It’s only make believe

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I read a blog the other day in which the author posed the question, research or make it all up?

The blogger land-of-make-believe-signwas posing this question in terms of paranormal stories and the realities from scientific research. But it got me to thinking that the question was just as applicable to the mystery/thriller field as well.

I can’t speak for other authors (and I’d love to hear your thoughts), but it seems to me that the details matter, no matter what we see on TV or the big screen. I know I’ve often been brought up short when I see an author writing about something that is flat-out wrong.

But that doesn’t mean that we can’t have some leeway in the worlds we create.

Wolf Mallory’s world is entirely made up, but it is based upon locales or places I’ve seen in Southwest Florida. But within that world, I can play fast and loose with some details. The other day, I had a reader ask me if SEOPs, the secretive agency Wolf belongs to is real. Nope, it isn’t.

But maybe it is? Who knows what’s contained within the black budget. (Go ahead, Google that, I’ll wait on you.)

Despite that, I’ll warrant you there are enough readers out there familiar with the equipment, devices and investigative techniques, that I need to make them as realistic as possible to create the illusion of reality. I fear if I don’t, I’ll lose readers, which I can ill afford to do.

Anyone have thoughts you want to share?

 

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Where did the voices go?

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13077023_10154016169271291_935252051370129697_nI saw that definition of writer’s block this morning from The Writer’s Circle on Facebook, and it struck me. Of course, just last week, I mentioned how I and other writers hear these voices in our heads, so when they go silent, well, I guess you could call that writer’s block.

For someone like me, when they stop talking to me, I’m in trouble. I don’t write with a massive outline or roadmap to my novels in front of me. I’m what you call a pantster. I have a general concept of the story and who my characters are, and I start writing, letting them tell their story.

But, boy oh boy, when they stop talking….

Case in point. I’m working on the next Wolf Mallory novel, Dancing with a Dead Man. Being first person, it’s told through Wolf’s viewpoint, so we know only what he knows. A week or so ago, his investigation seemed at a dead end,  with no leads and no idea how to proceed. That’s when his buddy Trasker screamed in my head, “Talk to me, talk to me. I know what he needs to do.”

Okay, scene with Wolf meeting Trasker, and sure enough the eggs are frying, the coffee’s brewing and Wolf can move forward while I enjoy breakfast.

Oh, sorry, I got sidetracked.

So, do I have a point here?

I guess it’s be open. Let all those characters have a voice in the mental play in our minds. Who knows, by listening to them, you may be surprised at the results.

 

Conversations with a Moose

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As children, most of us likely had at one time or another an imaginary friend that we played witHerbieh or even talked to. Eventually, we matured and grew out of this behavior.

Writers, however, are a different breed. We don’t have imaginary friends, per se, but we do hear the voices in our heads from the characters we’re bringing to life on the printed or digital page.

I’m no different, hearing the voices from Wolf’s world. But, I also hear the voice of the companion on my desk, Herbie the Moose. Yes, Herbie talks to me every day, and he can be very critical if I ignore him. (And by the way, he just reminded me in no uncertain terms, he is running for President under the slogan, peace, love and greens for all.)

I’ve been reminded from time to time that Herbie isn’t real. He’s just a wooden moose occupying space on my desk. Yes, that’s true (and don’t say that aloud so he’ll hear it and suffer hurt feelings) but having a little moose to talk to in my head is way better than say,,, oh, that’s politics, I’m not going there.

Usually, most of our conversations occur during the morning, when Herbie is mulling over what he wants to say on my Facebook page that day (just search for me, or Herbie says and you’ll likely see his latest musings). Sometimes, Herbie tells me he has a particular comment about the day or what’s going on in the world, or he wants to be humorous, or he’ll wax philosophic. Whatever, the little guy has to say, it’s always interesting.

So, am I childish or a bit off that I conduct conversations in my head with Herbie? Maybe. But there are worse ways to entertain myself. And hopefully, this will satisfy Herbie’s demand that I actually write about him.

Herbie says, or how the world turns according to this little moose

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As writers, many of us have seen either through messages or Facebook postings advice on how authors should use social media to their advantage, that being promoting our brand and hopefully sell more books. Call it rules of the road so to speak.

I know. I could probably do well to follow some of these strategies myself. But I’m lazy, and being the house-husband around here, I have those things to keep up with besides writing. And if you’re anything like me, I’m really reluctant when it comes to posting buy-my-books links.

So, meet Herbie, my self-appointed social media guru. Most Mondays through Fridays, “Herbie says:” will make an appearance on my Facebook page, typically with comments about the weather, or what I might be doing, or anything elsHerbiee that captures his interest. And of course, there’s the occasional comment about his campaign to become president. Peace, love and greens for all is his campaign slogan.

Herbie is just a little wooden moose my wife picked up at Lowes a couple of years ago. He sits at the front of my desk keeping me company. About a year ago, I thought, what if Herbie could speak. And “Herbie says:” came about.

I don’t know if Herbie has helped my book sales at all, but I do know Herbie has a following. And when it comes to branding, and creating followers, well, Herbie’s my strategy.

What’s yours?

 

 

If This Is Tuesday, It Must Be…

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Yeah, I know, it’s Tuesday, but it seemed a catchy enough title.

What? You expected more?

Well, go Google history and I’m sure the great god of search engines will give you all sorts of answers as to what Tuesday is. Go ahead, do it. I’ll still be here rambling away.

Yes, I should be writing. I mean I’ve got Wolf in search of a murderer with no clues leading to the killer. And Haley has Gingerbread Dreams to finish. And out there in cyberworld are a bunch of fans screaming, WHY AREN’T YOU WRITING THE DAMN BOOKS!

All right, I hear you. I’ll get to one of them in a minute. Meanwhile, I have this huge bare patch in my front yard where the old oak tree stump that fell over last August used to be. A couple of weeks ago, fathebare spotr-in-law and a friend removed the eyesore. So here’s what I’m looking at out my front window. Looks pretty barren doesn’t it.

Anyone what to offer suggestions about what to do there? And I don’t want to hear Christmas inflatables.

All right, while y’all mull over options for me, I’m going back to Dancing with a Dead Man or Gingerbread Dreams and see what kind of trouble my characters are getting into. Ciao!

The Black List and lazy writing

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We all know for the purposes of TV time, dramas must compress things a lot.

Did I mention a lot, as in omitting details or leaving things to be assumed?

Nevertheless, that doesn’t excuse lazy writing. The April 7 episode of The Black List, while satisfactory as drama, left me highly disappointed from the lazy writing the left two gaping plot flaws.

To set the scene, Lizzy wants to get married, as in today, because her baby is due soon. Tom is reluctant, but finally agrees and they settle on 4 p.m. for the ceremony. Liz heads off to alert the task force about the latest info from Red, while Tom leaves to handle the wedding logistics.

Okay, plot flaw #1 and I’m giving you a minor spoiler alert from this point on. Tom returns to the apartment only to find himself held at gunpoint by former colleagues who don’t like his decision to leave them. That situation is resolved with one colleague dead and the other leaves. Then we see Tom cleaning up the mess. So, it’s apparent some amount of time has passed, but he has sufficient time to drive someplace, dispose of the body, return and clean up, then get to the church on time. Maybe he had the Tardis hidden somewhere to manipulate time?

Now, plot flaw #2, and this is the biggy. Wedding ceremony underway, when a bunch of baddies show up, intent on kidnapping Liz for some reason or another. They kill off Red’s men (he’d figured out what was going on and arrived just before the baddies), and surround the church. Mind you, there’s enough fire power here to take down a minor Latin American country. Yet, Liz’ former partner, Donald Roessler manages to walk through the cordon unscathed to help rescue Liz. You’ve got to be kidding me. How did he do this? Or maybe he called Harry Potter and borrowed the invisibility cloak? No. Fucking. Way. Not in this universe.

Lazy. Lazy. Lazy.

Share your thoughts in the comments.