Chaos in a Teacup – Part 9

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Chaos in a Teacup – Part 9
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The last couple weeks, I’ve been talking about inspiration, because it’s an important aspect of an author’s life. I mentioned actual incidents, as well as music. Sometimes, the inspiration for a story comes from another story.

When I wrote a story called New at Love, I introduced a character named Jasper Waters. Jasper is a police officer, and an all around really nice guy. Since his introduction, he’s been in 14 other books. (Not all of them are published yet) He really wanted to take over New at Love and I had a tough time reining him in. I finally had to speak to him, much in the manner I did Sailfish, and explain to him that I would happily give him his own book, if he would be patient. He had to wait through a couple more, but I finally got an idea for his story.

The Ninja Tattoo focuses on Teague, who has been in the military, and done some dodgy things. Obviously, he wasn’t doing that on his own, he had friends and battle buddies who were with him. When my friend, Aileen Aroma, asked to be in my next Teague book, I made her his former commanding officer. One day, she calls him, very upset, to tell him that their friend, Nadeya, has dropped off the radar.

Considering that Nadeya isn’t exactly stable, Aileen is terribly worried about her, and asks Teague to track her down. When a dead body is found at the inlet in New Smyrna, matching the description of a man Nadeya was tracking, Teague has to get there quickly. Since he’s in Daytona, he calls his friend, Jasper, for transportation. Jasper’s boat is docked in Harbor Oaks, and he’s happy to shuttle Teague across. Thus began Conduct Unbecoming, a romantic suspense which stars Jasper.

I love this guy. He’s larger than life, friendly, kind, outgoing, fun loving and, in his own words, hits on anything with tits. Yes, he’s a player, but he dreams of being a one woman man. Of course, he’ll never admit this to anyone. I couldn’t have him settle down with an average, normal, boring woman. He needed someone interesting, adventurous, and a little frightening. Nothing quite as exciting as a woman who can kill you in a variety of ways, huh? At least, that’s how Jasper thinks. Taking his life, quite literally, into his own hands, he decides to meet Nadeya. After all, she had hitched a ride on his boat. She’s staying in a tiny cabin in a small park near the river.

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As he approached the door, Jasper prayed for inspiration. It was going to take some fast talking for Nadeya not to freak out and kill him. He raised his hand to knock. Rethinking his position, he moved so he wasn’t standing directly in front of the door, but slightly to the side so the thick, log wall protected him. He tapped lightly and waited for a response. The curtain over the tiny window moved aside imperceptibly. Only someone trained to be observant would have seen it.

Jasper faced the window and smiled. “I’m Jasper Waters,” he said quietly. “I’m a friend of Teague’s. You hid on my boat.”

The door opened a crack and one dark, wary eye peered at him. “I remember you. What?”

“May I come in? The skeeters are pretty nasty and they’re feasting on me.”

Nadeya took a step back, leaving barely enough room for Jasper to squeeze through. She shut the door with her foot and slammed him against the wall, one hand pulled up at an uncomfortable angle behind him. She did a thorough frisking of him, leaving no areas untouched, before letting him go. She stepped out of easy reach, eyeing him with a neutral expression.

“I just want to talk,” Jasper said, holding his hands slightly from his sides.

“You’re a cop. Why should I talk to you?”

“Because I don’t think you killed that man on the beach. We’re both friends of Teague’s, maybe we could build on that.”

“Teague has lots of friends….”

“No, Teague knows every damn body, but there are only a few of us he calls friends. You’re one of them—He told me what happened to your fiancé.”

She tightened up. Jasper took a step back, raising his hands.

“Would he share that with just anyone?”

Nadeya’s lower lip trembled slightly and she blinked hard. Jasper caught the hint of a tear in her eyes.

“He wouldn’t unless he knew I would help. You think I drop what I’m doing and run everyone out to a crime scene just cause I’m nice? Teague and I trust each other and I’d like to extend that courtesy to you, if you’ll let me.”

She stared at him several minutes, sizing him up. She gestured to one of the two chairs near the window. “Want some water or instant coffee? It’s all I’ve got.”

“Water would be good, thanks.” Jasper sat.

Nadeya got two bottles of water out of the mini-fridge and tossed him one. Jasper caught it with a grin. His left hand gripped it as he twisted it open.

“Nicely done. Now you know I’m a lefty.”

Nadeya smirked. “And you’re not armed. I could have taken your head off.”

“Yup, but I trusted you wouldn’t. And I thank you for that.”

She nodded as she opened her own bottle. “So, you’re here, talk.”

Jasper told her what he and Teague had figured out about the man on the beach. He even told her about C.L.A.D.

“What do you know about that?” Nadeya leaned closer, whispering.

“Bits and pieces, nothing concrete. What do you know?”

Nadeya looked furtive. “I shouldn’t tell you. We could get in a lot of trouble.”

Jasper held his hands out, palms up. “Who am I gonna tell? Except maybe Teague. Look, the more we know about this, the better. What do you say?”

She looked away, biting her lip. “I don’t know much more than you do. They intended it as a new interrogation technique. It’s supposed to be a way to reprogram people’s minds.”

“Like brain washing?”

“Kind of. More sophisticated, but still a way to break them. I know that someone else got ahold of it though. They were using it on us!” Anger flared in her eyes.

“Us—as in you personally?”

“No. But some of our soldiers. There was a captain I heard of, they tried to kill him off in a raid, but he took out everyone who attacked his convoy. They stole his memories and gave him a fucking medal.”

“Shit! How do you know about that?”

“The subject came up as they tortured my fiancé,” she mumbled.

“Oh, Nadeya, I’m sorry.”

“I know that. Next to Teague, you’re the only man I trust.”

Jasper exhaled sharply. “That’s quite a compliment. Thank you. I know you can’t possibly feel safe here. Would you like to come to my house?”

Her eyes grew hard. Jasper pressed his lips together, shaking his head.

“I’ve got a hell of a security system. Even you would have trouble sneaking through. I’ve got a couple acres around my place so I can see trouble coming and I’m armed better than Fort Knox. I’ve got a guest room with your name on it.”

Nadeya relaxed. “And leave this luxury accommodation?”

“I’ve got more to drink than water and instant coffee. I’ll even throw in breakfast.”

Nadeya’s smile was shaky. Taking a deep breath, she tried to smile again. Tears welled before she could stop them. She didn’t trust her voice, so she nodded.

“Good. Get your stuff and we can go. My car’s outside the gate.”

“My car?”

“It’s a rental, right?”

“Yeah.”

“Anything in it?”

She rolled her eyes at him. Jasper chuckled.

“I had to ask. I know it’s dumb. Get your gear.”

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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Chaos in a Teacup – Part 8

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Chaos in a Teacup – Part 8
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As I mentioned last week, inspiration can come from anywhere at any time. Sometimes, an author is woken from a deep sleep, having to fumble around in the dark for a pen and paper to record the idea. If we don’t do so, we’ll very likely lose it. Inspiration is ephemeral, emerging from the ether, only to recede just as suddenly. If the author doesn’t capture it, chances are good, it won’t come back. To a non-author, this idea is ridiculous.

“Ideas don’t just pop out of thin air!” the non-author will exclaim.

“Wanna bet?” the author will reply, rather tartly, to be sure.

I imagine that artists and musicians understand this feeling. The ideas for paintings, photographs, sculptures and songs come from the same well of inspiration as stories and poems. Not much is more frustrating than having a wonderful idea, only to lose it because I didn’t have a chance to write it down. This happens quite often when I’m driving. I can’t stop in traffic to dig a pen and paper from my purse, so I have to go over and over it in my mind until I get home. Best thing to do under those circumstances, is to find a place to stop, so that the words can take over for a little while.

A song can inspire a story. Whether I be something in the lyrics, or the memory attached to it. I had decided to write a story for the City Nights Series from Tirgearr, and settled on Daytona Beach as the venue. I may live here, and find it somewhat mundane, but to others, Florida is exotic. I had absolutely no idea when it would take place, but after chatting with my amazing publisher, I decided on Daytona Bike Week as the backdrop. People come from around the world to participate in this annual event, and the area is crawling with more bikers, than there are residents, in Volusia County. It seemed the perfect way to bring my characters together for a night of excitement.

Draven Wick grew up in Daytona Beach, and still has family there. Now a famous TV star, he heads to Bike Week. While enjoying the beachside events, he sees his first love, Jamie Humphrey, modeling at a bike auction. Below is an excerpt from when he sees her again fo the first time in ten years.

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Long, dangerous legs, an ass that wouldn’t quit, lush curves clad in skimpy black leather, flaming red hair wafted on the breeze while the rumble of a thousand Harleys filled the air. He couldn’t draw his eyes from the gorgeous redhead, whose hair reminded him of the flames on the side of his bike. Heavy metal music thrummed from gigantic speakers, banging and echoing from the sides of the nearby condos. Cameras snapped, his included, as she draped herself over the motorcycles being raffled off for charity. The line to register wound around the parking lot.

“I’d like to rev her engine,” one man said as he stuffed his tickets into his wallet.

“Full throttle,” the man next to him laughed loudly at their joke.

Every man there was thinking the same thing, which was the entire point of having a sexy, long legged woman straddling the chrome studded leather seat. Leaning on the handle bars, she rocked back, her chest to the sky as she arched her spine. With a quick swing of her legs, she did a shoulder stand on the seat, then lowered her feet with agonizing slowness so that the toes of her high heeled boots pointed directly at the patch of stretched black leather between her thighs.

Draven nearly dropped his phone. The man next to him let his cup of beer slide from his numb fingers. Every man in the line eyed her with fascination. Though disgusted with the behavior of the men, the women couldn’t help but stare too. They were amazed that anyone could do such antics on a motorcycle. The music continued to thrum and pound at them as they watched her routine. In a fleeting moment of coherence, Draven recognized it as Killing Strangers by Marilyn Manson. She was certainly slaying every man in the place with her sexy routine.

“Hey, buddy, your turn!” the man at the cash register called, snapping his fingers.

Draven stumbled forward, his legs having lost the ability to move without conscious thought. He fumbled with his wallet and phone, trying to slide one out and the other into the pockets of suddenly too-tight jeans.

“How many?” the man asked, all business.

“Um, how much are they?”

“Hundred a piece.”

“You take plastic?”

“Everything but American Express.”

“I’ll take five.”

“You got it.” He filled out Draven’s details, rang up the cost and scanned his plastic.

“Does the girl come with it?” the man behind Draven asked. He was old and fat, not the kind of man a girl like her would even look at once. His words might have been said in jest, but coming from his slobby, heavy jowled mouth, it was seriously pervy. The men behind the table and near him in line, gaped at him, horrified.

“That young lady is my daughter,” the man who handled Draven’s transaction growled. “So you watch what you say.”

“How’s a man let his daughter act like a hoor in public,” the fat man yelled, slamming a meaty fist down on the table.

Startled by the noise, the girl lost her balance as she rolled out of the shoulder stand. Toppling, she fell. Draven leaped toward her, covering the ten feet to the cycles, in a superhuman rush. He steadied her, helping her sit up slowly. Getting a good look at her face, he felt a spark of recognition.

“Jamie Humphrey?” He touched her cheek, brushing her hair from the corner of her full, red lips.

“Draven Wick? Oh, my God! Is it really you?” She clung to him, hugging him tightly. “How many years has it been? Ten?”

“About that. God, you look fantastic!”

Clasping his face, she gazed into his golden hazel eyes. “Thank you for catching me.”

“You’re welcome. Are you okay?”

“I’m fine. Thanks.”

Others had gathered around, watching the scene unfold. When it became apparent that the woman wasn’t hurt, the men at the desk went back to selling tickets.

“That’s not really your dad,” Draven murmured.

“Of course not. He just says that so that men will leave me alone.”

“How about fair time for the women?” a heavyset woman called from the line. “Let’s see the hunk take his shirt off!” she whooped.

Women all over the parking lot cheered and whistled. Draven cast a saucy look at Jamie. The music had changed once more, pounding out Closer by Nine Inch Nails—the unedited version, he noted with a grin. Grabbing the bottom of his shirt, he raised it with agonizing slowness as his hips gyrated to the sexy music. Jamie played it up, running her hands under the shirt, rubbing his abs and tugging on the cloth with her teeth.

More cameras snapped and the women yelled loudly, screaming at him to take it all off. As he did a lecherous bump and grind, Draven strutted around the bike. Between the two cycles, he twirled his shirt, straddling it. Riding it like a hot woman, he continued to dance. Jamie hopped up, standing behind him, she ran her hands up and down his tight abs and hard thighs. Spinning to face her, Draven roped Jamie with his shirt, pulling her close to dirty dance with him. The song ended and he spun her under his arm, dropping her into a low dip, her back arched, breasts high. Red hair tickled the pavement as he raised her with one arm. Faces mere inches apart, they tried to catch their breath. It took some time before they realized that the line was now three times what it had been. Women ringed around them, waving money at Draven.

“You grew up nice, Wick,” Jamie said, taking a step back. Her hand drifted down his chest to the top of his jeans. Eyes wide with delight, she dangled her fingers by his zipper. With tantalizing deliberateness, she touched the fabric that strained across his throbbing member.

“You keep that up, I can’t be responsible,” he whispered.

“You keep that up, I can’t be either,” she replied.

In case you missed it, there were two songs in the beginning of that excerpt. Why I thought of having Draven do a modified strip-tease to Closer, I don’t know. It seemed to fit. Also, if you’ve ever listened to the song, it’s got some interesting lyrics.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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Chaos in a Teacup – Part 7

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Chaos in a Teacup – Part 7
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A favorite question asked by chat show hosts, like me, is “Where does your inspiration come from?” Or, we might ask, more specifically, where the inspiration for a specific book came from. Why do we do this? Well, because it’s a good question, and it drives authors crazy.

Inspiration can come from anything, anywhere. Quite often, we can’t pinpoint it to a specific moment. The idea wasn’t there, then it was. It can be a word in conversation, something we see on TV, a traffic snarl, a mud puddle. (This last one is mine, I confess.)

It was a wonderful idea for a short story, back when I was in college. I was walking from the Fine Arts building, across a narrow driveway to the McDonald’s, and a car splashed through a mud puddle. It swirled in a dreamy, hypnotic fashion, making me think of cream swirling in a cup of coffee. I can’t remember the starting line, nor the entire story, now. However, I started writing it on paper napkins while I ate my meal. (I’m sure this is why they switched to those ineffective, half napkins.)

Sometimes, we think of putting two people, from completely different backgrounds, together. I don’t mean just rich vs. poor, but that works. Often, my couples are people who wouldn’t have met, save for a peculiar twist of fate which brought them together.

When I wrote The Ninja Tattoo, I found inspiration in something bizarre and unsettling which happened to me. Though I dramatized it somewhat for my story, it was alarming enough to remember and chronicle. Below is an excerpt from the story, to illustrate what I mean. 

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The road was empty as he drove south toward his job site in Oak Hill. He had an estimate to do down there and had to be in New Smyrna by 10:00, leaving him a couple hours in between. By the time he got to the police station in Edgewater, only a few blocks from his home, he’d joined a convoy of sorts. In the lead was a bronze Ford F150. Directly in front of Teague was a guy on a motorcycle. Behind him was another motorcycle, a red Jeep and, he thought, a third bike behind the Jeep. It seemed odd since the road had been so empty before. He couldn’t quite remember when he came upon these others, but figured they all had the same idea, keeping out of stop and go school zone traffic on US-1.

The pickup was going the speed limit, which was a little frustrating. In fact, the driver went 25, then 20, 30 and 15. Teague wanted to lay on his horn, but didn’t want to startle the biker, so he kept his frustration to himself. The biker didn’t look any happier with the truck than he was. From time to time, he glanced behind him, trying to see around Teague’s white Dodge Ram. Apparently, the motorcycles were traveling together and somehow Teague had gotten in between them.

At the turnoff for 442, the guy ahead of Teague gestured with his left arm, motioning as if he were turning. Teague slowed, anticipating the right turn, but the biker sped up, his black Ninja following the truck as it continued past the intersection. Instead, the red Jeep, followed by another biker, turned right and headed up 442. This left the Ford truck, Teague and two bikers. He wondered what was going on. His overactive imagination clicked into high gear and he started imagining scenarios.

Maybe the guy in the truck is with them and he’s giving directions to the guy on the white Ninja?

He thought that over, wondering how they were communicating. The guy ahead of him was probably about his age with short, sandy brown hair. He had on a T-shirt, baggies, skater shoes and sunglasses.

The biker behind Teague was also on a Ninja, this one bright blue, He wore a white helmet with a dark visor. He was wearing clothing similar to the man ahead of him. What characterized them both was the fact they were heavily tattooed. Teague had first mistaken their coloring as a tan or sunburn. Closer inspection revealed elaborate tattoos on neck, arms and legs.

The road turned right, coming to an end at US-1. Stopping for the light, the man ahead of Teague leaned back on his bike, glancing at the man behind Teague, he pointed left. The other fellow nodded, giving the lead biker a thumbs up. The light changed and the white Ninja followed the truck while the blue one followed Teague.

Feeling a bit paranoid, he moved over to the right lane, anticipating that the biker would go around him. It didn’t even occur to him that the other man would stay behind him, but he did. He didn’t ride Teague’s bumper, rather stayed at least two car lengths back, shadowing him. If Teague changed lanes, so did the biker.

The hairs on his neck stood at attention. Something was decidedly weird. This man’s behavior negated everything Teague had ever seen bikers do. They generally crowded until they could pass, then buzzed around the other vehicles way too fast, disappearing suddenly as they sped up.

Approaching the gated subdivision near Oak Hill, Teague signaled his turn. The biker looked ready to follow, but continued down the highway. As Teague checked in at the security gate, the biker slowed, making a U turn at the next intersection, then he continued back up US-1. Once he was cleared, Teague drove to the house whose yard he was landscaping. He tried to put the bikers out of his mind, but their odd behavior was so out of the ordinary, he couldn’t.

Though dramatized for story purposes, this incident is true. I found it so disturbing, I used it as inspiration for my 2009 NaNo novel. It was so compelling, I submitted it to Tirgearr Publishing, and it became my first novel published with them.

An author can never predict what will inspire them to write, but it’s fun asking them, just to see what they will say.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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GRAB THESE TITLES BY DELLANI OAKES ON AUDIO!

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GRAB THESE TITLES BY DELLANI OAKES ON AUDIO!

Books & Entertainment Radio Presents Dellani’s Tea Time with Amanda and Carolyn!

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Join us Monday11/8 from 4-6 PM EST on Blog Talk Radio when we chat with authorsAmanda Thrasher and Carolyn Bowen!

Daylight Savings is over. Are you awake yet? Today, we have some amazing authors, who will wake you up!

Carolyn Bowen was into life planning and career development before it was cool! With extensive advanced studies in psychology, adult learning, and career development, she has the background to guide you in becoming the best possible you! She’s also a well-read and beloved mystery author. Her writing credits include Cross-Ties, a historical romance, The Long Road Home, a contemporary crime fiction mystery, as well as the Sydney Jones Series: Primed for Revenge, Chance and One.

Amanda M. Thrasher is an award-winning author of YA, General Fiction, MG, Early Reader Chapter, and Picture books. Amanda is a multiple Gold Recipient of The Mom’s Choice Awards® (MCA), earning the award in multiple categories. Amanda founded and is the CEO of Progressive Rising Phoenix Press, an independent publisher. She shares her writing and publishing experience with others through school visits, book signings, trade conferences, and workshops for aspiring writers of all ages.

Inspirational Wisdom From Angels & Fairies

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Inspirational Wisdom From Angels & Fairies

Judy Mastrangelo

I’m happy to announce that our new Inspirational Card Deck is available now, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc. It is entitled “Inspirational Wisdom from Angels and Fairies”. My friend Frances Munro, a world renowned spiritual healer, provided the wisdom to channel the direction and accompanying words for each painting. Each card carries its own message in the Guidebook which accompanies the deck. You will also be pleased to hear that we are working together again on a second Inspirational deck for U.S. Games Systems, inc.

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Chaos in a Teacup – Part 6

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Chaos in a Teacup – Part 6
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As was mentioned in Part 5, characters occasionally go on a rampage, or at least run wild. They don’t heel and they sure as hell aren’t going to apply their own brakes. The first time they do this (or the second, or the twentieth) it can be disconcerting, if not terrifying.

My historical romance, Indian Summer, is a prime example of this. I had, in my foolish naivete, expected the characters to do what I wanted. My intention, when I began the story, was to have Gabriella unhappily married to Manuel, who was to be a drunken gambler who beat her. She would run away, meet Sailfish, and live happily ever after.

Well. That didn’t happen. For starters, Gabriella refused to fall in love with anyone but Manuel. Although he was a bit of a bad boy, he reined himself in, stopped drinking, quit gambling, and became a model citizen! Instead of fighting and causing her to leave, he did everything in his power to protect her. She met Sailfish, who fell for her, but she refused his advances, steadfastly holding onto her love for Manuel.

Sailfish was determined to take over the story, but I convinced him (after a long, in depth chat) to behave. I had to promise his own book, where he fell in love with a woman who would fall for him. Thus, Savage Heart was born.

All this to say – sometimes, characters go mad. It’s true! If you’ve captured their personalities accurately, they will go off the rails. As an author, you shouldn’t be surprised by this. In fact, you should embrace it, because it means you did your job right. Ray Bradbury said it best, “First, find out what your hero wants. Then just follow him.” This is the single best advice I ever gleaned as an author.

Another really good piece of advice, from actor, director, writer, producer, author Ken Farmer. “Just write the damn story.” To elaborate a little: don’t worry about voice, plot, outline, characters, or your approach. Worry about telling the story from start to finish. Problems can be fixed, errors made in editing. Just write the damn story.

I adhere to both of these pieces of advice. I have found them useful more than once, especially if, like now, I’m working on a story that doesn’t want to end. If I try to force an ending, it will become stilted, awkward. Yet, I begin to feel as if it’s never going to finish, and no one (including me) will want to read it. I have to remind myself that there is more for the characters to say, so just write the damn story. Good or bad, get it done.

I’ve managed to get off topic, a little – sorta – kinda. Oh well, when you’re working with a Pantser, that happens.

The point of this article – listen to your characters. They have really good ideas. In fact, they know how to tell the story better than we do. I figured out a long time ago, I’m merely the conduit for the story to be told – by the characters. I don’t govern the tale any more than I can stem the tide, or leash the wind. Rather than trying to bend things to your will, allow yourself to listen. The results will surprise you, often in a really good way.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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Chaos in a Teacup – Part 5

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Chaos in a Teacup – Part 5
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Ideas are like opinions. Everyone has one. Some are good, some aren’t. It’s really up to the individual to judge that for him/herself. With authors, this is reflected in our approaches to writing our stories.

How-to-Write authors frequently advocate only one style of writing – The Planner Style. To wit, authors must have a plot outline from start to finish. They must know beginning, middle, climax and ending before putting one word on paper.

If they’re really going to do it up right, they have their characters named, described and have backstories for them all. Their setting is fixed in stone, the timeline, story arc, et cetera….

These books will also espouse that this is THE ONLY WAY to write. (Laughably untrue, but we allow these folks to have this delusion) Since I have several author friends who adhere to this way of writing, I applaud it, but I’m here to tell you, it’s not THE ONLY WAY to write. It is ONE WAY to write.

These folks, often called Planners, are the organized end of the spectrum. Many of them have science and mathematical backgrounds. Their minds are more analytical, and the orderliness of an outline makes them comfortable. Again, I don’t disrespect this approach, I just know it’s not for me.

There are a few who take this a step, or two, further. They plot on a big white board. I know of one who has devoted a wall of her office to plotting with color coded index cards or post-it notes. (Mind officially boggled) I’m glad it works for her. That idea makes me flee in panic. Again, not for me.

I fall into the next category, the Pantser. Derived from the term: …by the seat of my pants… it’s a very accurate (or perhaps slightly inaccurate) way to describe this far less organized approach.

How do Pantsers begin their stories? Well, it varies, but mostly we pluck an idea from the ether, sit at the keyboard (or with a notebook, or perhaps narrating software) and we go for it.

There is no outline. There is usually no idea where the story will go, how it will end, or even who our characters are. Sometimes, we have a loose notion of where we might, possibly, like the story to go. That usually gets swept away the second a character walks onto the page. Those guys have a mind of their own, and they take off running. I just grab on and struggle to keep up.

Pantsers don’t do a story arc. We don’t know who our characters are. Outline? Pfft! We don’t need no stinking outline! Of the authors I’ve interviewed, it seems the more of them use this approach than the more organized Planner method. We might not be as neat and tidy, but we’re still cranking out books, so this method must be viable, at least for some of us.

The final category is an interesting blend of both. Dubbed Plantsers, this style blends the organization of Planners with the more organic Pantser approach. These authors take a bit from here, a smidgen from there, and make it their own. (I, very occasionally, fall into this category.) My planning may be in the form of post-it notes stuck to character sheet, but it works for me.

Plantsers usually have a loose outline, but respect the fact that it will change during the story. They often have a general idea of plot climax, story arc and all those things that Planners love. Once in awhile, they know their characters going in. If it’s a sunny day, they also know their names, descriptions and other basic facts. This may, or may not, include a character sketch.

All those organizational bits aside, Plantsers recognize that characters are like loose canons, and they will occasionally misfire, or go on a rampage (of sorts), throwing off the reins of the author’s control, to tangle themselves in something else. They understand that outlines are written in the sand, not in stone, and are, therefore, variable. Once in awhile, they may gain the anticipated ending, but they are willing to allow their characters to take the lead.

However an author approaches the craft, there are a few things that ALL AUTHORS MUST ADHERE TO. These aren’t variable or negotiable, so pay attention:

Write well.

Edit well.

Don’t ramble.

Have your characters sound as different as they are.

Give a satisfying ending.

Edit again.

Use good grammar.

Tell a good story.

Edit another time.

Edit some more.

Edit.

Whether you outline or not, a good story is the goal.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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Books and Entertainment Radio Presents What’s Write for Me with Christine and Karen!

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TODAY!

It’s almost Halloween, good thing our guests authors have some books to thrill and excite you! Be sure to tune in to What’s Write for Me November 27, 2021 from 4-6 PM EST on Blog Talk Radio! Our scary guests will be Christine Husom and Karen Vaughan!

Christine Husom is a national best-selling author from Minnesota. She pens the suspenseful Winnebago County Mysteries, and the cozy, but not too cozy, Snow Globe Shop Mysteries where bad guys demonstrate not everyone is “Minnesota Nice.” She has stories in six anthologies and co-edited one. Her latest titles are Remains In Coyote Bog and Frosty The Dead Man. Husom served with the Wright County Sheriff. She’s a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime, and active with the Twin Cities chapter. She loves meeting readers at a variety of venues and events.

Karen Vaughan is a proud Canadian living in Ontario. She wears a few different hats: mom, grandma wife author, comedian, radio host and promoter of independent authors. She has a sarcastic bent which comes out in her writing and her comedy act. She has been the host of writers round table for several years and loves talking to new authors each month. Karen started writing 12 yrs ago and first got published in 2008 with Dead on Arrival. These books came after: Dead Comic Standing in 2010, Over Her Dead Body 2011, Daytona Dead 2013, Dead Men Don’t Swing 2015, and re-issued 2017. Jamaica Dead 2015, Left for Dead 2016, Holmes in America 2016

Join us from 4-6 PM Eastern on Blog Talk Radio

Bad Fall by Dellani Oakes

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Former Army Captain, Frank Atherton, has left the dangerous life of a soldier behind. Retired from the military, he now works in a large nursing home facility, as assistant director. Things are pretty quiet, until the annoying blister of a man, Ralph Penwarren arrives, doing his best to break into his mother’s apartment. Soon after his arrival, Frank meets the lovely new psychiatrist on staff, Marka Ventimiglia, who takes his breath away. Their relationship seems to be moving swiftly ahead, until Ralph Penwarren is seriously injured by a bad fall. If that weren’t enough, Frank’s office is trashed, his car vandalized, and a dead man is found in the ravine behind his house. Are the incidents related, or simply a series of alarming coincidences?

Now also available in Audio Book narrated by Jaime Addams!