Six Simple Reasons Our Story Sucks & How to Fix It

Why is it so many new novels are—to be blunt—crap? How can we find an author we love with one book, then all the love goes away with the next? What’s going wrong? What’s missing? Where did everything go wrong?

How can we learn and do better?

First and foremost, to be an author it’s imperative to embrace some healthy sadism. We’ll chat briefly on this so the “wrong turns” in story can become far easier to spot.

We MUST Go Against Our Nature

Humans have all kinds of intricate biological wiring that propels us to AVOID CONFLICT/PAIN. Now this is great namely because our desire to avoid pain is what keeps us alive and gainfully employed. It’s also how many of us are able to endure the holidays when forced to see family.

This said, it is human to avoid conflict and to smooth everything over and civilization would implode if we didn’t heed our biology. We feel the rising anxiety and our nature steps in to “fix” everything and return to a nice comfortable homeostasis.

Avoiding conflict and pain can be healthy in life, but it spells death for fiction.

So here are a couple reasons your story might suck. Btw, remember while I have one finger pointing at you? Three are pointing back at me. I use these guideposts in my own work when I sense it’s starting to seriously suck.

#1—We Have Decoration Devoid of Substance

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Novels are not pretty sentences or even pretty words. Sure, it’s nice to have them, but they’re not entirely necessary.

It’s like a cake. Some cakes are so intricate they’re literally works of art, but cake is meant for people to EAT. So I’d much prefer a plain cake that is so yummy angels sing than to bite into a work of “art” and get a revolting mouthful of sugar-laden lard.

Same with stories. Stories, too, are meant to be ingested, to FEED us emotionally.

Fiction is about one thing and one thing only—PROBLEMS.

PROBLEMS are the “cake” of story.

I don’t emotionally connect to a cerulean sky or a painstakingly accurate description of a forest or an 18th century tea setting. I have zip-nada invested in an outfit, a garden or the layout of a room (that’s “icing”). Most people prefer cake with icing and readers like stories with description, setting, superlative prose etc. (though to the degree varies with reader preference).

All that “stuff” can make a story better, but they are NOT story, just like icing is not cake.

#2—We Have No Plot

Plot is basically a fancy way of saying we have a core problem in need of resolution (cake) and a plan (recipe) to do just that.

I cannot connect emotionally with a detailed description of a designer outfit, but I can connect with the woman who’s wearing this outfit. I don’t care all that much about the outfit, I care about the woman and the why behind the outfit.

What is she hiding? What is she up against? What must she face to become whole?

Is she in this outfit because she desperately needs a job? Because it hides the bruises from her emotionally and physically abusive husband who controls her life? The one she must find the courage (and job) to escape?

This is why I’m a huge believer in writers being able to articulate what their story is about in ONE sentence. If we can’t do that? Odds are we have icing and no cake. Or maybe a cake that’s half-baked or missing key ingredients.

#3—We Have No Clear Plot Goal

All stories have ONE CLEAR FINAL goal. And I don’t want to hear the BS copout of:

“Well, my story is literary and character-driven. Her goal is she wants to find out who she is.”

Aside from the fact that literary and character-driven stories don’t automatically get a pass on a plot, why do we care? What happens if the protagonist doesn’t find out ‘who she is’? Why is it important? What are the stakes? Why should I (the reader) root for her?

Besides that is the wrong question entirely.

Regardless of genre, the protagonist is never finding out who she is, rather what she is made of.

For that to happen? We need a PLOT PROBLEM.

Clear plot problems offer context. If I (reader) have not been clearly shown the story problem, then I’ll be quickly bored because I lack context that makes any setback a setback.

It’s like showing me a guy driving off for a destination and not telling me where he’s going. Yet, if I know he’s driving to Canada from Texas, then accidentally turning down I-35 South because he’s arguing with his ex on the phone MEANS SOMETHING.

I can clearly SEE he’s headed for MEXICO, not Canada. The wrong turn means something and so does every setback which creates bigger and badder problems (which turns pages, btw).

By DEFINITION a setback can only happen when there is an actual goal.

We need a Death Star, a Mount Doom, and a Labyrinth or….meh.

Same in character-driven stories. We root for Evelyn Couch in Fried Green Tomatoesbecause we know the final goal is her growing a spine. We know she has “won” when she stands up to her bullies and to the husband who’s disrespecting her.

Bad situations are not a plot. It’s soap opera writing. Soap operas get forty years and go into infinity. Novels don’t have that luxury.

#4—Too MUCH SUGAR

We’re being way too nice. I see way too many new manuscripts and the reason they’re boring the paint off the walls is nothing is happening and everything is too easy. Everyone gets along is super sweet and lots of colorful pretty descriptions and empty calories that make us sick.

Humans have fears and faults and failures that will collide, especially under pressure. I see far too many manuscripts where nothing is happening. People talking.

Description not friction. No friction? No traction.

#5—We’re Making it TOO Easy

Yes, your protagonist has ONE core story goal in need of resolution, but there should be a ton of hardship, suffering, setbacks and pain along the way. Our protagonist must work for everything and earn every reward, even the small ones with blood, sweat and sacrifice. NOTHING should be easy. Ever.

Authors deal in solid gold rewards, not plastic participation trophies.

If our protagonist is being spoon fed the answers (dreams, journals, letters, flashbacks, “super helpful” ancillary characters) that’s cheating. If the protagonist is rescued constantly by others and it never pushes any pain points? Where’s the glory in that?

When I was in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, most people don’t last a month. Most females never make it past white belt. It takes a YEAR to earn blue belt. I had to do this grappling men twice my size.

It took me a year and a half of busted lips, blood, bruises, and strains. It also cost me a broken nose and a dislocated knee…but guess what’s framed in my office?

I can tell you that had I been handed a blue belt for attendance, it would be in some junk drawer along with the piles of other worthless awards.

Same in fiction. We revel in the protagonist’s victory only when the title of “HERO” is earned.

#6—We Forgot to Turn on the Heat

The greater the stakes the better the story. No heat and we don’t have cake, we have batter. Same in fiction. Turn on the heat.

A friend of mine had a brilliant idea for a story, but her niceness kept killing it. She emailed me that her story is about an artist who has five years to make it in NYC or he has to return to his family’s house-painting business.

I replied: NOOOOOOOOOOO!

If our artist has five years in the beginning? We aren’t too worried. There’s time. But if we know he’s at the end of five years and has only one final narrow window? Everything changes.

If the stakes are he returns to an occupation close to what he loves (painting) and also limited seasonally (house painting in NY) it isn’t that big of a deal. He can dream away what he longs to create while on a ladder touching up eaves. He also will have seasons he can still create art.

But, what if he’s returning to a job that is not only the opposite of what he loves, but can potentially drain every creative molecule from his soul? A stressful occupation that might just kill him with seventy-hour work weeks (accounting firm)? Or physically endanger his hands/ability to paint (family auto repair business)?

And while we are at it? He’ll have to return to a family that never really was supportive and will be delighted he failed and relish rubbing it in.

NOW we have a story 😉 .

Crank up that heat. Shorten timelines and up the stakes, both physical and emotional.

If your protagonist fails, it isn’t simply a failure, it needs to be an extinction event.

In the end, I have a mantra: Make it worse until you make it weird.

What are your thoughts? Have you been too easy on your characters? Maybe indulging in flashbacks to “explain” why a character is a certain way instead of making the reader work to uncover it? Have you been too nice? Unclear? What ways can you wind that tension tighter? Shorten the timeline or up the stakes? We only will value what COSTS a lot. No one values free and easy 😉 .

I love hearing from you!

The Suspenseful Collection

Congratulations to Didi Oviatt and Kim Knight on the release of their compilation book of short stories!  

Click to be taken to Amazon.com
The Suspenseful Collection by Kim Knight and Didi Oviatt

These two very talented and lovely suspense authors have the most interesting way of putting their stories together.  One author starts the tale, the other finishes it.  How cool is that?  They live on opposite sides of the Atlantic, which makes it even more fun.

 

I’ve been intrigued by these stories since before they released it.  Confession: I did try to preorder but my Amazon account was all wonky that day and because well, life’s distractions, I just never got back to it.

I did enter their Rafflecopter contest however, and guess what!  I won a copy and I’m so excited to read this!  I’m mean…look at that cover.  It’s gorgeous!

Thank you so very much, Didi and Kim for the opportunity to win this and read your book!

I will be posting my review soon but I do hope everyone will go ahead and check this book out for yourself.  It’s already gotten some great feedback!

Here is the blurb from Amazon with a little summary of each of the short stories:

For Mature Readers Only:

A suspenseful novel with a twist. Eight short stories, by two suspense authors, from diverse backgrounds. From opposite sides of the Atlantic these stories have been created. One author started the tale and the other ended it. No discussion, no pre-planning, but yet their stories are seamless. With just creativity and the use of writing prompts, to craft one tale, with two different writers. This anthology of suspenseful, fast paced and engaging tales covers multiple genres. From heart felt romance, crime, fantasy, and steamy historical fiction. There is a story for everyone!

Steamy Historical Crime Fiction: It was The First Time I Killed A Man.

It’s 1972 and New York’s first female serial killer Lisa Vanacilli is in the hot seat again, ten years after her conviction of murder to the first degree and innocent plea. The ruthless but sexy reporter Tiffany Low cracks Lisa for a confession… at a price. Lisa is strong, courageous and says it how it is. This story has been extended due to reader’s demand. And is only for adult readers.

Psychological Fiction: Every Time I Hear That Voice From The Basement.

George appears to be harmless. The local neighbourhood geek on the outside, married to Jolene. In reality, he’s a very disturbed man. His path crosses with Dana, the local check out girl. This is a psychological suspense story with a twist.

Crime Fiction: The Entrance To The Tunnel Is His Only Way Out.

Juan is a wanted man, and an ex-gang member on the run from Atlanta to Mexico. With a hundred grand in cash stolen from his ex-boss, he meets an unlikely fate in Mexico. A fast-paced crime fiction story.

Contemporary Romance: When His Hands Run Up My Thighs I…

Love has no time limit, age limit or use by date. Sarah now in her fifties is reunited with her long-lost love Joshua. They last had contact in 1961. In the present day, thanks to the advancement of technology their paths cross. A heart-warming and modern tale, about long distance love, that will leave you warm inside.

Suspense: We Only Said Goodbye With Words, I Died A Hundred Times:

In 1963 Russian Femme Fatale Mila Petrov is London’s top Madam. Her entertainment house is booming, she has a team of London’s strongest women behind her. Unfinished business from her past creeps up and haunts her. It’s nothing she can’t handle. A suspenseful historical tale, with a strong femme fatale.

Fantasy: The Ones Who Live At The Bottom Of The Ocean, Come To The Surface.

A beautiful coming of age story, featuring sixteen year old Zoe and her mother May-Li. Myth becomes reality, as Zoe finds out who and what she really is. Her mixed descent reveals more than what meets the eye. This fantasy story is set against the backdrop of a Greek island and Hong Kong, China.

Suspenseful Crime Fiction: Guilty As Charged, In Self-Defence

California’s sassy, tough, and likeable defence lawyer Catherine has taken on a case so high profile, if she wins she’ll become a partner of Martin Law Firm. Defending forty six year old Mrs. Chevelle. An ex Las Vegas show girl, now a Hollywood wife, on trial for the murder of her high-profile husband. She claims she’s innocent. Readers are taken on a fast -paced journey on a mission to seek the truth.

Contemporary Fiction: It’s A Man’s Man’s World:

A beautiful modern tale showing the love and appreciation of a woman. James Brown said it right when he said, “it’s a man’s man’s world, but it would mean nothing without a woman or a girl.”The Suspenseful Collection by Didi Oviatt and Kim Knight

Happy Independence Day and Camp Nano Update

Happy Independence Day to all my American friends!

I think this is one of the first years in a long time that we won’t be in the U.S. for Independence Day!  I’m disappointed that we won’t be making it down this year.  

Camping in Old Orchard Beach, Maine has always been our perfect way to kick of summer vacation.  Maybe next year!

 

Thank You!

Thank you to everyone who voted in my plea for help on what to write for Camp Nano!  It was a hard decision for me…I mean, both these stories are my babies!

The winner is The Dragon Prophecy!  I was secretly so happy when I saw the votes for this one.  The Arsonist will be close behind, though.

I have 3 hours into The Dragon Prophecy so far!  My goal is 40 hours for the month of July. 

Are you doing Camp Nano?  Let me know how you are doing in the comments.  If you’d like to add me as a writing buddy, I’m Jo Crow.

So there you have it!  Enjoy your day!

Now to get some writing in for my Camp Nano project!

 

Sunday Post June 25

Rhododendron

Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

This Week on the Blog

Tags and Awards

This week on Inspiration Pie, I was honoured to receive the Sunshine Blogger award and the Versatile Blogger award.  and the Soul Ripping Romance Tag.  Feel free to click on the links and check out some other fun and amazing blogs!

I know tags and awards aren’t everybody’s thing but I do find them fun to do and I enjoy interacting with and meeting other bloggers out there!

 Book Beginnings and Friday 56


Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

I chose Harry Potter and the Cursed Child for this Friday Meme.  You can check out that post here.  and read the first lines of the book and an excerpt from page 56.

Daily Walk

Daily Walk http://inspirationpie.com
Daily Walk

I’ve been walking everyday, and taking pictures everyday!  I share them here:

June 19, June 20, June 21,

 June 22, June 23, June 24

The  Daily Walk is a little peek into my daily life, something different to get a glimpse in to the life of the person behind the blog.

I’d like to invite anybody who takes photos to put your link in the comment of my Daily Walk, that way we can visit other blogs and have a glimpse into their life, too!

Feel free to use my button!


What I’m Reading Now

 I’ve picked up a new ARC by Hal Archer.  His newest book in the Jake Mudd series to be released June 27th called Forced Vengeance.

Here’s the Goodreads blurb:

SOMETIMES A GOOD PLAN GETS MUDDIED.

Jake’s days of operating under the radar are over. Old enemies are now intent on making his living as much a struggle for survival as for credits.

To secure a new black market license, he travels the backwaters of the galaxy to a sprawling cesspool in space, a city of dead ends and lost hopes.

Staying alive becomes a full-time job, and Jake is blindsided when he’s framed for murders he didn’t commit.

Proving his innocence and surviving become one and the same as he is forced into trial by combat against some of the worst criminals the galaxy has to offer.

But he’s facing more than the fight for his life, when he learns his enemies are targeting Sarah. Time is running out for Jake to save himself, clear his name, and reunite with his beloved ship before she’s taken for good.

He didn’t want to play dirty, but they left him no choice.

Off the Blog

Thank you to all the new followers here on my blog!  Welcome and I hope you enjoy my posts. I follow back and look forward to your posts as well!

My youngest son received Gold honours at his awards ceremony this week!  I’m so proud of him!

Writing

I’ve signed up for Camp Nano!  I’ve done Nanowrimo in November for the past three years but this is the first time committing to writing in July.

Camp NaNoWriMo is a virtual writer’s retreat, designed for maximum flexibility and creativity. We have Camp sessions in both April and July, and we welcome word-count goals between 30 and 1,000,000. In addition, writers can tackle any project they’d like, including new novel drafts, revision, poetry, scripts, and short stories.

So, my plan is to revise a novel that I’ve finished the first draft.  I’m committing to 30 hours.  Thats an hour a day, should be doable!  Hopefully I will get a lot more than that accomplished!

Do you enjoy writing?  Will you be participating in Camp Nano this July?  It’s not too late to sign up!

Thanks for dropping by 🙂

 

NINETY-NINE WAYS TO FAIL IN WRITING, PUBLISHING, AND MARKETING

 

Reblogged from ryanlanz.com

by Dr. Kent Gustavson

When it comes to writing, publishing, and marketing a book, there are many mistakes to be made (many more than 99). The #1 most important mistake NOT to make is over-investment. I’ll give a quick anecdote about that, and then give the whole list of my 99 favorite book mistakes.

One of my favorite stories about over-investment is of two (real) people. Let’s call them Dolores and Ben.

Dolores spent $57 writing, producing, and publishing her book. Sure, it was self-published, but it looked great, and was well edited by friends and family members. She currently gets tons of gigs because of the book, and is an Amazon.com bestseller.

Ben spent more than $1/4 million dollars (yes, $250,000 …to buy your way into the New York Times bestsellers list. Ben put a second mortgage on his house, and he got #1 bestseller status from one of the major newspapers in the US. Was it worth it? He got a few more gigs, and he earned about $50,000 of his investment back. Which author is more successful?

 

Every Mistake in the #Book: 99 Writing, Publishing & Marketing #Fails

  1. Spend too much.
  2. Don’t invest enough.
  3. Hire the wrong people.
  4. Don’t ask for help.
  5. Don’t use friends for writing and editing.
  6. Don’t use family members for writing and editing.
  7. Don’t thank friends and family after they have helped you.
  8. Don’t edit your manuscript.
  9. If you’ve edited once, don’t edit a second time.
  10. If you are just plain sick of editing, just stop after three edits.
  11. Try to be perfect.
  12. Take ten years to finish.
  13. Write everything in a weekend.
  14. Give away the rights to your book for a song.
  15. Hire the wrong agent.
  16. Agree to a contract without talking with a lawyer.
  17. Sign with a publisher without shopping around first.
  18. Don’t create a business plan for your book.
  19. Spend your entire savings on the book.
  20. Mortgage your house a second time to pay for the book.
  21. Decide to self-publish, and get a logo designed for “My Name Publisher.”
  22. Trust people financially.
  23. Hire a publicist at $3,500 per month.
  24. Pay for publicity without worrying about building a social media presence first.
  25. Don’t use social media.
  26. Decide not to give away any copies for free.
  27. Don’t ask for reviews.
  28. Don’t say thank you to anyone.
  29. Don’t work too hard on writing — it’s okay if it’s not your best material.
  30. Don’t think about ROI (Return on Investment).
  31. Fixate on ROI, as if it’s the most important thing in your universe.
  32. Don’t worry about having a great title.
  33. Don’t think about the target demographic of your book.
  34. Don’t worry about Facebook.
  35. Don’t work on your Twitter presence.
  36. Don’t answer messages through your website or social media.
  37. Be reclusive.
  38. Don’t answer your emails from readers.
  39. Don’t do interviews.
  40. Don’t have a website.
  41. Have content from 1985 on your website.
  42. Build your website in Flash.
  43. Don’t have an Author Central account on Amazon.com.
  44. Don’t have your book available on Amazon.com
  45. Don’t have your book available as an eBook.
  46. Don’t offer your book free on the Kindle KDP platform.
  47. Buy lots of followers on social media (so you don’t have to develop them naturally).
  48. Buy Amazon reviews (if Amazon doesn’t catch you and remove your account).
  49. Don’t have a good author bio on your website.
  50. Don’t have paperbacks available alongside the eBook edition.
  51. Don’t give any copies away to friends and family.
  52. Don’t contact the local press.
  53. Don’t do events.
  54. Don’t run any contests.
  55. Don’t worry about creating a great subtitle that works well on search engines.
  56. Design a cover that doesn’t have bling.
  57. Refuse to write on a Blog.
  58. Refuse to make a Book Trailer online.
  59. Go with a major press.
  60. Pay for a press release.
  61. Write a press release.
  62. Advertise in the back of your book for a vitamin company.
  63. Start a publishing pyramid scheme.
  64. Invest a ton of money into books before you have a distributor.
  65. Don’t spend any money on anything, even though you have a budget.
  66. Don’t have a contract with collaborators, illustrators, or other freelancers.
  67. Sign away your rights.
  68. Sign away rights to future products, like ebooks and audio books.
  69. Sign away film rights.
  70. Dream of fame because of this book.
  71. Dream of swimming through pools of gold coins because of this book’s success.
  72. Write about what you don’t know.
  73. Plagiarize! Don’t worry about sources.
  74. Cite Wikipedia on every page.
  75. Use pictures in the book without attribution.
  76. Don’t use any quotes or references in your entire book.
  77. Print too many books, and keep them in your moldy basement.
  78. Move forward without thinking about all options.
  79. Go into business with your family.
  80. Take out loans to pay for the book.
  81. Don’t ask for any emotional or financial support.
  82. Don’t run a Kickstarter or other crowdfunding campaign.
  83. Don’t worry about building a great team.
  84. Don’t hire an editor — who needs them?!
  85. Quit your day job!
  86. Put all eggs into this book basket!
  87. Mortgage your house and sell your cars to pay for a marketing campaign.
  88. Quit. Give up.
  89. Stop trying to finish — it’s hopeless.
  90. Worry about audience for the book.
  91. Worry about what the critics will say.
  92. Write too much.
  93. Write frenetically.
  94. Alienate people around you.
  95. Write about non-celebrities without their permission.
  96. Write and publish total crap.
  97. Wait for magic to happen.
  98. Hold out for a better deal.
  99. Wait to dive in.

Alternately titled “Every Mistake in the Book: 99 Writing, Publishing, & Marketing Fails.”

Guest post contributed by Dr. Kent Gustavson at the Blooming Twig. The Blooming Twig is an independent, boutique publishing house that supports the adventurous tastes of its readership.

THREE COMMONLY MADE WRITING MISTAKES AND HOW TO AVOID THEM

 

By Maja Todorovic  

Mistake. Not very popular word in our vocabulary and it is something you usually don’t want to hear about. But guess what, we are all just humans. And it means we all do make mistakes. It’s a natural part of learning curve and there is nothing to be ashamed of.

I’ve been in research and writing for about twenty years and after 50+ published papers, numerous research projects, two dissertations, 3 books and year and a half of blogging, I still do make mistakes. And I don’t mean like grammar and typos. Sometimes I don’t manage to express myself as clearly as I wanted or at times I’m not assertive  enough to share my work… but that all doesn’t matter.

I’m not talking about these kind of mistakes. I’m referring to behavioral attitudes that many young or new writers somehow acquire that can slow down or even hinder their success in writing as a profession.

 

First mistake: They don’t embrace their talent and passion (enough)

So you like to write. And you write daily. You have a favorite pen and notebook that you carry around with you all the time so you can write whenever you feel like. But your words never see the sunlight beyond the pages of your notebook. Or you have a novel captured in your computer file that you’ve been working on for ages, but you simply can’t finish it. I know. I’ve been there too.

Most of writers have. You are afraid to share your writing. We all fear judgment, rejection, negative opinions. But these are all just opinions. Rejection letter is more a sign that you need to get deeper into your writing than it shows that you are a bad writer. It shows that you are trying and that’s what counts. In one of my recent posts I wrote:

Instead of thinking about fear, think of legacy you’ll leave behind.

Every writing will find it’s right reader. If it’s honest and authentic, it will. You must share your work. It’s the only way for your message to be heard and it is a perfect way for you to find motivation to improve your writing even more. You are building a bridge between you and that outer world you want to communicate with. The world that want to hear your story. The world that want to be part of your experience.

Embrace your love for writing: start blogging [read more about blogging here] (if you aren’t already), submit that story or poem to your favorite journal and finish that first draft. Finish it and be proud of yourself.

 

Second mistake: They don’t test the water before diving in….(read the rest of the article here

 

Weekend Writing Retreat

I’m finally getting around to posting about my amazing weekend writing retreat!  It was the Victoria Day weekend here in Canada, perfect for a couple of nights away from ‘normal life’.

Six of us stayed in a two bedroom cabin about and hour outside of town.  Some  of us I’ve been friends with for a years and some are newer friends.  We couldn’t have had a more wonderful group of people.  We shared tons of laughs, and actually got a lot of writing in.

I’ve met some wonderful people since I’ve gone public (kinda) with my writing, though I still consider myself to be a closet writer.  Only my writer friends and those closest to me really know that I actually write and work on novels and short stories.

Three years ago, when I began doing NanoWrimo (what is NanoWrimo?), I actually left the safety of my sofa and started going to the weekly write-ins.   That’s when I met Sherry Ramsay at sherrydramsey.com and Kerry Campbell from The Geeky Book Lady.  Awesome peeps…go follow them!!

We started our weekend with an amazing potluck meal.  Nothing like good food to feed your writing muse!  I really wish I took more pictures!

Exercises

Sherry had organized a series of writing exercises for us.  For the first one, we had 15 minutes to come up with as many first lines for stories as we could.  I got 17 which wasn’t too bad.  Some were garbage, but some could really lead somewhere!

For the next exercise, we picked a random envelope.  Inside was a slip of paper with the last line of a story.  It was our job to come up with a story in fifteen minutes.  Here was my last line:

She clinked my glass and said, “Here’s to life, even if no-one will believe our story.”

What would you come up with?

For the third exercise, we were given another envelope.  Inside was a piece of paper with a plot, a photograph and an object and we had to tie the three together in a story.  We had fifteen minutes.  I had a photo of blurred lights at night, a paperclip.  Yikes!

Here was my plot:

A group of ladies make a pact with God.  An car accident is involved.

Want to see what I came up with?  The writing is pretty bad, but remember we only had fifteen minutes and I’m not overly quick 😉

“Come on triple 7!”

“Elsie, we’re all tired!  Aren’t you out of money yet!”

“Can’t help it, Gert.  I’m feeling lucky tonight,”  the old lady smiled broadly, her cheeks flushed red with anticipation and wine.  She held up her ziplock bag of quarters.  Still plenty left. “I keep playing and but the bag doesn’t get any lighter.  Figure that!”

Gert nodded and looked back toward her little group of friends leaning on the VLT.  They were getting pretty crotchety.  They were here since this afternoon and they would be anticipating having to get up early to go to church in the morning.

Gert approached them.

“Well, is she ready or not?” barked the tall, white haired Agnes.

“She still has lots lots of quarters.  She’s feeling lucky.”

“Lucky my arse.”  She marched over to Elsie.

Gert said a silent prayer under her breath as she and the rest of the old girls followed in her wake.

“You know,” she heard Elsie explaining to Agnes.  “If we hit the jackpot tonight, we might just be able to save the orphanage.”

There was a buzz of conversation. 

My storyboard for my short story

Kerry organized a workshop  to create a storyboard.  This was so much fun…arts and crafts!  She told us in advance we could bring pictures of any characters but she also supplied magazines that we could go through and find more.

In case you’re wondering, my story is about a shampoo that is capable of taking over peoples minds.  Everybody who uses it, loves it of course!  Their hair becomes opalescent, but they don’t even realize that they aren’t in control of their actions until the wifi goes down.  Two boys who love hacking try to save their mother and the rest of the world in the process.

Bet you’re wondering what Johnny Bravo has to do with my short story haha.  He’s the thug, the bad guy…but he has cool hair.

 

 

Great food, great people, and writing!  All my favourite things 🙂

The weather was on the chilly side, but that didn’t matter, we were comfy and cozy, even if the electric fireplace didn’t cast any heat 🙂

Just kidding. It wasnt cold inside!
View from our cabin
View from our cabin