The Case of the missing I J K L M


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I totally ignored I, J, K, L, and poor M. That happens when attempting to do the A to Z Blogging challenge without really a lot of planning. I knew better. Yes, I did. What’s my excuse? A case of weltschmerz (pronounced velt-ˌshmerts).

What the flippity-flip-flip is that?

Well…a mood of sentimental sadness. In my case for no good reason I was afflicted, but after a few days of healthy eating, hugs from my significant other, prayer, writing, and some ibuprofen, I am much better. Now I feel like Annie. God is good!

Disclaimer: It’s not because I am fluent in German nor schooled in psychology that I am familiar with weltschmerz. While reading Sidney Chambers and The Shadow of Death (The Grantchester Mysteries Book 1), I came across the term. I said to myself, “Well, la-di-da, I do believe I have been bitten on the tookus by this malady on several occasions.”


F, G, & H





Flag —To call someone’s attention to something (sometimes with a label attached to hard copy).

Helen’s eyes glaze. “What the heck did I miss? Did I introduce a character in chapter 2 and yet never noted their presence again until the end of the WIP? Aarrgghhh! Should I kill my little darling, saying to myself they were not necessary to the plot? Or grab another cup of java and give that sub-character a journey? Need a justice scale for this and a jelly doughnut.”

GPO style —Editing conventions recommended by the United States Government Printing Office Style Manual–the style guide used by U.S. Government agencies.

Helen’s eyes glaze again. “I did not realize the U.S. Government was that efficient. Where’s my Strunk and White? Where’s my coffee and my copy?”

House Style —The editorial style preferences of a publisher.

Helen’s eyes water. “I can only wish to someday know this term intimately. Sigh. Get back to writing, girl!”


Examples from the Writing World


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Michael Arndt (screenwriter) shared his steps to penning a good beginning in the following  video.  His info is not only for screenwriters but for anyone with dreams of ink and pages. Here’s his basic breakdown for launching the main character to take their big journey:

  • Show your hero doing what they love most in their ordinary world
  • Add a flaw
  • Storm clouds approach (ordinary world is interrupted)
  • Add insult to injury (more wounds)
  • Make your character pick an unhealthy choice to deal with their troubles.

I like how concise the steps are. Simple. I think I might review some of my favorite films for homework.


Death of the Nightcrawlers


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What?  Nightcrawlers? Is this post about zombies? 




How about ladies of the night? You know what I mean.  Sex adds punch to a story. Plus if you made all  the ‘ladies’ morph into over-sexed zombie blood-suckers crawling in the dirt, you’ll get a million hits, Helen.  Later you could write the screenplay and make a  kazillion bucks. It could happen!

No, it’s not about the ladies. And I am not writing the screenplay. This post is about me as a young girl-child in the deep South and an admission of  guilt. Because…I am a worm murderer! There I’ve said it. Small lives have been lost because of my fascination with fishing worms.

First off, I never really liked going fishing, but I did love the gathering of the wigglies. I had a little shovel, and I used it to dig holes and pull forth earthworms in bulk.  I kept them in cans and glass jars, but there is more to the story.

I didn’t consider them ‘bait’ but buddies. Dirty buddies.  But my worm friends did not die because they were impaled on  hooks. They died because I gave them BATHS. (Loud shrieking is heard in the distance.)

I cleaned them in water, and they stopped wiggling permanently. Please understand. I didn’t know that they could not breathe underwater. I didn’t know  they even breathed air! After all, is there air in dirt? It’s just dirt.

Oh, the horror of it all! I used dish soap, too. Just a little squirt to make them squeaky clean.

Let me repeat again. I DID NOT KNOW. I was a young innocent tomboy with a few OCD tendencies.

There you have it. The whole story.

Calming My Exclamation Points!


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exclamation points

“…when we are born, we are granted by God a specific number of exclamation points. When we use them up, it is our time to go.” Dean Koontz

When I jumped on my writing path, I went hog-wild with exclamation points. One didn’t seem enough when my main character shouted in horror. Perhaps such emotion demanded two. Naah, three!!! Ah, heck, a chorus line of the puppies, dancing wild and naked.

(To the tune of All About the Bass),

Because you know I was all about da points,
‘Bout da points, less grammar
I was all about da points,
‘Bout da points, less grammar
I was all about da points,
‘Bout da points, less grammar
I was all about da points,
‘Bout da points, less grammar

I could go on and on with the song, but I’ll spare you the insult. An editor pointed out to me that my penchant for excessive punctuation equated to shouting at the reader. It was not needed. Same thing with the good old dot-dot-dot of the ellipses. Too many dots meant too much pause and wasted space.  Valuable advice shared. Happy writing!


Sound Advice


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There is so much that can be garnered from this interview of Val McDermid, one of the most prolific mystery writers. Her advice was simple for aspiring writers, “Just do it (write). A lot of people talk about doing it.”  And my other favorite tip? “Forget about writing the perfect first chapter.”

Good sound advice, eh?

I’m also eager to read her forensics book titled Forensics: What Bugs, Burns, Prints, DNA and More Tell Us About Crime. 

Happy September! Fall will be here soon. Yeah, baby!

Write Motivation


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One of my favorite accountability systems is back: Write Motivation. It’s got ‘Field of Dreams’ mojo but without Kevin Costner.  Instead of the movie’s catchy phrase “if you build it, they will come”, I substitute ‘if I plan it, I will do it.”  Here’s a link to the sign up.

And here are my goals:

1. Finish fourth edit of wip.
2. Sign up for marketing webinar and one other class.
3. Compile list of agents to query for TMF and ODS.
4. Query a certain publisher about pic book.