Showing posts from April, 2010

Evolution of Species Through WalMart

So, I'm at the local Walmart not long ago and this lady walks in front of me with the strangest display of artwork I've ever seen -- painted onto the back of her head! I kid you not. On the back of this woman's head was a perfect graphic representation of a bag of skittles. I nearly broke out laughing at the sight, and thought, what kind of fool goes through the expense of creating this advertisement on her head ... or was she just smarter than the rest of us and somehow managed to secure sponsorship by the product? Did she rent the space on the back of her head to the Skittles corporation? Then I thought, the only thing more foolish than painting an advertisement on the back of one's head is being that other fool chasing the person around Walmart trying to get a picture. I think this might give a whole new meaning to the slogan "Taste the Rainbow."

Plotting and Scheming

I t has been said that in order to do well at Chess, one must always think at least three moves ahead. I believe the same is true for fiction writing, especially in writing the mystery or suspense story. In fact, it can be a very wise thing, indeed, to have a good idea what the last move will look like before putting pen to paper to write the first move. I’ve struggled with this concept for years, and I’m sure many others have as well. I’ve heard of writers who just start writing with an interesting character in mind, letting the story unfold as the character develops. Others shun that practice and use elaborate systems of index cards, cork boards, file folders, or extensive notebooks. Janet Evanovich, in her book How I Write puts character development in the first chapter. That is not to say that she feels that plot is not important – it is. She looks at plot and structure like a train. The characters are like the train cars and the engine that pulls them forward is the plot. She has

Falling Through the Ugly Tree

Y ou ever heard that expression used to explain some person’s ugliness? They fell through the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down. I’ve not only heard it – I’ve lived it. I may not have been the ugly tree, but I was, most certainly, the person falling through it. I've been warned against posting this, and I'm suspecting these words will do nothing more than expose my stupidity ... But I don't care. So, here goes! It was the Fourth of July weekend in 1976. I remember it so well because, not only was it our Nation’s bicentennial, it was the same year I crashed my sister’s bicycle racing my best friend around a soccer track before a game. That little incident, by the way, left me wearing a stupid kind of butterfly shaped contraption around my shoulders for months while my collar bone healed. The little bicycle racing stunt had broken my collar bone in three places and given me my second concussion. The first concussion was the result of the actions of the weekend I’

Believing in Magic

If you are a writer of fiction, you are likely familiar with the term "Suspension of Disbelief." This is a process, skill, or whatever you might call it coined by poet and aesthetic philosopher, Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Since it's first explanation, suspension of disbelief has been used and talked about by writers, poets, filmmakers, and politicians. Even Shakespeare included it in his works. Basically, the key to this formula is to provide the reader with some semblance of truth they can use as a springboard into the truly fantastic. My observation is, the more fantastic the story, the more willing the reader is to suspend their disbelief for your story. I find that readers of science fiction, fantasy and romance are more willing to believe a fantastic story even if it does not have any grounding in the real world. They are less likely to believe a fantastic story if the writer either does not follow the conventions and rules normally associated with the genre, or does n

Character Emotions

I recently began to re-work a project I had previously put on the back shelf. One of the issues I had with the project is with my supporting character. I suppose one could call her the antagonist although her true antagonistic nature is not revealed until near the end of the story. You see, she is the best friend from high school of my main character. In this story she may or may not have poisoned her husband. what does this have to do with character emotions, you might ask? I've that one of the issues that I've had with this project is how this character (best friend - antagonist) should show her emotions. She is secretly furious because she believes her husband is cheating on her and senses the person he is spending all his time with is setting him to rob his bank. I've pondered much about just how I can let this character show some of her anguish and hurt and still hide it from her best friend. I finally decided (after the third re-write of the entire story) that I wil

Very Taxing, Indeed

Well, today is the day we all participate in that great personal fund distribution exercise known as tax filing day. This in one day of the year where some lose, and some, truly, win. This year I think I'm losing. We've done everything humanly possible short of claiming our dog as a dependant in order to lower our amount owed to Uncle Sam, but to little avail. We still owe. I absolutely cannot believe the way the math has changed this year. I actually buckled down this year and invested in an IRA and found that investment (supposed to be tax deferred) actually increased my state income tax burden! I had to remove it from my paperwork to avoid the penalty. It all works out in the end though (that's what I keep telling myself, anyway) and maybe in future years some of the money I give away this year will find it's way back into my pocket. So, for those of you seeing a refund this year, enjoy. But don't hold on to the funds too tight because, if my taxes keeping increa

The Politics of Pageants

I recently attended a local "all natural" beauty pageant for children. I went in support of my one year old Granddaughter. Now, let me pull out the soapbox cause I got something to say. First of all, I must open with a statement proclaiming knowledge that, according to Southern Tradition, I will be sought out, hog-tied, and hung by my family jewels with barbed hooks for daring to speak my mind like this. My retort to the threat is "Bring it on". I'm a proponent and believer in the second amendment. Now, on with the rant. I will admit to watching the Miss America Pageant on occasion. I did this for my own personal pleasure and not once did I believe that these women were not being manipulated or exploited in some way. When my daughter announced that her daughter was going to attend such an event as a contestant, I was saddened. But, this was an "all natural" beauty pageant just for young girls, and it was for charity. In fact, there was to be a special

Why Didn't I Think of That?

H ave you ever looked at a new product, or even another author's writing and thought; why didn't I think of that? Ok, maybe I'm weird but I've done this often. Not long ago, I was parusing one of those "Skymall" gift catalogs while on a flight. I was surprised to discover a product that I had invented long ago. Well, maybe I should clarify and say "my daughter invented it with my help for an elementary school project." I even remember mentioning to my wife that we should patent the product. She laughed and told me that it would be silly to spend the money to patent such an absurd device. Of course, she was right. You see, the device we invented was an automatic marshmallow turner. I had even created a support that would allow the roasting of a hotdog. The device was battery operated and turned marshmallows or a hotdog at the push of a button. One could imagine my surprise when, years later, I'm looking at something very similiar to the device my

Daleville Dan Fights for the Cause

For those of you who read the first Daleville Dan entry, you can rest assured that he finally managed to rid himself of those pesky cats. But it didn't take long for Dan to find his way into another hornet's nest full of political injustice and social disparity. You see, Daleville Dan discovered a wonderful new hobby and possible job source - electronic bingo. Oh, yes. A new electronic bingo hall, or entertainment complex as some might say, opened in his local area. Daleville dan had a blast and spent loads of his hard-earned money at the new place for more than two weeks ... until the Po Po came and shut it down. It seemed that some folks in the state government considered this form of entertainment gambling. "Heck, it's just bingo," Dan thought. "What harm could possibly come from putting money into a machine, pulling a lever, and waiting to see if the tumblers fell just right giving the player a jackpot, uh, er, I mean bingo! So Daleville Dan, f

Technical Difficulties

Please stand by as I am experiencing technical difficulties, ie . I think my modem is dead. I will be ready to post further adventures of Daleville Dan, more truths and more fiction as soon as I can get a reliable Internet connection.