Tag Archives: technique

Drug Running in Submarines

Technology is moving faster than my imagination. Who knew that Latin American cartels have run drugs for years via semi-submersible and fully submersible vessels? Submarines are used to run drugs in the Pacific and Caribbean Oceans.

Crime writers have to keep up, at least, and stay ahead, at best, of technology that can be used in the field by criminals.

Sometimes I feel as if  I am using the equivalent of a rotary phone in terms of technology in stories I create. Today’s criminals are sophisticated, savvy and well-heeled enough to buy cool tools.

For insight into marine equipment used in drug running, read the following:


Good For What Ails You

One of my favorite bloggers is T from aslongasimsinging.wordpress.com. He explores man’s inner workings and darker moments with finesse and clarity. Further, he is a damn good writer.  A masterful wordsmith.

Anyway, while reading a recent post (http://aslongasimsinging.wordpress.com/2012/07/06/adventures-in-paradise/#comment-1649), I came across intelligent advice for almost any situation where one is experiencing loss, consternation, indecision, pain or any other strong internal conflict.

T says:

When you can walk it off, do. But when you can’t, rest up first. Have yourself a good cry. Get well. And then walk.

Although this advice was given in the context of making one’s way through the roadblocks in the life maze, I find it is also helpful to me as a writer. I have been rejected, demeaned, frustrated, confused, scared, burned, broken and any number of other paralyzing traumas over the course of my writing career. In the past, some of these situations or feelings made me lay down my pen for months or years at a time.

Always I was able to resurrect my desire to create through doing something akin to the advice shared by T’s character. Maybe his technique can work for you next time something strangles your creativity.

3 Elements of Bad Beginnings

Today I found a slip of paper on which I scribbled notes during an author’s lecture. The notes contained helpful advice. The speaker said there are common mistakes writers make which editors and publishers hate. Starting a story badly is one of those mistakes.

The lecturer listed three elements that make a bad beginning to any story:

  • too much back story or narrative
  • too long getting to the action
  • too much promised, then not delivered

New writers would be wise to post the list at their work station. As you start a story, check your work against the list to keep yourself out of trouble.

Share a Little Love

How timely that I should get this little note from JK Bradley this morning:

Fay, this is a great start for a story. You’ve built a nice amount of intrigue by setting up this mystery. However the voting works out, here’s what I think, you should use this story and work with it. Maybe put out 500 or so words every couple of days for your followers. It’s really good.

Nice job.

What he doesn’t know is that I will be submitting the piece to the writers group next week. I wrote it so it will stand alone as a piece of sudden fiction.

However, to keep the juices flowing, I may follow his advice. My mind loves games, and by playing along on this one, I could end up with another short story to publish. What do you think? Would you like to play along, too? You can trick yourself out of that dry spot and get a short story done to boot. We can team tag for each other.

Here’s the link — http://thebradleychronicles.wordpress.com/2012/04/27/indie-500/

Note: To boot — I say this colloquialism a lot, but never give a thought to its origins or if this is the correct spelling. I’ll have to research that little phrase.

P.S.  After a week of frosty mornings, it’s warm again. Peas, pole beans, lettuce and radishes have popped. I’m waiting on spinach, cabbage, cauliflower, beets, kale and brussel sprouts. Looks like the grapes took a hit and got frostbitten. Time will tell.

The Benefits of Tennis; Comment Tennis, That Is

Riatarded of The Uninspired Chronicles has touched a nerve. She is blogging about how an author jumpstarts writing when the author hits a wall. Many are wall-slammed it seems, seeking a solution to writer’s block. I’ve offered a couple of tips I use to Riatarded. My guess is she will put out an e-book with her collection of tips once the comment tennis game is over. It may prove to be a useful tool.

But it’s the comment tennis aspect of blogging that I want to chat about. Comment tennis (please forgive me for oversimplifying here) is the back and forth written exchanges on blogs. It is an art I am practicing. Why practice? Because I am trying to teach myself to soften my naturally very direct style.

I like getting straight to the point of a matter. I prefer to cut the chit-chat. However, I am aware that directness can equate to rudeness or sound like arrogance. So, I am trying to create a better way for Fay to communicate: I am practicing chit-chat via comments.

Second, I am an introvert forcing myself to act extroverted. Staying inside my introverted comfort zone reinforces bad habits I’ve made that obstruct free communication. To change myself in relation to others, I have to show up in another’s space. I have to get out there.

Third, good communication is an art. Reading and participating in comment tennis can teach me what works and what doesn’t. Practicing the positive forms reinforces those skills and ingrains them in my being.

It is said it takes thirty days of doing to make a new habit. When I have a lifetime of doing things a certain way, I think it’s going to take more than thirty days of practice to change it.

Getting Out of a Funk

I was inspired to write this post because of  my WordPress pal Riatarded at http://riatarded.wordpress.com/2012/03/29/the-uninspired-chronicles/.

What is one technique I use when I stare a blank sheet face-to-face and no conversation begins?

This sounds stoooopid, but it works for me: I admit I am dry as a bone and wallow in self-pity for the length of the hottest bath I can stand. Then I give myself permission to ignore my writing for a designated period of time. If I have a deadline, the time may be as short as thirty minutes. This weekend I took off two days.

I spent my “slacker” time digging weeds out of the vegetable garden and planning my spring planting. My bones are aching. I am exhausted physically. I welcome returning to the easy work of sitting and writing.

While Waiting

 A few years ago, it was not uncommon for patients to wait for hours to see their doctor. The condition was chronic and getting worse. Finally, a patient, who was also a business man, billed his doctor for his time spent waiting. Lawsuits began popping up, asking for damages from physicians for failing to see the patient at the scheduled time. Others took their protest to the media. In the end, physicians got the message and began to operate more efficiently.

 Better practices aside, there is still an amount of wait time for patients and their families when visiting the office of a medical practitioner. My husband’s appointment today is a case in point. He needs physical therapy a couple of times a week.

I knew I would be sitting for half an hour while he was getting treated. I decided to take my laptop computer with me. While my husband met with his physical therapist, I worked on an action scene from my novel.

Granted, this technique will not work for everyone.

I sat in the corner of the waiting room farthest from the television. Even so, a family with an active toddler soon sat right next to me. Fortunately, I can tune out surrounding sound and focus on my writing when I know where the story is going. Describing the action scene kept me focused. If I were in a creating rather than telling mode, the distractions would have annoyed me. Then the noisy waiting room would  not have been conducive to storytelling.

Applying a bit of creativity to time management, I eked out 30 minutes from a fully scheduled day to write. In that oasis of “found” time, I produced 375 words.