to make the eggnog so it has time to ripen by Christmas.

For savory dishes on Christmas Eve, I want a spread of things like spicy Chesapeake shrimp, clams casino, artichoke dip, fresh bread, mushrooms stuffed with crab and cheese, green been salad, deviled eggs, marinated cheeses and plenty of green vegetables so that everything is basically finger food. The showoff dish will be a pile of sausages served with a variety of mustards.

If that doesn't make you hungry, you must be already full! You want to know what we are serving for Christmas? I should probably just serve pea soup! How much can you eat within a 24 hour period, anyhow? Christmas dinner for our family is also the birthday of our oldest son so we eat a more traditional menu of roast beef with a pepper sauce, roasted potatoes, Brussel sprouts, pickled beets and a Caesar salad. Wash it all down with a good red Cabernet and we won't need dessert for hours.

I have my list of chores that I would like to get done, some painting, some cleaning, a couple more gifts to get, and then I will be done... Except for the post party cleanup! So that's my summary of my week ahead. Of course, nothing will go as planned, but that's okay.


Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Busy Holiday Season


An old photo I found of my Dad and his sister at Christmas in Maine.
You may have noticed that I have been absent from blogging and writing over the last couple of weeks. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, my schedule seems to fill up with projects and there is little time left for writing. I think about writing. I would love to write, it's just that other things seem to take precedence. But I am not guilty about it - life is not about keeping routines but adapting. Besides, I am having fun with my other projects, Christmas shopping, cleaning, remodeling in our house and getting our yard ready for winter. If you think about it, I am living! To be a well-rounded person, you need to experience a myriad of situations and be constantly learning from each of them.

So, enough of my philosophizing. This Sunday is the second Sunday of the month and that means that several of my stories are free on Amazon. If there are some that you haven't read yet, this is your chance to download them. Look here.

Enjoy the pre-Christmas season!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Penny Crime

Available on Amazon
So I finished another story set in fiction around a very real object - a penny struck in bronze instead of zinc-coated steel. In 1942 the government was saving copper for the war effort and chose to use bronze instead. By 1943, they decided to save even more money and changed to making zinc-coated steel pennies. Some of the mints produced a few of the bronze ones during the change-over but with the new year's date on them. It was a mistake and collectors love coins that make it into circulation that weren't supposed to. As the demand for these rare coins goes up, the price goes up and that is how this story developed.

How else could a simply penny cause a crime? I am not sure we would even recognize one of these very valuable pennies as being any different from the normal ones. The last one sold in real life for well over a million dollars!

So, the story is in review on Amazon and will be published within the next 24 hours. I will list it as a free download over the weekend to give it a running start in the new story market.

Just to give you a sampling, here are a few lines from the story, Penny Crime....



“Drew, bring me your laundry basket,” she called. She and Dan wanted to instill a sense of responsibility in their young son and found ways for him to help around the home. Drew didn’t answer immediately, so Cindy walked towards the kitchen where the noise of the laundry machines wasn’t so loud.
“Drew?” she looked around and then stood quietly to see if she could hear his happy little voice. “Answer me, Drew. Where are you?” she called. Almost immediately, she noticed the sliding doors were open in the dining room. She ran out to the yard.
“Drew!” she called. Would he have run outside on his own? He knew better. Where would he have gone as a three-year old?
Her heart was pounding as she raced back to the apartment to grab her cell phone. “Dan, answer the phone. Come on. Answer! Please God, let him answer!”
“Hey, Cindy”
“Dan, I can’t find Drew?” She was almost hysterical.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Flood Relief

MSNBC
I have found it so refreshing to see the outpouring of support from regular folks to help the people affected by hurricane Sandy. While I was driving between Virginia and Philadelphia yesterday on Interstate 95, there were lines of utility trucks heading north. They drove in caravans by the hundreds from different companies as far away as Texas. Sure, some of them are getting paid, but I guarantee that there are far more people helping without pay.

It shows me that despite the fighting in this upcoming election, we Americans do care for each other. We are not all selfish folks whining that we don't have what we want, but we know how to get to work and meet the need where possible.We are a nation of people who rally together once politics and religion are set aside. After all, isn't that the real religion, loving your neighbor more than yourself?

How does this apply to me in the context of being a writer? It shows me that folks with real character exist and it's people like them that make up great stories. I am sure we will hear amazing stories as the days and weeks pass, of heroes among the communities who stepped out and did something to make a difference. Picking among the different stories will be the hard part.




Sunday, October 28, 2012

Anonymously

Move out of your safety zones and try something new...
I have been listening to successful artists talk about how they got their start, and so many of them talk of the excitement of their early years when no one knew them. There is a freedom about being what amounts to being anonymous when no one knows who you are. You see life and can express yourself with a freedom born of necessity as you seek to find your voice. Hunger and desire to succeed give an edge to your work when you expose your heart and say things that maybe you wouldn't say if you knew you had a huge audience.

Norah Jones was my inspiration this morning as the CBS Sunday morning show showcased her early life. The joy of her early successes as her voice slowly became known in her community was fun to hear. Often we forget that most successful artists had to struggle and work so hard to get where they are. Sure, some get a lucky break, but most folks like me and you have to work hard to get ahead.

So my advise for the folks out there like myself, enjoy the time to write as an anonymous person and let go - bare your heart, share your soul and don't be afraid of people seeing the raw side of your personality. I have a hunch that is what real people want... Throw out the carefully orchestrated words that form a fake front - that's what religion and politics require, don't they?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Herman Melville

Illustration by Paul Lasaine
Today I took the time to read a little about the famous writer, Herman Melville, author of Moby Dick. Did you know that at first, his book was considered a flop? The reviewers were harsh and did not speak well of his writing. It wasn't until almost 30 years later that the book reemerged on the New York literary scene as a success and today it is considered by many writers to be one of the best 100 books ever written.

Thankfully, Google finds interesting people to feature on their home search page with fun doodles, otherwise I would never have known this information. On this past Thursday, October 18th,  they featured Herman Melville as it was the 161 anniversary of his book's first publishing date.

What can a writer take from this example? Write your best and don't be too discouraged if you get some negative reviews. We cannot expect everyone to be able to step into our shoes and enjoy the way we think and communicate. Enjoy the process of writing and let the reviews do what they like. Learn from your critics and hope that your will work will attract some people who will enjoy your words.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Writer's Block

Try adding a new experience to your life!
As any writer knows, the dreaded writer's block will come at some point to interrupt your productivity. That's alright! Your brain sometimes needs a little time to readjust and when it is ready to be creative, you will have a new freshness in your work. It's like sleeping and the dreaming process. I like to think that dreams are a way for our brains to take all the experiences we go through and thoughts we have, mix them all up and kind of reorganize them and throw out the useless stuff. After a few nights of good dreaming, I feel so much more clear-headed and ready to imagine. There is actually a little science to back up that theory here on Wikipedia, Dreams for Removing Junk.

When I am waiting for my writing brain to come back online, I use the time to get projects done that I like doing - using creativity but in a different way than writing. Last week, I repainted my bathroom and this week I plan on doing some refinishing of some old wood lamps that I found. I have been looking around in antique stores for an unusual shade for each of them but have not been successful yet. I am hoping to find something glass, maybe green or blue - but that is just an idea. I am also working on a surprise for my daughter's birthday - but I cannot write about that yet since she might read this blog!

Now I realize that I may not be normal. When I look at  sites like Grammar Girl, she recommends totally different ways of attacking the dreaded writer's block, most of which involve more writing.

I guess my point for this post is to to encourage you to stay creative when you feel that the words are not flowing. You will still have fun and the writing will be more enjoyable when you get back to it.

Feel free to comment if you have a different method of getting the words flowing again.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Morning Glory

Today is the first day of October and I have a new story brewing. Imagine if you were walking along on a regular sunny day like today and you notice a penny ahead of you on the ground. Normally you always walk past pennies and don't really give them a second look, but today it catches your eye. Sure, you walk on but it nags you that maybe you should have picked it up. You argue with yourself that pennies are not worth much anymore and maybe some kid will be happy to find it....but yet, is it wasteful?

Some things in life don't have much face value but their value depends on other things. For instance, this morning glory is a weed with little to no face value in the plant kingdom. I can work hard to plant other flowers but this viney flower will thrive and it is quite a challenge to keep it from overtaking my garden. But I like it. It is one of the first flowers I remember my brother planting when we were kids. I love the heart-shaped flowers and the deep purple blossoms that only open in the morning and then shrivel away. Even their black seeds are cool, housed away in that round little pod.

Back to the penny. What if there is something about it that makes it different or rare? How valuable could it be? Actually, there are some very rare pennies out there that were made in 1943. The story is that the U.S. Mint switched from bronze planchets to zinc-coated steel for cents in 1943 because copper was needed during World War II. By error, some bronze planchets made it into the hoppers at all three Mints, were struck and released into circulation.Would you believe that one just sold for a million dollars?

So go ahead, just walk past that penny now!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Employment Changes

How to Decide Whether You Need to Change Your Job
My husband recently made the career change from sales to manufacturer representative. While that may not seem very much of a change, the amount of work involved in changing from one company to another is quite complex. He had to delicately let his customers know that he would not be servicing their accounts while at the same time arrange the perfect time to tell his boss. Once the old job was finished and the contact information was returned to the company along with the company laptop, he has to then prepare for the new job. Since he is representing a specific company, he had to upgrade his wardrobe, clean out space in the garage for new product and so on...

As you can see, there are a lot of details involved, most of which are pretty boring but exciting to the person involved. I like to use these experiences as reference for my writing. By living life longer, more people will be able to relate to the circumstances I write about.

Is it a stressful time? Sure, but by experiencing emotions like stress, I can become a better writer. There are so many aspects of change that can spark an idea for a conflict or plot of a story. It's the "what if's" that provide materials for writers. What if the new job has a corrupt boss? What if the job requires us to move? What if he doesn't make as much money as hoped? You get the idea, I am sure.

What are you going through that can help you write better or simply relate to other folks better?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

NPR Contest

One of the ways a writer can become more established in the writing market is to enter writing contests. Now there are hundreds out there but I was pointed in the direction of a really fun one set up by NPR, National Public Radio. Here is the link for any of you other writers that might be interested, Three-Minute Fiction. It will be a good exercise to come up with a really good story in just 600 words!

Fall is here and with that comes all the chores of changing seasons from raking leaves to changing out the closets and preparing for winter. It is a nice change and I like the new opportunities. Stories I write in the fall tend to reflect the weather since I can experience the nuances first hand. Have fun with your writing and take your laptop outside and enjoy the cooler temperatures....

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Missing Cyclist

Today I was finally able to finish a story I have been working on for a few weeks! I am almost ashamed that it took me so long, but at least I did. The story is listed as, The Missing Cyclist and will be available on Amazon as an electronic download within a few hours of writing this post.

I hope to be writing a little more frequently as my last child is away at college, but I am surprised at how many little things pop up each day that need my attention. Maybe I have to find a way to hide away...not really!

Once I have a couple more stories finished, I will be able to format my second book. Now I need to figure out a title for it...

Here is a short excerpt from The Missing Cyclist;



 ...I tried to drive slowly so I could look down the roads that branched off the main street down which he typically rode. Thoughts of anger and irritation at him prevailed in my thoughts, but really, I was worried. About half way through the course, I started to wonder if he had come this way at all; I couldn’t remember if he had told me where he was going to ride today. Realizing how hard it would be to find him without knowing which direction he had headed, I finished the route he liked to take and then drove through some of the other streets around town. After thirty minutes of fruitless searching, I headed back for home, hoping that he would have returned in my absence.
He wasn’t home either. I double checked my cell phone to make sure he hadn’t left me a text, and sat pondering what I should do next.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Free Downloads this Sunday!

A Short Story
Well this coming Sunday is the second Sunday of September. Who cares? Well, I offer a bunch of free downloads of my stories on Amazon. Each month on Second Sundays I offer my stories for free. For the time between midnight on Saturday until midnight on Monday morning, you will see the price listed next to my stories as $0.00.

So mark your calendars and grab a few easy reads!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Life's Experiences

Many times as a writer I am tempted to use stories from my life. Unfortunately, often these are not as exciting to other folks as they are to me so I need to embellish them. When my friends read my stories, they tend to be kind and wonderful in me telling me how great the stories are. However, now that I am writing to an international market where most of the readers do not know me, their criticisms are a little less careful. I appreciate this even though at first it seems harsh. By reading their candid remarks, I can learn and adjust.

I experienced a great Labor Day weekend on a small island just south of Boston. Everything seemed almost too idyllic with the full moon at nights, cool temperatures during the day, delicious food, whale watching, fishing, etc... Funny that perfect can seem almost boring! Anyhow, on Sunday afternoon, we were hanging out on the beach watching the boat traffic when we saw an old red dinghy being rowed into the inlet by a man with a white ponytail. He seemed out of place so we watched him a little longer than usual. We were very surprised to see him row up to the lobster trap buoys and start cutting the lines. It was bizarre that he would commit such a crime in bright daylight with people all around. Of course, our hosts were quite irate and jumped quickly to call the authorities.

Sounds like the beginning of a story, doesn't it?!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Real Life

The author dreaming up a story a few years ago...
Sometimes when you read a book, you get so involved in the story and the characters portrayed, you forget that there was a real person with a whole different life who wrote the story. It is living a real life with all its hiccups that creates compassion, understanding, sympathy, perceptiveness and insight in a writer. Without some sort of experience, it is very hard to write in a way that others will be able to relate to. 
 
I remember trying to write a love story when I was about twelve and I gave up in frustration when I realized that I wasn't wise enough in the subject to write about it. Well, can I say it has been a few years since then? Life has confronted me in so many levels and in ways that I never planned.

Today, my youngest daughter is packing up for college. We take her in the morning to  a campus within an easy drive of home, but the poignancy is still there. When I was young, I only focused on finding a great guy to love and share a life with, then having kids - but never on packing them up to leave home. Don't get me wrong - I am very happy for each of my kids (all four in college now!) and the choices they make; moving out of home is such an exciting and wonderful time for them. But from my perspective, it means that my involvement with them is reduced to when they need me.
 
So, as I continue on this journey of life, I realize just how little I really know and how much I still need to learn.Onward....
 


Monday, August 20, 2012

An Interview

I recently was approached by a fellow writer, Frank Zubek with a few questions about my latest book, The Meanderings of a Pen as well as few of my other single short stories. 
He is the author of the blog, What Brick Wall? as well as the writer of Guarding Andrew Gates, an eclectic collection of short stories. His newest publication, Almost a Dozen is now available on Amazon. The collection features common people dealing with real problems and shows how the author adeptly captures the emotions and characters of regular folks that make up the fabric of our lives.

Here is a copy of his interview concerning my stories:
An Interview of Heide Braley in The Meanderings of a Pen by Frank Zubek, August 2012.
  
Why don’t we begin by you telling us a bit about yourself?
            I am just starting to get involved in the business of writing short stories, although I must say that I have been writing and telling stories since I was a child. I grew up in a large family that moved all across the United States starting in the late sixties and through the next two decades. This proved to be a wonderful source of inspiration for many of my stories. After working various jobs over the years, I landed a job of writing commercially for five years. I learned a lot and realized that I wanted to be more creative in my work and branched out to start writing my own books in January of this year, 2012.

What is it about the short story form that attracts you?
            I enjoy being able to tell, develop and then finish the story within a short period of time. Most of my life’s experiences that I have really enjoyed were just short periods of time. I think that most of the sparks in life are that way and therefore I don’t need the space of a whole book to write about them.

I wanted to focus on your story collection, The Meanderings of a Pen. First off, I really like the title. It’s as if a pen has a mind of its own. Were there other titles to the collection you considered?
            I am glad you like the title. Once I picked it, there were a few times I wondered if I had done the right thing, thinking maybe I needed something more exciting or more creative, but I left it. I am sure there were plenty of other titles that flew through my brain, but nothing that stuck in my memory. I felt like my pen was just meandering along. I would just start each story with a blank slate and a simple idea. As I let myself imagine the settings, the story would take off and I was there to chronicle it as it formed.

How did you pick the order of the stories?
            I listed them as I finished writing them. There is no real order.

Had you considered having fewer stories in there - maybe doing it in such a way so that you could sell two collections with ten stories each instead of a larger collection with twenty?
            Yes, I did consider that but I wanted to have a book that looked like a book, not too thin, like I ran out of stories. Twenty seemed like a good round number as I want people to feel like they are getting a good value for their money.

I must tell you that I found a few of the stories particularly well written. A Walk in the Park, for instance, was a terrific story about a woman who gets lost in the woods. That story wasn’t based on experience at all was it?
            Thank you for the kind words and I am glad you enjoyed it. Sometimes I wonder after I write a story if other people will enjoy it as much as I do, so it’s nice to hear. No, this was not based on experience, but I did write the story after my husband and I went to the park for a day of fishing. I had a clear picture in my mind of the trail and the hazards and could easily imagine something going wrong.

The Sitter was a scary story as well with the babysitter losing the child under her care. What was the inspiration for that one?
            I have two daughters who babysit from time to time and can remember my own times as a teenager. I think I developed the story one evening after my youngest daughter was out late watching some kids and when she came home, I asked her if everything had gone well. Of course, it had, but my mind wandered…

I think The Empty Cabin is my favorite and it has a very ironic ending. How long did it take to write Cabin?
            It’s funny that you should say that because I have had several negative comments about that story specifically that they thought it was too short and it ended prematurely. Maybe they are reading it too fast and don’t catch the irony of the ending. However, I took a couple of days to think through the story, adding little bits as I thought of them to add variety. I had been up to the park in Pennsylvania where the story goes and then a few days later, our mailman walked by so he seemed like a good character to add, and since we live in a small town where everyone gabs to each other…so the story developed. My one son is always telling me not to be too predictable or the stories get boring, so I tried to mix it up a little in the end.

I also noticed that a few of the stories in Pen are sold separately. Have you gotten much response to any one particular story on its own merits?
            I do list single stories online to increase the exposure of my name as a writer. Snow Dog has had amazing success and also Abandoned Unknowingly. I offer free downloads at least once a month and that has worked very well to distribute my works internationally. It takes time for the public to access my stories and then to remember my name takes even longer. Since I have only been publishing stories for a little over eight months, I expect to take at least a couple more years before I have enough exposure to make much money.

I noticed that one of the single stories on amazon is not included in Pen. I thought A Bullet Does Change Things was very powerful and unique from the rest of your work. I don’t want to give too much away but the story is about guns and focuses on the victim’s point of view during a shooting incident. I also admired the way you went back and forth from the past to present during the incident and it all worked very well.
            Thanks! I started that story shortly after the movie theater shooting incident in Colorado. I wasn’t sure how to format it but knew that I was going to write about a victim of a bullet wound. Somehow they had to die, but I don’t like bad/sad endings so it took me a few days to just let it ferment until I could wrap my brain around it. I actually have several stories available online that will be part of my second book, coming out this fall.

Have you gotten much feedback from it?
            Feedback is slow from the public. Although I have many thousands of readers, there are few that take the time to write a review. The response I have received from this story is very good, especially from my social circles. It was a story I was proud to write.

Do you have a set writing schedule?
            I tend to write in the afternoon after I have finished all the other things that weigh on my mind. I need to be able to focus without distraction. After two or three hours of writing, I need to get out of my story and take a break with real life by going somewhere, cooking or gardening, etc.

Do you use the computer more than pen and paper?
            Yes, I have tried both but the time it takes to transfer the story from paper to keyboard is not efficient for me. I will write on paper if I am away from my laptop or away from a power source for a long time. Both ways are equally cathartic to me because once the story starts, I only think within the story, not about my actual surroundings. The keyboard just lets my fingers fly so much faster.

Do you get any fan mail from the stories?
            No, and I must say that I have never even thought about that source of feedback. That would be quite pleasant.

Are you on twitter?
            Sure, although I can’t say that it proves to be very valuable yet for my line of work. Each time I finish a story, I post it on social media sites with links to an online way to read/purchase it.

Are there any unusual marketing tools you use beyond tweeting or posting on your blog?
            I live in a small tourist town on the Chesapeake Bay where a storeowner in town keeps a shelf for local authors. I sell books through her, so I never know where the tourists are coming from and where my book might go. I also list stories on Smashwords online. They format them to be available to all the electronic forms of reading, not just the Kindle like Amazon does.

Can you tell us a bit about any new stories you may be working on and are you planning a second collection?
            Sure, I am currently writing a mystery about a couple where the husband goes missing after leaving for a short bike ride. Ironically, in our local news, a real incident just emerged about a local judge who disappeared and then just showed back up at home. I might have to research what happened to him to see if I can borrow some details… Yes, my next book of twenty stories is nearing completion. I hope to have it ready by October.

Do you have any short story writers who inspire you?
            I have been reading avidly since I was a child and would read everything that came my way. In school, when we were given our English Literature books for the semester, I would read it overnight since I couldn’t put it down. Unfortunately, I have a terrible memory for the titles and authors of books or movies so I cannot rattle off all the important folks who have molded my personality over the years. The greats like Louisa May Alcott, Robert Louis Stevenson, Jules Verne, Samuel Clemens, Jane Austen were always on my father’s bookshelves and I lived my childhood with their imagination feeding my mind.

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions and best of luck with your work!
            Thank you for taking the time to format this interview. You had some great questions for me and I appreciate your encouragement and thoughtful remarks. Best wishes to you as well.
 


Friday, August 10, 2012

Staying Inspired

Free Downloads on Sunday 8/12!
Sometimes when you work on a large project like writing a book, your inspiration can lag and discouragement or just a lack of interest can slow down the whole process. I like to take the time to read about other folks' successes to remind myself that I can keep going. 
Nathaniel Hawthorne started writing anonymously when he, as a young writer wasn't sure his work was very good but eventually went on to be friends with Longfellow and Holmes among several other prestigious writers.

Henry Longfellow started writing poems as a six-year old but his focus was soon turned to learning languages and teaching. He taught in Harvard for years before resigning to write poems full time when he was 47 years old.

Louisa May Alcott started writing to help her family beat poverty when she was 15. Her short stories were published in magazines but it wasn't until she was 22 that her first book was published. Seven years later, she wrote Little Women after her publisher asked her to write something for girls that was based on her own reality instead of the stereotype of the time. She didn't want to but at the urging of her father and her publisher, she "just plodded away"...and the book was an immediate and long lasting success.

Jules Verne, the father of science fiction, didn't write his first book until he was in his thirties and that was after he spent years traveling and then studying law. His father cut off his support while he was in college when he learned that Jules was writing instead of studying law. Eventually Jules learned to combine his love of traveling with his imagination and wrote the wonderful stories like Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea, and Journey to the Center of the Earth among so many others.

On another note, don't forget that this Sunday is Second Sunday where I give away all my eligible digital stories as a free download!

Enjoy your weekend!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Mysteries, Plots and Storylines

This morning, I have been daydreaming about a new story. I know it is a mystery but developing it into something intriguing is challenging. I think about it as I do my morning chores, wondering how many simple routines I could add to the story to make it seem down to earth and real. I wondered as I walked if I should use characters liked the ones I passed on the street to play a part. When my husband, Eric gets ready to run an appointment, I wonder if I should use him as a lead person. 

All of these kind of questions are going through my head as I develop what I want to use. I watch Tom Hanks and the types of stories made into movies that he chooses to play in and wonder how the writer developed such a fantastic storyline.

When I like something, I jot it down as just a word or two and then keep adding things as they fall into place in my imagination. By the time I start, I already have a pretty good picture in my mind of the setting, but have to be careful to remember that my audience doesn't and so I have to set the stage for them. Sometimes, this might change my story a little as it starts to take on a life of its own. Often , when I reach the finishing sentence, I go back and look at the words I jotted down in the beginning and realize that usually there are one or two details that I forgot to incorporate. Sometimes it matters, but usually, I leave the story alone, as if I had read it in a magazine or a newspaper where it is now part of history.

So, now I want to get started... Bike ride, disappearance, worry, police, distrust, blood on pavement...