I steal from the book thief

book-thiefSilk’s Post #79 — Okay, I not only steal, I lie about it. I’m not actually stealing from The Book Thief, the wildly successful New York Times bestseller and (as they say) now a major motion picture. I’m re-purposing the words of its author, Markus Zusak, in an interview found on the website of his publisher, Random House.

First, let me take one step back. I started a book club a couple of years ago. It was an odd thing for me to do, as I’d never belonged to one, nor thought of myself as a book-club type of person. But I had some women friends I wanted to get to know better and I knew they liked to read, so I rolled the dice. I thought: If it turns out not to be fun, I’ll just sneak away quietly.

It turned out to be fun. My bookie friends turned out to be some of the most amazing people I’ve ever known. And the book club turned out to be more of a book and food and wine club. So – home run all around.

One of the unforeseen benefits of the book club is its contribution to my writing life. When eight of us met last week to talk about The Book Thief and watch the movie – over home made chili, home baked breads, local artisanal goat cheese, good chocolate, and (of course) wine – our host opened the discussion by playing the online author interview.

I loved what I heard Zusak say about writing as much as I loved what he had written. First, I was a little shocked that he has been “classified” as a writer of Young Adult fiction, including The Book Thief, which is anything but lightweight. In his charming Aussie accent, this under-40 phenom (five books published to date, all acclaimed) cut through all the over-thought, sometimes patronizing, “expert advice” we’ve all heard and read about writing. And he did it in the most humble, polite and sunny manner imaginable, with a gentle knife.

Zuzak’s family suffered the experience of Nazi Germany, he explains, as Germans who  were reluctantly swept along in the mass insanity of Hitler’s dream. They were victims too, and the family narrative he grew up with inspired him to tell a story of war and death, loss and betrayal, from a different perspective.

The interview also gave me a different perspective on some things every writer needs to understand: Is writing all about getting published, or is it really about something else? What does it mean to “write what you know”? What importance should be given to “genre”? Why write at all?

Here are some of Markus Zusak’s answers to these deeply personal questions. My answers may be different, and so may yours. But I think Zusak’s perspective is a wonderful reminder that rules are there to be broken, and that the truths about what it means to be a writer, and how writing should be pursued, must come from your own heart.

markus-zusak“I wanted to write a 100 page novella, and I got carried away and it turned into a book.

“There’s that saying that War and Death are best friends, so who better than Death to narrate this story set in Nazi Germany, because Death was everywhere at that time and place. Then I thought: What’s the opposite of this all-powerful Death? Ah! A vulnerable Death. What if Death was afraid of us? What if Death was haunted by humans? It makes sense, because Death is on hand to see all the terrible things humans do to each other. And I realized then what the book was about – trying to find beautiful moments in ugly times.

“Probably the most asked question about the book is: Where should it sit on the book shelf? Is this a Young Adult book or is it an Adult book? I didn’t sit down to try to write a good Young Adult book or a good Adult book. I just tried to write someone’s favourite book.

“The other thing to remember is I thought nobody would read the book. You know, a 500 page book, set in Nazi Germany? And the narrator is Death? How do you recommend that to your friends? And I thought: No one’s going to read this. So I may as well do this exactly how I want to do it. Follow my own vision for the book.

“I think half of writing a book is just forgetting that there’s a world that exists beyond the book. To be a writer, I think, has nothing to do with being published in some ways. If a ray of light came out of the sky and told me: Your next book will never see the light of day. It won’t be published, you won’t be paid a cent, and nobody will ever read it … and the question is: Would I still write the book? The answer is: Definitely yes. And that’s what makes me write my next book, knowing that is true.

“To me, writing should be fun.”

I say: Amen.

Spring fever

spring_feverHelga’s Post # 74 —  Back from a brief holiday, a respite from the last attempts of winter to hold on for just a final stretch longer north of 49.

Vancouver is in fast forward mode to enter spring. There is colour, finally, after months of monochromatic gray. Sure, the skies are still the same drab shade most of the time (nothing new or shocking for us who live here), but the gardens are suddenly exploding with yellow Forsythias, pink Japanese cherry trees and other early blooming species. Our bird feeder empties twice as quickly as a few weeks ago. The city is coming out of hibernation. And it all happened while I was away for merely two weeks.

And with nature awakening, people’s moods seem to follow in the same track. That’s the power Mother Nature has over us. A power we should not take lightly. Suddenly we find ourselves rewarded with more smiles all around. The usually surly bus driver gives you a wink, the butcher adds an extra ounce of meat after ringing up your bill, and best of all, we hug our loved one just a wee bit more tightly when reunited after a busy day. We notice more spring in steps of young and old, shoulders a little less hunched and those of a certain age feeling more limber. I swear, I am not making this up. Writers, perhaps more than other representatives of homo sapiens, notice these subtle changes in their surroundings.

Not surprisingly, just as the first spring flowers pushed hard to break through the sodden Wet Coast earth, my mind turned to thinking of a new writing project.

For a start, I was pondering the age-old question writers have been wrestling since times immemorial. How do writers ‘know’ that this is what they are going to spend the next year or more writing the story of what just struck them. Or perhaps you have been pondering a plot for months or years and finally you can’t put it off any longer. Was it a visual image, or an emotion or mood that suddenly gripped you, something that happened in your own life long ago and something reminded you of that event, or simply a story on the news that resonated.

Likely, it could be any of these.

So I started mulling this wisdom over in my head. What to do? Deciding on the genre seems like to most logical first step. But, being spring and seeing a new spring in people’s step around me, I thought, well, why not take a risk. So I tried something new. I tried to be guided by what recently surprised, startled, moved or pleased me most – an image, an observation of human activity, an emotion, an unexpected comment from someone I thought I knew but turned out I did not, or a discovery of some kind.

Trouble is, far too many potential story lines evolved. I could have gone in any direction. Political thriller or espionage (Ukraine news provided plenty of ‘what ifs’); the missing Malaysian plane (conspiracy potential), or spinning a yarn after watching the tennis championship win by a ‘who? how?’, an Italian who nobody expected to go all the way to the top, who goes by the absolutely lovely name of Flavia Pennetta. flavia-pennettaThis ‘senior’ 32-year old played the most elegant, yet oh so aggressive tennis I’ve seen. My crazy writer’s mind went into overdrive: What a cool name for an undercover! Perhaps she could be a fictional tennis player who is using the sport as a front for a project to expose cyber-terrorists infiltrating the CIA? Or the White House. Or Stephen Harper and friends. Or some such. Definitely potential to become a fictional hero off the tennis courts as well.

Yes, there is a story in most everything we see and experience, something that causes some kind of emotion. The more deep-seated the better. The more outraged the better. The more delighted, the more horrendous the better. All of it, as long as it gets us out of our comfort zone and our rut. To catapult us into a different zone.

Have I found the ‘Eureka’ moment? Sadly, no. There have been far too many. Time to do more house-cleaning of my cluttered mind and start to focus. Trouble is, you can only commit to one story idea at a time.

What exactly prompted you to decide on the topic of your next novel? What was the Eureka moment when you said, “That’s it!” and you couldn’t wait to sit at the computer and started typing your first chapter or outline.

I can’t wait to hear what worked for you. Meanwhile, don’t neglect what you’ve been born to become: A writer!


Existential blogging

Joe’s Post #89

blogging-1Does blogging count as writing?

I was thinking about this as I stood in a lineup as rain began to fall.

The simple answer is, of course, yes. It is, after all, writing words on a page or computer screen or iphone or whatever.  But is it just vanity writing? One step up from a journal? Or a diary?

Dear Diary, the world was mean to me today and that girl that I like, well she didn’t talk to me all day. (Actually, that sounds more twittery than bloggie.)

But you get my point, right?

So, as the rain trickled down my back and into my underwear, I thought more on this. It’s what I do when my underwear starts to get wet.

For me, blogging is the purist form of writing. I love to write fiction, for sure, but it’s so easy for me to write observational narrative. Like sitting across from you and telling you a story. The story of Joe.

I love doing it. The words, the ideas, the observations all flow freely from my brain. There’s not a lot of working on plot or character or anything. It’s pure me.

So does it matter if it’s not ‘writing’? No. At least not for me.

the world around usIf I could make a living by blogging, I would – and count myself happy. As much as I love to write stories about my characters, I love writing about the world around me more. The good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful. The small things. The thing we sometimes miss. Like two little kids holding hands.

To almost quote someone famous – “I blog therefore I am.”

Now I need to go and dry out my underwear.


Note to Self: Do not google wet underwear ever again.

Days Until Game of Thrones Starts: 10 (April 6th!) OMG excited.

Days Until I Start My Next Novel in 5 Months: 11 (The Monday after GOT, I will start writing my next best seller.)

Blogs Written: 11

Blogs Waiting To Be Posted: 11 (Can’t post them yet.)

Queries out this week: 0

Rejections for the last week: 0 (good news or bad news?)

Queries Still Out there: 5

Hope Meter: 40/100.  Staying steady.

Why fiction matters





Paula’s Post #68 –  First off: my sincere apologies for missing last week’s blog post. While it is hard to explain to the uninitiated, sometimes life in the desert oasis known as Palm Springs can be overwhelmingly hectic.

I know, I know, I’m not complaining… really I’m not. But with half a dozen eager home buyers in town, all clamouring to see properties in a week that started off with the finals of the BNP Paribas Open and ended with the fierce international rivalry of the Canada vs. USA golf team challenge at my home club of Rancho La Quinta… whoa! I’ve been busy.

Happily though. Last week marked my very first ‘sale’ of a stunning desert property as an agent with Hom Sotheby’s International Realty.

So, my sincere apologies, but something had to give!

Happily, this week looks like an equally crazy one. After a few months in the ‘beta’ stage, my personal website just launched and ‘paulathird.com‘ is up and running. I’m really excited, because one of the important features of my new website is a ‘blog’ section where I’ll be posting updates and features of interest to my followers. Imagine my delight when i discovered the platform for this new blog is WordPress blog, the functionality not unlike the one we are using here at 5writers5novels5months.com

Already, I’ve decided to ‘rethink’ the usual kind of real estate blog. I don’t want to produce a weekly column full of market data and dry stats and info about economic trends. Instead, given my storytelling background and my experience with the 5writers blog, I’d like to use this new platform to inform my readers of what it is like to actually live here in the beautiful California desert, to spin stories that reflect the history, the culture and unique California Desert lifestyle. My challenge? To make it sound so delicious, everyone will want to be here!

So thank you 5writers blog for giving me build the skills and confidence over the last 5months to seamlessly transfer these blogging skills to my new platform. Oh, and don’t worry, I’ll always be a ‘5writer’.

Which brings me to this week’s topic: “Why stories matter.”

I was driving to my office this morning with the car radio dial tuned to NPR. The Diane Rehm Show invariably seems to be on when I’m driving this particular idyllic stretch of Hwy 111, and I’ve become a fan of her insightful interview show. So I was of course delighted and intrigued to hear one of her scheduled features this week will be a discussion of ‘Why fiction matters.’

I just caught the promo for this feature as I pulled into my office parking lot, only to be horrified by the statement that a recent study reveals that less than half of all Americans are still reading novels today.


Seriously? What about Canadians?, my brain screams back. Surely the Brits must still read, even if they are responsible for having us all glued to the latest episode of ‘Downton Abbey‘?  After all, the Brits more or less ‘invented’ English Literature. Hell, they more or less invented English. More than half of them must still be reading novels.

I was comforted to hear that the news is not all bleak. Apparently the same study suggests that those who do read fiction are better able to understand the emotions of others. The show, scheduled for tomorrow, promises ‘…A conversation about the social and personal benefits of reading fiction.’

Fine. But as I walked into my office, focused on getting out this blog post before doing any actual ‘work-work’ I determined I would blog about ‘why fiction matters’.

I  mean, think about it. It’s obvious really. Simple math:

No readers = No books.

No books = No writers.

These are not happy equations. Not for a 5writer. Not for any writer.

A few taps on the keyboard, a few google searches and…. guess what? Someone already beat me to it!

So, for today’s post, (and not just to save time and energy reinventing the wheel) I commend to you the provocative: Why Fiction Matters, Maybe by literary novelist and fellow blogger David Biddle.

I hope you’ll read what he has to say, tune into Diane Rehn’s show, and hopefully take the time to tell me why, for you, fiction still matters.

Unfortunately, if you are reading this blog, I suspect you already fall into the ‘less than half’ group. Sigh. Maybe you can find someone on the dark side, someone who doesn’t read fiction, and ask them… why not?




Habits: the good, the bad and the snuggly

Silk’s Post #78 — Quick, what’s the first word that comes to mind when you hear ‘habit’? I’m guessing that you didn’t think of ‘nun’ unless you happen to be one. I’m also guessing that if you’re anything like me (ie: conscientious but sometimes weak-willed), you may have come up with ‘bad’.

badYeah, about those bad habits. We all have them. Well, maybe you don’t. Sure you don’t. I believe you.

Mostly we hear about bad habits because people are always trying to break them. Smoking. Drinking. Bad posture. Sweets. Nailbiting. Gossip. Speeding. Procrastinating. Nosepicking. Whatever. There are too many etceteras to mention. The point is, bad habits always make for lively criticism, whether from others or self-inflicted.

But bad habits are hard to break.

goodGood habits are increasingly also part of modern discourse. Thanks so much, you do-gooders. Stephen Covey gave us his iconic Seven Habits of Highly Effective People back in 1989, and since then it seems like every doctor, nutritionist, spiritual guru, yoga instructor, fitness trainer, efficiency expert, life coach and writing teacher have tried to inspire us to adopt healthier, more productive habits guaranteed to deliver ‘personal improvement’. The point is that advice about good habits sell books, because we all live in a state of eternal optimism.

But good habits are hard to acquire.

I have no comments to offer on either bad or good habits. I personally have lots of the former and a few of the latter. I’m in a perpetual struggle to shift the balance the other way around and become a person with few bad habits and lots of good ones. So far I’ve had limited success (if you define ‘limited’ as ‘almost none’). So you’re welcome to you own bad and good habits, and let me know if you find the magical formula to change them at will.

But there’s another category of habits I call ‘snuggly habits’, and I think these are at least as important as the good and bad kind.


There’s nothing inherently wrong with these snuggly habits, in fact they’re part of life’s delights. However, they do their part to keep us, for want of a better word, inert.        

The reason this is important to writers is that our comfort zone is exactly the place we do not want to be all the time. We need to seek a certain amount of disruption in our lives. Willingly jolt ourselves. Stop trying to be normal day in and day out. Put fun, and quality of life, and deserved rewards aside sometimes … and get uncomfortable.

Sometimes I think we need to break our snuggly habits simply for the purpose of waking up our hunger, our unease, our beastly creative spirit. Change can be a stimulant.

Listen, if you don’t need to write (or fill in the blank with your own passion), that’s perfectly okay. Most people don’t. Snuggly habits are very comforting, and very addictive, and that may be all you need to live a very happy life. Mazeltov. You have my (envious) congratulations.

But, personally, I’m fighting it. I have been for some time now. For some perverse reason, I don’t want to simply enjoy the easygoing retirement I’ve earned, and I deserve. I prefer to torture myself trying to become a really good writer. I don’t want to live in my comfort zone.

But I’m realizing that breaking those snuggly habits is as hard as getting rid of bad habits, or acquiring goods ones. Maybe harder, because no one is nagging you to do it.

So, here’s me nagging you, my artistic friend – whoever you are, and whatever habits constitute your comfort zone – to consider inserting some creative disruption into your life. Change something. Put yourself off-balance. For at least a time, challenge yourself to act like the crazy, driven creative person you could be, at the expense of the much more reasonable and comfortable person you usually are.

Easy to say. Hard to do. I’m going to give it a try, in the hope it’s nothing like sticking to a diet – in which case, I may be stuck in my comfort zone forever.

Realizations at a reading

Joe’s Post #88

My best realizations often occur when I least expect them. Sort of a zen thing – let the universe unfold and stop trying to kick it in the nuts to do stuff for you.

thriller writersSo, let me share my recollection of the realizations I had while listening to other writers at Incite: The Dark Side: An Evening with Mystery and Thriller Writers. With Sean Slater, (“Sean Slater is a police officer in Vancouver, BC, winner of The Province’s Sunday Serial Thriller contest and the author of the Jacob Striker thriller series”), Deryn Collier, Craig Davidson (aka Nick Cutter), and Andrew Pyper.

The opening pages are super important. The other writers read from the mid parts of their books and the writing was fine, even outstanding, but I wouldn’t have bought any of their books. Why? They didn’t make me want to read more.

IMG_3342Sean did.

Plus he told a joke. “They introduced me as a massage therapist who became a cop. What if I was a cop who become a massage therapist and wrote a book called, “Rubbed the Wrong Way”?

So, yeah, humor plus a reason to make someone NEED to keep reading  = super important.

I must revisit all my opening chapters and make sure they ROCK! And make sure there’s humor.

PX4All the authors said that you shouldn’t let research get in the way of you telling a story. Make it up. It’s ok.

It has to sound authentic, but unless you’re writing a procedural or a manual, don’t sweat the details. Write, “she screwed on the silencer,” not, “she took the mark E3MB Gungan Magnamatic silencer and rotated it 11 times onto the favoured weapon of SOCOM, the PX4 Storm Special Duty Beretta with revolving barrel, snag proof design, accessory rail, automatic firing pin block, external hammer design, 3 dot sight system and reversible magazine release (though, to be fair, it’s a pretty awesome gun!)

This I have to keep remembering. It’s ok to make shit up. if you say SOCOM uses a glock, it’s only gonna make the gun guys (and SOCOM guys) go nuts. Your average reader won’t know the difference. But if you wrote, say, SOCOM uses a musket, well, you might want to do a bit more research.

But as Sean added, he wanted to get the ‘culture’ right. And that was the revelation for me. Make sure to take the reader into another world, be it the world of detectives, the world of unicorns, or the world of teenagers who realize they must kill each other to survive.

All of the authors also agreed that you don’t need any training. Forget degrees, classes, workshops, gurus or psychics. Just read great fiction. Read it deliberately. Then write.

For me it’s kinda like over-researching. I love learning and I can over-learn things sometimes. I need to just write.

IMG_3359Lastly, I realized how important it is to be part of a community. A writing community. It’s like poking yourself in the eye. If you do it alone, you begin to think you’re a bit of an idiot. If you do it with others, then you’re a community – of idiots – but a community nevertheless.

So, if you get a chance, go to a reading sometime. Go because it’s great people watching. Go because it’s enlightening. Go as a fellow writer to see people who’ve made it. They’re all like you and me.

And that’s something I need to realize every so often.


Blogs Done This Week: 2 (another hockey blog)

Movies Seen in Theaters: 0. Who has time?

Best Shows on TV: Walking Dead (cried), The Blacklist (took notes), True Detective (wanted to make Matthew McConaughey eat something.)

Days to Vacation with my new family: 2

Queries out this week: 0

Rejections for the last week: 0 (good news or bad news?)

Queries Still Out there: 5

Hope Meter: 40/100 Up a lot from last week. Got my laptop back. Saw the Sean speak as the Writers Fest. Saw my mystery writing group. Worked my ass off on an outline. Feeling like the story is coming together.

Spring re-cycling


Silk’s Post #77 — Is it still snowing or freezing somewhere back East? I’m sorry, I truly am. Happy St. Patrick’s Day anyway – at least the beer is green.

ewe-&-lambsHere on the wet coast, though, it’s sunny and warm. The pasture is turning lush. The daffs are popping up. And we have 11 new lambs bouncing around the farm.

Since this was the first winter in several years that I didn’t get to escape for a couple of weeks on a sunny beach somewhere else, I am more than ready for spring. I have that hopeful, restless, let’s-get-on-with-it feeling that always comes upon me at this time of year. Obviously I’m not unique since there’s a familiar name for this state of mind: Spring Fever.

I want to get out and do something different. Clean up old messes and begin something fresh. Unburden myself. Sweep my brain clean. Fly in the air. Restart, recycle, reset, replenish, recreate … all those ‘re-‘ words. It’s the season of renewal and ascension, and it has me thinking about how important these cycles are.

People who live in places with real seasons are fond of saying they couldn’t live in places without them – even though those who can afford it tend to turn into snowbirds when the arthritis kicks in. The great temperate climatic band that circles the globe is home to most of us on Earth, and our rhythms are organically tied to seasons and cycles.

There’s not a culture that doesn’t have these cycles embedded within it – and, of course, religions have expropriated the ancient annual milestones for their own observances. But these cycles are anything but arbitrary. Human survival has historically been dependent on doing the right things at the right time of year. Planting, tending the flocks and crops, building, reaping, preserving, sheltering. Aesop put this timeless truth in story form for children with the fiddling grasshopper and the industrious ant.

The fact is that life is not linear – it’s cyclical. We acknowledge humans’ self-sustaining circadian (24-hour) rhythms. We know that the monthly cycle of the moon affects the tides of people as well as oceans. And even though we’ve largely become an urban, rather than agrarian, species, I think annual cycles are so deeply ingrained that they create their own ‘social weather’. Everyone knows this intuitively, even if they don’t think about it.

But how many writers embed all these cycles into their stories? Those who are able to imbue their writing with a sense of natural cycles add resonance to the context of their stories. They deepen their plots with an extra, more textured layer of time and place. Their characters are more human, more visceral, because they have more organic, more complex – and less controllable – influences driving their feelings and actions.

Even stories that are set in cities and play out over very short timeframes can have seasonality. So, you say you’re writing a post-apocalyptic sci-fi story that takes place in an underground world beneath the ruins, so there are no day and night, no lunar cycle, no seasons? Wait – maybe there are. The obvious signals may not be in evidence anymore. But people’s internal rhythms don’t depend exclusively on literal cues like weather, dark and light, sun and moon. (If that were the case, there’d be no such thing as ‘jet lag’.)

Is this starting to sound suspiciously like astrology? Whether you consider it superstitious mumbo-jumbo or ancient wisdom, astrology reflects a deep species’ memory of the inextricable links between human life and natural cycles. Spectacular, improbable pyramids, obelisks and pre-historic monuments from Tikal to Stonehenge immortalize our relationship with the heavens and earth – and the cycles that keep us spinning through the universe.

Have we become too sophisticated to worry about this antique worldview? Have we learned, through our boundless technology, to control our environment so successfully that we’ve rendered these natural cycles irrelevant? Aren’t we essentially different from our more primitive ancestors?

Well … no.

Think about it as you drink your green beer to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Or – if you’re more into cycles than saints – as you toast the Vernal (or Spring) Equinox, which occurs on March 20th. Now, isn’t that a funny coincidence?


More surprises await

Joe’s Post #87 –

signSo, there I sat in a restaurant – laptopless and writing notes by hand – when who should sit down behind me, but three construction workers. Hard hats. Rough hands. Dirty faces.

Being me, I listened in on the conversation. You just never know what you’re going to pick up. I was expecting talk about boobs or hockey or the latest jackasses in government. All good topics. I hoped to pick up a little bit of their tone, their language, their thoughts, and file it all away somewhere in my cob-webbed filled brain.

Instead, I heard a reasoned and well-informed debate on pensions. All of them were well spoken, well thought-out and knew not only the economics of how pensions worked but how they are actually invested.

What a surprise!

But should it have been? Should I have been so quick to believe a cliché?

And therein lies the surprise. I expected something gruff, something typically blue-collar, something profanity-laced. I based this on their looks, my own experience working in that environment, and the fact they had hard hats. Bad of me, I know. Never judge a book by the cover and all of that. But I didn’t really judge so much as assume and my assumptions were all wrong.

Delightfully WRONG!

don maass workbookI immediately thought of something Donald Maass had asked in one of his workshops (and I’m sure it’s in one of his books.) He asked, “What would your character never do?”

I wrote, he loves his wife, he’s loyal and honest and would never ever cheat on her.

“So what would happen to your character if he did what he’d never do? Does that make him a little more deep? A little more dark? Understandable? Vulnerable?”

And he was right. He usually is. Thinking about what your character would never do, having the reader understand that and then, then have that character do what he’d never do adds a whole other level of layering to that character. Right?

So, that memory and those construction guys combined to make me think about how to play with expectations. What would I least expect a character to do, then have to them do it. For me, it makes for much more interesting reading. Makes for a nice little surprise. And hey, haven’t we all read about construction guys saying crude things? Of course we have. I may have even written something like that.

Instead, then, what if they were more like the guys who sat behind me?

That has to be much more interesting that regurgitated clichés.

Justified does this really well. Imagine Kentucky hillbillies. Imagine what they would look like. What they would say. How they would dress. Now, here’s a snippet of dialogue from that show. From Huffington Post

justifiedIn Season 4, look at (Hillbilly) Boyd’s style of speech, when a competing criminal, Nicky Augustine, holds him at gunpoint.

Nicky: I got to ask. Where’d you get all those teeth?

Boyd: Courtesy of the American taxpayer while serving our great nation in Desert Storm.

Nicky: Man, I love the way you talk… using 40 words where four will do. I’m curious. What would you say if I was about to put forty bullets through that beautiful vest of yours?

Boyd: What’re you waiting for?

Nicky: Oh, you’re cool, huh?

Boyd: I tried to keep it to four words. You’ll allow the contraction as one

Awesome right? I mean, really, really freaking awesome, but a good part of that comes from the fact that Boyd just isn’t what he appears to be. His language, his word usage, his humor is a surprise. In fact, the whole show probably has the best dialogue on TV and is a great example of how to do surprises, be they in characters or actions or dialogue.

And that made me think about how I’m going to have to kick up my game a bit more. I need to look for those moments where you’re thinking oh, hold on, it’s the street-wise hooker… and I give you something else entirely.

Every little surprise adds up to a great story.

I hope.


Blogs Done This Week: 1

Movies Seen in Theaters: 0 (too busy!)

Times I Muttered, “Where did the time go?” Just under a billion.

Queries out this week: 5

Rejections for the last week: 0

Queries Still Out there: 0

Hope Meter: 25/100 Down a bit from last week. Lack of laptop hurt my writing and time management. Procrastination hurt my queries. A small-brain-that’s-easily-confused hurt my outline.