Something Wicked has moved on…

This is the briefest of posts today because I will only be saying this:

Farewell Ray Bradbury, an incredible man whose mind took us, the readers, to the most amazing places.  Heaven’s gain is truly our loss.

Photo from the LATimes (6/6/12)   Below is a link to their article today.

http://www.latimes.com/news/obituaries/la-me-ray-bradbury-20120607,0,5622415.story

Is Zombie a food group?

“Bring out your dead!”  (if you cannot identify this quote then you need a Monty Python intervention stat)

Well this is not a reblog but more of a repost – kind of.  I am not actually sure what you call it when a close friend takes a cool picture and puts it on her FB page and she also happens to have a blog and you copy and paste that picture into your own blog and then give her kudos.  Is that Refacebooking or Reposting or stealing?  Such blurry fine lines.  Anyway, this photo is courtesy of my friend Kim who you can check out at http://kfsfindingmyway.blogspot.com.  We’ll file this under books you wish you had thought of yourself.

Skeletal remains….

Perhaps there, under that flowering mass of forsythia….no, no.  Once the fall arrives those fountains of tiny green leaves will dry up and everything underneath will be uncomfortably exposed.   Hmmm….the fallen hollow log straight ahead? No, no.  Everyone looks in the fallen trees.  So obvious.  Where to put the….oh, wait…. 180° degrees to the left and eureka!  Natural rock formations with enough crevices to throw off the search party – brilliant!  Only those with keen eyes will notice any disturbance to the pile.  Now for the hard part: making it happen.  Sheesh, sure wish someone would help me drag this body…..

Let me preface the rest of this post with no, I am not a serial killer.  Okay, maybe in my head when the storyline calls for it, but the day-to-day – not so much. Yet hiding a body is basically what fiction writers have to accomplish in every story.  Not literal bodies (although in some genres there are those too), but clues and hints embedded into the work that will eventually lead to the GRAND FINALE.

To quote my friend Linda, “ Who would hide a body without considerable thought?”

Careful crafting must be used to move a reader from the opening of a story to a satisfactory finish.   No one wants to be hit over the head with the obvious. Clues and tie-ins need to flow naturally, woven into the mesh framework of your tale.   At some point we’ve all encountered the book that self deflates too soon.  The story that gives away the ending somewhere in the first few chapters leaving the reader with a painfully slow ride to the finish point.

Then there are the gems.  Stories that have us believing we have it all under control and then boom – a sudden twist that blindsides us while still having the ability to leave us, the reader,  with that “duh, it seems so obvious now” moment.   For a writer, finding that balance is the equivalent of the fabled end of the rainbow pot of gold.

So, how does a writer hide these bodies throughout the story?  The answer is subjective because, like all things in art, it depends on the working style of the composer.  For myself, I find it helpful to add some tie-ins during the rewrite period.   Little things that help to solidify the basic who, what, when, where, and whys of the story so that what happens at the end is a natural result of all that came before.  For example, if my villain shows up with an antique Scottish Basket Hilt Style Broadsword from the early 1900s as her weapon of choice then earlier in the story there would be a reference blurb. Something along the lines of one statement regarding the family owning an import business or that she was an expert in ancient antiquities.   Something small and innocuous, subtle enough to plant the seed that keeps the arrival of the sword from being shocking and out-of-place within the context of the story.

What if you find yourself stranded in the woods with no place to stash the corpse?  First, adding more foliage to the branches of your main idea helps.  Maybe you need to add a building or another character that can house the clue.    Next, take another look at your story from all angles.   Where can you find a corner to add a clue?  Still not seeing your own rock formation?  Enlist a fresh set of eyes – friends, family, and beta readers – maybe they can find the cave that you missed.

For extra help hiding your bodies check out the Writer’s Digest website:  http://www.writersdigest.com   In addition to great articles and contests this site contains links to 100s of other websites that can help you on your writing journey.

So, with that, I will leave you for the day.  Need to run to Lowe’s® for a shovel……

Two funerals and a baby….

Road Trip!!  The words that once meant throw a diet coke and a candy bar into the car, fill her up with gas, and away we go to reach new horizons.  But the nature of this weekend’s solo road trip was a wee bit different.  Back to back funerals in my home town to say goodbye to two great men.  So I packed my bags (note: multiple bags filled with all kinds of ‘can’t live without for two day’s’ necessities, none of which included a diet coke or candy bar), kissed my little family goodbye, and hit the open road.  Okay, it’s a major highway congested with traffic and road construction, but whatever, I was on my own.

Being my first solo hotel stay in, ahem, decades, you can imagine my excitement to get into town and check in.  Hello king size bed with my name all over it sans random children trampolining on it  to “check if it’s okay”.   Hello bathroom all to myself.  It was a complimentary breakfast utopia.

Unpack – done.  Iron funeral attire – done.  Quick lunch – done.  Get ready to go – done.  And then the hectic schedule was fully realized.  There would be no sleeping in, getting breakfast delivered to my room, newspaper slipped under the door – I wasn’t to see this glorious cocoon of solitude at all except for a few hours of sleep.

You can well imagine my dilemma at this point – funeral service or room service, funeral service or room service….. Oh little devil on my shoulder, why, why did you have to make the pillows look so inviting?

Well, I’m happy to say that I still have a few moral fibers left in my being so I picked funerals.

It was time to watch two stories play out the final chapter.  Time to be there with childhood friends as they closed the books that opened with the first line, “my Dad”.  The ceremonies were as different as the men we celebrated, but the intense love and deep sorrow felt by both families were mirror images.   The most beautiful moments at both services were the recountings – the telling of tales about these men who were married to the sweethearts of their youth, raised amazing children, touched so many lives, and had personalities as big as their giving hearts.   The pages of their life stories were overflowing and both left a legacy long to be remembered.

After the second funeral my dreams of hotel utopia were over.  Mainly because I was fresh out of travel points but also because I wanted to fill my own life pages with time spent with my siblings.  The second night of my road trip adventure was spent in the welcoming cocoon of my brother and sister-in-law’s guest room and in the company of my nephew – 9 months old and full of laughter and giggles (it could be gas but I will take the bias road and say it was my visit).   In the quiet moments of bedtime I watched as the journey began again.  My baby brother, his son, and a new story unfolding that began with “my Dad.”

This post is written in memory of Kenneth G. Johnson (1944-2012) and Thomas J. Reilly (1924-2011).  May your heavens be filled with same joy that you brought to the world.  RIP.