Justine: Foreshadowing

sons of anarchy poster

Sons of Anarchy (c) 2008 FX

I’m not much of a TV person. There are a few shows I’ve gotten into over the years, but for the most part, it takes quite a bit to keep my attention.

My husband is the total opposite.

The latest show he’s started watching is Sons of Anarchy. He asked me to watch the pilot episode with him and I agreed. I’d heard lots of good things about the show and there was certainly a lot of stir among my friends on Facebook when the series wrapped up.

That first episode lived up to expectations, but for one glaring thing: the blatant foreshadowing that I picked up on almost immediately. In a way, it’s almost ruined the show for me, because I was 99% sure I was right (and my good friend, who’s seen all 7 seasons, confirmed my suspicions). Why bother watching now that I know this major plot piece that will shake everything up?

All of this begs the question: what makes good foreshadowing?

In his post on the importance of foreshadowing, Larry Brooks of StoryFix 2.0 describes it as Continue reading

Kay: Katrina’s Legacy—Education Interrupted

Hurricane Katrina. (Photo: Gregory Pelt/Shutterstock)

Hurricane Katrina. (Photo: Gregory Pelt/Shutterstock)

As writers, we’re only half the equation. Storytellers speak to a vacuum if no one’s on the other side, reading what we write. As a nation—a global nation—we need all the stories. People to write them, and people to read them.

Ten years ago, on August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, and although many children survived that storm, many have not recovered. Here’s a synopsis (slightly edited) of a recent report: Continue reading

Justine: “Just Bleed” by Jenn Windrow

bleeding heartMy very good friend and critique partner, Jenn Windrow, writes paranormal and urban fantasy and just inked an eight-book deal with Muse It Up Publishing (woo-hoo!). She’s a multi-award winner, a 3-time Margie Lawson Immersion grad, and a fantastic writer. I am super-fortunate to work with her!

She penned this post “Just Bleed” on her own group site, Readerlicious: For Writers Who Love Readers. I love it for how it describes us writers and Continue reading

Kay: One for the Girls

Catas-TrophyI always like a good story about publishing, and today I found one. Here’s the opening of a new mystery now available on Amazon:

“Miss Peacock felt the warm tears welling up in her eyes. Ironically, she was, once again, reliving the final moments of the match which lead to the school’s fantastic victory in winning the coveted basketball trophy. Her smile grew bigger as she remembered the enormous effort the team had made and this caused her tears to career down her cheeks.

“It had been Miss Peacock’s lifelong ambition to hoist the trophy aloft with two victorious arms. Apart from basketball, Miss Peacock’s two more modest pastimes were knitting and the regular manufacturing and drinking of hot chocolate in the staff canteen.” Continue reading

Kat: Juggling Act (Oh, Balls)

320px-Jonglierball_007

From Wikimedia Commons Author: ILA-boy

It’s crunch time at my day job this week, and I’ve had no time or energy to write a good post. So, today is rerun day. I thought the “juggling” metaphor particularly apt since that’s what I’ve been doing for the past eight months as I’ve tried to meet the demands of my day job while fulfilling my writing commitments.

The good news is, in five days, the project that has consumed my life, will (for better or worse) launch. The bad news: I’ll have a whole new set of headaches, er…challenges as I try to support this new application.

I promise my next post will be new, but until then, here’s an oldie but goodie (slightly revised).

Continue reading

Kay: The Reality—or Not—in Fiction

Wikimedia Commons

Phoebe, the protagonist of my story, is on an unpaid leave from the CIA. During this time off, she gets involved in an unlikely adventure, and the way she handles it helps her to decide if the CIA is the right career choice for her. In a beta read, Nancy pointed out that my character could face serious consequences—even prison—merely for making a phone call that wasn’t over a secure channel. Nancy doesn’t work for the CIA (at least, that’s what she says), but she’s in a position to know.

So I sat down and thought about the limits of realism in my story. If Nancy doesn’t believe my premise, will anybody else? Continue reading

Michille: Plot Devices Ensued

http://obeythemuse.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Plot-device.jpgI just returned from my first ever writers’ retreat (thank you very much Justine). I had a very productive weekend. I got my story structure outlined, several scenes written, a couple of problems solved, and suggestions to solve a couple more. Since I was not at my own home, I didn’t feel any obligation to hop up and do laundry, go to the grocery store (although I did got to the grocery once), pick up or drop off a child, etc. I didn’t need to refocus on my writing the way Elizabeth described in her post because I never got too far away from it. Continue reading

Kay: Is the Story Better if It’s True?

truthThe other day a friend called and asked me to go to a movie. “I think it’ll be good,” she said. “It’s based on a true story.”

Her assumption—that a story will be better (more interesting, more engaging, more emotionally rich) if it’s based on something true rather than a complete work of fiction—turns out to be false. Research published in the Journal of Consumer Research demonstrates that people incorrectly believe that they will have a stronger emotional reaction to stories that are based on fact—and they make consumer choices based on that assumption (which is why film studios are quick to market movies as “based on a true story”). Continue reading

Jeanne: Layering Motivation

demonThe best single workshop I attended at RWA 2014 was on character motivation by New York Times best-selling author Madeline Hunter. According to Madeline, you can escalate the tension in your novel without necessarily escalating the action by layering your protagonist’s (or antagonist’s) motivation. Since I’ve really struggled with how you keep raising the stakes without always getting into bullets flying, this was great news.

Applying this to my own work-in-progress: Dara, my protagonist, wants to keep her clinic open because: Continue reading

Elizabeth: Cliffhanger Cranky

Uh oh, what's going to happen?

Uh oh, what’s going to happen?

We’re well into the month of May, which means television shows are wrapping things up with season ending episodes. I watched one finale just last night for a show that’s a favorite of mine.

It did not leave me a happy viewer.

I may have ranted about the episode a bit once it was over. Possibly again this evening. Why? Because the episode ended with an out-of-the-blue unfulfilling cliffhanger.

We’ve talked before on the blog, as we did in the McDaniel classes, about the contract the writer makes with the reader (viewer) at the beginning of a story Continue reading