Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Wednesday Writers Tips - Go out and do things

I usually write up Wednesday Writers Tips on Tuesday evening but last night my brother treated us to dinner at the Chart House on Lake Tahoe. We had a wonderful meal, a good visit, and an unusual and spectacular sunset. Unfortunately, we got that sunset at the cost of the trees that are burning west of Lake Tahoe. The smoke from the fire left a band of gray haze over the mountains and when the sun dropped behind the smoke it turned into a glowing red ball.

Today's tip is to Go out and do things! Don't forget to connect with people, they will refill your well. Last Thursday a few friends from work took me out for drinks and dinner at my favorite Mexican restaurant for a (Semi-) Retirement Party. It's good to have the time to chat outside the work environment. Then on Saturday I went to a reunion party for people who have worked for the local paper over the last ten years or so. I enjoyed seeing several old friends from those days. Even though I live in a small town, I don't run into them very often. Then there was dinner last night with my brother, sister-in-law and our mother at the lake. It was a leisurely (expensive) meal. A treat mom and I don't get often.

Another thing I'm going to Go out and do has more to do with my writing. I signed up for the Senior Citizen Law Enforcement Academy hosted by our local sheriff's office. You have to be 50 or older and "never convicted of any offense other than traffic." You have to agree to a background check, too. The classes or lectures are from 1pm to 5pm, September 9 - 13.

The goal is to provide crime fighting educational programs and information to seniors. Presentations will include: training and instruction on uniformed patrol procedures, jail/custody procedures, criminal investigations, crime scene processing, narcotic and gang investigations, criminal justice system, criminal prosecution, court procedure, dispatch operations, identity theft and fraud prevention, law enforcement volunteer programs, fire prevention, youth services and emergency medical information.

These lectures will certainly be helpful since I'm working on a series of stories involving investigators in a small town sheriff's office.

Before I started writing seriously in 2005, I wouldn't have wanted to attend something like this. In fact I didn't Go out and do a lot of things as I was timid about pushing my envelope. But since writing my first novel I have done a lot of things I never would have done before.

One of the things I've Gone out and done: I drove from Nevada to Alberta, Canada to research a novel involving an American Music Teacher and an RCMP officer. The border officer wanted to know why I was traveling, alone, to Alberta in October. I said that I had planned to travel in September but a death in the family (my cat) cause me to postpone the trip. Then I had a real "Joan Wilder" moment when he asked what my purpose was and I said, "I'm writing a romance novel involving an RCMP officer." He took my driver license and ran it in their system then came back and told me it was crooked. I had several smart remarks at the back of my tongue but kept my mouth shut. In fact, I think I forgot to call him sir. Oops.

Have you found that writing has broadened your interest in Going out and doing things? What have you done that you wouldn't have done before you were writing?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wednesday Writers Tips - Planning to write a novella

Today I'd like to share a writers tip or two from a short book full of great advice. And it's free!

The book is: Writing Romance Novellas by Susanna Carr.

It discusses the definition of a novella, planning and plotting, writing novella collections and shortcuts to writing novellas.
Today's tip is from Section 2: Planning Your Novella. I used these two tips in my current wip novella.

Storyline Tips* Make it easier on yourself and tell a story where the main characters already know each other. Establishing a relationship takes a lot of pages, and you want to use the 100 pages to deepen and test the connection between the hero and heroine.
* Consider having the hero already in love with the heroine (or vice versa), and then the story gives more time to show the other character’s journey of falling
in love.
You can read this book on the web site or download it to read on a mobile device.

Check out more writers craft book on my bookshelf.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tuesday - My First Leisurely Day Semi-Retired

Now wait, you say, yesterday you were retired and today you are semi-retired. What gives?

After announcing my retirement a few weeks ago, my boss asked if I would like to continue to "help out". After a few meetings and negotiations I agreed to do that -- doing the same job basically, only closer to home, three days a week/20hours. Working at the local office where I started 21 years ago. People have come and gone and come back and four of the people I worked with all those years ago are there now, too. It's like old home week.

Today, my first day, I came in early at 9:45 -- it's hard to call that early when I used to get up at 6 to be at work in the city by 7:15 -- I wanted to make sure my work station had been transferred ok, and all my programs worked. I knew I'd have to sort out the "storage" items that had accumulated in the area, too. I got everything situated and started work around 10:30. At 4:45 I realized it was time to leave. So, I guess the day went by pretty quickly, even though my computer was working a bit slowly. And, frustratingly, it wouldn't do some functions.

The day went well, but this evening my thoughts are for my cat who has developed another health issue to add to six weeks of recovery/relapse. He's such a sweet, loving cat who adopted my five years ago next month. I don't think he could be older than six or seven. He's too young to be sick. My mother is really up set, Cheetah has been good company for her while I'm at work. Research on the 'net says there can be several reasons for his symptoms as well as several outcomes. Guess I'll be making another visit to the vet. $$$. Good thing I still have a job!