Because writing oneself into corners is so five minutes ago . . .

Too many plot points!  Must find HEA!
I’ve been chasing the Pigeon to its conclusion, and now I’m out on a limb. 

The view is amazing. 

So many choices, so many possibilities . . . 

Each character has a final choice to make—who to kill, who to save, who to forgive, who to love, who to let go . . . and not all those choices will be the right ones. 

I hope mine are . . .



Revenge is the best revenge . . .

I’m struggling with a scene.

Without giving too much away (or anything at all, really), Character A did A Very Bad Thing to Character B, and Character  C is about to make Character A regret it, or at least feel an equivalent pain.

I’m not having problems writing it, but I’m a little troubled about how much I’m enjoying it.  Or perhaps I’m troubled that I’m not more troubled?

It helps, I’m sure, that in my Revenge Lib,  A is a murderer with some interesting hobbies and B is a sympathetic character (or so I’m told).  And C, while being protective of B, is still a borderline sociopath, and isn’t particularly troubled by A’s pain.

To be honest, I’m not either.  And neither is B.

I’d be worried about this, too, except I can name several sympathetic characters on stage, screen, and page whose primary motivation is to do unto others what they did to me and mine.   Half the books in the library— including most of  613.2, but probably not 641-5*—are based on it.  As are the television and comic book industry.

The cleanest revenge appears to be taken on someone else’s behalf; that way it’s not entirely selfish, which tends to erode the moral high ground.  But of course, that isn’t really revenge—it’s justice.

Justice=Good.  Revenge=Bad.

Revenge is self-destructive and harms the giver as much as the receiver.  Then again, there’s a high price to pay for justice, too.  These days, revenge can be legal and vigilantism can be justice, so the only “real” difference appears to be where the writer’s—or better yet, the reader’s—sympathy is placed.

And that can change in a heartbeat.

That’s what makes this stuff so cool.

I’m not a vengeful person by nature.**  I’m far more likely to sign a petition or march for a cause than don a Batsuit™ or go hunting for the kid who made my life hell in high school.***  My subconscious, however, apparently has some issues to work through.

As long as it works ’em out on paper,  I think I’m okay with that.


*No.  Go look.

**Though I have occasionally brought my A-game to the slanging match.  And I’ll cop to road rage, though again, I tend to use my words.  And jazz hands.

***Everyone has at least one of those kids assigned to them during the course of their school career—even those kids are allotted at least one tormentor each.  I hope.

Time after Time after Timelines . . .

Someone somewhen said that time is nature’s way of making sure everything doesn’t happen at once.

Someone else said that children are nature’s way of making sure everything does.*

So, apparently, is writing a book.

I’m not just talking about deadlines—though when I set mine, I’d forgotten that this is the week Janie and I signed up for an evening family activity “camp” and half my day off this Friday will be dedicated to various dental and medical appointments that have been put off for far too long already.

I’m talking about actual timelines. 

The other evening, I realized that I have five chapters and three scenes happening in the same four or five hour period.  Granted, there are nine characters heading with purpose in four different directions** and two of them got up pretty early, but that’s still lot of stuff going on one morning before they all come together again to discover what’s happened in everyone’s mutual absence, with the exception of the one it happened to, and the two who made it happen.

After that, there are three conversations, one long distance phone call, one emergency plane ride, a dangerous conversation, another phone call, a guilt trip, and possibly a little wink-wink-nudge-nudge, though I’ll have to check my Writer’s Guide to Grievous Bodily Harm first, to make sure it’s physically possible.***  All before midnight.

I think I forgot lunch in there, but two of ‘em had brunch, so . . . never mind.

The plane ride, the second phone call, and the guilt trip have to line up.  The rest has to be in order, but no one is really looking at their watches.  Especially, it may be noted, me.

So I decided to take the time this morning to make up a chart in Excel that plotted everyone’s movements that day, using colors.  Lots of colors.  It looks like a solid OCD rainbow designed by a Tetris champion.  And it seems out that everything can happen, exactly as written. Each scene hangs logically on its predecessor(s). 

Chronologically, it all works.

But I’m afraid it might be a tad exhausting to read.  Those nine characters might not have had such a tiring day^ individually—fraught, perhaps—but their collective experiences are being launched at the reader’s imagination at a furious pace.

While I’m hoping to write something that will compel people to turn pages, I don’t want those pages turning backward because readers can’t absorb all the events.

So it occurred to me that if I shift the dangerous conversation and the second phone call to the next morning, the guilt trip can be divided into two parts—guilt is as regenerating and adhesive as starfish—and I can still slip in some uncertain pre-nudging without tearing open any (physical) wounds.  

The pacing will be better, I think, and the characters will be well-positioned for the next rodeo.  Plus everyone will have time to pack.

And then maybe we can all get some rest. ^^ 


*Especially when you’re on the phone.

**Okay, one’s sitting still, which isn’t perhaps the best idea, but he doesn’t know that . . . or does he?

***I wish—that baby would save bookshelf space and keep me off the blasted Internet. Who wants to volunteer to write it?

^Though when the adrenaline wears off, the crash will be impressive.  This is what is called an autobiographical element . . .  

^^This is what is called wishful thinking.

Random Thursday: superglue, Wonderland, and a plea for help

This week, someone put superglue in the light switch slot and the toilet paper dispenser locks in the men’s room at one of our library branches.

Admit it—you just smiled or snickered a little.  Everyone I’ve talked with has had the same involuntary reaction.

It’s an act of vandalism and disrespect, and taxpayer money is going to be wasted replacing the locks and paying for the extra electricity until a city employee can pick the glue out of the switch.  We’re lucky the joyful jackass didn’t think to put any on the seats or the stall doors.

But I snickered, too.

Because the combination of bathrooms and superglue, for whatever deep, psychological reason, is comedy gold.


Just to carry the typewriter theme as far as I possibly can, it’s true that the last company that still made manual typewriters ceased production around April.

The article in The Atlantic is here.

Let us observe a period of silence.  If your mind drifts to eight-tracks, VHS tapes, floppy disks of all sizes, vinyl records, and cassette tapes, that’s all right.

If you have to ask what any of those things are, get thee to a dictionary, young whippersnapper—and you can look that up, too.


I’m proud to announce that I’ve redeemed myself from my failure to solve Jeff Somer’s Final Evolution puzzle and found a new favorite Time Suck.

John McDonald over at Making Light—where I lurk in silence because I’m clearly not in their league—offered three mini-puzzle games that are also chapters of a story set in a noirish, nightmarish, urban Wonderland:

Alice is Dead 1     Alice is Dead 2     Alice is Dead 3

Warning:  these are not for kids.  The humor is dark,  there’s some graphic violence, and the mental instability (of the characters, not the player, thank you very much) appears to be growing as one goes further down the Rabbit Hole.

I did mention that it’s noir, right?

The games themselves are fun and just frustrating enough—and the little ‘voice’ that narrates, offers, advice,and tells you not to annoy the spider, is both wry and Zork-like.

I budgeted twenty minutes for the first one last night as a pre-writing activity, and just made it.  I tried the second this morning, but need a little more time . . .


. . ._ _ _. . .

My husband rarely reads my blog, so I’m going to risk asking for your help in the comments:

His birthday is this Monday and I don’t have a clue what the kids can give him.  They’re making him cards, but they want to give him something he can unwrap.  My MIL and I went halvsies on his new laptop a few months ago for a very early gift, so I was thinking a carrying case or lapdesk or something.

My kids think this is boring and have suggested a few things that I’m sure he’d love, but none of them are possible or probable—though I cannot deny that the man  is worth a new car, the woman he married has a tighter budget.

The man himself shrugs when I ask him, as has been his tradition for the 22 years I’ve known him, so that’s no help.  At all.

We’re going shopping Saturday.

Any and all ideas are welcome!


Pigeon Update:  one scene revised so I could proceed to the two scenes completely and sent to First Reader on Tuesday (I think—it was either really late or very early).

Thirty days to go.  If I think of it as a Nanowrimo schedule, it doesn’t seem half as scary—or scary for different reasons.


Who’s the writer around here, anyway?

funny pictures-The voices in my head might not be real...

Yesterday, I spent some time writing a two-character scene that was supposed to:
a) clear the air between Female Main Character and Female Secondary Character;
b) clarify a clue found in a previous scene; and
c) encourage FMC to mend fences with someone from her past.

We accomplished a) and b), but instead of c), they spent two pages discussing d): FMC’s feelings towards still another team member.

This would be fine, except FMC already did a page and a half of d) with Male Main Character two scenes back and the FMC  needs to get going on c). Plus, she isn’t the kind of person to spill her guts twice in a row.

So I took out the d) and tried to put in c). Except . . . it didn’t fit the wy I wanted to, especially around the segues. And the FSC didn’t want to have much to do with c)—what was she, a therapist? The only person who cared about c) was the MMC. And hadn’t I noticed that a) and d) were pretty much the same thing? Wasn’t I paying attention?

Well. Apparently not.

And if I was going to change anyone’s lines it wasn’t going to be hers. She knew what she was doing . . . you know, except for the thing with the other thing. She had some ideas about that, too, once I got off the stick and figured out what was important around here.

Hey! I’m the writer around here. This is my story and I know what I’m doing. Stop laughing. I should have killed you off in Chapter Four, like I’d originally—

Ahem. So . . .

I’m doing another rewrite tonight. I’m yanking the d) out of that previous scene with the FMC and the MMC and putting in some c). It’ll take care of the repetition and make that scene a little less sentimental, which should suit both of them just fine might smooth out the character development a little.

And then I’m going to plan something special for the FSC.

She deserves it.


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