Friday, December 31, 2021

Happy New Year to You

I'm not supposed to be working today. Our offices are closed for the holiday, after all. But I am sitting here, monitoring my work computer because of a little thing peculiar to professions diverse as doctor and computer geek -- the on-call.

So while technically I have a day off, I'm awake and relatively caffeinated and trying to be productive with what would otherwise be empty time. As Weird Al says, "Well, it sure beats raising cattle. Yeah and I forgot the next verse. Oh well, I guess it pays to rehearse." Probably raising cattle is fun IRL but what else rhymes with Seattle?

Anyway, one of the things I'm doing is clearing up all my post-it notes. You know, the ones you write when a great plot idea strikes you in the middle of the night...? (What? Not everyone does that??)

I recently read Sourdough by Robin Sloan. I enjoyed the novel (and loved Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore). Sourdough has a line that hit me as brilliant so I jotted it on a post-it. Now I'm sharing it with you. It has more meaning if you've read the book and know about the characters, but it stands alone well enough.

Clingstone smiled distantly. "Oh, what about that book? I still love it. But I also wonder how it could possibly have resonated so powerfully with a twenty-three-year-old who had seen so little of the world. Now that I've actually suffered, I find it somewhat...theoretical."

Truth, that.

I'm also consolidating my post-it notes on Soul Mates, book 3 of the Pull of the Moon series. Having a bit of trouble with my lead male character, but I managed to re-imagine him via a bunch of middle-of-the-night soul-searching post-its. We'll see how these brilliant (tongue-in-cheek) revelations stand up to the light of day. Wish me luck.

From all of us at Mary Hughes Books, warm wishes for a safe, happy, healthy, productive, and satisfying 2022!

Here's a little cynical realization about this new year...

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

3T Writing Tidbit

 The moment of change. 

This usually happens to the main character just before the climax. The crisis is where she tries to solve the main problem and fails. The climax is where she tries to solve the problem and succeeds.

The difference is the change. 

So, generally this change is brought about by a resolution of her internal conflict (she finally gets a truth that makes her whole). If we didn't think about it, we'd write it like this:

I suddenly realized I didn't have to fear the vampires. 

Hooray! I turned around and went home.

Um. Yeah. That's a dud. Because stories are show not tell. So this internal realization must be expressed in an external, show-me way.

Stupid vampires. I'd been afraid of them all this time for nothing. 

I whipped out my bazooka and blew Drac away.


Published since 2009, over the years I've accumulated various items of writing wisdom. The Third Tuesday Writing Tidbit showcases these items in no particular order. Click here to see all 3T Tidbits.  

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

2T Repeat Performance - Finding the Friction

I've done a number of blog tours over the years, posting on different sites. Now I'm bringing them to you!

Originally published April 18, 2011 for Taste of Kiwi

Finding the Friction

Life and death is about as tense as you can get. So writing about cops and doctors naturally sizzles. But the adage is “write what you know”. Besides authoring, I’m a musician and computer consultant. What kind of story tension can you get out of programmers?

Well…what if the programmer is working late? Alone. And what if she’s a woman?

What if she’s alone and a man shows up? A tall, powerfully built, stunning god of a man? What if he’s a vampire?

And what if he instantly rubs her the wrong way?

Add a touch of laptop humor, and we have the following.

“I” is Liese, a small-town programmer. Her blood center’s just been invaded by graceful, blond Logan. The excerpt is abridged.

“What did you say your name was?” I asked him.

“I didn’t say.” The man pulled a small leather case from his jeans pocket and tossed a business card on my desk with a careless snap of the wrist.

Gorgeous and talented. This guy would bear watching. Aw, shucks, my libido said. I ignored it. Eyes locked on him, I picked up the card. Dared a glance. Logan Steel, CEO Steel Security.

Smack me in the face with a Toshiba. Steel Security was the firm that installed a multimillion-dollar security system at Andersly-Dogget Distribution, my first job—one week before I was fired.

I threw the card back. It hit the desk and rebounded into the trash, making my cheeks heat. “You can’t be serious! Steel Security is the Ferrari of security firms. They do the biggest names in the world. Why would they be in little Meiers Corners?”

We are here to install a system.” Steel perched gracefully on my desk again. In his tight black T-shirt and open leather jacket he looked more like a well-muscled fashion model than a CEO. “Here’s the work order, if you don’t believe me. You’re wrong, Ms. Schmetterling. Gorgeous, but wrong.”

Gorgeous? I shot to my feet. “Now I know you’re lying. Fun time’s over. There’s the door.”