Tag Archives: writing insights

I’ve Been Duped!

“Its Beauty is its Deception!”

Have you ever wanted something SO BADLY simply because it was attractive?

Maybe a new car? A relationship? The dream job?  And let’s say you get it only to discover that the car still breaks down, the relationship comes with baggage, or the perfect job is managed by crazy people?

Well, I have! As a writer, I draw upon these experiences to craft my stories. Sometimes I regurgitate it unfiltered through a character and let them deal with the consequences. Now THAT’S fun! Other times I become the magician, getting you to focus on the shiny, red scarf in my left hand while my right hand is preparing to WOW you with a rabbit. Well, not a real rabbit, unless of course that’s part of the plot, but that’s not the point I’m trying to make right now…or is it? 🙂

(For those following the “FREE Book” posts, here’s the conclusion to Chapter 01, Tears of Min Brock.)

Quinn lifted his throbbing head and glared at the women. “Why must you two be so loud?” he thundered.

Elabea remembered a time many summers ago when his eyes sparkled with life, but that was before he went off to fight in the Dark War. Now they were opaque and lifeless. Spying the parchment in the fire, he asked Elabea, “Where did you get that?”

His eyes became icy.

Backing away, she meekly answered, “It was attached to an arrow stuck in our door. What is it?”

It is from the land of lies!” he slurled.

Claire!” Elabea whispered, noting that despite the flames, the parchment was not burning.

“Don’t say the word!” Areall yelled, her placid expression now like churning rapids. Turning her fury on Quinn, she shouted, “Your night of drink is making you talk too much!”

“I’ll talk when and how I like!” he yelled back.

While they argued, Elabea knew this was her chance. Darting to the fireplace, she grabbed a small stick on the hearth and plunged it into the coals.

“Stop!” Quinn roared as he struggled to rise from his chair. “Leave it!” Becoming dizzy, he slumped back down.

“Amazing,” Elabea muttered as she dragged it onto the cool hearth. “It’s not burnt and is even free of soot. It’s so…beautiful.”

“Beautiful?” Areall replied derisively. She crept toward the parchment as if an evil spirit possessed it. “Its beauty is its deception!” she snarled. Unwilling to get any closer, she whispered,“Burn it! Destroy it or you will curse us. The Cauldron will know and see. They will come!”

Elabea calmly picked it up. “They’ve never come before! Besides, how can something so beautiful be evil?”

Areall reached for her but Elabea was too quick. She raced out the door.


To Be “That Guy”

I wanted to share one of my favorite short stories, The Window by G.W. Target.

This was the only online version I could find that wasn’t rewritten and that also captured the heart of Target’s story.  I’m still amazed at how much he packs into this short tale, the ole “less is more” adage, as well as how many applications it has, too.

Every time I read it, I come to the same conclusion: I want to be as selfless as the first man by the window. Unfortunately, I’m too much like the other fellow. Of course, we all have to start somewhere in regards to personal change and revelation which, hopefully, leads to life revolution. Besides, if I trumpet something to the effect that “I’m very much like that first guy,” well, it’s sorta like confiding that you’re a humble person, isn’t it??

Anyway, I hope you enjoy The Window and that it gets inside your psyche and makes you squirm…in a good way. 🙂


I’m NOT a Creeper! I’m an Author!

Whale RiderI tried not to stare at her, but I couldn’t help myself. She was stunning, perfect in every way. Her image burned into my psyche and her movements–fluid arcs of grace–made me smile.

The girl in question was the actress, Keisha Castle-Hughes, the star of Whale Rider.

Now before you report me to the police, let me explain.

Years ago, when I began to write Tears of Min Brock, I roamed about  like a casting director in search of faces to use for my characters. This meant staring at folks in the checkout line or in the mall, to which my kids would elbow me and call me a creeper.

I’m not! I’m an author, which in actuality is probably worse! 🙂

My search for Elabea was going nowhere until I watched Whale Rider with my kids. Keisha was superb as Kahu Paikea Apirana, the 12-year-old Maori girl who wanted to become the chief of the tribe.

She had a strong inner strength while her demeanor was tender and vulnerable yet not overly dramatic. Even her looks–a natural attractiveness that she carried in a nonchalant manner–were what I had pictured for Elabea as well.

I did not model Elabea after the movie’s heroine, but instead, used the performance to confirm what I had envisioned and created as the writer.

So next time you’re caught staring at someone, kindly tell them you’re not a pervert but an author looking for new characters. They’ll be flattered, and it just may keep you out of jail! 🙂


When I Learned That Harm Can Be Love

While painting some gutters,  a baby bird’s chirp caught my attention.  Not wanting to alarm him, I looked high and low for the nest but was unable to find it.

Repositioning my ladder, the chirps increased in volume and intensity.  Peering cautiously into the bush, I searched the shadows for him.  But what I meant as cautionary he perceived as a tactical threat.  Launching himself from his hiding place, and giving me a scare, the young sparrow flew away.

Only he was too young to fly.  So instead of reaching another bush and safety, he landed in the yard.  Dazed, he chirped repeatedly, no doubt calling to his parents for help.

Standing high on my ladder, I had the perfect assessment of his situation.  Not only was he out in the open and easy prey for the neighborhood cats, but he sat only a few feet away from a busy street.  I knew he couldn’t escape danger, and that it was impossible for his parents to help him, so I decided to make the rescue.

Hopping off my ladder, I grabbed an empty 1 gallon bucket to trap him, scoop him up and then set him free.  At least that was the plan.

But as I neared, he chirped and flapped and flitted away.  Once more, he presumed that my intention was harm when in reality I only wanted to rescue him.  And in fact, his efforts to escape were not only moving him toward the street, but were alerting the prowling cats.

Desperate, I crouched and crept closer.  And as quickly as I could, I dropped the bucket over him.

I could hear his wings fluttering against the bucket and his frantic chirps echoing within.  My heart broke.  I wished that I could speak “sparrow” and tell him that I had no intention of hurting him, and that this was the only way to rescue him, and that he was going to live, and that I would set him free in an even better place.

And it was at that moment that I better understood how God must “feel” trying to love me.  It’s not a perfect picture, but like the sparrow, in my attempts to find freedom apart from God, I’ve discovered gravity’s ruling hand and have landed in the middle of danger.  Likewise, I too interpreted his scooping “hand” as being hurtful and cruel.  But looking back, perhaps standing on a rung of life’s ladder, I see that it was the only way out, and what I defined as harm was in fact the most loving thing he could have done.


Perception, Reality, and the Eagles.

Back when I was a touring musician out of Nashville, I had a funny experience in which perception wasn’t reality.

Our custom tour bus was parked one morning in a shopping mall.  Needing breakfast, I donned shades, ball cap and joined a fellow musician for the short jaunt across the parking lot to McDonald’s.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a couple making a bee-line for us.

“Please!” she waved, “Can we get your picture in front of your bus?”

We hadn’t showered, were groggy and thus were totally bamboozled why this woman would want a picture of two scraggly  musicians.  Nevertheless, we shrugged and posed arm-over-shoulder as she snapped away.

Thanking us profusely, she jogged off with her husband, giddy with excitement.

“What was that all about?” my friend asked.  I glanced over my shoulder at our tour bus.  Air brushed in large letters across the back side was, “Hotel California.”

I burst out laughing.  “She thinks we’re the Eagles!”  We laughed all the way to the golden arches.

In marketing one’s product, whether it’s a book or an idea, you want the public to “see you” (perception) in a way that makes you larger than life.  After all, you need to stand out from the pack.  Take the story I just shared.  The fact that this poor woman has our picture pasted & labeled in her scrapbook as, “The Eagles: On Tour!” isn’t our fault.  It’s actually hilarious!  Does she point me out as Joe Walsh?  Don Henley?  But I digress.  The point is this: We didn’t lie to her (she never asked us who we were!) nor did we falsely promote ourselves.  She merely perceived us to be someone else based upon our image (i.e., tour bus, logo, etc.)

So as you begin the process of selling and promoting, don’t worry if people misunderstand or perceive you as someone you’re not.

It may be the very thing that will help you succeed.  Who knows, maybe you too will be an Eagle!

 

 


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