Thursday, July 31, 2008

Research for your book?

You're in the middle of writing a story and you realize your character has to shoot a pistol, but you've never shot one. You don't own a gun.

You have to describe the weapon, the weight and feel of it, the recoil, how to site with it, etc. What do you do? do research. In my case, I didn't just search the internet or look up information at the library/bookstore, I did the hands-on approach. I have a friend that owns several weapons and he showed me them and let me try a few out. We went to his house where he owns 10 acres of land, he set up a paper target, then he told me to pick a gun and try it.

After almost falling on my butt, and he got a good laugh, my friend then showed me all the proper ways to hold a pistol, load it, aim it, and then pull the trigger. Through the course of this "research" I tried various weapons he had at his disposal.

To top off the at home research we went to a gun shop. The owner was very friendly and informative. He was very willing to answer any questions about all the guns in his shop, like what situation would you use one versus another, what do average police shoot, military, etc. He also was helpful in explaining the local gun laws. To my surprise, the gun shop owner offered to let me try a gun. He took me out in the back of the shop, handed me a Walther PPK, and had me aim for his big sand pile. Wow! What a racket. Then, the owner added a silencer to the weapon and I shot it again. Not quite silent, but it wasn't deafening.

I took my research further and went to an actual firing range. A great experience. You walk in and have to show ID, select a weapon (unless you have your own), buy the bullets, and the number of targets you want to shoot at. You take all that and hearing protection into another room where you do the actual target shooting. This would be the firing range. It kinda reminds me of a driving ranges where each person has their own slot of space.

Anyway, I did took the lessons learned from my friend and the gun shop owner and applied them as I shot 50 rounds into several paper targets.

Although the internet makes doing research easy, the best research is going that extra step and checking things out for yourself. And when you write your various scenes, like I did in IT HAPPENS IN THREES, the reader will feel like they're right there because they're experiencing what you did through your words.

What research have you had to do?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

What's in a name?

What does a romantic suspense writer name her cats?

Mischief and Mayhem, of course. See photos on the left. :-)

When you name your cats or dog or characters do the names have to fit?

In the case of my characters...I think yes. Look at it this way. When you hear or read the name "Ralph", what do you immediately envision? Me, I envision a Beagle with big floppy ears who just kinda does things at his own pace. Why? Because when I was younger a neighbor had a Beagle named Ralph.

Now, try the name "Jake". What do you envision? I envision a taller than average guy, who likes to be outdoors and work with his hands. Jake describes the kind of guy when he walks down the street us ladies do a double-take.

Would I ever name one of my female characters "Charlotte"? Maybe, if I shortened it to Charley. I like strong female characters, and calling an intelligent, spirited, and independent character Charley comes across in the name.

What about you? What names do you like for a hero, heroine, or villain? Why?

Friday, July 25, 2008

When do you get your story ideas?

I thought this would be a liitle different twist on the question of where do story ideas come from.

Mine usually just pop into my head. IT HAPPENS IN THREES story idea came to me after a long weekend of reading. I was sitting at home in one of my favorite chairs waiting for the phone to ring for a job offer and the plot started to draw itself in my mind. :-)

Most the time my story ideas occur to me when I'm driving. You're mind is totally clear, okay not totally, because that would be scary if I was behind the wheel with an empty mind. Anyway, just the other morning I was driving to breakfast (great little place not far from me), and it hit me.

Luckily, I always carry paper and pen or my laptop with me. That morning I had my laptop so as soon as I sat down, I booted it up and drafted the first page. Now it's put away until I finish my current work-in-progress.

When do your story ideas hit? And do they compel you to write them down right away? Or do you let the plot and characters gel and when you get it all worked out you write?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Do things really happen in threes?

And are they always bad things or can they be good things?

My personal experience is...yes. Just this past weekend the universe was telling me something. I had looked forward to mowing my yard on Saturday. So first thing Saturday I'm outside mowing the back yard, got it done and then the mower died. Couldn't get it to work. Frustrated, I decided to weed whack. I could do that until I got the mower fixed. I was able to weed whack the back yard, and then IT died. Can you believe that?? Then my neighbor got home and let me borrow her mower. Great! Yeah, well, not so much. Did two strips and her mower died. It started again so I did two more and it died permanently.

What exactly was the universe trying to say?? No clue, but after all that, and with the help of my neighbor we got my mower fixed and I was able to finish.

Monday, July 21, 2008

What makes a villain a worthy foe?

Is it the more evil he/she is, the better?
Or perhaps it's the sneaky, underhandedness of a villain?
Maybe, it's the villain who always seems to be one step ahead?

What do you think?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Life imitates art?

"Life imitates art far more than art imitates Life." ~ Oscar Wilde

Do you really think this is true? Or is it the other way around?

How has your life imitated a book you've read?

In IT HAPPENS IN THREES, my soon to be released book (January 2009) the book imitates life. Well, not in the specific events that take place, but in the fact that three unplanned, unexpected, and maybe unwanted events happen before life turns for the better.

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