Saturday, May 26, 2007

End of one chapter, start of the next

Okay, that title is far too grandious for the subject of this post! The semester is finally ending-- I just have to turn in my grades and attendance. Thus, summer is beginning. Or at least the bit of summer break that I get. I know some people think teachers get nice cushy summers off . . . well, I don't take it. I work my retail job until July, then I teach summer school, then it's back to retail for August. But working only one job at a time, rather than two, should give me some more time to write.

I have a couple stories I'm finishing. Of course, finishing is one of the hardest parts for me in a story. Particulalry short stories. I get everything all set up-- things get worse and worse then . . . ? Then what? It's hard to wrap up with a bang, rather than a whimper. I have to top the previous plot turns or the story falls flat.

One of the stories I'm working on is tentatively titled "Beaten to the Punch." (It's a word play thing-- I really can't help it!) Anyway, I know the story is at a point where it's time to wrap up. Bo's only one step away from the guy and the answer she's looking for. I even have a pretty good idea HOW I want the scene to play out, which is a great step. The problem is getting that idea into phrases and sentences.

Knowing what needs to be done and actually DOING it are two separate, sometimes unrelated things. Even in a story where the events are wholly in my control.

  • Story currently in progress: Beaten to the Punch (formerly known as the apartment story.)
  • Excuse for not writing: writer's block.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Update on updates

I've been thinking that I might try to post at least a little something everyweek. I suppose just to occupy my time. And perhaps entertain my fans.

This week, I finished a little story about an old love affair and a couple buried skeletons. I've got a thing for abandoned houses-- and this story starts with an abandoned house (or property rather) that was recently bought. The new owner finds a skeleton, the police don't give it much time, so the owner hires Bo to find out who this dead person might be. It was a fun story to write, since the guy with the answers is a couple whole degress off plumb.

I've noticed that in some of Bo's stories, it doesn't really matter that she's the investigator. She's focused, tenacious, and occaisionally mouthy, but the detective really could be anyone. Which explains (duh) why some editors have been displeased with my protagonist. But there in lies another conundrum: not every case Bo's invovled in will feature growth or anything personal. At least from the real-world side of things. Some cases are just cases she takes-- interesting stories. I think writing them as Bo's stories adds that flavor (a little grit) but they are still just A case. No more or less important than any other case.

  • Story currently under the "knife" (MSWord needs knife function!): Untitled 'apartment' story. Wow, not even a working title. Highly unusual.
  • Last story finished: Skeletons of Past Love (see above)
  • Excuse for not writing: I finally went through some of the piles and stacks of stuff I planned to take care of "later". Apparently today is "later"

Monday, May 7, 2007

Con and Conflict

Two more of my stories have seen the light of dark internet alleys.

The first, "Cat Nip" is appearing at Powder Burn Flash. Ever notice how many young women carry their cell phone right in the open top of their over-stuffed purse? Bo has. And she's willing to exploit that. And people's expectations.

The second is "Old Adversaries" at Nefarious. Back in high school, a man came between Bo and a friend. Bo's not willing to let those old tensions get in the way of her investigation.

Read and enjoy!

Latest Story Finished: Family Affairs of Adult Children (formerly Francis Thayer Whittacker) Now for editing . . .
Story currently in progress: Untitled story about someone breaking into Bo's apartment
Excuse for not writing: Too tired (stupid allergy)

Sunday, May 6, 2007


Since fellow writer M.C. O'Conner was kind enough to give Bo's blog a shout out and a link on his blog, it's only fair that I should return the favor. I'll even make the comparison that like my protagonist, I know that recriprocation and networking are important in this world. In some circles, it is crucial. A private investigator will do well to build a reputation for fairness and reciprocity because a burnt bridge or a scorned fellow don't help in a case.

Maybe it works for the hardboilded male detectives like Phillip Marlowe and Sam Spade because they are "bad boys." And when they are curt with the women, the ladies only fall harder. I think it's that 'bad boy' thing that seems to have so many woman complainging that "he's exiciting, but he treats me bad." And then complaining that the nice guys are boring. Phillip Marlowe isn't boring-- he's dangerous and decisive. He knows what he's going to do and doesn't worry a lot about who doesn't like it. This, apparently, is alluring to many women folk.

It doesn't work so well the other way-- a decisive dame is just a bitch. And a man who goes for that is allegedly emasculated. Maybe this is why a bitter woman like Bo Fexler isn't as easily accepted a character as Marlowe or Spade. Another double standard-- like how Marlowe can seduce any woman and he's just suave, good. So, while Bo may have a tongue sharp enough to slice any man or woman into piece, she also knows that sometimes building repoire can be even more useful than fear. But it's a skill that's rustier than a 1986 Ford Taurus from the Detroit area.

I'm not a PI, but as a new author, I know that building readership is always a good thing. Maybe someday I can use it for "leverage" when I pitch my novel to some publishing house. Someday. First, I have to find MORE time to write. And still make enough money to cover the bills, buy a house, and maybe even have kids. On a teacher's salary. Or rather, an alternative school teacher's hourly wages. Somehow, working with the most challenging students means getting paid less . . . one of the marvels of the modern world.

Story currently in progress: Francis Thayer Whittacker, still (I think it needs a better title.)
Predominate plot problem: who was outside Tuesday night with Toni? And why?
Excuse for not writing: I don't know how to "kill Harold"