Category Archives: Blog

Inspiration Versus Procrastination

Fellow OMP writer, Michele Potter discusses how she deals with inspiration and procrastination (something I fight daily).

theonemillionproject

I admit to being a world-class procrastinator. Having lived that way most of my life, it is probably too late to change. I successfully procrastinated my way through high school and, many years after, college, summa cum laude.

Having never been a disciplined scheduler, I use my non-writing time for inspiration. I love to write, but sitting in front of a screen for hours when I’m not ready does not work for me. A friend tries to write 2000 words every single day. She says she doesn’t want to get out of the habit, even if many of her words are thrown out. I admire her for that, I really do. I doubt that I could do it, unless I were being paid for each word.

In college, I wrote essays, critiques, and theses with comparative ease. At least, it appeared so to my peers, who stressed over the required…

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Building Suspense

I love a good mystery or thriller.  Throw in the FBI, CIA and a few Navy Seals and I’m a happy camper.  The genre of my current series is Romantic Suspense, and one of the challenges of this genre is building suspense and keeping the story moving without giving too much away.

The allure of the mystery/suspense story is trying to solve the puzzle before the characters in the story.  When I was young, I was always trying to out-sleuth Trixie Belden or Hercule Poirot. A writer’s task involves dropping some hints and using dialogue and plot points to advance the story.  Just when the reader is positive they know who the villain is — insert a plot twist.

“What is it?”

“It’s a tracker.  Someone placed it on your vehicle, so they could follow your movements…” ~ Dave Cartwright to Clare in Exodus

Don’t you love the feeling you get when you’re at a critical juncture in a scene?  The suspense has been building and building.  I know something major is about to happen.  My heart starts to beat a little faster, and my eyes fly over the words reading rapidly.  I am anticipating what the next scene will reveal.  Boom!   Your theories just got blown out of the water.  One of the best compliments I have received from readers is “I thought I had it figured out, but you had me second-guessing myself through the whole book”.

Secrets can be revealed along the way to advance the plot and to throw some red herrings into the mix.  But the final solution or climax should remain a mystery until the last couple of chapters; otherwise, you lose your readers once they solved it.

Here’s a caveat — some thrillers and mysteries use the antagonist’s point of view to unveil their plot.  These stories build suspense through the unpredictability of the villain’s next actions.   The key is to have certain elements of the story remain in the dark.

I like to give my characters some flaws.  Is the “good guy” telling the truth or acting out of character?  The writer instills doubt with an unexpected action or a sudden change in temperament, for example.

A good story brings the reader along for the ride. A book is an alternate universe and the reader is wanting to immerse themselves in it.  Whether it’s falling in love with the handsome detective or holding their breath during a chase scene, the reader needs to feel the tenderness and the heartache along with the fear and confusion.  If the writer can involve the reader and get an emotional response from them, you’ve done your job.

‘Newtown’ Film 

If you have read one of my earlier posts – Books and Life – I wrote about a summer I spent in Newtown, CT.  My cousins grew up in Newtown. My aunt taught in an area elementary school for many years.  Newtown is an important part of my families’ history. The pain of Sandy Hook is their pain, as well. 

The events of that horrendous day made the nation weep. It is important for us to remember and to bring change, so we won’t have to continue to watch other communities and families torn apart.  

In early October, ‘Newtown’ will be released in theaters.  I’m going to see it so I can acknowledge the bravery, sacrifice and heartache felt by this small community.  I hope you will join me in supporting this documentary film. 

Venus

 Note from Kate:

I saw this poem this morning after I read my email.  My email notice sounded sexist and I seriously was planning on ‘Unfollowing’ the author.  Instead, I was blown away by the sensitivity shown  by Luke Atkins.  The author informed us that he wrote it at 4 am.  Just wanted to give him a round of applause for poetry every woman feels and lives.

***

Venus. A limbless, lifeless lump of antiquity. A marble slab of meticulous, conscientious sexual tension. A photo opportunity—devoid of meaningful human exchange. No change or range. An estrange…

Source: Venus

Fiction and Politics

When I came up with the idea for Exodus, it wasn’t even an election year.  I didn’t want to write a “fiction-mimicking-life type of story.  I planned to write a Romantic Suspense which had aspects of domestic terrorism.

As each chapter rolled out, my writing forum members would ask if I was getting inspiration from the current political cycle.  That would be a ‘negative’.  My original premise came from my time in the Army Reserve in the 80’s.  An individual or group had tried to gain access to the reserve center to obtain military equipment.  They weren’t successful, thank goodness.

“Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.    ~ Mark Twain

This led me to research domestic terrorism.  I found some mind-blowing statistics about the rapid increase in extremist groups and domestic terrorism over the last two decades. I had no idea.

Violence in the name of political beliefs isn’t a new idea.  Think Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton’s duel, assassinations or attempts on political figures, and the bombing of the Federal building in Oklahoma in the 90’s, you will find a small sampling of my thought process.

I write fiction.  I create plausible and implausible worlds where I decide the outcome.  I do think the adage “truth is stranger than fiction” is true.  This is a crazy world with unpredictable people, and I’m happy the world isn’t comprised of cookie-cutter people.  How dull would the paintings, music, film and books be without the diverse creative citizens of our world.

I can only say,  I hope and pray this political season doesn’t reflect my book.  If so, we are in for a helluva ride!!

** I’m offering a discount coupon code SE34Q  , so you can buy the recently published Exodus on Smashwords for only 99 cents!   Follow this link for my book page —  Smashwords   Offer good through 10/7/16.