Story Idea From…A Car Service Center

Yep. There I was, settled in a chair in the corner of the waiting area of the car service center. It’d take about two hours for my car to be worked on. Fine. I brought the latest issue of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, I had a cup of coffee on the table next to me, and it was quiet. Two hours of nothing to do but read. Heck, I even turned off my cell phone.

An hour into reading, I felt the presence of someone standing in the middle of the room. I looked up and saw a middle-aged man dressed like he just came out of an Eddie Bauer catalogue, complete with Mountain Blue parka and boat shoes. He wasn’t very large; he was average height and weight. But something about his persona, the way he seemed to command attention without saying a word. My imagination started working overtime and even though I looked like I was reading, the short story in Ellery Queen was long forgotten.

So, ever need a great idea for a short story or essay or even a poem? It’s anywhere and everywhere. And that’s the answer I give to so many people who ask, “Where do you get your ideas?”

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Literary Agents

I’m posting this because on so many writer’s boards, I read how newbies don’t know where to begin looking for an agent. A good agent. A reputable agent. This is the best place I know of to begin the search: agentquery.com

You never, ever, pay the agent. They get a commission.

Magic and Mischief

I’ve been working on a middle grade novel that has a little bit of magic and too little mischief. I need to up the ante and make it a page-turner. I hook the reader and draw them in, but it seems I leave them hanging (this according to beta readers). I see that and I can fix it. What I’ve done, though, for the past few weeks is put it aside and work on other writings, such as short stories and essays. I write poems, too, but only of the rhyming sort that inadvertantly become humorous. (Where’s the “shrug” smilie when I need it?!)

Life Throws Curveballs…

…and they can almost knock you out. I took my husband to the local surgi-center for what should have been a routine procedure. Three hours later we were in a hospital emergency room. Seems his blood pressure skyrocketed to 260/130. And the surgeon and anesthesiologist had trouble bringing it down, even when he was put under. So…they stopped. And sent us to the local ER where controlled chaos reigned. It was only five o’clock in the late afternoon, but already there were several cases of ODing on drugs and/or alchohol. Sign of the poor economy maybe? My husband was shuttled on a stretcher to different parts of the ER to make room for yet more patients flooding the place.

The good news–he’s stable, all tests normal, and he’s home now. And I’m back to writing. 🙂

Character Development

I’m reading an article about character development in writing stories for middle grade readers (MG) and young adult (YA).  Some writers have asked how they can make their main characters more three-dimensional. A good way is to put the character’s name at the top of a page,  then list attributes that are physical (hair color, eye color, tall, etc). Then list what fears she might have, what she likes about herself, dislikes about herself, favorite foods, etc. You might not be using all of these in the story, but it helps the writer visualize the character and how she might act or react in a situation.

Currently I’m in the middle of rewriting an MG novel, trying to make the main character more “real.”