Monthly Archives: May 2014

Padre Bay in Lake Powell

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Padre Bay is a large bay in Lake Powell (at green buoy marker 23) in southern Utah. This photo was taken from my boat. The rock formation is known as Cookie Jar Butte. It used to have a taller handle making it look like the lid of a cookie jar, but with time and weather it has broken away. The bay is named after the “crossing of the fathers”. A group of men led by priests to find an overland trail to Monterey, California in 1776. They failed to find a route and were headed back to Mexico.
The bay is a great place to take the children tubing or wonderful place to stop and swim in the 75 F water. It’s 400 feet deep in some places in the bay.
It’s a tricky place to stay in the main channel. So many tourists in rental boats lose their way off the main channel and need help finding their way back. When you’re traveling in the main channel you need to travel from one buoy to the next. If it seems that it’s been a long time since you’ve seen a buoy, you’ve probably taken a wrong turn. The red rock cliffs can all start looking the same. It’s good to have a map. A compass can help get you pointed in the right direction if this happens.
There are so many beautiful canyons and rock formations to explore. A few petroglyphs can be seen. Lake Powell is a place that needs to be explored to be totally enjoyed. There many birds and animals that live in what seems to be very harsh conditions because of the extreme heat in the summer months. The more time you spend at the lake, the more animals you will see. I have seen lots of blue herons. I’ve seen beavers, coyote, road runners, rabbits, and most exciting was the wild donkeys that I saw in the San Juan River( at green buoy 57).

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Scenes and Sequels

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We usually think of a sequel as a second movie. But in the case of fiction writing it’s the follow-up scene. We’re used to watching movies and TV shows. These dramas are made up of scenes and sequels. It’s helpful to think in these terms while writing your stories. A scene is what happens and a sequel is your character’s reaction to what happened. This happened and so this followed. Here’s an example:

Scene: Jack sat at the bar drinking beer.
“Hey Jack, how’s it going?”
“Not too bad”
Mike looked around at all the women in the bar. “I could get any
one of these women to go home with me”
“Bullshit”
“No it’s true. I have a 100% success rate”
Jack just listened as Mike went on and on about his escapades with
women that he had taken home in the past.
Later that night Mike saw Jack still sitting at the bar. He waved at him
as he escorted Jack’s sister Angie out of the bar.

Sequel: Jack got up from the bar and went immediately outside. Jack caught up
with Mike and Angie. Jack struck Mike with his fists one punch after another.
Angie screamed for Jack to stop.
Mike was holding his hands to his face. “What pissed you off?”
“She’s my sister, asshole!”

If you’ve mapped out plot points, you can move from one plot point to another with scenes and sequels. There is so much temptation to tell instead of show. And there is temptation to tell too soon. As you work through plot points you may need to rearrange them so you don’t give away too much too soon. Have your character discover details rather than simply providing them to your reader.
If you can get your hands on an old book called “Techniques of the Selling Writer” by Dwight V. Swain published by University of Oklahoma, it’s an excellent source. Mr. Swain will help you understand scenes and sequels. I was fortunate enough to hear him speak at a conference in 1990. He graciously signed my copy.
Have fun creating your stories using scenes and sequels.

My Life Was Forever Changed

What was the one experience that completely changed your life? What happened? How did it change your life?  

     I was diagnosed with cancer of the appendix. I underwent major abdominal surgery and HIPEC chemotherapy. I was unable to return to my work as an epilepsy nurse practitioner. I’m  at home recovering from all of the side effects. I’ve required more surgery and nutritional support. It’s sure an eye-opener being on the other side of the stethoscope. I’m trying to look on the bright side which is I have more time for fiction writing. I’m currently working on a mystery suspense novel. I’m writing a short story in the same genre. My life has been forever changed. I’m looking forward to the new journey.

     Have you experienced a life-changing event?  

 

 

Character Sheets

Today I worked on character sheets for my mystery short story. I get to know as much as I can about my characters. It helps me to get to know them and how they will react to situations and other characters.
I went searching for an old character sheet that I used to use to develop characters. We’ll I couldn’t find a copy without digging into old boxes of manuscripts. And I really didn’t want to do that. I thought to myself, “what do I usually do when I’m faced with similar problems? I google. I googled Fiction Character Sheets and found a crazy amount of free information about character sheets and fiction writing in general. This is my helpful hint about finding useful fiction character sheets to develop your characters for your novel or short stories.

Research for my mystery suspense story

There’s nothing more invigorating for writing fiction than research. Yesterday I researched vaccine research and development, big pharma names that are involved in vaccine research, and restaurants near Wall Street.  I’m researching these topics for a mystery suspense story that I’m writing.  When you research you run across other ideas for plot points.  It helps you get to know the type of people involved and so it helps you build your characters.  When I researched the restaurants I picked one and opened the menu. Now I can add the entree choices of my characters adding some sensory information for my reader. When you’re suffering from writer’s block, consider research.